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A modern day pirate girl tale – personal data is the new treasure chest of gold.


In today’s world most of us engage with information networks on a regular basis leaving a trail of clues about our existence and our world. We communicate with network agents when we use Facebook, loyalty cards and location tracking, willingly leaving digital footprints in our wake.

Nancy Mauro-Flude is a Tasmanian artist and provocateur whose work lies somewhere in the space between performing arts and computer science. Her latest project is called Divination was installed in an empty goods shed as part of the 2016 Dark Mofo program.

The work has been in development for the last three years and links the arcane traditions of pirate codes and conduct with the modern relationships we have with data and networks that are both mysterious and communal. The work has two components with a live performance and ongoing installation that offers the viewer an opportunity to reflect on ‘what is actually at stake when a networked entity is given control of so-called private data’.

Nancy has been researching pirate custom and culture from the nautical era of pirate queens like Grace Ó Máille and Ching Shih to Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks and regards personal data as the new treasure, with large corporation’s desire for personal data increasing as the price of gold drops.

The Divination installation will be a glorious shipwreck of a Pyrate Queen with invisible network traffic projected as constellations by which to navigate. Audiences will be able to communicate with non-human performers (chat-bots) within the space and receive ghost-like messages or signals from the unseen.

Nancy launched the shipwreck with a maiden voyage performance on 10 June 2016. Find out more about the project here:

Divination was presented by Contemporary Art Tasmania and Dark Mofo