For thousands of years nomadic tribes of Central Asia passed on their knowledge and culture through generations primarily using the oral tradition; little physical evidence or traces remain of the ancient culture. Archaeologists mainly rely on kurgans – burial mounds where elite members of the tribes were interred with their treasures and often with their horses. Literacy was developed in Kazakhstan only late in 19th century and, therefore, much of the lifestyle of ordinary nomads is still shrouded in mystery. Today we encounter a radically different phenomenon – there is an overabundance of information. In the digital world anyone can share and store their thoughts, events, footage of everyday life in social media and the so-called “cloud”. This has led to a fast-growing number of dead people on social media, whose lives endure virtually. Facebook alone had around 30 million accounts of the deceased in 2012. These “digital ghosts” live among us until “memorialised” by a family member or a friend. How reliable is this digitally curated personal information in contrast to the tangible artefacts of past generations? What will happen to our deeper connections to the past? Will our individual and collective memory and cultural depth crash with Facebook and the Cloud?
The Cloud is a shamanistic depiction of the digital cloud with its virtual ghosts and distorted avatars. The central piece is a cloud of sheep wool suspended from the ceiling with attached gadgets, some of which stream slideshows of random personal photographs.