In Shadow Writing (Algorithm/Quipu), Lorenzo Sandoval explores how different cultures leave traces in one another—traces that in time are made invisible for various reasons. There are two points of departure for the piece: the quipu, a non-phonetic writing and counting tool that was used by the Incas and other peoples of the Andes—dating long before the colonial process and the origin of the word ‘algorithm’. A quipu was made of strings with rows of knots whose significance was determined by their location on the string. The word algorithm comes from the name of the Persian polymath Al-Khwarizmi. By comparing the quipu with the history of algorithms, Sandoval proposes to rethink the origins of digital technology as transcultural rather than Eurocentric. In the work, supposedly abstract forms found in the Andean quipus and different elements of Arab architecture and knowledge are analysed in order to explore which other possibilities might be inscribed in the genealogies of digital technology—for instance, the relation of mathematics to the concept of ‘the common’.
Lorenzo Sandoval (b.1980 in Madrid, Spain) is a Berlin-based artist and curator. Sandoval won the Young Artist Prize Generación 2017). Sandoval is currently running The Institute for Endotic Research together with Benjamin Busch. He participated in Canine Wisdom for the Barking Dog for Dak’art Biennale (2018) and is part of Miracle Workers Collective representing Finland in the Venice Biennale (2019).
Shadow Writing (Algorithm/Quipu) (Iteration No. 2)
Courtesy the artist and Lehmann+Silva Gallery
Produced with the DKV Álvarez Margaride Grant in LABoral and Schwartzsche Villa
Image: Lorenzo Sandoval, Shadow Writing (AlgorithmQuipu) (Iteration No. 2), 2018. Photo: Hendrik Zeitler