consumption piece


Purchases, a type of financial transaction, are traceable representations of my consumer decisions, and serve as a delimiting framework that outlines the boundary of the Consumption Piece (what the Piece is and what it is not). Defining myself as the actor carrying out the purchase transactions hints at the temporal delimitation of the Piece (equal to my lifetime).

This Piece has no physical form, only a data-form. It is a data ready-made. Transactional data are the product of my cognitive labor, which can be used as an input for further production or research. Using the data in such a way would represent a related but different artwork / piece / product.

This Piece is numerically discrete and based on consumer decision sampling. Between each two consumer decisions that manifest themselves in the form of a purchase transaction, there is an infinite number of intermediate decisions, of negative decisions, of hypothetical decisions, of omissions and of transactions settled by payment-in-kind instead of payment-in-cash. Each executed transaction thus represents a sample from a range of consumer decisions that preceded it and followed it.

The Piece exists in a decentralized distributed form. Some records of my consumer transactions are collected and kept by me. The majority of records exists in locations beyond my control. Sometimes money changes hands without any record at all. If there are any, records could be found in database systems of merchants, banks, tax authorities, service providers, marketing research companies, data resellers, etc. Paper receipts could be found in my purse, my home, trash cans, or accounting archives of legal entities that reimbursed me. All of these are placeholder representations of the Consumption Piece, but they cannot represent it as a whole. All transactions of the Piece are related through the definition of the Piece, not through the location of the transaction record.

This Piece must be imagined in order to exist. It is impossible to assemble and view the Piece as a whole. Only parts of the Piece – fragments of documentary evidence - remain visible at a point in time. Any attempt to comprehend the Consumption Piece in its entirety must therefore rely on the receiver’s imagination.