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December 5-6, 2016: Training
December 6–8, 2016: Tutorials & Conference

Algorithmic art and data creativity

Joerg Blumtritt (Datarella), Heather Dewey-Hagborg (School of the Art Institute of Chicago)
4:15pm–4:55pm Thursday, December 8, 2016
Design, visualization, and VR
Location: 310/311 Level: Non-technical
Average rating: ***..
(3.60, 5 ratings)

What you'll learn

  • Understand current developments of art driven by data and algorithms


When it comes to data visualizations, we usually think of infographics. But besides data as storytelling, journalism, and dashboards, data has grown into a medium for expression for a large spectrum of creative output. Parametric design, algorithmic architecture, and rapid prototyping technologies have redefined the relationship between creator and artist tools.

Contemporary artists are still struggling to find the language for a new contemporary output and practice in the post-Internet genre. The online world is bingeing, but it is also rapidly changing. Artistic expression within the digital arts has brought forward critical examination of technology and its impact on society, such as surveillance and self-determination, and has often collaged quotations of all aspects of media and consumerism, questioning art market concepts like authorship and intellectual property rights, in mediums ranging from video, software, and websites to hardware, kinetic machines, and robotics. In some cases, the next generation of digital artists, responding to their own experiences of the online world, have affected what is being known as a staunchly Web 1.0 aesthetic. At the same time, parametric or generative art is being created from algorithms without direct human intervention.

Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Joerg Blumtritt illustrate current developments with examples of recent bodies of work and discuss possible routes of art driven by data and algorithms.

Photo of Joerg Blumtritt

Joerg Blumtritt


Joerg Blumtritt is the founder and CEO of Datarella, a computational social science startup delivering mobile analytics, self-tracking solutions, and data science consulting. After graduating from university with a thesis on machine learning, Joerg worked as a researcher in behavioral sciences, focused on nonverbal communication. His projects have been funded by an EU commission, the German federal government, and the Max Planck Society. He subsequently ran marketing and research teams for TV networks ProSiebenSat.1 and RTL II and magazine publisher Hubert Burda Media. As European operations officer at Tremor Media, Joerg was in charge of building the New York-based video advertising network’s European enterprises. More recently, he was managing director of MediaCom Germany. Joerg is the founder and chairman of the German Social Media Association (AG Social Media) and the coauthor of the Slow Media Manifesto. Joerg blogs about big data and the future of social research at and about the Quantified Self at

Photo of Heather Dewey-Hagborg

Heather Dewey-Hagborg

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Heather Dewey-Hagborg is a NYC-based transdisciplinary artist and educator interested in art as research and critical practice; she is currently an assistant professor of art and technology studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Heather has shown work internationally at events and venues including the World Economic Forum, Ars Electronica in Linz, the Shenzhen Urbanism and Architecture Bienniale, Poland Mediations Bienniale, Article Biennial in Norway, the Science Gallery Dublin, Transmediale in Berlin, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art in Germany, Museum Boijmans, Van Abbemuseum, and MU Art Space in the Netherlands and has exhibited nationally at PS1 Moma, the New Museum, Eyebeam, the New York Public Library, and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, among many others. In addition to her individual work, Heather has collaborated with the collective Future Archaeology, with video artist Adriana Varella, and with artists Thomas Dexter, Aurelia Moser, Allison Burtch, and Adam Harvey.

Heather’s work has been featured in print in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Paper magazine, Arts Asia Pacific, the Wall Street Journal, the Times of London, Newsweek, New Scientist, Popular Science, Il Sole 24 Ore, Science magazine, and C Magazine, as well as on the cover of Government Technology; on television on CNN, Dan Rather Reports, the BBC World Service, ZDF in Germany, and Fuji and Freed Television in Japan, Channel One, RTR and Lenta in Russia, Norwegian Broadcasting; on the radio on Public Radio’s Science Friday, Studio 360, and CBS News; and online in the New York Times Magazine, TED, the Guardian, the New Inquiry, Reuters, the New York Post, NPR, Wired, Smithsonian, Le Monde, Haaretz, The Creators Project,, Art Ukraine, designboom, Capital New York, Artlog, Rhizome, Fast Company, The Verge, Motherboard, the Boston Globe, Huffington Post, Gizmodo, and the Daily Beast, among many others. Heather has given workshops and talks at museums, schools, conferences, and festivals, including MoMA, TEDxVienna, SxSW, Eyeo, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, the Media Lab, the Woodrow Wilson Policy Center, Bio-IT World, the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board, and LISA. Heather has received grants, residencies, or awards from Creative Capital, Eyebeam, MOMA PS1, Ars Electronica, Vida Art and Artificial Life Competition, Clocktower Gallery, Jaaga, I-Park, Sculpture Space, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, CEPA Gallery, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. Heather holds a BA in information arts from Bennington College, a master’s degree from the Interactive Telecommunications program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a PhD in electronic arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.