Data as an Art Material. Case Study: The Open Data Institute

Design, Open Data
Location: Palace Suite - Blenheim Room Level: Non-technical
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The Open Data Institute (ODI) sees the creative use of data as an intrinsic and essential part of our cultural landscape. As part of it’s ongoing operations, the it has an Art Programme committed to facilitating artists in the exhibition and creation of works which translate data into something that is meaningful to people’s lives.

Artists use data as an art material in many ways: materialising them physically, sonifying them to amplify natural phenomena, coalescing them to create new realities. They question how objective the treatment of data is, and how much truth do we expect from an artwork with statistical roots? And we are asked to consider whether it matters. If we accept that there is dogma in the artists code, do we accept that it plays a part in other code too?

Often at the critical edge of technological debate, artists are redefining how we perceive data and how it affects and reflects our lives. This presentation will showcase art curated for the on-going Data as Culture programme, from concept through the development process to the final work, and present findings on how the art programme has impacted the ODI, its visitors and its staff.

Photo of Julie Freeman

Julie Freeman

Queen Mary University of London

Julie Freeman is an artist for whom technology plays an integral part of her practice. Her dynamic artworks are often data-driven, that is shaped by external influences such as humans, animals or environmental factors. Freeman’s work explores the relationship between science and the natural world, questioning the use of electronic technologies to ‘translate nature’. Freeman often works collaboratively with scientists, experimenting to transform complex processes and data sets into sound compositions, kinetic objects and animations.

Her work is held in a number of private collections, and since 1998 has been shown across the UK in venues such as the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Kinetica, the Barbican Centre and the Science Museum, and internationally in Brazil, Croatia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Russia and the USA.

Freeman is art curator at the Open Data Institute, a PhD student in Media & Arts Technology at Queen Mary University of London. She is a board member of MzTEK, and is a fellow of NESTA and TED



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