As big data captures the imagination of the world (facts of the world, to be more precise!) and the data invasion transforms the way we live every day I have attempted to cherry pick its baby steps in the field of art.
The presence of data in art is probably as old as the humanity itself. Palm impressions in ancient caves could be one of the earliest examples of data art, but here I am trying to peek into the world of big data, which was probably unheard of 10 years ago. A few shining examples have been linked here which is really a tip of the iceberg of what is to come. When combined with the latest innovations of digital art, big data art can mesmerize and challenge some of the best works in traditional art.
Data is about facts (well mostly!) and if you ask me that is the USP of big data art – facts. If the purpose of art is washing the dust off our souls (my favorite art definition), then big data art makes it real. When facts are placed and the veil covering the truth is lifted it is more appealing simply because it is true. The impact of such an art piece is far reaching and more importantly it can move the shallowest of minds into action because of the truth factor. Picasso once said that art was never true. It was a lie which brings out the truth. But with big data art I feel it is different. It is the glaring truth right in the face which cannot be ignored very easily by anybody and therefore that much more powerful. It also adds an aesthetic touch to numbers. It gives us the unique opportunity to bring into life the biggest canvas of them all – Life. Yes, the facts of our life itself can be laid bare and visualized as big data art. Can you visualize your life? To say it is exciting is still an understatement when it comes to big data art.
Here are a few examples I picked online. There is lot of content here. Don’t forget to bookmark this page and come back whenever you need some data entertainment. Also, if this gave you new ideas regarding big data art feel free to share in the comments section. I would be very keen to hear them.
- Open data institute (University of Southampton is an honorary founding partner) has come up with innovative ways of generating awareness using big data art. Here is a link from WSJ:
- Quantified self (http://quantifiedself.com/) is an inspiration for collecting personal data. ‘Blocks of time tracked’ by an individual, color-coded by activity is brought into life here. Can you make art out of your Fitbit data? What would it look like?
- Data music presents the truth here:
- In this artwork, survey data is 3D printed to give unique representation for a community. Has your community got some unique numbers? Get an artwork done for them based on those if they mean so much to you
- Ads and interactive data art– Prudential’s domino commercial is soaring high from stacking the numbers into art here.
- Corporates have been queueing to get big data art installations in their workspace
- Media churns infinite numbers every day. Here Facebook summarized its political conversations and showcased them beautifully on none less than the London wheel during the UK elections
- What do colors in Flickr and Instagram tell? Art tells the story without words in these visualizations.
- Earthquake data– Whenever earth shakes near Hayward Fault in California, it is detected by a seismograph and processed to generate this piece of art.
- Social awareness– If you are fighting for a cause data art could be the game changer.