By Sophie Edwards, Account Executive at OgilvyOne
Big Bang Data explores the issues surrounding the datafication of our world through the work of artists, designers, journalists and visionaries. And I can only say it does this in the most thought provoking manner.
The extent of work was vast so to keep it concise I have selected my top 5 snippets to give you a taste of the breadth of work and ways data has been used:
1. The Glowing Globes
The Glowing globes shows the Earth (as we know it from our Geography lessons) with the relative density of mobile phones per person. The darker the shading, the more phones per person (e.g the darkest areas shows regions with more phones than people). Who knew Russia had more phones per person compared to that of the UK?
2. 2016 to 2036 – How will you change London?
This exhibit sat within a huge control room. The scale of which made you feel as though you were about to launch a rocket … instead you had to make decisions on what you would like to continue to see around London (e.g green space & making sure people could cycle). From these multiple choice questions the computer generated what your 2036 London would look like … it was eye opening to see that your ideal solution didn’t always result in the ideal outcome for 2036, e.g by maintaining green space it would mean leaving millions homeless by 2036 due to population growth.
3. Can data show us what we look like?
Ever dropped a cigarette butt? Spat your gum into the bin and missed? Got on a bus with a tissue and left it on the seat? Well, be warned. Heather Dewey-Hagorg’s display showed 3D sculpted human faces crafted from the DNA left on these pieces of rubbish. Its focus was to draw attention to the amount of data we leave behind without even noticing – and how much it can tell someone about us, even what we look like.
4. Transparency Grenade
‘The transparency grenade makes the process of leaking information as easy as pulling a pin.’ Julian Oliver, 2012. This little grenade captures information – storing it up, all ready for its explosion. You could interact with the grenade and log onto the wi-fi so that it harnessed some of your personal data… pretty scary stuff!
5. The Financial Stars
Towards the end of the exhibit you were able to lay underneath the stars – every now and again one would move (a shooting star!). However, there was something a little out of this world about this stargazing dome. We were not gazing at the stars – but instead the financial markets – driven by live changes in the stock exchange. That shooting star was in fact a growth in Disney’s stocks.
The Big Bang Data exhibit is well worth a look if you can get over to Somerset House.
P.s they also had a vending machine which would release a free bag of crisps every time a keyword was trending on the internet! Now that’s fast food!