I attended the exhibition at the Somerset House in London about big bang data and it really opened my eyes to all the things we can do and we cannot do with data and how to communicate it or use it. In todays world we are creating a massive explosion of data, and this is shaping the world around us. It helps with scientific research, business, politic, social life etc, but it can also be very dangerous and misused.
Something I learnt from the exhibit is that every day in 2012 we produced 2.5 quintillion bytes of data, and it mainly comes from the activities of millions of people around the world. Personally I wonder how much data I produce every day, where does this data go and how are different corporations using my information. Although the idea of making things more accesible fascinates me, I am not comfortable knowing that my data is out there somewhere and people are using it for various purposes, I find it quite creepy.
However, Some of the pieces of work that grabbed my attention in the exhibition are the following:
- Mapping of the submarine cables: It was very interesting to see how the world is all connected through data and what parts of the world are more connected than others. I was wondering which ones send more information and from which directions, so it would have been interesting to see the connection in different widths and with arrows that indicate the communication between countries.
Postcards: I loved the idea of this project. It is about 2 artists that lived on different sides of the Atlantic and every week they collected data related to their lives. They would visualise this data in a drawing on a postcard and send it to the other person. This is a very personal project, very different to everything I have seen with relation to data, but it was amazing to see all the postcards together and the different analogue visualisations. It is another way to treat data through a slow transmission in such a quick and fast moving world.
- Sex: This piece of visualisation really intrigued me. It represents the sex life of a couple in 2010. Each line is colour coded and represent a different sexual practice. I wish the visualisation had month and special key information, so you could see what triggered certain things. There are 2 big gaps when there was no sex, but also right after that there are lots of lines, so its very interesting to see that transition and it makes me wonder what was happening between their relationship that lead to certain decisions.
- The War causalities in Iraq: This was probably my favourite piece. It shows civilians and military personnel killed during the Iraq war in military engagements involving coalition forces between 2004 and 2009. For me it was very shocking to see the same data represented in 2 different ways. The right print shows the deaths chronologically and the left print groups the deaths by the characteristics of the person killed. The dark blue represents the friendly troops, the turquoise the host nation troops, the orange the Iraqi civilians and the Dark grey the enemies. The second print shows that they started killing a lot of the enemies, but the war got lost because the majority of the print is orange although you can’t really quantify it, but when this data is organised by categories it is shocking to see that the most amount of people that got killed in the war were civilians, and how big the difference is. I just find it devastating to look at, but a very effective piece of visualisation.