Creative Data

After reading the text “Five Things I learned on The Cannes’ Creative Data Innovation Jury” and attending the Big Bang Data exhibition in the Somerset House in London I was able to understand the meaning behind this elusive thing called “Creative Data”. I believe that this is a way of creatively playing with information. It is about creating something with meaning that amazes people and uncovers an insight.

Creative data it is not about the beauty of the final product, or a visualisation. It is about communicating complex ideas in a simple way and engaging people to find out more about it. Creative data should encourage people to look at the data and drag conclusions, comparisons and even find out unknown information.

Big Bang Data made this concept of Creative Data come to life as this exhibition was aiming at making people understand this new world where so much information is available to the public. These pieces of work weren’t just about the beautiful visualisations, but the meaning that they were convening, the message behind it and all the questions and problems that arise with that information. Some examples of Creative data from the exhibition that portray the complex relationship we have with data and how this is changing the world we live in are shown in the images below:

Image 1: Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s Stranger Visions.

These are a series of 3D sculpted faces based on DNA samples gathered from chewing gum and cigarette buts found in public places.  I found it quite creepy to know that with chewing gum, someone could take the DNA and actually make a representation of the person. This is a very creative and engaging way of presenting data, and it makes me wonder how dangerous everything we touch really is. Also when I look at this representations, it would be very nice to actually see a photo of the person to see how accurate the data could be used to represent facial traits.


Image 2: I know where you cat lives by Owen Mundy

Although this could easily be perceived as a funny “collection of cats images” it is quite dangerous and alarming. Basically there is a dataset with photos of cats taken from Instagram and social media and they are placed on a map which shows the location of the photo. If you think about it, whenever you post anything on social media, people could get tons of information about you. This visualisation is not really about the cats, it doesn’t just plot where the cat lives on the map, but if thats your cat, it is really showing where you live and giving out information about your personal life. This creative data piece is really about how people use and interpret personal data making peoples private lives public.


Image 3: Causes of Mortality 1856

I find this diagram very compelling. It is a perfect example of a simple way of telling a story. It hows the causes of mortality in the army in the east during the war in 1856. The blue area represents the deaths from preventible or mitigable diseases, the red area represents the deaths from wounds and the black area represents the death from all other causes. People would normally think that during a war the biggest number of deaths are due to the actual war and the wounds of soldiers, but in fact more people were dying because of preventible diseases, which seems very shocking for me and this visualisation allowed people to have a overview of the situation and actually try and prevent diseases instead of buying more guns because this is what was causing the life of the majority of the soldiers.


Big Bang Data (2016) [Exhibition]. Somerset House, London. 3 December 2015 – 20 March 2016.

Eslinger, Tom. (2015) Digital Content Next. ‘Five Things I Learned on the Cannes’ Creative Data Innovation Jury. Available at: (Accessed: 14 February 2016).


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