As 90% of all the data in the world was created in the last 2 years it is not surprising that data has become an increasingly hot topic. When extracted, analysed and processed data becomes an extremely powerful tool for businesses, something that many of our clients recognise themselves. Therefore when we heard about the ‘Big Bang Data’ exhibition held at Somerset House, a group outing for JPC’s creative team was a must.
As you enter the space you are greeted by a somewhat bizarre projection of a server room where vast quantities of data would be stored. Walking around, the exhibition makes you realise that data is constantly being collated about anything and everything. One of our favourite exhibits was a website iknowwhereyourcatlives.com that takes photos from Instagram of millions of cats and pinpoints their locations on satellite maps across the globe. Another analysed selfies taken around the world and provided facts such as ‘London-selfie takers smile less than their global counterparts’. One of the the most successful pieces for us was ‘Debtris’ an animation created by the people at Information is Beautiful, that uses relatively sized tetris-like pieces to represent spending, from government war bills to the richest man in the UK and tax avoidance.
Although much of the exhibition is light-hearted, it also raises questions about surveillance and whether data is being used for the right reasons. We were left feeling slightly disconcerted at the sheer amount of personal information that is gathered and analysed by various corporations.
Many of the exhibits presented very interesting concepts but we felt that in this digital age, along with our own knowledge of event production, the information could have been presented in a more interactive and engaging way. Or that the data could have been visualised in a more aesthetically pleasing manner. Maybe it was that we were expecting beautiful visualisations of data such as those found in the ‘Information is Beautiful’ book yet some of the exhibits were on the verge of kitsch.
Overall Big Bang Data is definitely worth a visit and leaves you thinking about our constantly changing digital world but disappointingly there was something lacking in the exhibition’s execution. Perhaps we have high expectations though?