NEWS3 December 2015

Somerset House puts big data on display

News UK

UK — Big Bang data, an exhibition of data-driven artworks and objects, opens to the public today at Somerset House’s Embankment Galleries, in London.

The exhibition, which runs until February next year, features specially-commissioned pieces from a variety of international new media artists, including Ryoji Ikeda, James Bridle and Eva and Franco Mattes, as well as some of the earliest forms of data visualisations – from physician John Snow, whose annotated map of the cholera outbreak in 19th century London revealed its source to be contaminated water, and Florence Nightingale, whose rose diagrams representing the causes of British deaths in the Crimean War underlined the importance of good hygiene in hospitals and led to huge improvements in that area.

Another piece — selfiecity — which compares the style of selfies from around the world, reveals that Londoners have the ‘least happy faces’ when compared with snaps taken in Bangkok, Berlin, Moscow, New York and Sao Paolo.

All pieces on display draw on data in some way, and the exhibition follows the origins of data, details its industrial infrastructure, visualises important data sets, and considers the advantages and dangers of data in society.

All images courtesy of Somerset House