Big Bang Data at DOX

Exhibition explores the current information explosion

A multimedia exhibition shows how the creation and interpretation of Big Data is changing society. The Big Bang Data project explores the effects of the “datafication” of the world, a process as significant for the 21st century as electrification was for the 19th century. It includes works by over 30 artists and projects from around the world, including the Czech Republic.

The exhibition is at DOX Centre for Contemporary Art until Aug. 14, and is presented in cooperation with CCCB – Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona.

While the cost of storing digital information has declined dramatically over the past 15 years, the number of electronic devices that collect, create, and send data has increased exponentially, DOX said in description of the show.

Everyone creates data from mobile phones, sensors, social networks, digital photos and videos, payments, or GPS signals. This has created an information explosion about the everyday activity.

This data allows us to detect patterns of events, behavior, consumption, or choice. Internet social platforms are building exceptionally detailed user preference profiles, turning them into a product and thus supporting the growth of new economic sectors, DOX added.

“Today the data created by networks of sensors all around us, by industrial technologies and individuals, is considered an open opportunity and a powerful tool. It can be a key element in the development of more participatory democracy and more a more efficient state administration. But it can also furnish the means to create an unprecedented system of mass surveillance,” curator Olga Subirós said in a press release.

Curators Olga Subirós and José Luis de Vicente explore the phenomenon of Big Data through nearly 30 works of art and projects. The exhibition has been traveling to different museums and galleries since 2014 but the presentation as DOX has some local projects as well.

Erik Kessels’ installation of hundreds of thousands of photo prints explores the volume of images uploaded to the Flickr photo-sharing network during 24 hours. James Bridle’s book Where The F**k Was I? maps out the author’s movements during 11 months based on data collected from his iPhone. David Bowen’s installation uses real-time data transmission to show the movement of ocean waves in the Pacific.

A project by London art duo TEKJA came about in cooperation with the DOX Centre especially for the Prague exhibition. It uses “sentiment analysis” of emoticons and keywords to show a live social map of Prague in real time based publicly available data from social network users.

DOX has also prepared a series of lectures on the topics of the exhibition for both the professional community and the general public, with film evenings, discussions with digital journalists, or readings with journalists in the Gulliver Airship.

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