Big Bang Data

Do you remember a world without Internet?

If you are a millennial, probably barely not. 

I have visited the Big Bang Data exhibition at the Somerset House last year to understand how data streams have changed our way to understand the world, and at the same time, how the rapid digital production has changed the design landscape.

As stated in the exbition's press release

Emails, selfies, shopping transactions, Google searches, dating profiles: every day we’re producing data in huge quantities. Our online activity, alongside that of businesses and governments, has led to a massive explosion – a ‘Big Bang’ – of data.
This radical shift in the volume, variety and speed of data being produced, combined with new techniques for storage, access, and analysis, is what defines the proliferation of data. It is radically reshaping our world and is set to revolutionise everything we do.

What are the issues surrounding the datafication of our world?

Data today gives us new ways of researching, our new data-driven society has the potential to be more fair, stable, and efficient and yet it also created tools for unprecedented mass surveillance and commodification. Data access and usage rights, along with the value they comprise, are at the heart of many concerns.

I have put together three designers who have used data as project tools, all from Central Saint Martins.

Flaneur by Quiyu Yang

‘Flaneur’ is a project that explores how we live our daily lives, what this offers in terms of personal data and how we might start to think about what data to store or incorporate into our lives and in what way.

Yang’s work offers those people who are enthusiastic for life, an opportunity to see their everyday urban life reflected directly from data visualisation. In effect making treasure from their experiential millennial lifestyle.

Using the basic information from clients storage (and sharing) of healthy lifestyles through record apps from their walking or jogging routes in cities, Yang has developed a deeply personalised jewellery collection. 3D jewellery forms are designed to present 2D data visualisation manufactured through a 3D print technique so that every individual has an opportunity to wear unique jewellery.

Using London as the pilot city ‘Flaneur’ can be rolled out across global cities and allows mobile urbanites to build a collection of jewellery that creates an innovative record of their life and travels.

Jewellery Designer: Qiuyu Yang
Photographer & Art Director: Yingwei Tang
Model: Dasha Shipovskikh

Contemporary Fragmented Vision by Nils Braun

Through technological change, our environment has in many ways been transformed into a simulated, artificial and more increasingly virtual world. We live in a time where image making is constantly available and this changes how we document our world. At the same time, it leads us to perceive, consume and interpret our environment through screens and in fragments.

The 3D printed David statue is a generative sculpture made from stitching together shared online images of Michelangelo’s statue in Florence. What became quickly evident was David’s missing backside – a direct result of people not photographing the rear of a statue.

The Lurk Experience by Kezia Kong

This project – plus an accompanying short film extending the core concern – were exhibited at the London Design Festival 2016. At the Lethaby Gallery, Central Saint Martins showcases latest work from leading graduates tackling the big issues, using engaging design to make sense of the world and plan for uncertain futures.

Lurk is a materialisation of the 1% rule of the Internet culture, which states that only 1% of the users of a website actively create new content, while the other 99% of the participants only lurk.

Mapping human movement in the flat world of the Internet, the phenomenon of participation inequality further broken down into 1-9-90 distinctions was built into the lurk experience. Whereby 1% has built the Lurk space, 9% enter and engage with space, while the other 90% exists as lurkers, only viewing the experience from the outside.

It adds by commenting on content proportions of the Internet by reducing it to gifs of cats and porn. Mimicking user-based content generation, the Lurk experience reacts and responds to specific user interaction by generating more cat content if one gravitates towards the section with more cat gifs, similarly with porn.

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