Digital Anthropologists Explore What It Means to Be a Human in a Dataverse

Image: DaC3
Image: DaC3
Hannah Redler wants to examine how humans own and control their information within a dataverse. „We wanted to look at the human at the centre of all the technology and data,“ she told me. „It isn’t just about being tech-savvy, but about how technology affects us in our everyday lives.“


Redler is the curator in residence for the Data as Culture 3 exhibit, currently on show at the UK’s Open Data Institute, which promotes public engagement with open data. For this year’s exhibit, titled „Data Anthropologies,“ current artists in residence Alison Craighead and Jon Thomson are showing documentary-led artworks that focus on how humans are dealing with an increasingly data-dense digital environment.

The duo’s past and most recent works, based on freely available data, are dotted around ODI’s office space. Inside the reception area, you’ll glimpse „Six Years of Monday,“ featuring an alternative, split-screen view onto a series of time-lapse recordings of the weather. The images come from a collection of footage painstakingly taken by a Scottish man from his window every Monday from 6 AM to 6 PM since 2006 in the Scottish Kingdom of Fife.

Venture further into the office, and you’ll see an older piece from 2004 called „Decorative Newsfeed“ that shows a series of live news headlines rotating like digital snakes around a screen. „Corruption“ features a frame from a corrupt video file on a photographic lightbox, and „Voyager“ offers a curiously analogue take on the first man-made probe to venture into our solar system. The piece is a woodblock print displaying a selection of then UN secretary general’s greeting messages to the roaming probe.

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