When data becomes art

Singapore launches exhibition on how data is changing lives.

Most galleries frame paintings, but one place is bucking the trend. The Singapore ArtScience Museum is showing the beauty of datasets, in an attempt to strike up conversations on the massive surge of data enabled by technology. “Big Bang Data” will open to the public on May 21 at the ArtScience Museum; Honor Harger, Executive Director gave GovInsider an exclusive tour. “Our role is to promote a deep set of critical awareness about the impact of data on our everyday lives through the exhibition and through the associated programmes,” she said. Visitors are first led through data visualisations and simulations of cloud servers to give a concept of how an infinite scale of data can be stored in these data centres. bbd movies There are also various data sets portrayed in creative ways - a map of fibre optic cables that span the floor, stills of full movies to showcase director style, and brightly lit globes that represent global issues. These include refugee migration, country credit scores and relativity of freedom of press across regions, among 11 others. bbd photos Another art installation sees heaps of printed photos strewn all over a room. These were personal photographs uploaded onto Flickr within 24 hours. IMG_2873 (2) Also among the installations is a timeline of storage devices that highlights how small such products are getting, from punch cards, CDs and USBs, to the biological information stored within our DNA - which we can’t see. The Museum has set up the Big Bang Data exhibition “because Singapore has such a sophisticated discourse around data and digital technology”, Harger said. The exhibition was in development for two years. It was launched in line with the IDA’s Smart Nation Innovations Week and will run till 16 October.