Living Data

About this event

Michael Takeo Magruder
Wednesday 14 January – Sunday 15 March 2015

 

In Living Data, a new solo exhibition by internationally recognised artist Michael Takeo Magruder, the digital medium is used to explore the nature of data in our society.

There’s a vast and ever-changing sea of data that underpins nearly all aspects of every day existence. This exhibition considers how emerging technologies, like social media and user-generated content, arise from and feed back into the real world. It looks at how they reflect (and affect) our globalised, information rich society.

Simultaneously beautiful and thought provoking, the pieces in the exhibition creatively blend modern computer systems and networks with traditional forms of visual art. The result is a selection of digitally hybrid paintings, sculptures, videos and installations that give visitors an opportunity to experience new ways of seeing and interacting with the ephemeral realms of ‘living’ data which are now an increasingly fundamental part of contemporary life.

 
About the artist:
Michael Takeo Magruder (b.1974, US/UK) is an internationally recognised visual artist who works with digital and new media including real-time data, immersive environments, mobile devices and virtual worlds. His practice explores concepts ranging from media criticism and aesthetic journalism to digital formalism and computational aesthetics, deploying Information Age technologies and systems to examine our networked, media-rich world.

In the last 15 years, Michael’s projects have been showcased in over 250 exhibitions in 30 countries, including Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid; the Courtauld Institute of Art, London; EAST International, Norwich; Eastside Projects, Birmingham; FACT, Liverpool; Georges Pompidou Center, Paris; KIBLA Multimedijski Center, Maribor; QUAD, Derby; SESI’ Cultural Centre, São Paulo; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; and Trans-Media-Akademie, Hellerau. His art has been funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Arts Council England; the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation; the EU Culture Programme; the Leverhulme Trust; the National Endowment for the Arts, US; and the National Lottery, UK. He has been commissioned by numerous public galleries in the UK and abroad and by the leading Internet Art portal Turbulence.org. In 2010, Michael was selected to represent the UK at Manifesta 8: the European Biennial of Contemporary Art and several of his most well-known digital artworks were added to the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art at Cornell University. He is currently a researcher and artist-in-residence in the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London investigating the creative potentials of blending science and humanities scholarship with digital arts practice.

For further information about Michael’s work, visit www.takeo.org
(Re) Mediation_S by Michael Takeo Magruder

Book available to purchase from the Watermans Box Office £12.50
List of Artworks
Data_cosm . version 1.2

site-specific installation and real-time virtual environment (VRML/Flash/Java)

in collaboration with: Drew Baker (3D visualisation) & David Steele (backend programming)

2005 (v1.0) – 2014 (v1.2)

Data_cosm is a virtual realm that is generated from society’s unending flow of news media. The artwork reflects upon the vast quantities of data generated by today’s media organisations and of the dynamic information structures that mediate this process. Each day a series of programs samples the live BBC Internet news service and constructs a database containing the website’s entire collection of articles. One hundred news articles are then randomly selected for the creation of a text and image dataset that will remain until the next day. This dataset is then combined with the 3D skeletal structure of the world thus completing the genesis of the environment.

The virtual world contains two primary viewpoints. The first, internal perspective is located at the absolute centre of the space. From this vantage point a seemingly infinite expanse of information is encountered – the unending sea of data that envelopes every aspect of our digital lives. In contrast, the second, externalised viewpoint reveals the nature of the composition as a sculptural body reminiscent of a crystalline form. The existence of the artwork as both a painterly expanse and a sculptural object creates a state that alludes to the possibility of the macrocosmic being contained by the microcosmic.

 

Data_plex (babel) . version 1.0

site-specific installation and real-time virtual environment (VRML/Java)

in collaboration with: Drew Baker (3D visualisation) & Erik Fleming (backend programming)

2014

Data_plex (babel) is a virtual realm that is generated from and evolves with online social media networks. The artwork is created from hourly captures of the top ten topics currently trending worldwide on the social networking platform Twitter. A series of programs translates this ever-changing data record into a virtual architecture that is reminiscent of a classical Tower of Babel motif. The tower’s structure is constructed by algorithms that are based upon the golden spiral (an endless logarithmic geometry derived from the Fibonacci sequence) and is formed of twenty-four ‘arms’ – each representing an hour of time. As such, the artwork is also a ‘clock’ that through colour and transparency shows the popularity and age of the various trending topics over the previous twenty-four hour period.

 

Data_plex (economy) . version 1.3

site-specific installation and real-time virtual environment (VRML/Java)

in collaboration with: Drew Baker (3D visualisation) & David Steele (backend programming)

2009 (v1.0) – 2014 (v1.3)

Data_plex (economy) is a virtual realm that is generated from and evolves with the global financial markets. The artwork is created from a single live market feed of the most-cited international stock market index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). A series of programs translates this stream of fluctuating information into a metaphorical cityscape based on modernist aesthetics of skyscrapers and urban grids. Each of the thirty companies in the DJIA index is represented by a series of cubic greyscale forms that are proportioned according to factors such as stock price, market capitalisation and percentage of the DJIA index. Current positions shift alongside ghosted structures of the recent past – dissolving traces from the previous four days of trading. Manifestations of historical highs (blue), lows (red) and volumes (green) express the fortunes of the market in colour, while each corporation’s ‘building’ is textured by a unique image generated from its stock data. The virtual world ebbs and flows with erratic pace as vast volumes of capital are shifted during the trading day, while after hours, the city ‘sleeps’ in anticipation of the opening bell.

 

Data_Sea . version 2.1

site-specific installation and real-time virtual environment (Unity3D)

in collaboration with: Drew Baker (3D visualisation) & Johanna Jarvis (scientific research)

2009 (v1.0) – 2014 (v2.1)

In 1941 humanity’s media transmissions became powerful enough to pass through Earth’s ionosphere and travel into deep space. From that point in time our signals have radiated into the universe, creating an ever-expanding globe referred to as Earth’s Radiosphere. In the 72 years since that defining moment, our communications have reached nearly two thousand other known star systems.

Data_Sea is a real-time virtual environment based upon this relationship between broadcast media and astronomy. The core geometry of the artwork is directly derived from the actual positions and characteristics of all catalogued star systems residing within the Radiosphere. Obtained from current astronomical databases such as the Hipparcos star catalogue, these scientific measurements have been translated into a three-dimensional structure constructed in Unity3D. Each star system’s basic properties affect its aesthetic manifestation within the virtual realm. Star type is represented by shape, while the stellar nodes are connected to a central spherical body (representing our solar system) by line structures that show the spectral class and magnitude of the individual stars. Systems that are known to contain exoplanets are surrounded by concentric ring structures. Live audiovisual media is streamed into the environment adding textures and a persistent soundscape. These mediated reflections are in constant flux, forever shifting as they drift into an endless sea of virtual space.

 

 

 

Data Flower (prototype I) . version 1.2

site-specific installation and real-time virtual environment (VRML/Java)

in collaboration with: Drew Baker (3D visualisation) & Erik Fleming (backend programming)

2010 (v1.0) – 2014 (v1.2)

Data Flower (prototype I) is a generative virtual blossom that is algorithmically constructed in real time from society’s representations of flowers. The artwork’s 3D geometry is created by a series of artificial life algorithms that endlessly produce unique (albeit predictable) forms. In contrast, each flower’s texture is generated by a server-side program that taps into the online image repository Flickr and captures recently uploaded photographs tagged with the term ‘flower’. On each loop of the flowering cycle, a randomly selected image is applied to the virtual construct, which grows, blossoms and finally decays. As in real life, every virtual blossom the artwork generates is unique since its internal ‘genetic’ code exists in a perpetual state of flux and its external ‘developmental’ influence is derived from an ever-changing pool of user-generated media.

 

Data Storm (prototype I) . version 1.0

site-specific installation and real-time virtual environment (VRML/Java)

in collaboration with: Drew Baker (3D visualisation) & Erik Fleming (backend programming)

2014

Data Storm (prototype I) is a generative virtual storm system that is algorithmically constructed in real time from Earth’s own weather patterns. The artwork’s 3D geometry is created by a series of artificial life algorithms that endlessly produce unique spiral forms. In contrast, each storm’s texture is generated by a server-side program that taps into the online image repository of EUMETSAT (European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites) and links to current satellite imagery of the Earth’s surface as seen from space. On each loop of the storm cycle, a randomly selected image is applied to the virtual construct, which grows, swells and finally dissipates into nothingness. As in real life, every virtual storm the artwork generates is unique since its internal ‘genetic’ makeup exists in a perpetual state of flux and its external ‘developmental’ influence is derived from an ever-changing pool of scientific data captured from the real world.

 

Data.Record [BBC_2010.08.17@16:26GMT]

modular digital print installation

2010

Data.Record explores notions of globalisation, multiculturalism and collective memory in the Information Age. The artwork has been digitally created using the front pages of the BBC’s online news service in 32 different languages, captured from the Internet at a single moment in time. The resulting data was computationally processed into a single digital mural of texture, form and colour.

Constructed in the tradition of pointillism – a technique used by artists such as George Seurat (1859-91) in which small, distinct dots of pure colour are applied in patterns to form an image – Data.Record can be visually dissected into increasingly smaller mathematical grids, block structures, and finally, individual pixels – the primal visual element of the digital domain. The composition also draws upon the process-based creations of the conceptual and minimalist artist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007), using computer code and modern automated industrial processes to generate both the artwork’s visual aesthetics and its final material form.

Young People’s Artist Collaboration

As part of the exhibition, a group of art and multimedia design students collaborated with the artist and Drew Baker (researcher in 3D visualisation technologies at King’s College London) to create a mixed-reality installation for the exhibition. The work, entitled Data Flow, draws inspiration from the River Brent that runs past Watermans Art Centre. The piece extracts live photographs from Instagram tagged with the hashtag #livingdata and real-time environmental data from the river itself to generate the artwork, thus creating a living flow of information.

collaborators:
Giorgia Beltrami
Seapei Bultingaire
Mie Funahashi
Melissa Gonzalez
Maria Navarro

with inputs from:
Lewis Grace
Claire Nyquist
Lucas Hiro Oshiro
Tarryn Rose
Trishna Sen
Maria Yordanova

You May Also Like

Take Part

Hounslow Community Brass Band

24 Sep

Are you fumbling with your French horn? Terrified of your tuba? Feeling useless at your euphonium? Or craving to learn […]

Take Part

Hounslow Community Choir

26 Sep

THIS EVENT TAKES PLACE AT HOUNSLOW MUSIC SERVICE Is singing a talent you think you could share with enthusiastic people […]

New Media Arts

Rivers of The World

22 Sep - 02 Oct

An exceptional exhibition of river-inspired artwork created by children and young people around the world working in collaboration with professional […]

Download brochures

Cinema Brochure – October 2019
Children’s Theatre Autumn 2019
Cinema Brochure – September 2019
See All Downloads

JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

Sign up for our newsletter and find out about the exciting events and exhibitions we have going on every month.

Sign Up
Please enter a valid email address