In December 2015, Somerset House presents Big Bang Data, a major landmark exhibition about the big data explosion of the 21st century, which is radically transforming our lives.

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The exhibition features specially commissioned and rarely seen pieces from a variety of international new media artists, including Ryoji Ikeda, James Bridle and Eva and Franco Mattes, all of which draw upon data to explore this most important issue of our time. The works follow the origins of data, reveal its industrial infrastructure, visualise hotlydiscussed data sets, from migration patterns and artificial intelligence to the global population of cats and trends in selfies, and consider the advantages and dangers of data in our modernday society. The artists have sourced sets of data not only from research centres, but also the public – possibly even visitors to the exhibition – themselves.

Today the world contains an unimaginably vast amount of data which is getting ever bigger,ever more quickly. We are all endlessly producing and releasing data, whether passively as our daily lives are recorded by cameras, telephone calls and card payments, or by actively engaging in social media and searching the internet. As a result, data stories are increasingly at the forefront of the global news agenda, from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Edward Snowden to the recent celebrity iCloud and Ashley Madison hacking scandals.

Data is now engrained in 21st century culture, yet the ways that data is organised, used and interpreted are still often unfathomable or almost invisible to the general public, and the issues raised by data for individuals, businesses and governments alike are conflicting and complex to comprehend.

Big Bang Data discloses the hidden truths of the data deluge through an interesting and varied collection of artworks and projects:

London Situation Room
One of the exhibition highlights will be the London Situation Room. London is considered to be the most closely-watched city in the world and real-time data collected from the capital will be screened with visitors contributing and affecting change to the data displays in the lair-style studio.
Collaborating with Future Cities Catapult and Tekja, the new interactive works will transform numbers into narratives: the data generated and gathered around the city will tell the stories of Londoners and their daily lives both today and in the future.

The Data Store
The Data Store brings together products that draw on data with the aim of enhancing of our everyday lives. Items include personal fitness wearables, DNA testing kits and even a Prayer Companion – a device that delivers the latest news to cloistered nuns to suggest possible prayers – some of which are available to buy in the exhibition.

We Are Data
Despite the streams of news stories about data privacy and security, many still leave a digital footprint which is publicly and easily traceable. In this section, a number of artists shine a spotlight on the dark side of data by accessing the public's personal photographs and appropriating them in their works. In I Know Where Your Cat Lives, Owen Mundy maps the locations of cats across the world, based on metadata embedded into publicly-available photographs tagged with the word 'cat'. If the image-makers increase their privacy settings, the pictures of their furry feline friends will be removed.

Last admission is 45 minutes before closing time, price £12.50 / £9.50 concessions.

Oct. 22, 2015 Living photo: I Know Where Your Cat lives, Hackney

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