Must see: Big Bang Data

Last night we took a trip to see Big Bang Data, an exhibition exploring our digital footprint on the world. In a selfie-driven society you can’t help but wonder: where do all the discarded, less than ‘perfect’, selfies go? To a selfie graveyard? Well as Big Bang Data revealed, unnervingly yes, a graveyard accessible to anyone with enough tech skills. . .

The exhibition explored the infinite mass our personal data creates, how it is channelled worldwide through cables spanning across our ocean floors, connecting continents and societies. It alarmingly highlighted the areas of our world which do not have access to this data, freedom of speech and the right to world press. It was an eye-opener to see just how exposed, watched and vulnerable we are as a society. We give up a lot of our personal privacy purely though ownership of an iPhone.

Pre-exhibition I was under the impression ‘the cloud’ sat up in a data galaxy, untouchable. Unfortunately the cloud is nowhere near as magical as I had imagined. It is, in fact, huge global data storage units sucking energy at an alarming rate. All of our data is stored, can be accessed, retrieved and reused in simple clicks of a button. . . . and we don’t have to be the ones clicking. Systems have been set up to troll and screen all messages, texts, conversations to pick up on any ‘unusual activity’. This isn’t to say that our high surveillance society is all bad, we have prevented terrorist attacks, bomb threats and personal onslaught through such systems.

The exhibition showcases compelling work from various artists as they explore their personal take on data accumulation and information. Two of our favourites include: a couples' timeline of love as well as the wall of tweets presented in identical fonts and formats to create a wallpaper which couldn’t help but make you laugh!

The exhibition ended with a poignant piece reminding us to ask ourselves what data really means in relation to our personal goals, interests and journey though life. . . .

Data will help us remember, but will it let us forget?

It will help make products addictive, but will it help us get free once we’re hooked?

It will help us live forever, but will it help us see that life’s meaning stems from the fact it ends?

It will help us keep count of everything in our life, but will it help us understand that not everything in our life can be counted?

It will help us feel connected, but will it help us feel loved?

22nd January 2016 / Mel Burns

Tags: events