Manifest Data Lab

February 14, 2020 by · Comments Off on Manifest Data Lab 

In mid-February 2019, Professor Tom Corby (CSM) and Giles Lane (Proboscis/CSM) co-founded the Manifest Data Lab, a transdisciplinary research group based at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. The group also comprises Professor George Roussos (Birkbeck University of London), a long-time collaborator of Proboscis, and Dr Louise Sime (British Antarctic Survey) and formed to develop the 3 year AHRC-funded research project, “Materialising Data, Embodying Climate Change“.

Over the past year we have recruited a team of two Postgraduate Research Fellows: Dr Erin Dickson and Dr Jonathan Mackenzie; and two Visiting Research Fellows: Gavin Baily and Dr Rachel Jacobs. The team’s research has delved deeply into how data is collected, analysed and modelled for creating the Earth Systems Models for climate change, gaining understandings of the sheer complexity of data types and methods used to interpret the science of climate change. We are now beginning to identify what data sets to focus on for our materialisation experiments, and exploring techniques for identifying and extracting salient features from extremely large datasets using machine learning methods. This is intended to inform the processes by which we use climate data to drive the generation of 3D forms.

A corresponding materialisation research strand has focused on exploring techniques, materials and technologies that are effective and appropriate for working with data in multiple ways. From experimenting with polygon reduction in 3D printing in a range of materials, to slip casting clay vessels and dissolving them in solutions, to creating blown glass bell jars in a hot shop for mini-environments that scorch their contents as a metaphor for global warming.

In addition, MDL has developed a public engagement programme, Republic of Learning, alongside our research activities, which aims to engage a wide range of publics in creative and convivial processes beyond the confines of academia. We have partnered with CSM’s public MAKE programme to host our events in the Story Garden community space in Somers Town, London.

In 2020 we are developing an exciting body of work that we hope to launch around the time of the COP26 climate meeting in Glasgow – one which we hope will draw together the many strands that we have been working on and which will fulfill our goal of exploring how artistic practices and the materialisation of climate data can provide empathic encounters and stimulate new ways for people to engage with the impacts and consequences of climate change.

The New Observatory: installation images

June 29, 2017 by · Comments Off on The New Observatory: installation images 

Lifestreams at the New Observatory

May 15, 2017 by · Comments Off on Lifestreams at the New Observatory 

Lifestreams: lifecharm data objects (2012)

A selection of the data objects created for our 2012 project, Lifestreams, (and our film) will be exhibited as part of The New Observatory show at FACT from 22nd June to 1st October. Curated by Hannah Redler and Sam Skinner, the show “brings together an international group of artists whose work explores new and alternative modes of measuring, predicting, and sensing the world today through data, imagination and other observational methods.”

Data Manifestation Talk at Open Data Institute

December 21, 2016 by · Comments Off on Data Manifestation Talk at Open Data Institute 

Back in June I gave a talk on data manifestation and our Lifestreams project at the Open Data Institute :

Read Giles’ post, How Do We Know? for more details on the project.

Lifestreams Redux

March 24, 2016 by · 4 Comments 


This week I presented a new generation of lifecharm data shells at a symposium on ethics in data science for the Alan Turing Institute. The shells were created by Stefan Kueppers using the Lifestreams process for data manifestation, and used data from a research project led by Professor George Roussos at Birkbeck University of London which records symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease as experienced by sufferers.

These shells are an initial experiment flowing just 3 data sources into the shell growth parameters, which we hope to expand with further data sources and increase the complexity of the model in future generations. The aim is to capture the high variation in symptoms experienced by those with Parkinson’s as an alternative to the way in which patients’ complex symptoms are collapsed into the single summary statistic of the Universal Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale.

Read my provocation piece for the ATI symposium for more information.