Lab #2: Data ecologies

Data ecologies: Harvesting, sonifying and visualizing environmental data

The scientific study of phylogeny and the context of the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh is the focus of

The activities and papers of a one-day symposium in the IBM Smarter Planet Lab, the Immersive Vision Theatre the Devonport Lecture Theatre at Plymouth University are the subject of Lab #2 that responded to the very live space of the North Devon Biosphere Reserve.

Although the site for the one-day symposium and workshop was the IBM Smarter Planet Lab, the Immersive Vision Theatre the Devonport Lecture Theatre at Plymouth University, the real location of the workshop was the 55 square mile terrain of the North Devon Biosphere Reserve. For the preceding year a collaboration, led by Beaford Arts, Appledore Arts and the North Devon Biosphere, in partnership with i-DAT, four commissioned artists and eight schools, had harvested, sonified and visualized data from across the landscape surrounding the confluence of the rivers Taw and Torridge. The Data Ecologies Symposium and Workshop framed the activities, methods and strategies devel- oped through the ‘Confluence Project’ and brought together a rich transdisciplinary mix of present- ers in the overlapping fields of creative and environmental practice. The aim was to share ‘instruments’ or provocative prototypes and practises that, through the use of data, enhance our understanding of the world and our impact on it, defining a range of transdisciplinary strategies and projects to manifest complex ecologies – to make the invisible visible.
The Symposium consisted of a morning of presentations from the ‘Confluence Project’ partici- pants and leading artists, designers and arts organizations in the field. Simon Blakemore from the ‘Owl Project’, Alice Sharp and Pierre Vella from ‘Invisible Dust’ and Will Stahl-Timmins from the University of Exeter Medical School provided vivid accounts of projects with synergetic aims, moti- vations and strategies for engaging with complex ecologies. Alternative methods for disseminating knowledge about the world we live in, engaging communities and developing information literacy, processes that challenge and extend the traditional top down science rhetoric, beyond the public understanding of science, by providing a cultural framework, a lived language and new levels of creative participation to articulate the invisible.

1. Data Ecologies introduction
2. Overview
3. Scientific dimension
4. Educating Data
5. Confluence Artists Commissions: Trips #1 and 2
6. Confluence Project Artists Commissions: Petrichor
7. Confluence Project Artists Commissions: Shadows and Undercurrents