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Fri Jan 26, 2018 09:00
Open Data Institute, 65 Clifton Street, London, EC2A 4JE

😹 LMAO – the funny side of data explored as ODI unveils its latest thought-provoking Data as Culture exhibition

LMAO 😹– the funny side of data explored as ODI unveils its latest thought-provoking Data as Culture exhibition  

A physical version of the internet’s most famous feline meme, a complete set of intricate mini-rugs that outwitted Google’s algorithms, and visualisations exploring the popularity of fecal transplantation are some of the works on show at LMAO, a new exhibition from the Open Data Institute (ODI).

The 2018 Data as Culture exhibition will be unveiled in the company’s Shoreditch offices on Tuesday 23rd January, and explores the funny and playful side of data.

LMAO (the emoji is part of the exhibition title) includes works by celebrated artists from around the world: Franco and Eva Mattes (USA), Caitlin Foley & Misha Rabinovich (USA), Dan Hett (UK), Pip Thornton (UK), Ellie Harrison (UK), Riitta Oittinen (FI)  and Lee Montgomery (USA). The exhibition is curated by Julie Freeman and Hannah Redler Hawes.

Data plays a serious, and increasingly important role in all aspects of everyday life. No longer exclusive to the realm of techies and experts, data is integral to society.

As the data revolution gains momentum it is becoming clear that data is vital infrastructure, an essential tool for innovation, and that we need to engage everyone in the conversations about wider issues such as ethics and equity if we are to have trust in how data is used. The works of art in LMAO show one way in which that engagement can happen, drawing out the irreverent and entertaining aspects of data to raise deeper questions about the role of data in society.

Co-curator Julie Freeman, ODI Art Associate, who established the Data as Culture programme said:

“In these meme-fuelled, statistically ‘mythological’ times, data, and the algorithms that thrive on it, are often presented as a privacy-obliterating risk-based menace. But there are always two sides to a story: with so much potential to benefit our lives data can also be a force for good, as well as game for a laugh. The works in LMAO have been selected for their playful yet critical approach to data and its uses, they ask us to challenge our preconceptions of data, and consider the humanity behind our technologies.”

Co-curator and ODI Associate Curator Hannah Redler Hawes said:

“As our growing relationship with data becomes a part of everyday life, we’re all becoming more aware of its influence on us and our decisions, so questions around trust and meaning naturally arise. The works in LMAO offer funny ha ha and more darkly witty reminders that we shouldn’t always take the ‘information’ data presents us with at face value but neither should we be afraid to have a laugh with it!”

Jeni Tennison, CEO of The ODI, said:

“The ODI’s Data as Culture art programme aims to engage diverse audiences with artists and works that use data as an art material. Since we started Data as Culture five years ago we have shown works from many artists, commissioned original pieces and reached over 100,000 people. It simultaneously provokes, stimulates and expands the way we think about data and its impact on us as individuals and society. The LMAO works brilliantly highlight the light and dark of data, and our need to navigate the grey areas in between.”

The exhibition will be open to members of the public during office hours by arrangement, Monday to Friday. Please ring on 020 3598 9395, or email info@theodi.org.  More detailed info on each work is detailed in the captions text

Go to the online press pack for images of the artists, the works, the catalogue text, exhibition Zine and curator statement.