Data is Political - Amber Frid-Jimenez

Data Is Political: A Symposium on Art, Design and Information Politics

Bergen National Academy of the Arts presents ‘Data Is Political,’ a symposium examining the relationship between art, design, and the politics of information 15 March 2012.

The event brings together speakers from design, art, theory, and information sciences to discuss such questions as: What are the aesthetic, ethical and spatial dimensions of information and its relation to power, the production of knowledge, and construction of urban spaces?

Data Is PoliticalSpeakers include Philippe Rekacewicz, Peter Sunde, Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, Max Van Kleek, and Daniel van der Velden with contributions from Steve Dixon, Michelle Teran, and Jill Walker Rettberg.

The seminar is initiated by Amber Frid-Jimenez, associate professor at KHIB, and Ben Dalton, principal lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University in Leeds, UK.

Image (left): Metahaven, WikiLeaks Collateral Murder t-shirt

Seminar website:

Make sense of lagre amounts of data
Radical increases in computing power and speed together with the rhetoric of openness and organizational transparency have led to a desire to read, visualize and make sense of vast and expanding archives of digital information from financial data and government documents to global sporting events and personal video collections.

Corporations storing unprecedented archives of data on their servers have called on artists and designer to lead efforts to visualize this information, producing new opportunities for designers to use their skills on problems of seductive complexity. Often such initiatives are framed as promoting the public good. But the act of storing, structuring, manipulating, visualizing and distributing can both reveal and conceal the underlying structures and global networks to which the data refers. Far from value neutral, the act of visualizing information occurs within a complex and contentious field of competing agendas.

Simply put, data is political.

Exploring systems of knowledge
Over the past fifty years, artists and designers have developed tactics that explore, remix and interrogate cultural archives as products of carefully constructed, state controlled systems of knowledge. Artists and politicians understand the value of these knowledge productions and use them as opportunities to challenge the organization of-- the rules of access to-- and methods of distribution of this cultural data.

This project will bring together artists, designers, engineers and political scientists who have developed critical practices related to information and the politics that they produce. The symposium asks: How does the scale of expanding databases affect the creative practices of artists and designers working within public or private sectors? What strategies do designers and artists use to negotiate the competing aims of agencies with a stake in the information that is represented?

About the event
Data Is Political is developed as an interdisciplinary event at the Bergen National Academy of the Arts in collaboration with the Jan van Eyck Academie, the University of Bergen and received generous support from the Verdikt programme of the Norges Forskningsråd and the KHIB Research Council.

Published: 1/31/2012 by Peter Klasson Updated: 3/19/2015 by admin