‘We Need Us’ is a living artwork, powered by people, and influenced by data. It is a live, online, animated artwork that explores both ‘life data’ and the life of data. The work concentrates on metadata – data about data – which it draws from the activities of citizen science project, Zooniverse, to create sounds and animation.Unlike traditional data-visualisation which helps us understand and make sense of information held in large data sets, ‘We Need Us’ investigates the unique properties of the data itself. It asks: if the data had lives of their own, how would they be revealed?
For this project I developed the sound-engine and designed the audio in collaboration with the artist. The audio is mostly based on processed field recordings. The engine uses a mixture of layers and one shot samples which can be controlled from the visuals rendering code which in turn is driven by data. You can read more about the design process here. The code for this project is open source and the API documentation can be found here.
- Artist: Julie Freeman
- Commissioned by: The Open Data Institute