Novel approach to data pops up at Fringe show

An artwork that estimates the worth of each word in George Orwell’s seminal novel 1984 features in a festival pop-up installation.

Artist Pip Thornton has placed the monetary value of each of the 89,000 words using Google AdWords, which sells keywords to advertisers to optimise their brand on the global search engine.

The work will be showcased as part of Data Play, which is based in the courtyard of the University’s Bayes Centre. 

The venue will exhibit artworks, prototypes of household objects and interactive games that explore the possibilities around designing with data.

Valuing literature

The adjacent InSpace building will be lit up with words from 1984 complete with their value in Sterling. NEWSPEAK 2019 was created in collaboration between Dr Thornton and Ray Interactive.

They estimate that the total worth of the novel is more than £100,000.

Inside the pavilion, a printer will also print receipts with the values of words from a poems.

Also on display are a curated collection of framed poem-receipts, featuring poetry by Robert Burns, Jackie Kay and lyrics from Scottish bands Frightened Rabbit and The Proclaimers.  

City screens

The Inspace screens will also project new work from digital artist Jake Elwes.

Curated by researcher Drew Hemment, Preternatural explores the ways in which people experience Artificial Intelligence. He will investigate the technology, philosophy and ethics behind AI.

The screens will also show work from Edinburgh College of Art students Patricia Wuwu and Asad Khan, who have used data from NASA to create intricate linear designs that examine the concept of deep time.

Data creatives

The exhibition has been created by researchers and students from the University’s Centre for Design Informatics in partnership with artists and industry leaders.

It runs throughout August as part of the Festival Fringe.

Fintech partners

In addition, students and researches have collaborated with Tesco Bank to create an exhibit that explores how technology could improve people’s financial wellbeing.

The Tesco Project Mercury initiative aims to show how data can help people make better financial decisions.

Understanding blockchain

Visitors to the Data Play pavilion can take part in a game developed by Design Informatics researchers to shed light on how blockchain technologies might work in volunteering sector. 

PizzaBlock uses the idea of producing and selling pizzas to explain how blackchain technology works and highlight its potential benefits of it in the future.

Interactive exhibits

Further attractions include a turntable that creates swirling, colourful designs – only when the pavilion is silent.

Also featured are kitchen appliances that indicate the most sustainable time to use them.

Data Play is free to visit and open until 26 August.

Related links

Data Play

Design Informatics

Edinburgh Futures Institute