Artists view space data through creative lens

Five artists are embarking on a creative mission with a difference … helping people to view satellite data in a whole new light.

The collaboration with scientists will illustrate how data recorded in space is being used to address some of the key challenges facing humanity.

New art works will highlight ways that vast data sets are helping experts address concerns including deforestation, climate change and pollution.

The artists will also show how satellite technology is helping to conserve wildlife and being used to measure the environmental impact of Covid-19.

Innovation hub

The five, working in a range of artistic disciplines, have taken up residencies at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Design Informatics.

The Centre, which focuses on data-driven innovation, is a joint initiative involving the School of Informatics and Edinburgh College of Art.

New work will include audio installations, illustrated texts, dance sequences, photography and weaving. It is hoped the work will be exhibited later this year.

Imaginative work

An audio piece will be created by Victoria Evans, an artist and researcher based at Edinburgh College of Art.

This imaginative work is informed by data associated with the positioning of satellites and receiving stations. It will explore what a ‘collective conversation’ across the solar system might sound like.

Posters and illustrated texts, called zines – made using an eco-friendly stencil duplicator called a risograph – are being produced by visual artist Cecile Simonis.

The storylines in these fictional works are inspired by satellite observations, as well as the processes associated with the gathering of the data.

Creative collaboration

Dance artist Julia McGhee is working with science technician Geoff Robbins, and multi-media artist John McGeoch to create choreography, animation and film.

These works will interpret data from remote sensing satellites to chart subtle changes to landscapes that might otherwise be easy to miss on the ground.

Tracking changes

Design curator Stacey Hunter will trawl data sets linked to the Covid-19 pandemic to track the impact of the virus over a 50-day period.

Weaver Ben Hymers will translate the results into a large-scale tapestry that maps resultant changes in atmospheric gases, air quality and air traffic congestion.

Multidisciplinary artist and wildlife biologist Elaine Ford will study earth observation images, and satellite tracking data, to capture the movement of animals across Scotland.

The artist’s work will explore how technology can help to illustrate the importance of wildlife conservation initiatives enabled by satellite data.

Exhibition space

Should circumstances allow, the artists’ work will be on show at the Inspace gallery, which is part the Centre for Design Informatics.

The residency is funded by the University’s Data-driven Innovation programme and is supported by Edinburgh Futures Institute, which is based at the University.

All five artists will work closely with the University’s Bayes Centre, which is an innovation hub for data science and artificial intelligence.

The residency programme is a key part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. The £1.3bn initiative aims to establish the region as the data capital of Europe, attracting investment, fuelling entrepreneurship and delivering inclusive growth.

Related links

Online exhibition

Design Informatics

Data-Driven Innovation

Bayes Centre

[Picture: imaginima/Getty Images]