Information Experience Design Projects
IED students and graduates displayed, demonstrated and performed work related to counter-surveillance at the Digital (Dis)connections event at the Royal Academy, held in relation to the museum's Ai Weiwei exhibition. Graduates presented their Show 2015 final projects, including The World Has Always Been an Internet of Things; Emily Groves set up her Emoji Cafe; and Oliver Smith and Francesco Tacchini performed Network Ensemble thoughout the evening (in the very spot where Charles Darwin introduced his theory of evolution).
Dataspace was an Information Experience Design-led initiative between students of IED, Architecture and Sculpture programmes, and Research Associates – one of the first collaborative activities in the year the School structure was launched at the RCA.
Through Dataspace and the Digital City Exchange project (led by Imperial College London), students explored the relationships between data, people, objects and space in the context of digital urban information. The result was ten installations – visual, sculptural, kinetic and sound-based – each driven by city data sources.
Commuter numbers were transformed into bells; passenger journeys information turned into sensory wayfinding; time spent sitting was used to create an interactive bench and dripping honey was shown to be an effective metaphor for the idea of data having monetary value.
In May, the V&A showed Dataspace alongside works from the Urban Prototyping festival and the NASA Space Apps Challenge as part of its two-day Digital Futures event. Two of the Dataspace projects, Colony and Soligami were, in September, again shown at the V&A; this time as part of its London Design Festival Digital Design Weekend, celebrating art, design and science.
Digital programme manager at the V&A, Irini Papadimitriou, who curated both V&A events, said that the RCA’s approach to information design has been central in her selection when it comes to showing the collaborations between art, design and science.
She explains: ‘Having data-driven projects with physicality makes data understandable and relevant to a much wider audience. The V&A is home to highly crafted objects that are up to 4,000 years old, but when it comes to technology and data, most work is screen-based. The RCA shows how there is a craft and skill aspect.’
According to IED tutor Karin Von Ompteda, while screen-based design allows for interaction, it’s important to experience information through physical objects, in a more tangible way. In this way, IED students have been provoking debate around issues including privacy online, the social impact of social media and the monetary value of our behavioural data.
She adds: ‘Some of the outcomes of IED work are metaphorical and, very often, poetic. Taking data as the inspiration and source – it’s fair to say that truth is often stranger than fiction.'
You can see each of the Dataspace projects here.Find more info here.
This project is a collaboration between students from the IED and Design Products programmes at the RCA, in partnership with home sound pioneers Sonos. Students worked in groups to produce ‘sound objects’ that mediate relations between people, objects and their environments. Further information here.
Full Dome Research Group
The RCA Fulldome Research Group investigates the creative, artistic and communicative possibilities of immersive fulldome projection spaces through practice-based research. Further info here.
Run by IED Visiting Lecturer Dr Laura Ferrarello, this project investigates how environmental and ambient data can be part of the 3D modelling process. Digital Impressionism is a modelling platform with a responsive and interactive architectural design process, capable of combining real-time data, like material properties in relation to light and temperature conditions. Further info here.