Submitted by richard on Tue, 2007-07-10 13:37.
The Antarctic Data Jams were the first events where we experimented with Data Jamming as a new model for participatory arts events. We found that the process of interacting with a remote location, situation or historical incident by means of recording various data was an efficient way of referencing a wide number of themes from an arts project in a very concrete way. Global phenomena, such as environmental change or an international conflict zone, can be folded back into the local context and explored through the many ways of re-situating and visualising its data.
So far we have developed some simple software tools to collect forms of data over networks and make it available to the PureData graphical programming package. We chose this package because it is free, easily expandable, it is already widely used by audio and visual artists for live performance or installation work and its graphical interface (modelled on audio "patches") is intuitive and relatively easy to grasp for a complete beginner. This means that participants in jamming events can feed into this already growing community of users and gain some basic programming skills, as well as a more technical insight into audio and video synthesis. After the workshop the "jamming" begins, where participants perform their compositions along with other artists contributions.
Our future plans are to explore more techniques for how to acquire and make data available to users in such a form that it is more accessible, simpler for them to see how to turn it into artistically motivated works and yet still retain a sense of the conditions and situation from which the data was originally derived. How could the way the data is presented help to suggest its internal structures or interrelationships between data types? What about a metadata or more interpretative context? Could a data jam actually generate knowledge about an event - to include a cognitive purpose?
Another aspect is the role of the workshop event itself. They may be other ways to allow people to work with the data in preparation for the main event and ways for people to continue developing working after it has finished, perhaps online or as part of a series.
The Antarctic Data Jam project web site is here: adj.mediashed.org