May You Live in Interesting Dataverses

Japanese sound and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda’s ‘data-verse’ is one of 79 artists’ works featured from around the world at the 2019 Venice Biennale Arte. The 58th volume of the international exhibition curated by Ralph Rugoff opened on May 11th and is titled ‘May You Live in Interesting Times’ inviting artists, connoisseurs and visitors to “see and consider the course of human events in their complexity, an invitation, thus, that appears to be particularly important in times when, too often, oversimplification seems to prevail, generated by conformism or fear.”

Ikeda’s work often renders the majestic and the exalted through mathematical explorations using sound and light. Supported by Audemars Piguet, ‘data-verse’ is an audiovisual installation that interprets the omnipresent nature of data in our modern lives. The three-part research piece variegating from the microscopic to the human to the macroscopic employs massive open source scientific data sets from CERN, NASA and the human genome project to orchestrate through high-definition video projections and minimalist electronic soundtrack – ‘the hidden facets of nature and the vast scientific knowledge underpinning our existence’.

“When I set out making this work, my approach was always, first and foremost, that of a composer. Rather than creating a traditional musical composition, I used data as my source material, applying a system and structure as you would with any score.” – Ryoji Ikeda

The exhibit is open to the public at the Venice Biennale arsenale through November 24th, 2019

Feature Image above: data.tron vy Ikeda on show in transmediale 10, Berlin, Germany

Author: Surabhi Naik

Surabhi Naik is a designer and writer dedicated to Immersive Narratives & Experience Design based in New York City. A graduate student at The New School’s Media Studies Program, she is currently deep-diving into Immersive Storytelling Design & Research and is the Editor for Data Matters Publication at the Center for Data Arts.

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