Can you imagine this?

Are you a geek who loves art or maybe a geeky artist? You heard about big data but can't wrap your head around it?

Do check this out.

I don't normally respond to press releases - I am not a journalist and this blog is not about news - but I am writing at the moment about the future of business and retail, and one of the themes is 'chaos theory'. If you know anything about chaos theory you will understand why I am also fascinated by fractals. (E.g look at my website header.)

An aside: One day I was googling a chaos theory topic and came across www.servantofchaos.com and so met Gavin who happened to love just around the corner.

Anyway, here is the press release verbatim - and if I could I would have attended. If you are Melbourne, check it out:


Data Aesthetics in Retail Space is a collaborative project between Make Designed Objects, Robert Foster of Fink & Co and Geoff Hinchcliffe of University of Canberra’s Faculty of Arts & Design.

Virga (an observable streak or shaft of precipitation that falls from a cloud but evaporates or sublimes before reaching the ground) is the product of that collaboration; an LED light and data sculpture formed by internationally acclaimed designer-maker Robert Foster that colourfully expresses itself based on the digital data fed into its environment.

What data?

Any data we choose!

Want to watch a colourful representation of the seasonal nature of Make’s sales data?

Feed in the data.

The change in inner Melbourne maximum average daily temperatures from 1913-2013?

Feed in the data.

With bricks and mortar retailers rapidly migrating to the World Wide Web why not bring a bit of the World Wide Web back into bricks and mortar retail? Why not feed the traffic data from the Make website into Virga and see what happens?

The real joy of Virga lies in its abstract representation of a digital world in a rapidly evolving bricks and mortar retail environment.

And it looks way cool…

<Launch Event>
May 1st, 6-8pm   194 Elgin St, Carlton VIC

Be the first to see Virga, a permanent installation and example of data aesthetics in retail space.

Robert Foster will also be here to launch Critical Play, a new book that catalogues his creative career.

<Data Aesthetics>

The proliferation of data and its presence in our everyday lives leads us to ask new questions about data and its representation.  Rather than the analytical question of which data visualisation has focused, this project focuses on the aesthetics of data, the materiality of data and its cultural role.

Key to Virga is research conducted by staff within the University of Canberra’s Centre for Creative and Cultural Research into; data visualisation; cultural interface aesthetics; emotive lighting design, and 2D and 3D data forms.

Virga aims to provide new insight into the design of data within a retail context; the material aesthetics of data; and the poetics of physical data representation.

<Make Designed Objects >

The launch of Virga coincides with the 10th anniversary of Make Designed Objects.  The design store began life in May 2003 when it opened the doors in Carlton in the inner north of Melbourne.  Since then the business has grown rapidly to become one of Australia’s finest design stores. 

In a market and world where increasingly we have a physical and virtual version of almost everything; people, businesses, streetscapes… it’s not surprising that online retail is booming.  And while the news reports a great deal of fear for bricks and mortar retail, this ever changing market presents opportunities for innovation in brokering an extended relationship between the virtual and physical aspects of a retail business such as Make.

It is from within this landscape that Pat Coppel, Director of Make has initiated this collaboration between retailer, designer-maker and academic. The result is Virga; a beautiful sculptural installation that translates our technological data into a spectacular visual language of light and colour.  As such, Virga creates a playful narrative around the virtual and physical instances of Make Designed Objects.

Contact: Pat Coppel

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