Life as Data

Through online games, videos, posters and interactive art, this exhibition explores how data (collected through disease-screening technologies, labour management algorithms, polling software) is changing our everyday life. Today, data does not simply describe us: it makes us who we are as citizens, employees, patients. Our actions and their traces are used as data without us even knowing, or we have no choice but to give data up to use public goods (such as healthcare), or seek work (gig platforms). Also, more and more aspects of our life become “data” for something else, from our emotions and instinctive reactions when we watch a film to how many of our neighbours miss their mortgage repayments before we have gone into debt ourselves. This exhibition features storyboards, posters and animations produced in collaboration with artists from the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information technologies, showcasing our research into gig economies (Uber, Swiggy, Upwork) in India, Argentina and Nigeria, algorithms in general, and health technologies in the UK. It also includes a link to ‘Gigco: Escape The Gig Economy’, an interactive online game where players must defend their precarious job against automation, as well as an interview with the game’s creator, Cat Bluemke, explaining how she developed Gigco to encourage us to think about how businesses “gamify” work and working conditions. We want our exhibit to help us ask the crucial questions about data today: how algorithms change work, workers and working lives, how new health technologies transform our notions of health and illness, and how data in general is organising more and more aspects of our lives.



Social Science Research for the 21st Century - Progress through Partnership