Data Sculpture

Information Aesthetics | 3D Generative Art

Our obsession with man-made things is destroying our natural resources and irresponsibly adding environment-harming emissions and pollutions. Therefore, for this project, I would like to imagine a series of VR data sculptures to visualize data of some environmental issues. The impetus for this idea greatly came from an Danish artist based in Berlin, Olafur Eliasson. Eliasson is famous for building large-scale art installations by using natural elements like water, light, temperature, and so on to impress the viewer. Eliasson mentioned that “ There is a tendency today feel untouched by the problems of others, to shut down at the immensity of an issue like climate change...just informing people, giving them knowledge, oen leaves them feeling overwhelmed and disempowered.” Therefore, artistic practices may be an alternative approach to educate individuals and evoke their motivation. 

The first prototype aimed to visualize the consumption of fossil fuel, which has been one of the main reason for global warming and toxic pollutions. To demonstrate the idea more specifically, I would like to bring up an artwork that also influenced me greatly, which is Western Flag (Spindletop, Texas) 2017, created by John Gerrard. John used computer graphics to simulate a flag of perpetually-renewing pressurized black smoke, representing the exhausted site of “Lucas Gusher”, which was the first oil find in Texas. I appreciated this work because the visual language is so concise but powerful, which successfully triggered viewers’ awareness of the consequences of human activities and modern development, by using digital technology and creating an immersive experience.
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Global warming has caused extreme heat stress all over the world. The second installation aims to visualize the trend of rising temperature, which drew inspiration om Olafur’s Weather Project. In this setup, I used the behavior of particle system to visualize the growing trend of global warming since the Industial Evolution, indicating the dramatic consequences of human activities.
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Prototype 3 was greatly inspired by a TED talk by Jae Rhim Lee, who is a transdisciplinary artist, designer. In her TED talk, she showed her work, “My Mushroom Burial Suit”, which imagine a speculative way to eliminate the toxic materials remained in our body aer humans die. Therefore I would like to create an installation that reflect the idea of the expansion of artificial toxic materials, in my case, the plastic pollutions. So, in this setup, I would like to use a visual that mimics the process of infection, indicating the growing trend of plastic pollution (for instance, the quantity of plastic waste China had to manage based on the dataset listed below.) and how it could influence our body and the environment.
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