Data as Culture - Art that uses data as a material
Initially built for industrial use, canals in the UK have since evolved into spaces dominated by human living. But the water also attracts species beyond the human, creating an enormous potential to become thriving ecosystems and play a vital role in reversing biodiversity loss.
Ausblau envisioned Canal Observatory, a gamified tool for data collection and reflection. It acts as the link between human and non-human worlds, fostering change for a more biodiverse ecosystem.
In this commission, Ausblau collaborated with Applied Logic to create the tool as an openly accessible online interface that helps interpret and translate the state of the canal. Canal Observatory challenges who has the power to collect and share data – by using the non-scientific language of “canal emojis”, participants can intuitively log what they see in the quadrants located in Camley Street Natural Park and learn about the canal’s health. Through interaction with Canal Observatory, the designers intend to make citizen scientists become engaged stakeholders in the future of the canal’s ecosystem.
Canal Observatory, 2022 by Ausblau in collaboration with Applied Logic as part of the WaterWays: an invitation to reimagine the ecology of the Regent’s Canal project curated by 6 curators from the MA Curating Contemporary Art Programme as part of the Graduate Projects 2022, Royal College of Art in partnership with the Open Data Institute (ODI) Data as Culture.