We Need Us  

Weather Gauge, Thomson & Craighead, 2009

Weather Gauge

Thomson & Craighead

image of black and white animation on a screen of women and a wire fence

There Are Worlds Out There They Never Told You About

Jackie Karuti

Five 3D printed pale yellow shell-like objects



black and white image of booklet called Daemons of the Shadow World

Daemons of the Shadow World

Giles Lane

person in white wearing a sci-fi helmet with lots of protrusions



Photo of The Promises Machione a wooden display with embedded screen

The Promises Machine

Rachel Jacobs

Still Lifes and Oscillators 1, Ben Garrod, 2012. Paint

Still Lifes and Oscillators 1

Ben Garrod

KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook, Felicity Ford, 2014. Crowd-funded publication

KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook

Felicity Ford

The Doffing Misstress Takes a Stroll, David Littler, 2016. Participatory installation. Piano player, paper scores, materials for contribution

The Doffing Mistress Takes a Stroll

David Littler

Pillars of Hercules, James Brooks, 2014

Pillars of Hercules

James Brooks

Twenty Thousand Seconds, Dan Hett, 2016. Algorithmically generated live coding image film (from an ongoing series)

Twenty Thousand Seconds

Dan Hett

Listening to Shetland Wool

Felicity Ford

Listening to Shetland Wool, Felicity Ford, 2013. Interactive online aporee sound map

Sonic Pattern and the Textility of Code

Felicity Ford

Six Years of Mondays, Thomson & Craighead, 2014

Six Years of Mondays

Thomson & Craighead

Gallery installation of multiple photos

The Longest and Darkest of Recollections

Liz Orton

Photo of multi story wooden tower

A Machine for Living

James Coupe

Image of an illuminated digital fountain dark blue on black background


Katriona Beales

The Clandestine Purse, Natasha Caruana, 2008

The Clandestine Purse

Natasha Caruana

Corruption, Thomson & Craighead, 2014


Thomson & Craighead

Fairytale for Sale, Natasha Caruana, 2011

Fairytale for Sale

Natasha Caruana

Three Hundred and Sixty Seconds, Dan Hett, 2016. Algorithmically generated live coding production stills (from an ongoing series)

Three Hundred and Sixty Seconds

Dan Hett

abstract sculpture in blue and pale pink

Public Protection, Private Collection

Felicity Hammond

Voyager (Micromégas), Thomson & Craighead, 2013

Voyager (Micromégas)

Thomson & Craighead

Rates for the Job, Sam Meech, 2016. Order form and performative contractual exchange action 

Rates for the Job

Sam Meech

Circular blue, black and white inverted image of tree

Inverted Night Sky

Jeronimo Voss

Gallery photo of someone in a VR helmet viewing artwork

Substance – A whole history of hollows and reliefs

Phil Coy

Metrography, Benedikt Groß & Bertrand Clerc, 2012. Print on aluminium


Benedikt Groß and Bertrand Clerc

Re-knitting 'tester' Jumper, Amy Twigger Holroyd, 2013. Hacked knitted garment

Re-knitting ‘tester’ jumper

Amy Twigger Holroyd

The spectrum of re-knitting treatments, Amy Twigger Holroyd, 2012. Digital print on paper

The spectrum of re-knitting treatments

Amy Twigger Holroyd

Image of ghostly woman on black background (CIPHER artwork)


Katriona Beales

Illluminated acrylic sculpture of a red-lit person holding a book

The Reader


photo of sensor hanging in a darl room with two screens

Measure for Measure for Measure

David Gauthier

20Hz, Semiconductor, 2011. HD + HD 3D single channel video. 05.00 minutes





Pip Thornton

image of a screen with four chairs each with a ventriloquists half-masks hanging above each

Recruitment Goes Wrong

Thomson & Craighead

Close up of lightbulbs from The Future artwork

The Future

Alicia Eggert and Safwat Saleem

Watching the Watchers, James Bridle, 2013. Multiple mounted colour prints

Watching the Watchers

James Bridle

Married Man, Natasha Caruana, 2008

Married Man

Natasha Caruana

Body 01000010011011110110010001111001, Stanza, 2012. Perspex, Arduino, electronic components, internet connection

Body 01000010011011110110010001111001


Flipped Clock, Thomson & Craighead, 2008

Flipped Clock

Thomson & Craighead

Screen capture of multi-coloured digitally generated flowers


Daniel Brown

Image of computer generated object in natural woodland


Katriona Beales

Forkbomb, Alex McLean, 2001. Perl script computer code with paper output


Alex McLean

Canal Observatory


image of pylon-like communications tower inverted white out of red


Evan Roth

multicoloured cartoon collage with 3D rendered large golden hand

Unauthorised Copy

Antonio Roberts

Dystopian digital city landscape

Cover designs for William Gibson’s Neuromancer trilogy

Daniel Brown

image of screen and aerials in gallery

Open Space Observatory

Kei Kreutler and Libre Space Foundation

Transmission series

Transmission One and Transmission Two

Dan Hett

Installation photo of red frame, number display and construction

53°32’.01N, 003°21’.29W, from the Sea

David Gauthier

kinetic artwork of a circular wooden base and brass arches with a small brass seasaw with a weight

Allusive Protocols (prototypes)

Julie Freeman

Black and white abstract image

Shadows of the State

Lewis Bush

Punchcard Economy, Sam Meech, 2013. ODI: 3.5 x 0.5m knitted banner, FutureEverything: 5 x 3m knitted banner & knitting machines

Punchcard Economy

Sam Meech

Mini Rugs and their Friends

Mini Rugs and their Friends

Riitta Oittinen

balck and white photo of sign in countryside landscape

50.080697, -5.694138

Evan Roth

Re-knitting step by step guide, Amy Twigger Holroyd, 2012. Digital prints on paper

Re-knitting step by step guide

Amy Twigger Holroyd

Data as Culture - Art that uses data as a material

Online exhibition: We Need Us

June 2014 – present day

Commissioned by the ODI and The Space
2018 update commissioned by Neon


We need us. All of us. You, me, the machines, the data.

As the world revolves ever-faster around invisible infrastructure and light-speed communications, our screen-based relationships result in our connection to nature and all that is human beginning to fade.

‘We Need Us’ is a live online animated artwork that explores open data, by artist Julie Freeman in collaboration with the Open Data Institute and Zooniverse, the largest citizen science initiative in the world. ‘We Need Us’ concentrates specifically on metadata which it draws from Zooniverse, to create an ever-growing dynamic environment of sounds and animated forms. Zooniverse has over a million altruistic contributors, with an active user contributing at least every second, each contributor creates a trail of metadata.

Unlike traditional data-visualisation which we use to help us understand and make sense of information from large data sets, ‘We Need Us’ considers the unique properties of the data itself. Through the work, Julie Freeman asks us to consider the distinct, living qualities and particular characteristics data might have, such as growth, velocity and fragility. She asks us to consider what is the meaning of data beyond its content? Julie is interested in how each of us generates Metadata – data about data –  every time we go online, use our phones, or walk in a surveilled area.

She says:“Data is such a broad and over-used term that it’s easy to forget that it’s just collections of values which help us understand a phenomenon more deeply. The evolution of metadata is creating a world where our ‘metaselves’ are analysed and pre-judged before the real self makes an impression. Sometimes the real self has no part to play in the narrative. Over time, our ‘metaselves’, defined by our everyday networked actions, shape our real selves as we are framed by expectations we have only partially set.”

‘We Need Us’ is comprised of hand-crafted data sets. The initial forms have been set by the artist and reference Malevich and other avant-garde artists challenging perceptions of reality and truth from the earliest days of the last century. The work seeks to take the viewer beyond experiencing data as purely holding information or explicit value(s) and towards viewing it as a vital, highly-valued material which is now essential in our ability to function as a global society.

The ultimate behaviours and final forms of the work cannot be known until the project is complete. Throughout the life of the project they will continually evolve over time, leaving traces and trails, which draw from and interrogate the ebb and flow of the metadata created by the Zooniverse participants.

We Need Us is a framework, a system, that exists in the knowledge that it will change when the metadata flows through it in ways that are unpredictable and unknowable.

We Need Us reminds us of the humanity in technology, and that we need ‘us’, each other and ourselves as much as we need it.