Bad Data

Sculpture, 2015


Bad Data” is a series of twelve data-visualizations, which I etched onto aluminum honeycomb panels using a high-pressure water-jet machine. They take the form of static objects, which collapse time into a single viewable space, emphasizing the ruptured surface of the material itself.

The data is “bad” in the shallow sense of the word, depicting datasets such as “Missouri Abortion Alternatives” (which are actually just religious organizations) and “Internet Data Breaches” (a partial list). Others display a deeper sense of moral ambiguity, political polarization or social corruption, such as the locations and size of every prison in the United States, evictions in San Francisco, mass shootings in the United States and every marijuana dispensary in Colorado.

Bad Data also includes scientifically questionable datasets, such as worldwide UFO sightings and global haunted locations. Other artworks represent ruptures in our cultural fabric such as meth labs in Albuquerque and evictions in San Francisco.

As a set, the Bad Data series investigates an alternative form of data-representation through contemporary forms of digital fabrication. The effect of the water-jet machine is unpredictable. The top layer of the honeycomb gets pierced with the etching, while the bottom layer remains intact, creating gaps and fissures in the honeycomb material. The selected data mirrors the material itself with uneven patterns and uncertain outcomes. This technique continues my previous work of writing custom software code which transforms datasets into physical objects, in an attempt to answer the question: what does data actually look like?

Copyright 2015 by Xenoform Labs, LLC.

Credit & Thanks

Built at Autodesk’s Pier 9 Workshop