Chelsea PhD student Charlotte Webb took part in the Tate Modern’s first ever 24-hour hackathon, in which nearly 150 artists and technologists worked together to respond to a brief to ‘take any data and turn it into a piece of art’. The event was organized by thespace.org to re-launch their digital platform, which hosts and commissions digital art. Internationally acclaimed artist Ai Wei Wei donated a data set for the hackers’ use, comprising the names of 5,196 children and young people who died in 2008’s Sichuan earthquake in China. Data sets were also provided by the Open Data Institute, the Guardian, and Tate Modern, who recently released metadata on over 70,000 art works and 3,500 artists.
Part of a team of six developers, artists and tech entrepreneurs, Charlotte co-developed ‘Glasshouse’, a project exploring the economy of artistic labour and the promises of technology to democratize cultural production. The Glasshouse team posted the brief to take any data and turn it into a piece of artwork onto freelancer.com, a global outsourcing marketplace – asking workers on the site to tell them what they should do. After the post was viewed by 1,253 people around the world, the team selected Bangladesh-based Nazmul Sunray’s concept to ‘design a character, based on the data from a certain Facebook profile.’ Nazrul was paid £15 for his concept, which was then posted on Twitter with a link to one of the Hack organizers’ publically available Facebook profile data. People from Brazil, Australia, Ghana, South Korea and Norway contributed to the project, creating characters from the data.
Charlotte is in her 4th year of a part-time PhD at Chelsea. Her research focuses on the re-purposing of digital social research methods for art practice, and questions of artistic agency in the digital domain.
The Glasshouse team is made up of:
Tom Berman @TJCBerman
Joseph Connor @jacswork
Matthew Gardiner @matwg
Tomas Ruta @TomasRuta
Emil Wallner @emilwallner