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<DECODE> Artists Policing Data

Curated by Jayanthi Moorthy and Daria Dorosh


Artists in <Decode> Artists Policing Data respond to data in forms that move beyond graphs and charts. They integrate data into their artwork in provoking, beautiful, and sensorial ways. This process demonstrates how data is gathered and converted into new patterns that they use to understand and interpret the world. When the goal of data collection is for personal use, it offers a rich pool of possibilities for making new connections.


Artists have always been drawn to data, whether scientific, cultural, social, or political. Not unlike investigators and scientists, they track large amounts of information to bring attention to various aspects of the world. They transform them into an aesthetic form that can be seen, felt, and touched. They are drawn to the complexity of a modern world, which ranges from ecological and cultural issues to political surveillance to a quest for spiritual insight.

<Decode> Artists Policing Data looks at art as more than the end product and process. Seen together, these works give insight into the new forms of social, economic, and political structures we live in. In a sense, the artist’s life, which is an ongoing inquiry into the world, is the artwork. The diverse works have been presented in various digital thematic frameworks of data namely: data as self-surveillance, spiritual as data, textile as data, natural environment as data, and disappearing data.

Artists' Work

The grid forms an underlying structure in many of the works, sometimes as a way to present data, and sometimes as a collection of individual elements held together by a specific idea, container, or repetitive action. One can define the grid as an arrangement of discrete units of information in any medium that shows a pattern through repetition.


The grid may contain information as diverse as two-dimensional mathematical patterns generated by cellular automata (Wolfram), climate and nature patterns (Gellis, Nalls, Marzec), psychological patterns of exploitation (Nalls, Glow, Marzec), patterns of cultural migration and disappearance (Glow, Elahi, Frick), spiritual self-awareness (Pachner, Moorthy), self-surveillance and record keeping (Kalina, Elahi, Gellis, Huth), relationship mapping (Frick, Glow), participatory communal collection of memories, fears, or cultural meaning (Marzec, Moorthy, Huth), comparison of information embedded in textile and fashion (Dorosh, Elahi, Glow), word patterns (Huth, Moorthy), time patterns (Elahi, Kalina, Huth, Glow) and information that has lost its original intention and has been up-cycled to the level of art (Dorosh, Huth).

Meet The Artists

Artworks In The Show

Exhibit Programs

During the course of the exhibit, there were a number of exhibit programs for audiences to look deeply into the work or have opportunities to look at it from different angles. There were panel discussions, artist performances, talks/lectures, and creative workshops.

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BIG CONVERSATIONS: Words & Consequences in a Datafied Culture

Most people sign the 'I agree’ requirement that comes up to be able to participate on the Internet. What are the consequences? Do we know what we are consenting to? Is it a fair exchange? Artists are free to work with words in any way they like in their art. For lawyers, wrongly used words can become a million-dollar mistake. On the internet, social media users and artists face attacks when they use words to post an idea or opinion. Is communication that is disembodied from a personal voice, gesture, and presence a trigger for anger and misunderstanding?​

Speakers: Srinivas Kaushik, Jose Marinez, Geof Huth

Moderator: Daria Dorosh


Data vs. Information: Art vs. Science

When raw facts and figures like data are cohesively connected they become information that is knowledgeable. When scientific facts are combined with artistic expressions they stir stronger feelings of connection.  What if artists' process was more defined and more scientific, would this lead them to contribute more to startling discoveries? 

Speakers: Maria Paola Sutto (Core member, Urban Design Lab, Columbia University), Alyssa Wise (Director, NYU Learning Analytics Research Network (LEARN), Laurie Frick (artist), Amelia Marzec (artist)

Moderators: Jayanthi Moorthy (artist), Gayil Nalls (artist)​


The Music of Math: Wolfram Tones

John Kiehl, co-owner of Soundtrack Recording Studios, will lead a hands-on workshop on the powerful set theory and pattern-matching capabilities in Mathematica to produce customized music.

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Weather Center for the Apocalypse

Weather Center for the Apocalypse is alert to an uncertain future. It is a sculptural installation by artist Amelia Marzec that incorporates new media, performance, and participation. It predicts changes in our

environment and culture that could affect the autonomy of citizens in the event of disaster.


Policing and mapping your neighborhood

An immersive art workshop for 6-9
yr olds. Kids will learn to police and understand their neighborhood using various data sources like traditional maps, GPS, and human connections.

Artworkshop will be led by JAYANTHI
MOORTHY: Artist-Curator, Art Educator and Learning Designer


Protest Art--Responsing to your resistence

An immersive art workshop for 9-12
yr olds. Kids here will understand civil rights, and their inner resistances and channel that into something meaningful for themselves and their communities.

Artworkshop will be led by JAYANTHIMOORTHY: Artist-Curator, Art Educator and Learning Designer