My participative installation Physical Bar Charts will be installed at TEDGlobal 2011 in Edinburgh for the duration of the four-day conference in July. This is the eighth time I have made the piece, which was initially developed in collaboration with sociologist Andrew Barry. The work has changed slightly since the first version, then called Personal Political Indices (Pindices) in the group show Making Things Public curated by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel, at ZKM Karlsruhe, in 2005.
People respond to a prompt or question by taking badges that answer it in some way. For the TEDGlobal conference, there will be new badges with questions relevant to the conversations at TED. The resulting Physical Bar Chart shows which badges are most popular, and being viewable in a public space within the conference, allow people to have a bigger picture about what the conference is thinking. Meanwhile the badges prompt new discussions as they are worn around the conference and city, or back home.
The piece operates on a number of levels.
- By creating a way for members of a temporary community to make sense of what they are hearing and discussing
- By creating a near real-time record of how participants are engaging with the ideas at the conference
- By revealing the creation of data and its analysis to be a thoroughly social process
- Sculpturally, by creating seductive forms that draw people in
The photo shows a version of Physical Bar Charts, installed at Said Business School, Oxford, in 2008 as part of the Imagining Business conference. More about the piece: Pindices and Physical Bar Charts.