‘Vague but exciting’ first ever artists in residence to create new artwork at the ODI

By Hannah Redler, ODI Associate Curator in Residence

This week the Data as Culture team are excitedly running around installing ‘Thomson & Craighead at the ODI’, a solo exhibition of existing work by our first ever Open Data Institute Artists in Residence, who will also be working on a new concept for a brand new (as of yet unknown) work.

Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead will be with us until June 2015 during which time they will receive unprecedented access to the ODI’s staff, knowledge and networks.

After running open calls for artists and curators in previous years, this year we wanted to open up the ODI itself. We felt that artists would be exciting interrogators. We have no way of knowing yet what the artists will create for their new commission, which brings to mind Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s boss’s comment to his World Wide Web proposal:

Vague but exciting.

But the solo exhibition of existing artworks is a great way of introducing Jon and Alison’s extraordinary body of work to members of the public, the ODI team and visitors who pass through the ODI office.

Thomson & Craighead work across different types of media including sound, video and sculpture and have been collaborating as artists for over 20 years. They make artworks and installations for galleries, and specific sites that include online spaces. They’re interested in networked global communications systems and how they are changing the way we all understand the world around us. Historically, they are also recognised as being two of the most significant artists to offer a sustained interrogation of the various structures, formats and social uses of the internet and social media sites.

Works in their exhibition of existing works include a beautiful animated drawing of live news headlines, a real-time clock that challenges our relationship with the construct of clock-time and a documentary film about a man in the Scottish Kingdom of Fife, who has been making time-lapse recordings of the view from his bedroom window every day from 6am – 6pm since 2006.

During their residency the artists will be creating a new work of art along the theme of ‘Data Anthropologies,’ which is the focus of the Data as Culture programming for 2015.

Visitors who come to the ODI between now and June might also be lucky enough to see the artists or some of their documented ideas in action as they have agreed to work in the spirit of open research, sharing key ideas and inspirations as they develop their thinking for the new work.

But right now we’re all involved in a perfect storm of conversations with installers and electricians as well as designers and editors. Emotions are running from the boredom of watching paint dry to carefully managing the slight anxiety that key elements will make it back to the UK in time from the artists’ previous exhibitions in Europe.

Thomson & Craighead at the ODI opens to the public on 25 March 2015 and runs until June. From July – December 2015 photographic artist Natasha Caruana will be the second Data as Culture Artist in Residence on the Data Anthropologies programme.

Hannah Redler is Associate Curator in Residence at the ODI. She tweets as [@hannahredler]( https://twitter.com/hannahredler "@hannahredler")_