Data natures: the politics and aesthetics of prediction

Susan Ballard, Jo Law, Teodor Mitew, Jo Stirling

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The 1755 Lisbon earthquake was a cultural revolution that established an intimate relationship between data and nature. This panel examines how data has been increasingly perceived as an analogue of nature, capable of figuring its shape. The panel converges on this conflation by examining the politics and aesthetics of prediction, arguing that both data and nature are variable. Although, data cannot be used to make precise predictions—such is the nature of nature, which precludes such figuring—data is one currency through which we might predict environments. Yet, if data is not nature expressed systematically, then what is data? Data both makes sense and generates sense by conjuring patterns in amassed signals; prediction then is a way of guessing where the next point will fall in an identified pattern. The panel presents four case studies that (re)frame this relationship of data natures. The individual position papers locate scenarios in the internet of things, radiation ecologies, interactions with waste, and the collection of weather data by citizen science in order to explore the aesthetics of data and nature based on instability and variability. In these events, data and nature are shown to be transformative and forever unpredictable.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISEA2016: 22nd International Symposium on Electronic Art
EditorsOlli Tapio Leino
Place of PublicationHong Kong
PublisherCity University of Hong Kong Press
ISBN (Print)9789624423976
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Data natures: the politics and aesthetics of prediction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this