Drawing 63,000 visitors, the Embassy of Data exhibition, which took place during the Dutch Design Week 2017, brought the DATAstudio’s three-year programme to a highly successful conclusion. The “embassy’s” purpose was to increase awareness around the possibilities and opportunities as well as the threats and shortcomings presented by the collection of digital data.

To this end, we invited visitors to take part in a personal conversation about data – and more specifically an exhibition devoted to the data collection points located within a 400-metre radius of our location in a former V&D department store. In June 2017 we began making an inventory of those data sets in the research area over which the city of Eindhoven had control. Which data was being collected where, and for what purpose? And to what extent was that data accessible to the public?

At the exhibition, a data panorama created by the information designer Richard Vijgen presented visitors with the beginnings of a never-before-visualised picture of Eindhoven’s efforts to become a smart city. Though the panorama was unquestionably incomplete, it precisely mapped hundreds of data points (locations of sensors, cameras, antennas and clusters of dwellings) within a 400-metre radius.

At the data desk, we talked with visitors about the value of data. How familiar were they with the subject? Which data did they think should be collected? And under which conditions would they be willing to contribute their own?

Exhibition and graphic design: Koehorst in ’t Veld
Data panorama and animation: Richard Vijgen
Video portraits: Marit Geluk

21 – 29 October 2017: former V&D department store Eindhoven
Client: Het Nieuwe Instituut

Photos: Gert Jan van Rooij