Explore what data reveals about Milton Keynes

Caption: Artists Georgina Voss and Wesley Goatley. Photo: Shaun Armstrong, mubsta.com

Internationally renowned artists Wesley Goatley and Georgina Voss have created an immersive, digital installation with data from the MK:Smart’s Data Hub and other sources, with the aim of making Milton Keynes’ data and logistical infrastructures visible to audiences in a creative, dynamic and innovative way.

Commissioned by the Open University and sited in the centre of Milton Keynes, Ground Resistance: An immersive digital installation to visualize the hidden fabric of the city will be presented for ten days during IF: Milton Keynes International Festival in July 2016 with a satellite installation presented simultaneously at the National Museum of Computing in Bletchley and a dynamic online artwork.  See here for full details.

Ground Resistance explores how the ‘smart city’ of Milton Keynes appears through the data that it generates, and what this data reveals about the concept of the ‘smart city’ itself. An immersive sound and visual installation is located in the heart of the city. Audiences will be invited to walk through and around a projected representation of Milton Keynes, watching live data from utilities, communications, and sensors pulse through the city, whilst learning how these systems work and the data they carry. Throughout the installation, sounds respond live to the data, creating a unique sonic experience which changes with each visit.

The free digital installation, located opposite Door 9 North, Silbury Arcade, centre:mk, is open daily until Sunday 24 July. Back Row (L-R): Ravi Balakrishnan of sponsors Tech Mahindra, Geoff Snelson the Director of Strategy for Milton Keynes Council, Ankur Jain of Tech Mahindra, Jamie Bantock of The Open University and Mathieu d'Aquin of MK:Smart. Front Row (L-R) Ann Limb the Festival Chair, artists Georgina Voss and Wesley Goatley, and Monica Ferguson the Festival Director. Photo: Shaun Armstrong, mubsta.com

VIP guests at the launch of Ground Resistance. Photo: Shaun Armstrong, mubsta.com

On the outskirts of the city, the artists have installed their own sensors at the National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Parks to capture live data from the commercial aircrafts whose movements underpin the international capacity of ‘smart cities’. Audiences watch and listen to the movement of planes, whilst learning how radio is still a key component of these systems – and how far our access to this data extends.

The artists will work closely with experts from MK:Smart, a large collaborative, HEFCE Funded ‘smart city’ initiative. Its innovative MK Data Hub supports the acquisition and management of vast amounts of data relevant to city systems from a variety of data sources including utilities consumption and logistics.

This project will be led by Enrico Motta, Professor of Knowledge Technologies at the Knowledge Media Institute (KMi) of The Open University and his team of researchers from MK:Smart will collaborate closely with the artists to provide new sources of data to explore and share.

Ground Resistance was commissioned by The Open University and produced by The Stables for IF: Milton Keynes International Festival 2016. It is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Tech Mahindra and MK:Smart with delivery partners Western Power Distribution, Anglian Water and Samsung, and presented in association with centre:mk and the National Museum of Computing.

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