I recently visited Somerset House near Covent Garden, to see the exciting exhibition called Big Bang Data. This exhibition caught my interest as it’s main focus was on the world of data, this got me thinking, there has to be some beautiful infographics on display with a big bold title like Big Bang Data? Of course there was a mammoth range of infographic wonders to see.
This exhibition had such an incredible branding presence surrounding the grounds of Somerset House, if you didn’t see the posters on the way in you definitely couldn’t miss the exhibitions title in flashing lights right outside the door. When you first walk through into some rooms projecting information in almost a hypnotic way, constantly changing and strangely setting the tone for the other exciting things to come.
There were two parts of the exhibition that stood out to me, the first being the glowing infograpic globes which depict data on some hard hitting subjects such as;
- Country vs Arms Company (The top 100 arms-producing companies of 2011, comparing yearly revenue to the countries GDP).
- Horizons of Ubiquitous Computing, 2015 (Displaying the number of IP adresses in that region).
- Mobile Teledensity (The relative density of moblie phones per person around the world).
It was refreshing to see these globes used in such a unique and inspiring way to display data/information. These glowing orbs truly had the most impact out of all of the pieces on display, not just for their visual beauty but or the topics they raise, but the simplicity of the idea and it’s strength of getting each message across clearly and to the point. To me this is what good design is all about, the message that is trying to be communicated, as long as the message is not lost in the visual language it is created in, then it has achieved everything it aspires to do.
The second piece that stood out to me involved a constellation of data projected onto a screen above, allowing you to gaze upon transactions being made live on the stock exchange in the form glowing triangular shapes. This was an extremely creative way of showing live data, standing under the screen and watching the live transactions pass by was as mesmerizing as watching the night sky.
There were many things on display that related to data use and storage, these acrylic domes on display were like a blast from the past, displaying different formats that data is stored. The domes contained storage formats as old as spool tape recorder to a usp memory stick, showing the progression of data storage. These domes really do show us how far technology has moved from the days of our parents or grandparents to what we use today, it’s truly remarkable when you see it for your self.
I was glad I had the chance to see this exhibition before it finished, it was truly an inspiring exhibition for anyone interested in visual data displayed in a creative and technical way. I believe moving forward in the case of exhibition standards and the quality of how information is displayed that all museums can learn a thing or two from the Big Bang Data exhibition.