Data art

Image of paintbrushes

What is data-based art?

Data-based art includes what is known as data visualisation (or dataviz) and data storytelling (for example interactive design and infographics), but as any other art form, it can move beyond representation to become more critical, experimental, and explorative. Data arts also move beyond the visual, to create artwork using sound, dance, movement, or sculpture.

How can data art help improve health and wellbeing?

Data art can help health and wellbeing stakeholders spread key messages about health and wellbeing, and can provoke debate and discussion. The ART/DATA/HEALTH project  explores how creative approaches based on a range of data can help people to explore health and wellbeing in an engaging and meaningful way.



Further resources

There are also lots of online platforms available for you to explore more examples of data art:

Many cities and regions also run festivals including data artworks (for example, Brighton, Bristol, Leeds, Lincoln, Keele and Halifax all have Digital Festivals), while the V&A runs an annual Digital Design Weekend as part of the London Design Festival.

The Open Data Institute runs a data art programme called Data as Culture’. They commission international artists to produce work that explores how data can be positive, engaging forces for good. Artworks have included a semi-sentient vending machine, data collection performances, photographs, networked artworks, pneumatic machines, live-coding performances and ‘stitch-hacked’ jumpers.

See also:

Data, creativity and advocacy

Combining creative languages with data can help make a difference in local communities.

Take a look at these examples of striking data visualisation using photography and sculpture. Both of them are trying to raise awareness of different forms of pollution in very striking, visually clear ways. Each of these campaigns will be backed up by complex sets of data, but it is these images which tell a story and can lead to changes in behaviour.


Greenpeace images showing a dead albatross and its stomach contents
Campaign poster by Greenpeace with Publicis Mojo Auckland. Photograph of Albatross chick, © David Liittschwager, 2005. Photograph of stomach contents, © Susan Middleton, 2005.

Greenpeace poster campaign: ‘How to starve to death on a full stomach’

The caption reads: ‘How to starve to death on a full stomach. The 272 pieces of rubbish pictured above were fed to this fledging albatross along with fish caught by its mother. The plastic accumulated in its stomach until it was literally ‘too full to eat’. Careless and unregulated dumping is just one of the ways we’re killing our oceans. Become an ocean defender at’



Image showing a sculpture forming a large black cloud coming out of a car's exhaust pipe
© WWF, 2007. Ad agency: Ogilvy & Mather-Beijing




WWF community campaign: ‘Black Cloud’

This campaign uses one very striking piece of art to highlight a key issue at a single glance. The text on the balloon reads: ‘Drive one day less and look how much carbon monoxide you’ll keep out of the air we breathe.’







See also:

Learning about Data: What do we mean by data?
Health and Wellbeing Data: What forms do health and wellbeing data take?
Data for Advocacy: How can we use data to advocate for social change?
Open Data: Why do we need open data?
Telling Stories with Data: Why tell stories using data?
COVID19 Data: What can data tell us about the pandemic?