Living Data

Living Data
Respond to change

















Living Data


Disclaimers, Copyrights and Citations

Living Data are responses of living things (including us) to our changing climate.

Living Data is an independent programme that I lead for making known different ways we come to understand and respond to climate change. From 2010 - 2014 Living Data evolved in response to requests for events to contribute to major science festivals in Sydney. Since then our work has attracted invitations from national and international climate science and art events. Now with around 100 contributors, I recognise Living Data as a social experiment in expanding perspectives and changing behaviours. The focus now is on deepening interactions between our selves, as scientists and as artists, for greater understanding and respect for the different and similar ways we describe, express and respond to shared concerns.

Interactions take various forms, from one-off encounters to long-term collaborations.
Living Data Contributorsinteract through Conversations, Presentationsand Research.

As our interactions deepen and our conversations expand, it is clear that many scientists are also artists, and that our work attracts the interests of people from other fields including anthropology, psychotherapy, design, engineering, curatorial practice and education. Thanks to our mutual interests, we contribute to associated programs within and beyond the fields of art and science.

Like Barbara CucksonI hold that "some things are manageable only on a small scale and control their own viability". And so the limit for sustaining Living Data is 100 contributors at any one time.

Living Data principles are to be true to science, clear in language, appealing to senses,
evolving and surprising (showing something new).

     About Living Data in 3 minutes Video by journalist Jen Ng
with Living Data collaborators at University of Technology Sydney:
Anthropologist Dr Jonathan Marshall,
Scientist Professor William Gladstone,
Artist Lisa Roberts


Associated programmes include:

Sur PolarBuenos Aires
Cape FarewellLondon
Ku-ring-gai PhSydney
Manly Art Gallery & MuseumSydney


Living Data builds on Antarctic Animationresearch (UNSW 2010) that identified gesture as an essential component of accurate communication.

Antarctic Animation research led to ongoing interactions with scientists and other artists that validate the need for direct observation and expression of movement to identify with, and to understand, the natural world. Direct observations of movement patterns can result in surprising ground-breaking knowledge. For example the animation Krill sexreveals for the first time how, when and where Antarctic krill have sex. Not only does the animation clarify scientific data and inspire public interest in how the ocean sustains us, it informs policy makers to ensure protection of breeding grounds for future generations. The Krill sex story is key to the animated installation Oceanic Living Datawhich, like a scientific model, evolves to combine the latest consensus scientific understandings with gestures of connection that add depths of meaning to the scientific data.

Most recent work is the animated installation Oceanic Bliss.This work contributes to the Ku-ring-gai Ph art-science projectwhere scientists and artists collaborate in partnerships to expand understanding of Australia's uniquely beautiful and ecologically important Ku-ring-gai National Park. Additionally and unexpectedly, Oceanic Bliss was included in the 2016 Sur Polarexhibition program in Madrid.

Living Data reflects Indigenous, biological and mechanistic views of the natural world forming through relationships between parts, and our selves as part of that forming process. Although I may lead the story-telling of Living Data, the story does not belong to me or even to the association of contributors. Guided by Wilson (2008)I recognise the story as part of the relationships between us and the living world, and the iconography we share as primal forms of connection that are available to everyone.

Living Data contributes to the imaginative featof sustaining humanity in a changing natural world.


Dr Lisa Roberts 15 December 2016
Visual artist/interactive author/Living Data program leader
Visiting Fellow, Faculty of Science, University of Technology Sydney
Visiting Scientist (a.k.a. Artist), Krill Biology, Australian Antarctic Division.

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