Living Data

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned
that this program contains images and voices of deceased persons.

Living Data

Responses to our changing natural world

Disclaimers, Copyrights and Citations

True to science, True to senses, Surprising (showing something new), Evolving

Living Data are responses to our changing natural world expressed as scientific data, art and story.

Since ancient times natural patterns of change have been known and expressed through Aboriginal cultural arts. Today it is recognised that Western science can underpin Aboriginal cultural knowledge, to inspire and inform new agreements (treaties) for how we must live to sustain natural balance between plants and animals. Scientific data and human experience agree that disruptions to natural climate patterns are happening since our massive burning of fossil fuels. Living Data's totem is Euphausia superba (Antarctic krill), the keystone speciesof the Southern Ocean that is, in turn, the keystone ecosystem of our planet.

My role in this program is to bring to scientific data expressions of relationship to nature, from people around the world. My relationship to Aboriginal cultural arts comes from my mother whose mother was from a stolen generation dispossessed of knowledge of her traditional country and language in Australia. Mum worked as an artist at Bill Onus's 'Aboriginal Enterprises' studio in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria, near where we lived in the house built by my great grandfather, the artist Tom Roberts. My relationship to science and the Southern Ocean comes from sailing by ship to work as an artist in Antarctica (in 2002), and co-authoring the scientific paper revealing, through art and science, the first sighting of the entire mating dance of Antarctic krill.

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's Research is Ceremony (2008)I recognise the story as part of the relationships between us and the living world, and the iconography we share as primal expressions of connection that are available to everyone. The Living Data program builds on the PhD research Antarctic Animation(2010). That study resulted in animated primal formsthat express relationships to nature, in both scientific data and human gestures. I continue to use these forms in art to combine scientific data and subjective responses.

I work as an Honorary Artist in Residence (a.k.a. Industry Fellow) in the Faculty of Science at the University of Technology Sydney. I contribute to a growing movement of people reconnecting science, art and Indigenous knowledge. My role is co-author and editor of stories that people are willing to share. Stories are published under a Creative Commons Share-Alike License. Stories are available through Lunar Time, the Living Data Living Library, with due respect for its Purpose, Copyrights, Citations and Disclaimers. The Living Data program is supported by private patrons and in-kind support, administered through Living Data Seeding Treaties Incorporated.

Dr Lisa Roberts 22 April 2021
Visual artist/interactive author/Living Data program leader
Industry Fellow, Faculty of Science,University of Technology Sydney

About Living Data in 3 minutes
Video by journalist Jen Ng
Anthropologist Dr Jonathan Marshall
and Scientist Professor William Gladstone.

Associated programs include:
Sur PolarBuenos Aires
Cape FarewellLondon
Ku-ring-gai PhSydney
Listening in the AnthropoceneWagga