“Monument” by Caleb Larsen

Monument is an installation by artist Caleb Larsen, and is a piece heavily reliant on data sharing and data input. The piece reads in from thousands of different news sources around the world (in English) and creates a physical output every time it finds its search parameters. In this case, the project is searching for a human death, as well as the number of casualties in the scenario, and then drops a number of BBs equal to the number of deaths. This piece deals with two main themes, the first being a emotional visualization of human death, and the second, being a investigation of the medium of data art. In both ways, the piece is very effective in delivering its message. Not only does it have a strong emotional theme, but is a powerful, yet simple, example of the possibilities within data art.

This piece has had an interesting effect on my work. Though I have little care for the number of human deaths, I find the medium and the presentation of the piece very fascinating. To design an interface, or any experience for that matter, one must be able to graphically and effectively represent a certain batch of information, regardless of the content of the information, to an audience. This piece has got me thinking about how it is I choose to represent data in my artwork, and how I can improve my methods. The only issue I have with the piece is that it requires an artist statement in order to understand the meaning, and could not be viewed as a standalone thing while retaining its original meaning. Not that this is really a major issue, but it has caused me to think about how to convey message and theme without directly informing the viewer of what is going on.


About Connors Eilersen

I am a graduate (BFA) of Ryerson University, and I like to make things, design things, and think things.
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