Five Projects: Highlighting the Work of Elisava’s Master in Data Design

a collage of five project thumbnails

Paid Partnership: This content was produced in collaboration with Elisava.

Transforming data into understandable and honest information is a matter of societal survival in this world of fake news and “alternative facts”. The Master in Data Design by Elisava, Barcelona School of Design and Engineering is a hands-on experience harnessing data for crafting information and making a change.

The following five projects were completed by individuals and groups of students who have passed through this program.

shhh…” | Students of the Master in Data Design (2022-2023)

Noise pollution is considered by the WHO (World Health Organization) to be the second most harmful environmental factor for health in Europe. 

The exhibition shhh…” was an effort to highlight the conflict around noise pollution in Barcelona, promoting reflection and a critical view on the subject. 

shhh…” was built over the analysis of previously unpublished data gathered from official “requests for access to public information” that included citizens’ complaints to the police (Guardia Urbana) for excessive noise or the data gathered from the network of noise pollution monitors of the Barcelona City Council.  

It was conceived as a multi-sensory experience that included audiovisual, sound, and graphic pieces—such as sound installations or cartographic video essays—and invited visitors to reflect and publicly debate in order to demand public policies that enable a healthy acoustic environment. 

The exhibition, developed by the students within the course Data for the Common Good, was directed by the architect and exhibition curator Olga Subirós with the collaboration of the urban planning agency 300,000 km/s, was held on April – May within the program of the Model Festival 2023, Barcelona’s Festival of Architectures. 

Students: Natalia Blay, Andrea DiLeo, Enrique Peralta, Sebastian Perez, Manuel A. Ortiz, Judit A. Zanelli, Debbie Zamd

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Bodybuilder” | Carla de la Torre

We live in a “fit” society, where gyms are temples of transformation towards a globalized stereotype. The cult of the body plans and controls our daily routines and ends up shaping our identity, fueling the fitness industry, which is only growing. 

At the same time we are in the age of information, of data; it is said that having information is power, and we can apply it to this fitness paradigm as well. We design our body in gyms by entering data (15 repetitions of squats for 3 sets, 100 grams of rice…) to build the ideal body and at the same time gain individual power. Beauty ends up being something measured, weighed, equated, and compared.  

The bodies that visualize this in the most extreme way are bodybuilders. Mass body, corporal and data body, representing a bodily ideal of power. 

Carla de la Torre used modified workout machines to invite the public to experience this datification of the flesh through a series of pieces that toyed with self-image, repetition, data rituals and unreal beauty canons. 

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The World in a Minute” | Students of the Master in Data Design (2022-2023)

“The World in a Minute” was an installation that used data and sound to represent the state of the world today. Conceived as an experimental object-based sonification, it was created by the Master in Data Design ’22 – ’23 students with the guidance of Domestic Data Streamers to be part of the Sónar+D Festival. 

The aim of the project was to create a device that represented the state of the world in any given minute—compressing time and using recognisable, everyday objects to visualize our impact in the world telling a story. From the mundane to the cataclysmic or from the emails we write to the earthquakes we suffer, this piece creates a multi-scale representation of our world – a data based soundscape – that gets data closer to the participant, overcoming the data numbness of today’s world. 

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Detrás del miedo” | Maria Moreso

Throughout our lives, women, or people with a vagina, will visit a gynecologist multiple times. The Public Health recommendation is to do so every 1 – 3 years, depending on individual circumstances; however, more than 50% of women will not follow this recommendation. It is not news that almost no woman like to go to the gynecologist. Unfortunately, feeling anxiety, fear, vulnerability, embarrassment, and discomfort are part of the common experience of many women when visiting this specialist. But why do we experience it this way? 

Lack of sensitivity and empathy towards a patient in an extremely vulnerable position, judgment, infantilization, paternalism, lack of scientific progress, misinformation, taboo, or normalization of female pain are some of the subtle forms of patriarchal violence that we women suffer in relation to our intimate health. 

This work shed light on what’s Behind the Fear re-signifying the processes and instrumental that belong to the gynecological public health system. Prescription notes, speculums or the performative act of waiting make personal the data of a seemingly aseptic and bureaucratic power structure. 

War Owned” | Jordi Farreras

War is something that, as humans, belongs to all of us, but we don’t connect with it. We see those numbers, but we don’t care about the people behind that war. We don’t care how much we are contributing to it. Why are we still having wars if violence is a tool we no longer need since we can converse? 

Data about war should be communicated more adequately. Morality, Money and Love are the three pillars of this project:  An Augmented Reality Exhibition developed through the city of Barcelona, and three different books that have been designed to compile research and curious data to highlight war in a way that we can better understand it. 

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Nightingale Editors

Our Nightingale editorial team currently consists of Alejandra Arevalo, William Careri, Jason Forrest, Elijah Meeks, and Teo Popescu. Reach us at Nightingale(at)Datavisualizationsociety.org