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Battle For Future - a fusion of art and data

03-03-2020Innovation & Design

What do art and data have in common? A lot more than you might think. Futurice and globally-renowned artist, EGS, combined their visions for hope and resilient future into something unique.

Kalle Tuomi

Creative Director

We are easily preoccupied with threats and hopelessness, and waste too much energy on fear. Of course, it’s true that we are facing challenges on a scale we’ve never seen before and we must build a better, more sustainable future. And yes, we need to take action. But has fear, desperation or complaining ever solved anything? I firmly believe the answer is no.

Every idea that’s changed the world arose from seeing things differently, from creating a new kind of vision. Art is often a good way to question our thinking and create something new, and technology is, at its best, a powerful tool for changing the world and it lives off this kind of questioning. Together, technology and art can be used to build the kinds of futures we need.

When I shared some of these thoughts with my friend EGS, a visionary artist from Finland, our conversation suddenly ventured into inspiring and unknown territory: what if art met data? What if we started exploring areas where a resilient future meets sustainability, art meets data and technological development meets real human progress?

That was the beginning for the Battle For Future.

The message

The world changes when people change and that’s exactly what EGS’ art strives to do: it influences people on the deepest level. When we have hope, we have dreams, and when we have dreams, we want to know how to make them come true. This is where technology comes into play.

In order to make the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal number 2, Zero Hunger more tangible, we decided to create data scenarios based on the unnourishment data available. The UN sustainable development Zero Hunger goal states:

“A profound change of the global food and agriculture system is needed if we are to nourish the 821 million people who are hungry today and the additional 2 billion people expected to be undernourished by 2050. Investments in agriculture are crucial to increasing the capacity for agricultural productivity and sustainable food production systems are necessary to help alleviate the perils of hunger.”

Our data analysts created the scenarios, producing a narrative together with EGS for the artwork. What followed is nothing short of amazing.

Battle For Future

We created a piece of art that takes data about an important global issue and turns it into a totally new form of visual storytelling, inspiration, and insight. Data scenarios become blown glass shapes, illustrating the global challenge for zero hunger on a world map. The piece lets the viewers participate, showing the impact of every action: when a piece of glass is moved, the viewer sees what happens. It’s reminiscent of playing a strategic board game.

Battle For Future closeup

Battle For Future with EGS and Kalle Tuomi

The message is that we all have influence – albeit some more than others – and we just need to direct it strategically, for maximum impact.

It’s your turn.

“Even if the future looks bleak today, there is still hope. It is not too late to change things for the better. And we can all participate in the change. Small actions count. I would like people to think about who is creating the strategy for our future - and finally understand that it is up to ourselves. If that can be done by combining seemingly boring data with exciting art, that’s great.” said EGS.

I see great opportunities to create short or long-term scenarios like this by utilizing AI. It’s clear that there are many possibilities to come up with business, user and social impact. Would you like to innovate something that makes a real difference, both for your business and sustainability? Get in touch and let’s explore creative and extraordinary ways to utilize your data and the latest technologies.

PS. If you want to read more about the magic that can happen at the intersection of art and technology, check out this blog by my colleague Annina Antinranta.

The Battle For Future artwork co-created by EGS and Futurice was released at Futurice’s 20th Anniversary Party in February, and from there traveled to the Finnish glass museum in Riihimäki to a be a centerpiece of a larger solo exhibition "Writing stories with three letters" by EGS, which is open until 19th of April 2020.

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