Edge of Innovation

Artists Turn Tracking Data From a Journey Across Spain into a Giant Marble Mandala

The Creators Project Content Partner, Intel iQ

Data can be beautiful

The piece, called “2751 kilometers/2621 grams,” is the first in a new series called “Dataatadata,”  which explores the aesthetics of raw information.

Using info recorded as they journeyed through Spain, the work references the spiritual nature of this type of art, but combines it with the modern phenomenon of GPS tracking and metadata. Turning their adventure into a mandala seemed like the perfect way to capture the enduring (in memory) yet fleeting (in form) nature of the experience.

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The pair explain what the mandala represents:

“Expressed with GPS coordinates and binary code, it is a visual map comprised of days, regions, experiential categories and specific locations. The concept of this project combines the poetic expression of a mandala with data mapping. Drawing connections between the information while highlighting the intense effort and beauty of the journey.”

The project took 30 days to make (with the artists working 10-12 hours each day), which included compiling the data and conceptualizing the piece as well as making it. “It was an experience unquantifiable by images and stories alone. The journey itself was extraordinarily powerful, beautiful and difficult to say the least,” Klapper notes.

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How it was created

The artwork highlights their journey along the north coast of Spain through the Galician mountains, then down to the Andalusia region and the Strait of Gibraltar, before heading northwards and ending in the village of Belalcazar, where they created the mandala in the grounds of a 15th century monastery, before destroying it by sweeping it away.

“We chose data mapping to express this experience in an unconventional way,” explains Klapper. “One of the concepts of a mandala is a mediation on impermanence. The immense effort and detail that goes into its creation only to be destroyed shortly there after is a very powerful concept. We felt it is one that resonates with everybody. It speaks of life, experiences and the impermanence of memory.”

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You can see the painstaking creation of the artwork, using bespoke copper tools, in the video below.

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