About the project

In 2015, at a hackathon held by Social TIC in Mexico, I began imagining how we might make open data more actionable. It was a moment of effervescence, with governments, non-governmental organizations, and international development organizations all embracing the Data Revolution. Many people believed that open data will change our approach to addressing sustainable development concerns by enhancing policymaking.

If open data became the default, more eyes and hands could be dedicated to the work of uncovering trends in data, and issues such as inequality, climate change, and corruption would be addressed differently. Hundreds of datasets were added to open data portals here and there, and yet many people recognized that the majority of the data was not being used or consulted. So I started thinking of other ways we might use this information.

Hackathons, data expeditions, data dives, and data bootcamps all became commonplace methods of increasing the visibility of accessible data. The data given by the agencies, however, was not necessarily equivalent or interoperable.

I attempted numerous approaches to using this data, and I even developed a course at IE University to educate my students how to utilize it in the manner of Hans Rosling. However, I discovered that digital representations and tools only drew the attention of a minority audience with a high comprehension, willingness, and desire to investigate online information.

My goal has always been the same: to use available data to better understand our environment and influence my decisions and ideas about what needs to be done to improve it.

As a result, I decided to investigate more transactional applications for this data. And I encountered a work of art at Fab Lab DC that just blew my mind. It was a map made of little pieces of wood that portrayed inequity in Washington, DC. When I viewed it on a Saturday morning, I realized I was looking at data as if it were art. I was among friends, and that scenario led me to believe that there were no other distractions. I had no other displays to look at, and the Fab Lab environment was enabling me to focus on the map, the data, and its significance. I'd never forgotten the assignment because it provided me with an unforgettable experience.

I knew I wanted to undertake something related to that project after that encounter. Something that might have a similar effect on others. Something that could be observed without additional distractions in a non-digital setting.

This is how I ended up here. IE University requested me to create three data sculptures addressing sustainability in 2020. Three data sculptures representing the abbreviation "ESG" were included in the show "Making Sustainability Tangible Through Relevant Data." One sculpture was for the letter "E," another for the letter "S," and a third for the letter "G."

I presented the initiative to numerous partners in 2022 and received a lot of positive response and assistance from the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and the Herbert Quandt BMW Foundation, for which I am thankful.

The plan now is to scale these prototypes and transform them into big-size sculptures that may be presented in prominent locations to attract the attention of a large amounts of people.

Let's see where data leads us!