Data
is Fluid

"Data" is represented in an analog form as fluid traveling down tubing. It manifests a physical form that travels from the central internet service provider across the room to individual workstations.

Data Translation

Each workstation lists the tranmission of data used in raw commands. The ping request is translated from its raw digital numerations to a porportionate variation of the fluid that traverses the tubing.

Data Diary

Because the tubing is one continuous circuit, you can look around the room and visualize how the data speed has changed throughout the day. It takes roughly 2 hours to traverse the circuit in its entirety. Because of increase stress on network infrastructures, the lines will fill with air and fluid during high and low internet usage respectively.

ARTIST STATEMENT

The internet was founded on principals of equality; a free flowing exchange of information and ideas. News, beliefs, education, corporations, and even cats are subject to the open democracy of an uncensored internet. Whether widely accepted or heavily scrutinized, anything found online is open for debate as it is presented on an open medium that is available for everyone to access and participate in; regardless of economic, social or political standing.

However, data can be manipulated like any other medium. Internet service providers can change how we access data online, favoring services and corporations willing to pay extra for faster content streaming to internet users. Thus allowing wealthy enterprises to edge out smaller start-up companies unwilling or unable to pay this extra fee. This is fundamentally against net neutrality. A principal favors complete openness and fairness in how data is treated, which is what the internet was constructed around.

Cavitation is defined as the formation of vapor cavities. Small liquid-free zones that are the consequence of forces acting upon the liquid. The internet itself is a free flowing exchange of ideas and information. The air bubbles, or cavities, are interruptions in this flow of information. This sculpture represents the restrictions that telecommunication corporations put upon free flowing data. It is controlled by how data has slowly become more segregated and thus, will slow throughout the installations lifespan. Effecting how data will ultimately reach the users of a once free and open internet.

Translating the idea of the abstract digital data packets as tangible fluids along a pipe creates a representation of internet data that users can quickly identify with. This connection will encourage viewers to think about the fluid nature of data and how easily it can be shaped to support a “tiered internet” that internet service providers are planning on implementing in the wake recent net neutrality rulings.

It was on display at San Jose State University on April 21-25, 2014 as partial fulfillment of Scott Blackwells BFA requirement.The sculpture itself is fabricated with a air compressor and a water pump that connect to the tubing. An micro-controller sends ping requests directly to youtube constantly. Everytime the data rate slows, air is injected into the tubing line via a solenoid controlled by the micro-controller.

Gallery

A small sampling of images from both the construction and the exhibition of the work.