Liz McFall, Edinburgh University;
David Moats, Linköping University
with Darren Umney, Open University; Sapphire Goss, artist; and Thomas Blackburn, artist

New Orleans 2019: Mapping / monitoring

Art museums and galleries are increasingly called on to demonstrate audience engagement and participation, traditionally through ticket sales and audience surveys but more recently through more responsive forms of data analytics borrowed from market research. Our exhibition will partially recreate an arts engagement exercise at London’s Tate Modern in 2018 which consisted of projections on two facing screens. On one screen, we displayed live-updated metrics about gallery visitors from survey, phone data, web visits and twitter, presented as a dashboard. We juxtaposed these digital representations with a more analogue depiction of a housing estate in Milton Keynes (a collage of archival footage, architectural plans and photos). These screens staged discordant visions of people, culture(s) and forms of participation, prompting arts audiences to reflect on how they are represented. Through our analysis of the event, we consider how more provocative approaches to digital data might reconfigure relations between audiences and institutions.