The artist Natasha Caruana has just started a residency at the Open Data Institute. I went along to the launch, curious to find out why a photographer would be a good person to have around in an organisation that aims to 'catalyse the evolution of open data culture'. Caruana had just finished a residency (funded by BMW) at the Musée Nicéphore Niépce and had an exhibition at Arles so I might also get some tips on how to get on in the photography world.
I also spoke to Hannah Redler who used to be the curator at the Science Museum and had invited Caruana. She had some interesting things to say about considering photography alongside data. Caruana is in some ways an old fashioned photographer: she uses film and found photographs and her approach is often quasi-anthropological, yet many of her projects would be unimaginable without the internet.
Her work Fairytale for Sale apparently describes a brief moment when women felt able to sell their wedding dresses online but were sufficiently concerned about what their wedding pictures disclosed to erase their own faces from the pictures. A couple of years later (and with people used to disclosing everything about themselves on Facebook) the same pictures appear online with the faces visible. The project shows that we can't live with technology without it changing us. In six months time we will have to see what Caruana makes of 'open data'.