Antonio Roberts’ artwork focuses on errors and glitches that are generated by digital technology. An underlying theme of his work – like that of many of the show’s artists – is open source software, free culture and collaborative practices. Visitors to the exhibition are exposed to a variety of data, including open archives from the University of Birmingham, a selection of art galleries Roberts has worked with and digital collections of his own art work, through his explosively colourful, jagged sculpture, Copy Bomb. The piece is a form of ‘PirateBox’, presenting an open, unregulated network for people to use exactly as they like. It emphasises the unexpected outcomes that may come of people freely sharing and access data.
Another Roberts’ work, data.set – which has been created specifically for Thinking Out Loud – investigates what happens when we choose to represent social data beyond the confines of a traditional spreadsheet dataset. Rather than showing informative data from the UK datasets on digital exclusion and adult internet usage that he has mined, Roberts represents its bytes visually. Blocks of colours replace tabular or text-file formats, offering a different perspective.