Data Quilts

Ecology, Research, Speculative Data 
Data Quilts was a research project exploring both current and future social and biological ecologies of the canals and waterways in London, investigating how we view, consume, translate and preserve environmental information through making practices. The focus was on designing ways to visualise otherwise invisible or abstract data, like pollution levels within our waters.

It began by wondering what was in the water? How could a making process help us understand if the water was clean or polluted?

Natural dyeing processes are incredibly sensitive to the water that's used, added metals, or acids can vastly change the outcome colour. Comparing water samples from across the canal network, this process was showing visually, the environmental data of today. This project brought into question the future of traditional craft processes and how they would change in a damaged environment. 

Extrapolating upon current climate predictions in the IPCC report, the natural dye processes were repeated with each water sample with the addition of hormones, metals and artificial fertilisers to simulate a future in which our waters are becoming progressively more contaminated and polluted.

This opened up an ability to offer a set of provocations, so that we could imagine alternative futures for the canals, that hopefully expands our capacity for care.