The computerized database is fundamentally changing society. From communication, to government, transport, shopping, friendship, health, education, narrative and even the way we watch film, the database is radically transforming our lives. And yet we are only barely aware of its existence, we don't really know what a database is : like electricity, it's pervasive and all around us , but we cannot actually see it.
Digital media artists YOHA set about making the database visible. Commissioned by the Digital Cultures Research Centre at the University of the West of England, they use Bristol City Council's local government expenditure to explore the relationship between the database, power and expenditure.
Turning the pounds sterling of expenditure into the pounds per square inch of pneumatic pressure, they make a suite of engineered mechanical contraptions : a Potato Cannon, an Old People Pneumatic Floor Polisher, an Expenditure Riding Saddle and an Open Data Book Stabber.
But as they tour these contraptions around Bristol, they become embroiled in the more visceral realities of the city, in the form of the Royal Wedding, local anti Tesco riots and the censorship of a local outdoor cinema.
CAMERA : Conor McCormack, Alistair Oldham
EDITING : Conor McCormack, David Neal
MUSIC : James Lucas
PRODUCER / DIRECTOR : Alistair Oldham
For more information about the Invisible Airs project, please go to :
To read more about the film :
Glasgow Centre for Contemporary Arts
Bristol Radical Film Festival
Brighton Documentary Festival
Southend, Last Friday Shorts (idea13.org)
Furtherfield, Finsbury Park, London
The film was also exhibited as part of the year long 'Data as Cuture' exhibition at the Institute of Open Data in London :