Kansas City Artist Unlocks a Social Puzzle with Data

August 11, 2015 7:50 am PST | Data as a Service
Art of Data

As a prompt for the Art of Data in Kansas City, local artists were asked to utilize a set of graphs as source inspiration for an artwork. 

In June, we kicked off this “Art of Data” series with a post covering the opening of the exhibit in Kansas City, then followed up with a featured mother-daughter artistic team who managed to morph Kansas City’s budget into a masterstroke. Next came Anthony Schmeideler’s piece  based off of Kansas City homicide statistics, and last week we featured a class and race piece by Lauren McGill

Catch up on the entire blog series or watch this video on how the exhibit came together.

This week, in our final post dedicated to the event, we’re focusing on Mark Allen’s Social Puzzle

Social Puzzle
Social Puzzle

Artist: Mark Allen

Title: Social Puzzle

Chosen dataset: Life Expectancy by Zip Code

In Mark’s own words: The graph that struck me the most was a correlation map between race, region, and life expectancy. This clear-cut data indicates that your location and race will determine how long you will live. Growing up, there are indicators of socio-economic and racial segregation within the city which most are aware of.

However, seeing the map clearly define the inequalities within the city really puts things into perspective. I chose to recreate this map using a photographic process called Cyanotype and splitting the various sections into puzzle pieces, indicating the need for us to solve this social puzzle. 


For more on this exhibit, and to see how Kansas City used data to engage new audiences, check out this video featuring elected officials, government staffers, artists, and exhibit attendees.


Watch the video


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