ART W23AC – Data Arts

Created by Associate Professor Greg Niemeyer at UC Berkeley

Pricing: $2,100.00 

Units: 4 semester units

Can we measure everything? What is the role of privacy? Can we count beauty? Is data always fair? This course explores participation as the foundation of online citizenship. Participation is based on data literacy and community awareness. Through online assignments, peer reviews and video chats, students form communities of explorers and innovators who challenge data culture through creative interventions including surveys, visualization, animation, video, interaction design, music and other forms of digital expression. Assignments are based on readings about media theory, abstraction, interactivity, design theory, archives, performance, identity, privacy, automation, aggregation, networking, diffusion, diffraction and subversion.


Important Dates

Registration opens: November 12, 2015
Registration ends: January 18, 2016
First day of instruction: January 19, 2016
Last day of instruction: May 6, 2016

For a full set of dates please review Important Dates and Deadlines.


Please click here to download the syllabus for this course.

Course Video

Additional Course Fees


More About the Course

From tax returns and health records to social media and traffic updates, many aspects of our lives depend on information stored in networked databases. Data Cultures is a new online course that teaches ways to research, question, and innovate such databases to better understand how they can affect our human experiences both positively and negatively. Explore the origins of data, the invention of databases, and many of the liberating and oppressive effects of data on our daily lives. Most importantly, you will learn to be a thoughtful participant in data cultures by questioning data-driven media and by expressing your values, hopes and concerns through innovation and collaboration. Topics covered include: history of data culture, critical analysis of existing data-driven media, basic database queries, surveillance studies, celebrity, networking, digital divides, digital redlining, basic data analysis, interface design, information visualization and rapid prototyping. The core activity in this art course is to engage with data culture issues through creative reflection. Rather than writing, you will draw, film, animate, photograph and program web content to advance your ideas about data culture, and your peers will have ample chances to view, dialogue and of course rate your creative efforts.




Greg Niemeyer


Meet the Faculty

Greg Niemeyer
Greg Niemeyer is an Associate Professor for New Media at UC Berkeley's Department of Art Practice where he works with the Berkeley Center for New Media, the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS), and the Data and Democracy Initiative focusing on the critical analysis of the impact of new media on human experiences. Niemeyer's creative work focuses on the mediation between humans as individuals and humans as a collective through digital tools, and emphasizes playful responses to technology. Some of his most recognized art projects include Gravity (Cooper Union, NYC, 1997), PING (SFMOMA, 2001), Oxygen Flute, with Chris Chafe (SJMA, 2002), Organum (Pacific Film Archive, 2003), Ping 2.0 (Paris, La Villette Numerique, 2004), Organum Playtest (2005), and Good Morning Flowers (SFIFF 2006, Townhouse Gallery, Cairo, Egypt, 2006), and, with Joe McKay, the Balance Game (Cairo 2007, London, 2007). The Black Cloud (2008) was funded by the MacArthur Foundation to provide an alternate reality game and a social network for sensing air quality and taking actions to benefit indoor air quality. The project has evolved into a startup company, Aclima Inc., where Greg serves as the Senior Advisor for Social Engagement. Assistant Professor Niemeyer has also developed several mobile neurotherapeutic games in collaboration with the MIND Institute at UC Davis and with the Montreal Neurological Institute. Prior to his post at UC Berkeley, Niemeyer received his MFA from Stanford University in New Genres in 1997 where he founded and directed the Stanford University Digital Art Center (SUDAC).