An Open Call to Participate in the M+ Data Design Hackathon

Diane Wang
Aug 14, 2018 · 5 min read

Register for the inaugural M+ Data Design Hackathon here. More information on the M+ public API and open data release to come in the following weeks!

If you’ve been following the M+ Labs blog, you’ll know that we are committed to Open Access at M+. This month, we are beginning the first phase of our open data release, starting with basic text and metadata (‘tombstone’ information) for roughly 2,400 objects within our Collections. In the coming months, we will slowly add to this repository and continue enriching the content that will be available via our GitHub repository as well as through our public API (to be shared at the hackathon!)

But releasing data for data’s sake is not what we’re interested in. We’re opening up our collections to add meaningful data and content to the vast web and to increase accessibility to our collections. While we take the first step in publishing our data, it’s important to remember that it’s not just what we publish, but why we are publishing it.

So we've released part of the M+ Collections data — what's next?

While we believe that the M+ Collections will add to the growing dialogue on visual culture in Asia and be a vital resource for content about artists and makers, and artworks and historical objects in the region, we’d also like to test that assumption and understand what our content means in the wider context of the world wide web.

As part of this open data release, we would like to invite you, our public — whether you are an artist, developer, designer, a culture enthusiast, or a museum lover — to actively think about how content from the M+ Collections might meaningfully add to the vast ether of materials on the web.

Some questions we are hoping to explore with respect to the M+ Collections include:

  • How can content from the M+ Collections add to open-source knowledge bases such as Wikipedia and Baidu?
  • Which artists from the M+ Collections might be under-represented in dialogue on visual culture on the web?
  • What content are people repeatedly searching for and how does that map with the M+ Collections?
  • What is interesting about the makeup of this slice of the M+ Collections?
  • What might we learn from looking at the M+ Collections in relation to other art or visual culture collections?

Or to go above and beyond the scope of the M+ Collections:

  • What is the status of arts and visual culture in Asia on the web?
  • What are the opportunities that we can act upon to enrich content about arts and visual culture in Asia?

We’re excited to see how you might use data to uncover opportunities and insights, and draw hypotheses on what could, or maybe should be done about the state of arts and visual culture in Asia on the web.

M+ featured statistics from our Collections at Art Basel in 2018. Read more about the booth here .

How do I join the Data Design Hackathon?

We have decided to call this a ‘data design hackathon’, because it’s not just about data, it’s not just about code; it’s about finding stories within data and opportunities to take action. And while we may be utilising the term ‘data’, at the end of the day data is also just content. What’s powerful about data is its ability to create compelling stories and reveal insights.

Data visualisation is about storytelling. — @officeofjane

We’d like to encourage you, the participants, to utilise raw data that we and/or other organisations are providing. Visualise that data and make a compelling argument for how we can collectively take action on the web.

Join as an individual or as a team of up to four. No coding required; feel free to use any out-of-the-box visualisation software to make your case. Submissions can be decks, one-pager websites, infographics, or multimedia.

If you’re in Hong Kong, register online to join our live hackathon at M+ Matters this Aug 31 and September 1, 2018. Our live hackathon will include a judging panel with representatives from M+, and prizes will be given for first prize and runner up. Learn more here.

If you’re overseas, register your interest by sending us an email and we’ll send you instructions on how to participate.

Why is this important?

We get a lot of feedback from peers, scholars, and our audiences that the greatest thing they crave is more content. The M+ mission is to collect, exhibit, and interpret visual art, design and architecture, moving image, and Hong Kong visual culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries — and it would be a greatly missed opportunity if we were not to make content about these practices accessible to our diverse audiences. The M+ building is quickly becoming more visible, and we are conscious that as we transition from a museum without a building to a museum with a building, we must also continue to think about how we create our content.

We continue to publish content on our M+ Stories platform and learn about how our audiences react and engage with it. When we published A Brief Introduction to Performance Art and Its History in Asia, we quickly discovered that there was a gap in content on performance art in Asia. Our post become one of the top search results if you Googled ‘performance art history in Asia’ or ‘performance art’ in Asia. And when we published From the Collections: Rattan Chair Attributed to Kowloon Rattan Ware Co. and posted it on a Facebook group, we saw how excited our community was to discuss their relationships with rattan chairs from their childhoods.

This year we also hosted our first Wikithon highlighting women artists in Asia, in collaboration with Asia Art Archive. The focus of the event was on women artists in Asia — a group that is underrepresented both in the art world and on Wikipedia. We’re looking forward to continuing to run Wikithons, adding content not only via M+ but also via important sources of information on the web such as Wikipedia.

Our inaugural Data Design Hackathon speaks to those efforts in creating meaningful and accessible content, and we hope we can continue this in earnest.

The M+ Matters Data Design Hackathon is happening Aug 31 — Sept 1, 2018 at Tai Kwun. Space is limited, registration is first come first served. Sign up here!

M+ Labs

Experiments from inside the new museum for visual culture in Hong Kong

Diane Wang

Written by

The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things...

M+ Labs

M+ Labs

Experiments from inside the new museum for visual culture in Hong Kong