Allusive Protocols


Materials: Brass, nitinol wire (shape memory alloy), data relating to satellite communication, data centres, and subsea cabling, arduino, wooden base. Each object: 250 x 250 x 150 mm

Allusive Protocols (prototypes) is a series of three kinetic data-driven artwork prototypes – AP: Space, AP: Land and AP: Sea.

Julie worked with ODI researchers, responding to the contradictions and relationships inherent to their Power and Diplomacy project. ‘Allusive Protocols’ considers how the power behind all modern infrastructure resides in functioning networked connections, where continually growing complexity moves beyond human comprehension. The project is inspired by the fragility of networked connectivity and how it is both vulnerable and open to influence.

The work was created during a residency at the Open Data Institute investigating power, diplomacy and ecology in the material internet: the vast networks of cables, satellites and data-centres that connect us. These materials create an infrastructure of information that is often (mis)perceived as ephemeral, and therefore not connected to real-world environmental impacts.

The piece speaks of fragility, echoing how this connectivity relies upon billions of tiny off/on switches continually flipping between two states. By subjecting analogue materials to real-world forces the artist asks us to consider the contradictions and imbalances inherent to these systems. The work refers to the implicit, often hidden powers that control them and to the implicit power that nature holds over us.

Within the work, data fluctuations drive an electrical current which alters the state of shape memory wires, held in anticipation by a brass balancing mechanism. The degree and speed of the transition is determined by data. These wires move organically and slowly, almost acting as physical line drawings. The form each small wire adopts refers to the specific data driving it: The zigzag shape of AP: Space is inspired by the signals transmitted to and from the satellites orbiting the Earth and their ground-based receivers. *AP: Land’*s irregular graph-like shape is inspired by the speed and size of large-scale data transfer. AP: Sea is an undulating shape. Responding to subsea cable data, it is inspired by the speed and distance of data travel.



Postscript of Silence, Ming Contemporary Art Museum, Shaghai 24 November 2023 to 31 March 2024

Open Data Instutute April - July 2023


Forecast by Invisible Dust, City Hall, 19th May 2023


Commissioned by Data as Culture at the Open Data Institute (ODI ) with the support of Invisible Dust.


With thanks to ODI staff and associates:

  • Hannah Redler-Hawes
  • Sasha Moriniere
  • Calum Invararity
  • Ben Snaith
  • Jared Robert Keller