This morning we visited Tech Hub at the Google Campus in London’s Moorgate.
Rather than the usual high security compounds we have come to associate with tech companies this place is a rather unassuming affair in a side street off Finsbury Square.
I suppose the idea is that it’s more like a student campus, albeit one with slightly less scruffy clientele.
While upstairs dozens of creative companies rent office space, and benefit from the hive mind of working with similar folk, downstairs the feel is more of a kind of tech museum combined with student common room. There’s the obligatory pool table, lots of old gadgets (Olivetti type writers, black and white portable TVs) and – the reason for our visit – digital art work on the walls.
Unveiled today was Tech Hub’s latest piece, London: A Digital City Portrait by digital artist Brendan Dawes. Commissioned by mobile firm EE to mark the arrival of 4G in the UK, the art work is supposed to be a visual representation of three days of data from 29 October to 31 October 2012 – the days before, during and after 4G was introduced to London and 10 other UK cities.
Each chosen topic and the digital conversations associated with them are shown by a specific colour with the thickness of the lines and the size and brightness of the circles representing the popularity of the topic and the frequency people were speaking about them via social media. So, for example, large swathes of red represent President Obama’s visit to the capital and large white circles represent discussions about Hurricane Sandy.
Personally, I didn’t really get it all, it just looks like a rather nice kaleidoscopic image on the wall. But if you want to find out more then click on the YouTube video below in which we caught up with digital artist Brendan Dawes talking about his concept for the piece.