Engaging a broad public with creative uses of data technologies


Steffie Padmos
Luca Stappers
Gosse de Korte
Karin Schwandt
Jelle Reith & Ibo Ibelings
Dries Depoorter
Rob & Robin
Fabio Duarte
Andy Kirk
Sensor Lab
NEMO Kennislink
Universiteit Utrecht
Creative Coding Utrecht
Pictoright Fonds
Gemeente Utrecht

The challenge

In 2019, CLEVER°FRANKE was approached by the cultural city lab RAUM to help curate an event that engages people with data on several mediums. We devised a concept of ‘circus show’, which created a deeper understanding of the role that data plays in everyday life while also letting people discover how data could improve the quality of life in a city.

Our circus concept inspired many artists, as well as the event campaign. Cirque du Data offered installations, data visualizations and a theatrical show that intrigued visitors and gave them new perspectives on data.

C°F created Cirque du Data in coproduction with RAUM.

Value delivered

With a playful concept, we untangled the complex nature of data technologies, taught a broad public their vast possibilities and highlighted new perspectives on their future.

With so many people moving into a new area, the chances abound for exciting innovations. The Leidsche Rijn neighborhood project is currently the biggest construction site in the Netherlands. By 2025, 33.000 houses will be built to accommodate 100.000+ new residents.

We decided to transform Leidsche Rijn into a data laboratory where people could experience it through extraordinary interactions with data and discover how they would like their city to evolve through data technologies.

The photos are taken by V.M. Lansink, V.M and D.C. Goosen, part of Het Utrechts Archief collection.

These are the campaign promotion materials created together with Steffie Padmos. With the aim to let people understand each other better, Steffie created a visual language that represents the neighboorhood's diversity, as revealed by the data, and added circus-like elements.

Activities overview


Together with Ibo Ibelings and Jelle Reith, we created AIML. Combining AI (artificial intelligence) with ML (machine learning), AIML gauges people's mood in a specific neighborhood.

This ‘data beast’ captures your data and expresses your sentiments by means of drawing, while letting you discover how AI and machine learning techniques can be harnessed to gain insight into people’s emotions and shape the future of city living in a positive way.

Visitors can uncover more details about how AIML is feeling through aimlmonitor.com

. They can follow how she experiences the mood of her environment, what she sees and how she assesses different messages and visitors. Besides that visitors will find background information about the way AIML uses AI and ML techniques to come to her conclusions.

Full AIML case

The participants gathered in a circus tent to enjoy a theatrical interpretation of datafication and gained creative perspectives on data technologies. The Show playfully explored the interactions with data to let people express their wishes and concerns.

Directed by Luca Stappers, The Show brought together data jugglers, binary clowns, a large human cannonball, an AI fortune teller and a circus creature AIML to create new interactions with data. Both delighted and intrigued, the visitors were left curious to explore the boundless possibilities of data technologies.

Data Exposed harnessed public data about Leidsche Rijn (the host neighborhood of the entire Cirque du Data event) to create inspiring data visualizations that sparked the interest of residents in data. Information designer Karin Schwandt delved into the data collected by the municipality to tell the stories of Leidsche Rijn residents and highlight how they differ from or resemble the rest of Utrecht residents.

Illustrator Steffie Padmos enriched the visualizations by incorporating the visual language of Cirque du Data.

We supervised Sensor Lab to create a mini exposition as part of its ‘Demystifying the Smart City’ research program. This exposition aimed to give visitors knowledge, inspiration and curiosity to discover what more possibilities smart technologies could offer to improve our lives.

The exposition brought together various creative solutions to empower citizens in the Smart City, while letting them explore a number of sensors, scattered in Utrecht.

IJsbrand van Veelen en Studio New West created a documentary to create an overview of the event at RAUM and give an insight into the background story. The documentary includes interviews with artists, designers and makers who contributed to Cirque du Data and their perspective on using data for their own disciplines.

Made possible with support of the Pictoright Fund.



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Get in touch

If you’d like to learn more about how we can add value to your business, contact Thomas Clever.

+31 6 19 55 29 81

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