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Artech- Art and Open Data competition

The Artech project invites artists, entrepreneurs, and developers to use public data as a "raw material" for works of art based on traditional arts or digital media. Being a well-known and respectable medium to broad audiences, we see art, as an original and fresh way to expose new audiences to the importance of open data and its relevance. This is the first time that a government agency in Israel has directly sponsored a creative and innovative experience of this kind.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Artech is an innovative, competitive initiative led by the Government ICT Authority since 2018. The Artech project invites artists, entrepreneurs, and developers to use public data on data.gov.il as a "raw material" for works of art based on traditional or digital media, interactive, graphic and plastic arts. This is the first time that a government agency in Israel has directly sponsored a creative and innovative experience of this kind.
The ICT authority sought to make "Open Government" and "Open Data" accessible to wider audiences, in addition to the more traditional public groups that take part in the social discourse on these issues such as CSOs and FOI activists. Being a well-known and respectable medium to broad audiences, we see art, and in particular, the connection between data and art, as an original and fresh way to expose new audiences to the importance of open data and its relevance.
The core idea of Artech was to invite the artists to create a personal and even critical statement, and interpretation to the data within the datasets, based on insights from the data study and analysis. We thought that this is a unique and colorful opportunity to "market" government databases to the general public and demonstrate an innovative government approach, one that is not afraid of criticism but invites the public to speak out.
Project development:
• The open Kick-off event was where the work teams were formed, sometimes spontaneously, after meeting and finding common interests and understanding the value of cooperation.
• The work teams registered for the competition on its official site. After an examination process, 16 teams were chosen to take part in the competition.
• Hackathon- the teams met for 24 hours of creation and development of their exhibits. During the hackathon, the teams completed their works for the final exhibition.
• Gala event - Open Government Day: At this special exhibition-opening event, we presented the artworks and announced the competition winners. The rating components were:
o Judges panel: The panel was assembled from opinion leaders in the civil society, the government, the academy and art.
o The event participants online rating. This rating gave further expression to the cooperative dimension of the process and its connection to the open government principles.
• All the artworks were presented in an open exhibition.
Throughout the process, we ran a campaign in various media outlets - television, newspapers and social networks. The campaign was designed to give a high public profile of those activities, and to reflect it and its values of the broadest possible audiences.
The civil society sector was a significant partner in the initiative production: The "Ruach Hadasha" ("New Spirit") organization, which works to promote independent artists at the beginning of their careers, took an active part in the project, both in terms of content and logistics. In addition, the events took place at "Beit Alliance" - a unique Jerusalem building, located in the bustling center of the city, near the famous "Mahane Yehuda" market. Throughout the year, this building houses artists who work with the support of "Ruach Hadasha".
The events were held in the presence of a diverse audience - government officials, artists, developers and ordinary citizens.
We consider the project to be a great success for open data, in terms of:
• The scope of response to the competition: Many teams formed and submitted applications for participation in the competition, compared to similar events, which dealt only with development without a combination of art (developers' Hackathons).
• The competitors chose to deal with a wide range of significant issues which are at the heart of the public discourse, some of which were critical of government policy. For example: traffic accidents, education in the geographic and social periphery, air pollution and environmental protection, the experience of patients in psychiatric hospitals and immigration.
• The works were of a high artistic level, especially considering the limited time that was given to create them. In addition, they combined surprising and original works of art with technological developments, which made the final exhibition a multidisciplinary experience.
• The project helped us exposed our open government data activity and the data.gov.il portal to new and broader audiences, increasing participation and engagement from public groups we haven't seen before.
The initiative's success reflects the potential of broad public participation in open government projects, and encourages us to continue thinking about creative ways of increasing the awareness of its importance and relevance.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

This is the first time that a government agency in Israel has directly sponsored a creative and innovative experience which called people from different disciplines such art and code development to cooperate and create their own unique and personal statement.
Moreover, bringing art to the Hi-Technological oriented ICT authority is an excellent example of willing to go out from the organization comfort zone, in the name of spreading Open Government and Open Data importance.
Finally, although the main issue was data and computerized analysis, we insisted on letting all kinds of artists to take part in the competition, not only the digital experts but also traditional artists too.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

The civil society sector was a significant partner in the initiative production: The "Ruach Hadasha" ("New Spirit") organization, took an active part in the project, both in terms of content and logistics.
The competition judges panel was assembled from opinion leaders in the civil society, the government, the academy and art. Additionally, the exhibition-opening event participants rated the works online, during the event.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

Citizens: We wanted to make "Open Government" and "Open Data" accessible to wider audiences, in addition to the more traditional public groups that take part in the social discourse on these issues such as CSOs and FOI activists.
Government officials: We wanted them to be even more committed to the opening datasets process, thanks to the project and the public interest that followed.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

A. Many teams formed and submitted applications for participation in the competition.
B. The competitors chose to deal with a wide range of significant issues which are at the heart of the public discourse, some of which were critical of government policy. For example: traffic accidents, education in the geographic and social periphery, air pollution and environmental protection, the experience of patients in psychiatric hospitals and immigration.
The works were of a high artistic level, especially considering the limited time that was given to create them. In addition, they combined surprising and original works of art with technological developments, which made the final exhibition a multidisciplinary experience.
• The project helped us exposed our open government data activity and the data.gov.il portal to new and broader audiences, increasing participation and engagement from public groups we haven't seen before.

Challenges and Failures

We wanted our judges' panel to include opinion leaders from who have an affinity for government activity, data and art. After a deep fieldwork, we assembled a panel that included: Rector and Vice President of Bezalel College - Dr. Y. Karniel, Director of the Innovation Center at Shenkar College - Ms. T. Warshavsky, Director General of the Ministry of Justice - Adv E. Palmor, Digital consciousness researcher - Mr. N. Manela, and Head of the ICT Authority - Mr. Y. Frank. We wanted to expose Artech to target audiences that are not usually interested in the ICT Authority's activities: artists, entrepreneurs and data scientists etc. For this purpose, we initiated well-targeted advertising on social networks and other media channels. So far we haven't found the right way to leverage the events' momentum to create long-term collaborations. We are looking for a way to increase the exposure to the artworks, to its public statements, and promote awareness of Open Data and Open Government.

Conditions for Success

We consider the project to be a great success for open data, in terms of:
• The project helped us expose our open government data activity and the data.gov.il portal to new and broader audiences, increasing participation and engagement from public groups we haven't seen before.
• The scope of response to the competition: Many teams formed and submitted applications for participation in the competition.
• The competitors chose to deal with a wide range of significant issues which are at the heart of the public discourse, some of which were critical of government policy. For example: traffic accidents, education in the geographic and social periphery, air pollution and environmental protection.
• The works were of a high artistic level, especially considering the limited time that was given to create them. In addition, they combined surprising and original works of art with technological developments, which made the final exhibition a multidisciplinary experience.

Replication

The project hasn't been replicated to address similar problems, but we consider to run such initiative each year from now on.

Lessons Learned

This initiative showed us:
a. The importance of multi-sectoral cooperation to promote such events and initiatives.
b. Importance of well-targeted advertising campaign.
c. The importance of branding events, their exclusivity, and detailed oriented production. All this contributes to trust increase between the relevant government bodies and the citizens' participants.
d. The importance of rich databases to provide artistic freedom and creative interpretations.
e. The importance of the connection between art, data and the government as an experimental laboratory of creating unexpected and new links, which will encourage the government to open up and adopt new ways of thinking, like design-thinking methods.

Supporting Videos

Year: 2018
Organisation Type: Government
Level of Government: National/Federal government

Innovation provided by:

Date Published:

9 April 2018

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