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Naho Matsuda: Every Thing Every Time

Urban data, digital poetry and our place in future cities

Every Thing Every Time is an artwork by artist Naho Matsuda. Now in its third iteration, this large-scale public realm artwork transforms city data streams into poetic narratives, presented on a custom-built split flap display. The work debuted at SXSW (Austin, Texas), and has since toured to Bristol and Qatar British Festival.

Artist: Naho Matsuda

Date: 2019
Medium: Public art installation, data poetry
Related: every thing every time (2017), EVERY THING EVERY TIME (2018)

In the digital age data surrounds us, nowhere more so than in our cities. From timetables to traffic data, information about our urban activities is captured, processed and published every day.

With data playing such an integral part of daily life, what kind of stories can urban data tell about a city, its citizens and its visitors? And would we perceive our surroundings differently if we could experience this data in a different form?

In Every Thing Every Time, artist Naho Matsuda lends a physical presence to the otherwise invisible data that is generated and collected in our cities each day. The work processes this data (typically captured by ‘smart city’ technologies, consumer devices, private companies and public institutions), strips it of its original purpose or value, and turns it into poetic writing presented on a large mechanical split-flap display.

“The concept is rather simple: to abstract data by stripping them from any purpose or numeric value, and investigate if that which remains carries any interesting stories or narratives. What happens if you get informed about a late bus, but don’t know where it’s going, when and how late it is? To be informed solely that a bus is late?”

– Naho Matsuda, Artist

Every city tells its own story

Every Thing Every Time is a touring artwork, custom-programmed in each location to respond to local urban data sources. Ahead of every installation, Naho visits the city collecting data sources that reflect that city’s urban life, connecting and interpreting everything from the mundane to the extraordinary.

Installed in prominent public locations, the work adds a playful dimension to urban spaces inviting passersby to ‘read the city’ as its narrative unfolds. A meditation on the data that passes through the fabric of the city each day, Every Thing Every Time questions not only the role data has in our lives, but the use and value it has as it is collected.

Every Thing Every Time touring locations

Leeds, 2020

We are very sad and sorry that our colleagues at Leeds International Festival had to take the difficult decision to postpone the festival until further notice, but we are hopeful to work with them again soon.

Qatar events programme

Every Thing Every Time at SXSW, 2019

In March 2019, Every Thing Every Time had its US premiere at South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas as part of British Underground’s Future Art and Culture Programme.

Nesta Creative Economy Symposium, 2019

Every Thing Every Time visited Bristol in March 2019 as part of Nesta’s Creative Economy Symposium at M Shed on the historic harbourside.

Bring the work to your city

Interested in touring Every Thing Every Time to your city? Contact the team to find out more.

Previous versions of the work

From the blog