The phrase ‘data-driven’ has become woven into the very fabric of how we operate as a society. It is used in almost every industry that impacts our daily lives, government, education, healthcare, housing, retail, entertainment, city development and much more. We give data the power to guide how society collectively moves by allowing decision makers to blur the lines of humanity as they lean into numbers and reports. But behind every data point, behind every number, behind every graph and spreadsheet there are human beings. When we strip those humans of their flesh and blood, making them numbers in a spreadsheet it becomes easier to justify systematic oppression and push accountability from people making decisions to numbers.
Using data collected through open records requests, Louisville government open data sharing sites, and various reports from invested parties, Rebecca Cavalcante creates abstract data visualizations that move us from data that tells stories of oppression towards data that tells stories of a better world for every community. Through this mixed media art, she create an entrance to the people behind the data and the stories they have to tell. She works to empower communities and individuals to learn the basics of data collection, open records, finding public data, and data analysis so they can use it to advocate for the things they need for their communities to thrive, using art as a way to present their findings to the larger community and policymakers. She wants people to know that they can use easily accessible tools, community engagement, and art to reclaim our collective data and build a better world for us all. She hopes that we can collectively begin to distort the data-driven world we are presented to reclaim our humanity and the stories hidden within.