NEO – Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction


Visualizations of Big Data – data art as an emerging form of science communication: Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction; visualizing the risk posed by potential Earth impacts. (NEO: Near Earth Object).



On the 18th of december 2018 an asteroid some ten metres across detonated with an explosive energy ten times greater than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The shock wave shattered windows of almost 7200 buildings. Nearly 1500 people were injured. Although astronomers have managed to locate 93% of the extremely dangerous asteroids, nobody saw it coming. Can art contribute to save the Earth from future threats the means of super forecasting and increase our resilience in regards to potential future asteroid impacts? 



Artists often channel the future; seeing patterns before they form and putting them in their work, so that later, in hindsight, the work explodes like a time bomb. Prediction is not limited to the art world. It’s important in science, math, AI, insurance, and so on. Asteroids and meteorites are messengers from space that have had a significant effect on Earth’s history and are likely to influence the future as well. It led to the extinction of dinosaurs. The artist used data from NASA and KAGGLE to forecast potential asteroid impacts on Earth. The result combines a post-minimal aesthetic with datavisualization techniques. We see Earth represented as a thin sheet of paper perforated with holes. The holes represent asteroid impacts. This project frames in a wider thematic exploration of subjects like impact, chance and forecasting. 



Custom predictive software and code made in openFrameworks in C++ (see addendum) to generate an accurate datavisualization and predictions of bolide events based on data from NASA and KAGGLE. The computation of Earth impact probabilities for near-Earth objects is a complex process requiring sophisticated mathematical techniques. The datavisualizations resulted in svg. and obj. files which allows 3D model export, 3D printing and lasercutting techniques. For the Art of Resilience a photographic 3D render was selected by the artist for this exhibition.