Installation image: Curtain of Broken Dreams, The New Observatory, FACT, Liverpool, 2017

Natasha Caruana exhibits in The New Observatory at Fact Gallery, Liverpool

In collaboration with the Open Data Institute, the exhibition brings together an international group of artists whose work explores new and alternative modes of measuring, predicting, and sensing the world today through data, imagination and other observational methods. Caruana used open data to identify coastline towns within Britain as having some of the highest divorce rates in the country, and explored further social datasets to try to identify why. Divorce Index is a filmic response to her findings. A couple in dishevelled wedding clothes – the artist and her husband – perform a curious dance at Bottle Alley on Hastings’ promenade. Each movement is a choreographed gesture interpreting data around the pressures which may affect a marriage, including unemployment, health care, access to libraries, higher education and gambling.

In the entrance to Divorce Index is the Curtain of Broken Dreams, consisting of interlinked chains of 1,560 pawned, discarded wedding rings which create a physical representation of 1% of the number of divorces in the UK over a typical 12-month period. Becoming enmeshed in the physical evidence of the breakdown of so many unions raises the question of how essential the right conditions, as well as the right person, are to achieving everlasting love. The work poses the question of whether couples might ever consider relocating for the sake of a relationship, if the data predicted an unhappy end or better odds elsewhere?

Courtesy of the artist. Both works commissioned by the Open Data Institute as part of the Data as Culture programme, which was supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Additional support from the University for the Creative Arts. This is the premiere of the work.