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Ai Weiwei helps art “hackers” create digital works based on earthquake victims

The Chinese activist artist has provided data from the 2008 Sichuan province disaster for a project at Tate Modern

Ai Weiwei streams in to the 24-hour hackathon at Tate Modern

Participants in a 24-hour “art hackathon”, which launches today 13 June at Tate Modern in London, will create digital art works based on data provided by Ai Weiwei listing the victims of the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province in southwest China.

The artist, who is barred from leaving his homeland by the Chinese government, continues to investigate the shoddy construction that led to the deaths of more than 5,000 schoolchildren in the disaster.

Over 150 artists are due to create original digital works in the Tate’s Turbine Hall. Ai says that the art “hackers” should be “ambitious, [and] take risks”, and hopes that they will create a “meaningful piece of digital art with the dataset”.

The “hackathon” marks the launch of The Space, a non-profit online arts project that will result in 50 new commissions annually by established and emerging artists.

The Space was first launched as a pilot scheme in May 2012 by Arts Council England (ACE) in partnership with the BBC. ACE initially invested £3.5m of Lottery funding in 51 commissions; the arts funding body has since committed £8.1m to the project.

“We commission new talent and great artists from all art forms, creative industries, technical and digital backgrounds, through regular open calls and partnerships,” says a project statement.

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