Jer Thorp (2018) is an artist, writer and teacher living in New York City. He is best known for designing the algorithm to place the nearly 3,000 names on the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan. Jer was The New York Times’ first Data Artist in Residence, is a National Geographic Explorer, and in 2017 and 2018 served as the Innovator in Residence at the Library of Congress. Jer is one of the world’s foremost data artists and is a leading voice for the ethical use of big data.
Jer’s data-inspired artwork has been shown around the world, including most recently atTimes Square, the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, the Arts Electronica Center and the National Seoul Museum. His work has also appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Scientific American, The New Yorker, Popular Science, Fast Company, Bloomberg Businessweek, Popular Science, Discover, WIRED and the Harvard Business Review.
During his time in fellowship with the Logan Nonfiction Program, Jer will be at work on “Living in Data,” a book forthcoming from Farrar, Straus & Giroux. “Living in Data” is built around a central question: What is it like to live in data? Twenty-four hours a day we are being extracted from, computed on, processed into “insights” for marketers and politicians. Today, to live in data is to be used, to be without agency, to be overwhelmed with complexity. “Living in Data” offers a way out. It provides a framework for people to actually understand data. It mounts an attack on the destructive profit-first Big Data rhetoric that we’ve been forced to endure for almost a decade and draws a roadmap towards a new paradigm where individuals and communities are at the center of data thinking.