This was a piece of installation art in Karlsplatz U-Bahn in Vienna :
It is part of a set of installations by Ken Lum:
14 mirrored panels are fixed to the side walls of the passageway, each furnished with a piece of etched writing. LED displays are mounted under each of these headlines. Based on statistical data previously surveyed according to socio-scientific standards as well as mathematical forecast models and their corresponding algorithms, the numbers visualized there are constantly changing. Ken Lum refers to an example, on which his idea is based on: “In New York, there is a large countup clock indicating the total public debt of the USA, the numbers jumping up every second.”
Passers-by see themselves mirrored in the various panels in the subterranean passageway below the Karlsplatz in Vienna. While reading the up-to-date number on the digital counting device, they are – as readers – being linked to the number in a performative sense.
In his work “Pi” for the Westpassage Karlsplatz Ken Lum calls his combination of text and statistical figures a “factoid”.
“Factoids” can either be countable hard facts or trivial information translated into numbers. For the most part we deal with concisely surveyed and complex datasets where the difference between local and global references is brought into play.
Along with Pi were a mix of serious and light-hearted’factoids’, such as “No. of couples in love in Vienna” and “No. of people who have died of AIDS since January 1st”. The mirrors, of course, mean you see yourself as you read the figure, which is a pretty powerful image.