InSITE STL | Artist Profile – ELLIE BALK
What’s Your Number? is a vinyl mural-like installation which will visualize data about the quantity of time that anonymous survey respondents spend on their mobile devices – their screen time number.
Balk is interested in portraying this normally very private and intimate set of data for public display to encourage introspection and discussion about how we all use our mobile devises. Her project will use data collected from anonymous respondents in both February 2019 and February 2022, juxtaposing these two sets of data to explore how screen time has changed over several years and through a global pandemic.
“I am inspired by data as a means to ignite conversation and investigation. The interactive nature of large-scale work allows people to experience a connection to space and to each other.”
Ellie Balk is a public artist whose work centers on mathematics and data visualization. She uses color and abstraction to create systems of data, encouraging interactive visual play through a variety of mediums, such as painted murals, sculpture, and stained glass. Balk frequently uses data sets that include obscure or private statistics, sometimes asking respondents for information about their emotions or personal habits.
By presenting this data publicly, though anonymously, she allows viewers a window and connection to others. Balk is based in St. Louis and Brooklyn and works internationally. Her murals can be experienced throughout Brooklyn and St. Louis; she also has works in Buenos Aries, Argentina; Mae Rim, Thailand; and Senegal. Balk earned an MFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and a BFA from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.