Digital Project
03 Feb - 30 Mar 2020

Anna Ridler - Laws of Ordered Form

Laws of Ordered Form is a new commission by Anna Ridler for Data / Set / Match, a programme exploring how digital technology and new categorisations increasingly influence the way humans and machines see and understand the world today.

The project creates a “historic” ImageNet using labels and photographs from Victorian and Edwardian encyclopaedias to show how the echoes of historic taxonomies and beliefs can still be heard in modern implementations of machine learning.

There are parallels between Victorian encyclopaedia creators and those making large datasets in Silicon Valley: both reflect the social, cultural and ideological mores of their time. By collapsing this moment of history with current concerns around dataset bias, Laws of Ordered Form emphasises the problems with classification without thought, and considers the histories that remain in our present.


Anna Ridler is an artist and researcher who works with information and data. She has exhibited at the V&A Museum, Ars Electronica and the Barbican and has degrees from the Royal College of Art, Oxford University and University of Arts London. Her interests include drawing, machine learning, data collection, storytelling, and technology.