An aesthetic 3D visualisation that illustrates the entire 800-year recorded history of legislation in the United Kingdom.
Corpus of Law is an aesthetic 3D visualisation that illustrates the entire recorded history of legislation in the United Kingdom. The artwork is a real-time virtual environment generated from The National Archives' legislation.gov.uk dataset, comprising a list of all UK legislation ever published – an ever-growing digital catalogue of some 260,000 UK laws, spanning 800 years.
Each piece of legislation is visualised as a unique node that is coloured according to its type and placed on a ring corresponding to the year it was enacted. The resulting cylindrical structure maps both the history and diversity of the UK's legal framework. Periodically, the artwork connects to the legislation.gov.uk website and randomly selects Acts of Parliament from the past century. When an Act is chosen, its corresponding node in the visualisation is highlighted. Animated traces move out from that node towards other pieces of legislation which have either been updated by – or subsequently changed – the Act in question. The shifting web of links between pieces of legislation reveals the incredibly complex and surprisingly interconnected nature of the nation's laws.
Drew Baker [ 3D visualisation & programming ]
Department of Legislation Services, The National Archives, UK [ artwork creation ]
Matthew Bell and Tamara Izzo [ TNA: dialogue & research ] . Martin McGrath [ installation design ]
Corpus of Law v1.0 was commissioned and produced by The National Archives, UK for its [re]Encoding the Archive exhibition (Winter 2021 - Spring 2022). The artwork was acquired by the institution in 2021 to be part of its permanent art collection.