Treemap art

Posted to Data Art  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

Ben Shneiderman invented the treemap in the 1990s to visualize the hierarchical contents of his hard drive. In the Treemap Art Project, Sheiderman approaches the tool from an artistic perspective. Each treemap in the 12-piece collection visualizes an actual dataset in a familiar artist’s aesthetic.

Colored rectangular regions have been a popular theme in 20th century art, most notably in the work of Piet Mondrian, whose work was often suggested to have close affinity with treemaps. Not all his designs are treemaps, but many are. His choice of colors, aspect ratios, and layout are distinctive, so simulating them with a treemap is not as trivial as you might think. Gene Davis’ large horizontal paintings with vertical stripes of many colors were more easily generated with treemap layouts. The rectangles in Josef Albers “Homage to the Square” or Mark Rothko’s imposing paintings are not treemaps, but generating treemap variants triggered further artistic explorations. Other modern artists such as Kenneth Noland, Barnett Newman, and Hans Hofmann gave further provocations to the images in this collection.

[Thanks, Ben]

Favorites

Where People Run in Major Cities

There are many exercise apps that allow you to keep track of your running, riding, and other activities. Record speed, …

Years You Have Left to Live, Probably

The individual data points of life are much less predictable than the average. Here’s a simulation that shows you how much time is left on the clock.

Who is Older and Younger than You

Here’s a chart to show you how long you have until you start to feel your age.

The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011

I almost didn’t make a best-of list this year, but as I clicked through the year’s post, it was hard …