In the what-happens-when-technology-takes-over-our-lives genre, Sight by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo, imagines a world where we wear contacts that augment our reality at such a high level that digital becomes physical. Life becomes a game, and everything is gamified, including an incredibly awkward date. But wait, there's an app for that.
Artist Gustavo Sousa used the Olympic rings as data indicators for statistics like obesity, homicides, and number of billionaires. Each ring represents a continent, and the larger the ring, the larger the value. Simple and an interesting metaphor shift.
No doubt there is going to be a lot of tweeting about the Olympics during the next couple of weeks, but sometimes it's hard to get a sense of what people are talking about because of the high volume. Emoto, a team effort by Drew Hemment, Moritz Stefaner, and Studio NAND, is a Twitter tracker that aggregates sentiment around topics.
Love is complicated. It twists, it turns, and sometimes it smacks you in the face so hard you lose track of where and when you are. Artist Louise Ma diagrams these many facets of love and relationships in her ongoing project What Love Looks Like.
Artist Bard Edlund sonified the goals during the 2012 Stanley Cup.
The goals tally cumulative scoring for each team (rather than goals against). When a puck crosses the goal line, a musical note plays. There's one instrument sound for Western Conference teams, and another for Eastern Conference teams. Higher-seeded teams are assigned a higher pitch. This means you can actually hear whether higher- or lower-seeded teams are scoring more, and if Western or Eastern Conference teams are producing more goals.
The beat in the background almost makes it sound like an actual song.
Information video designer Marco Bagni abstracted the meaning of life in his short video, Getting Lost. It doesn't show real data, placing it in the genre of Chad Hagen's nonsensical infographics, so this piece by Bagni is interesting not for the information it shows but how he used infographics as a way to express a message: "Getting lost is only way to find your own path."
As part of their campaign to prioritize education and get presidential candidates talking about it, the College Board setup 857 empty desks on the National Mall to represent the estimated number of high school drop-outs per hour. Although a simple physical installation, it carries a lot of weight.
Matthew Cusick uses maps as his brush and palette in a series of portraits and landscapes. Pretty.
In Newcastle, there's a floating tide mill building on the River Tyne. The mill turns to generate power for the building, and in that flow of water are four sensors for oxygen, acidity, nitrates and salinity. Values for these metrics, along with wheel speed, are captured about every thirty minutes. Stephan Thiel of Studio NAND, in collaboration with Moritz Stefaner, visualized this data in an abstracted simulation of the flow through the tidemill.
Particles are continuously moving from right to left, being attracted or repelled by four circular zones representing the sensor values. The overall behavior of the particles is influenced by the turning speed of the waterwheel. If the value of one sensor is above its mean value, particles are repelled. If the value is below the mean, particles are attracted towards the center of the zone.
For example, if all four values are greater than the mean, you end up with four circular swells around these zones. In the above, oxygen is below the mean, so the simulated flows head towards the center of the oxygen zone instead of move around it like with the three zones before. So you end up with a sort of fingerprint for each window of data capture.
The data itself is probably of little interest to anyone who doesn't work at the mill, but the aesthetics of the piece is calming and certainly evokes the context of what the data represents.
During a one-week visualization course at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, Kat Zorina, Ruben van der Vleuten, and Kostantinos Frantzis put together a working prototype that makes smoothies based on mentions of fruit on Twitter.
Using the Twitter API, it collects tweets containing mentions of specific fruits such as blueberry, pineapple, apple and carrot and creates a smoothie that represents the blend. The smoothie is created based on the same proportions of fruits collected from the tweets. Because twitter trends change quickly, each smoothie has a unique palette of flavors.
Next steps: a blender that provides variable consistency like chunky versus completely blended, a scoop of sherbet, and free energy boost. Oh, the possibilities.
Julian Koschwitz uses a typewriter linked to data from the Committee to Protect Journalists to generate stories about those who have fallen doing their jobs.
The typewriter installation On Journalism #2 Typewriter writes generatively constructed stories about all journalist who have been killed worldwide between 1992 and today based on the existing data of their lives as well as their published work. The individual stories are connected through common fields of coverage, places, professions and many other aspects. Besides the text the typewriter creates also images e.g. flags which are heavier distorted the more journalists got killed in that particular country.
Location data typically stays within the realm of online maps and digital check-ins, but in many ways it's the most personal data that you can find. It represents where you are, where you've been, and where you're going. Meshu, by Sha Hwang and Rachel Binx, is a project that takes this sentiment to heart.
Select and enter locations on a map or grab your check-ins from foursquare to create your own piece of unique jewelry — necklace, earrings, or cufflinks. Once you've got your design, you have your choice of acrylic, wood, nylon, and silver and you can pick from a variety of colors for each material. Hit complete, they'll fabricate it, and you've got your own personal snapshot of life.
Gundega Strautmane, a Latvian textile artist and designer, visualizes social and physical networks in a show called Relational Ornaments. The networks are created using various sized pins to depict nodes and threads connecting them to show relationships. Bringing visualization into the tactile world lends it a weight not able to be achieved on a computer screen. It allows the viewer to pause, spend time with the information, feel it, sense it in a more holistic way. The placement of pins and threads is imprecise because they are placed by hand giving the work a very natural, organic feel rather than the rigidity of the exact calculations of programming.
[via The Network Thinkers]
The unassuming little Descriptive Camera made me rethink data. This project by Matt Richardson was on display at the ITP Spring Show. The basic premise is that you take a photo and the camera spits out a textual description of what it sees. The results are remarkably accurate, detailed, and humorous.
Music visualization with stop motion board games. You can't go wrong.
The BitTorrent protocol lets groups of people download parts of a single file from each other, so instead of one file from a single source, you get multiple bits from different places. Artist Conor McGarrigle shows this activity via an episode of Mad Men, as it's downloaded.
The video captures an episode of the popular TV show in the act of being shared by thousands of users on bittorent with the corruption of the file a direct result of the bittorrent protocol. The video acts as a visualisation of bittorrent traffic and the practice of filesharing and avoids infringing the copyright of Madmen as it is incomplete. Curiously the greater number of simultaneous users sharing the file the more aesthetically pleasing are the distortion effects.
Heading towards the 2012 Olympics in London, Quayola and Memo Aktenvia translate athletic movement, which in itself is often considered beautiful, to generative animations. Collectively, the piece is called Forms, which is on exhibit at the National Media Museum.
Forms is a digital artwork that responds to the human body in motion. It focuses exclusively on the mechanics of movement, using footage of world-class athletes to illustrate human movement at the extremes of perfection.
Videos of athletes were processed through custom software to create evolving abstract forms that explore the relationships between the human body and its movements through time and space.
There's also a short Q&A with the artists on the Creators Project that's worth a read.
[via The Creators Project]
Kitchen Budapest explores local news coverage in Hungary with sound and a bubbling map.
Ebullition visualises and sonificates data pulled from one of the biggest news sites of Hungary, origo.hu. In the 30 fps animation, each frame represents a single day, each second covers a month, starting from December 1998 until October 2010.
Whenever a Hungarian city or village is mentioned in any domestic news on origo.hu website, it is translated into a force that dynamically distorts the map of Hungary. The sound follows the visual outcome, creating a generative ever changing drone.
Next step: show the news causing those bubbles.
[Submap | Thanks, Attila]
Data exists in digital form, on our computers and spreadsheets, but the exciting part about data is what it represents in the real world. Bits are people, places, and things. This is especially true with social data from places like Twitter and Facebook, where ideas flow and people talk to interact with each other in different ways. It's not just retweets and likes. Bloom Studio, the folks who brought you Planetary, embrace this idea in their just released iPad app, Biologic.
The basic concept: choose a social network from the Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn blobs on the opening screen. You will have to authenticate each one you try (only the first time) and then you will transition into a view of the people you follow represented as microbiological cells.
Glowing shapes inside the cells are activities (tweets, pictures, etc). The bigger the activity, the newer it is. The more the activity is moving, the more retweets/favorites/likes it has. Once you have read an item it gets darker so you can tell what's new.
It looks like another great blend of data, generative art, and game dynamics. I don't have an iPad though, so I'll live vicariously through your comments. Grab Biologic (for free) on iTunes.
[Bloom Studios | Thanks, Tom]