• The Descriptive Camera

    May 16, 2012  |  Data Art  |  Kim Rees

    descriptive camera output

    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.
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  • Stop motion music video

    May 11, 2012  |  Data Art

    Music visualization with stop motion board games. You can't go wrong.

    [via @jcukier]

  • Mad Men as thousands download via bittorrent

    April 20, 2012  |  Data Art

    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.

    Poetic almost.

    [via Waxy]

  • Generative art portrays beauty in movement

    March 12, 2012  |  Data Art

    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]

  • Geographic news coverage visualized

    March 9, 2012  |  Data Art

    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]

  • Your personal networks visualized as microbiological cells in Biologic

    March 8, 2012  |  Data Art

    Biologic

    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]

  • Data in a human context

    March 6, 2012  |  Data Art

    Jer Thorp, a data artist in residence at The New York Times, shows off some of his work (like this and this) and speaks about the connection between the real world and the mechanical bits we know as data. Worth your 17 minutes.

    People often miss this point about data — that it's a representation of the physical world — and because of that, things like uncertainty and complexity come attached to the numbers. There are also actual human beings associated with a lot of data. So while optimization, maximization, and efficiency are well and good, stories, ethics, and lessons are pretty good takeaways, too.

    Update: Don't miss the unexpected discussion around data and capitalism.

    [Jer Thorp]

  • Tracking the grizzly bear in emotional interactive documentary

    February 6, 2012  |  Data Art

    Bear71

    In a blend of data and storytelling, Jeremy Mendes and Leanne Allison dig into surveillance logs generated by a monitored grizzly bear between 2001 and 2009. The final work is a moving interactive documentary, Bear 71.

    She lived her life under near-constant surveillance and was continually stressed by interactions with the human world. She was tracked and logged as data, reflecting the way we have come to see the world around us through Tron and Matrix-like filters, qualifying and quantifying everything, rather than experiencing and interacting.

    Leanne Allison sifted through thousands of photos from motion-triggered trail cameras for this project. The grainy images gathered over the past 10 years by various scientists reveal the hidden life of the forest, played out by the animals and humans — including Bear 71 — captured covertly on film.

    It begins with the capture of a grizzly, its tagging, and then release, as a first-person narrative tells a story through the eyes of the bear. You, the observer, are allowed to follow the bear and explore its environment on an abstract map, and somewhere along the way digital and the physical world melt together.

    [Bear 71 via @wiederkehr]

  • Cinemetrics creates a visual fingerprint for movies

    January 12, 2012  |  Data Art

    Cinemtrics Fingerprints

    As we saw with movie barcodes, each film has a uniqueness that can be broken into bits of data. Cinemetrics, by Frederic Brodbeck, provides a different view.
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  • Bach Cello Suites visualized

    December 8, 2011  |  Data Art

    As a resident at Eyebeam, Alexander Chen visualizes the first Prelude from Bach’s Cello Suites:

    Using the mathematics behind string length and pitch, it came from a simple idea: what if all the notes were drawn as strings? Instead of a stream of classical notation on a page, this interactive project highlights the music’s underlying structure and subtle shifts.

    Interaction version here. Charming.

    [Alexander Chen via @blprnt]

  • Smiley installation shows the mood of a city

    December 2, 2011  |  Data Art

    Smiley in the city

    Project Stimmungsgasometer (say what?) is a giant smiley face that changes based on the mood of Berlin citizens. When they are collectively "happy" the light is a smile, and when they are not, it is a sad face. Input comes from facial recognition software that takes in video from a strategically placed camera. The software estimates whether passers by are happy or not, and then installation changes accordingly.
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  • Google Streetview stop motion

    November 24, 2011  |  Data Art

    Address is Approximate by Tom Jenkins tells the story of a lonely desk toy who goes on a road trip with Google streetview. I've watched this multiple times, and can't get enough. Beautiful and touching. [via]

  • History of the sky

    November 21, 2011  |  Data Art

    Ken Murphy installed a camera on top of the Exploratorium in San Francisco and set it to take a picture every ten seconds for a year. A History of the Sky is those pictures as a series of time-lapse movies where each day is represented with a grid. So what you see 360 skies at once:

    Time-lapse movies are compelling because they give us a glimpse of events that are continually occurring around us, but at a rate normally far too slow to for us to observe directly. A History of the Sky enables the viewer to appreciate the rhythms of weather, the lengthening and shortening of days, and other atmospheric events on an immediate aesthetic level: the clouds, fog, wind, and rain form a rich visual texture, and sunrises and sunsets cascade across the screen.

    Time-lapse: Yep, still fascinating.

    [murphlab via Data Pointed]

  • 24 hours of Flickr photos printed to fill a room

    November 15, 2011  |  Data Art

    24hrs of Flickr

    People upload thousands of pictures to Flickr every day, but the numbers and rates don't give the picture count justice. For the Future of Photography Museum in Amsterdam, Erik Kessels printed 24 hours of Flickr photos:

    As you might imagine, this results in a lot of images, that fill the gallery space in an avalanche of photos. "We're exposed to an overload of images nowadays," says Kessels. "This glut is in large part the result of image-sharing sites like Flickr, networking sites like Facebook, and picture-based search engines. Their content mingles public and private, with the very personal being openly and un-selfconsciously displayed. By printing all the images uploaded in a 24-hour period, I visualise the feeling of drowning in representations of other peoples' experiences."

    [Creative Review via Waxy]

  • Manual data design from Stefanie Posavec

    November 9, 2011  |  Data Art

    Designer Stefanie Posavec talks about her process of data collection, analysis, and design. There's a lot of advantages to knowing how to program, but there can also be value in meticulous manual discovery if you're willing to put in that extra time.

    Of course, it's still all about the data:

    So what inspires this level of analysis? "I'm interested in things that appeal to the really vigorous detailed aspect in me," she explains. "Everything I have done so far has revolved around things that I love such as books, language, maths and numbers. As long as I'm looking at something that I'm really interested in, it makes the days and hours of sifting through and analysing a subject easier."

    [Stefanie Posavec via feltron]

  • Microsoft envisions the near future in technology and interaction

    November 3, 2011  |  Data Art

    In a follow-up to last year's visions of the future, Microsoft imagines interacting with data and information in 2020. It is the land of big displays, linked devices, and projections in the real world. It's mostly from a productivity standpoint, but there's crossover to the everyday.

    To be honest though, all I really want are power laces, a self-drying coat, a flying car, and rehydrating pizza. I wouldn't mind a hover board either, but it's not urgent. I don't think that's too much to ask. I can deal with not being able to flick graphs in the air if it means getting the important things sooner.

    [Video Link via @juiceanalytics]

  • Facebook connections displayed in physical space

    October 20, 2011  |  Data Art

    Facebook connections

    For Facebook's F8 developer conference, creative agency Obscura Digital delivered the Connections installation. People could log in and see how they related to others through the eyes of circular visuals projected on the ground:

    Once “logged in” to Connections, a radial visualization, constructed from the user’s social graph data, surrounds them creating a unique “fingerprint”. Colored lines extend from the circles connecting people who share one or more of the observed metrics (mutual friends, interests, workplaces, schools, locations, birth sign, or non-English languages). When two or more people, who have mutual connections, stand within close proximity, a slideshow of mutual friends and interests appear between them.

    See it in action below. Take it a bit further, and I bet this could be a fun game. Or a novelty in a nerdy bar.
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  • #thankyousteve

    October 7, 2011  |  Data Art

    thank you steve

    Twitter engineer Miguel Rios pays tribute to the man, the legend. Zoomed out you see the portrait of Steve Jobs. Zoom in, and you see public tweets tagged with #thankyousteve sent out over a four and a half hour period on the evening of October 5. Tweets are ordered by number of retweets, left to right and top to bottom.
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  • Twitter users as organisms, Tweetures

    October 6, 2011  |  Data Art

    Tweetures

    Twitter is a bustling place of tweets, retweets, and replies, and the growth and spread of news can be very organic. After all, there are actual human beings using the service. Kunal Anand, Director of Technology at the BBC, played on this idea of Twitter as an ecosystem and created Tweetures.
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  • Live data wall and immersive film at THINK exhibit

    September 28, 2011  |  Data Art

    Data Wall

    The THINK exhibit from IBM just opened up at Lincoln Center in New York, complete with data wall and immersive film. The former visualizes surrounding data in real-time, such as traffic, solar energy, and air quality. The formers puts you in a place with 40 seven-foot screens.
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Unless otherwise noted, graphics and words by me are licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC. Contact original authors for everything else.