• Editing photos as if they were audio files

    July 23, 2014  |  Data Art

    paris-echo

    Masuma Ahuja and Denise Lu for the Washington Post applied a technique called databending to a bunch of photos. The idea is that computer files — even though they represent different things like documents, images, and audio — encode data in one form or another. It's just that sound files encode beats, notes, and rhythms, whereas image files encode hue, saturation, and brightness. So when you treat image files as if they were audio, you get some interesting results.

    See Jamie Boulton's post from a couple of years ago for a detailed description on how to do this yourself with Audacity Effects.

  • Voter approval rates as butt plugs

    July 23, 2014  |  Data Art

    From a couple of years ago, but still relevant, I think. Matthew Epler took candidate approval ratings (again, this is from a little while ago), tossed them in a 3-D program, made the molds to match, and poured in some silicon. Boom. Butt plugs that represent data. It's called Grand Old Party.

    Epler describes his project best:

    Grand Old Party demonstrates that as a people united, our opinion has real volume. When we approve of a candidate, they swell with power. When we deem them unworthy, they are diminished and left hanging in the wind. We guard the gate! It opens and closes at our will. How wide is up to us.

    So true.

  • Filing cabinet follows people around, like a data trail

    July 3, 2014  |  Data Art

    Jaap de Maat, a graduate student at the Royal College of Art, rigged a filing cabinet to follow people around for his final project. It reminds people of the data traces we leave behind. It's called I know what you did last summer.

    It is physically impossible for the human brain to remember every event from our past in full detail. The default setting is to forget and our memories are constructed based on our current values. In the digital age it has become easier to look back with great accuracy. But this development contains hidden dangers, as those stored recollections can easily be misinterpreted and manipulated. That sobering thought should rule our online behaviour, because the traces we leave behind now will follow us around for ever.

    See more details on Wired.

  • Data Cuisine uses food as the medium

    July 2, 2014  |  Data Art

    Unemployed

    Ditch the computer screen for your data. It's all about the food. Moritz Stefaner and prozessagenten, process by art and design ran a second round of the Data Cuisine workshop to explore how food can be used as a medium to communicate data. Naturally, you've got your basic visual cues, but when you introduce food, you open lots more possibilities.

    [W]e have all kinds of sculptural 3D possibilities. We can work with taste — from the basic tastes of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami to complex combinations or hotness. There is texture — immensely important in cooking! Then we have all the cultural connotations of ingredients and dishes (potatoes, caviar, …). We can work with cooking parameters (e.g. baking temperature or duration). Or the temperature of the dish itself, when served!

    The above shows piece of bread shows youth unemployment in Spain. See more data dishes here.

  • Bass Shapes visualizes sound in hand-drawn style

    June 30, 2014  |  Data Art

    BassShapes

    Media artist Nick Hardeman's audio visualization app Bass Shapes was rejected by the Mac App Store because "it's not useful." So Hardeman released the software as a free OS X download instead. It's a beauty.

    The app takes in sound input from your microphone or an external audio source through Soundflower (also free), and the visuals come to life. Watching Bass Shapes, you'd swear that you were seeing a custom, hand-drawn animation that served as some kind of old-school-ish intro to an animated film. But you'd be wrong.

    Download Bass Shapes and try it yourself.

  • Crystal clusters of world data

    May 7, 2014  |  Data Art

    Artist Scott Kildall generates what he calls World Data Crystals by mapping data on a globe with cubes and clustering them algorithmically. He then produces the result in physical form for something like the piece below, which represents world population.

    World population crystal

  • Interactive visualization used as music video

    April 30, 2014  |  Data Art

    Music visualization from George and Jonathan

    George & Jonathan used an interactive audio visualization for their recent album George & Jonathan III. This is a fun one. You can rotate the camera as you like, as the full album plays and notes are represented with dashes and dots.

  • Audio visualizer made with matrix of fire

    April 25, 2014  |  Data Art

    The Pyro Board is a matrix of 2,500 flames that have controllable intensity, which can be used as an audio visualizer. Yeah, really. Just watch the video below.

    [via Colossal]

  • Human heartbeat

    March 26, 2014  |  Data Art

    Human heart beat

    Jen Lowe tracks her heart rate with a Basis watch, and she's showing the last 24 hours of that data in One Human Heartbeat.

    Basis doesn't provide an open API, so I access the data using a variation of this code. The heartrate you see is from 24 hours ago. This is because the data can only be accessed via usb connection. Twice a day I connect the watch and upload my latest heartrates to the database. I've been doing this for 33 days now.

    It's March 25, 2014, and statistics say I have about 16452 days left.

    On the surface, it's just a pulsating light on a screen, but somehow it feels like more than that. The countdown aspect makes me uneasy, as if I were watching a ticker on someone's life, or my own even. I want to keep watching though, because it continues to pulsate. It's hopeful.

  • Before and after lot vacancy

    March 6, 2014  |  Data Art

    vacated

    Justin Blinder used New York's city planning dataset and Google Streetview for a before and after view of vacant lots.

    Vacated mines and combines different datasets on vacant lots to present a sort of physical facade of gentrification, one that immediately prompts questions by virtue of its incompleteness: “Vacated by whom? Why? How long had they been there? And who’s replacing them?” Are all these changes instances of gentrification, or just some? While we usually think of gentrification in terms of what is new or has been displaced, Vacated highlights the momentary absence of such buildings, either because they’ve been demolished or have not yet been built. All images depicted in the project are both temporal and ephemeral, since they draw upon image caches that will eventually be replaced.

  • An exploration of selfies

    February 25, 2014  |  Data Art

    Selfie City

    Selfiecity, from Lev Manovich, Moritz Stefaner, and a small group of analysts and researchers, is a detailed visual exploration of 3,200 selfies from five major cities around the world. The project is both a broad look at demographics and trends, as well as a chance to look closer at the individual observations.
    Continue Reading

  • What a computer sees while watching movies

    January 28, 2014  |  Data Art

    Benjamin Grosser visualized how computers "watch" movies through vision algorithms and artificial intelligence in Computers Watching Movies.

    Computers Watching Movies was computationally produced using software written by the artist. This software uses computer vision algorithms and artificial intelligence routines to give the system some degree of agency, allowing it to decide what it watches and what it does not. Six well-known clips from popular films are used in the work, enabling many viewers to draw upon their own visual memory of a scene when they watch it.

    Above is the bag scene from American Beauty. Contrast this with the more frantic Inception scene, and you get a good idea of how it works. See computer-watching scenes for several more movies here.

  • Bird flight paths

    January 23, 2014  |  Data Art

    Dennis Hlynsky, an artist and a professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, recorded videos of flying birds and in post-processing shows previous flight positions for less than a second. The results are beautiful. It's like the video version of long-exposure photography.

    This is just one video in the series. Also see this, this, and this. [via Colossal]

  • Highway traffic reorganized by color

    December 20, 2013  |  Data Art

    In the video above, filmmaker Cy Kuckenbaker reorganized midday traffic by color. No computer-generated elements required.

    In this new video I took a four minute shot of state highway 163, which is San Diego's first freeway then removed the time between cars passing and reorganized them according to color. I was curious to see what the city’s car color palette looked like when broken down. We are a car culture after all. I was surprised that the vast majority of cars are colorless: white, gray and black. The bigger surprise though was just how many cars passed in four minutes of what looked like light traffic: 462 cars.

  • Your life in jellybeans

    November 27, 2013  |  Data Art

    Using the effective jellybean method, Ze Frank describes the finite time we have. Each bean represents a day in the life of an average person.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

  • Roomba traces

    November 6, 2013  |  Data Art

    Radiolab roomba art

    We've seen what happens when you turn on a Roomba and track its vacuum path with long-exposure photography. The LED on top provides a point of focus, and the visual represents an odd blend of chaos and order. Above is what happens when you set different colored LEDs on seven Roombas and let them loose. Don't miss all the other (clean) messes in the Flickr pool. [via Radiolab]

  • Beauty of mathematics

    October 28, 2013  |  Data Art

    Betrand Russell: "Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music." Yann Pineill and Nicolas Lefaucheux demonstrate in the video above. An equation appears on the left, a diagram in the middle, and the real-life version on the right.

  • Impressive exploration of projection mapping

    September 26, 2013  |  Data Art

    Projection mapping is the art of using physical objects as display surfaces and turning them into something else visually. This video of Box is an impressive demonstration of the technology.

    "Box" explores the synthesis of real and digital space through projection-mapping on moving surfaces. The short film documents a live performance, captured entirely in camera. Bot & Dolly produced this work to serve as both an artistic statement and technical demonstration. It is the culmination of multiple technologies, including large scale robotics, projection mapping, and software engineering. We believe this methodology has tremendous potential to radically transform theatrical presentations, and define new genres of expression.

    I would've thought this was CGI if I didn't know any better.

  • Treemap art

    September 11, 2013  |  Data Art

    Treemap art

    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]

  • Beach Boys vocals visualized

    August 14, 2013  |  Data Art

    Alexander Chen visualized "You Still Believe in Me" by the Beach Boys.

    This is a visualization of Beach Boys vocals inspired by the physics of church bells. Using a mathematical relationship between a the circumference of a circular surface and pitch, I wrote code that draws a circle for each note of the song.

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