• A Little Bit of Design Goes a Long Way With Infographics

    March 27, 2008  |  Data Art, Design

    If I've learned anything about designing information graphics, it's that attention to detail and small changes make a mediocre graphic into a really useful and usually more attractive one. It's what sets New York Times graphics apart from those in other publications and especially those in academic papers. Something like a short annotation can add context or a line shifted slightly to the left can make data look less cluttered.
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  • Interact With the Atlas of Electromagnetic Space

    March 16, 2008  |  Data Art

    Jose Luis Vicente and Irma Vilà, in collaboration with Bestiario, have created an interactive installation in Flash that allows you to explore the radio spectrum - the electromagnetic space covering signals from radio and television to GPS, bluetooth, and mobile phones. The piece represents a database of projects and services (in the the radio spectrum) developed over the past decade.
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  • A World of Information in Data-driven Art – Not Your Grandma’s Dashboard

    March 12, 2008  |  Data Art

    Wired Magazine recently did a feature on data-driven art.

    The above image is Jason Salavon's work that shows U.S. population by county. The technically-minded readers might be thinking, "I don't get it. What am I seeing here? I don't even know what county has the greatest population." I understand where you're coming from, but hey, it's art not a status update.
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  • 4 Data Visualizations That Inspired Me to Learn More

    March 11, 2008  |  Data Art

    I've dabbled quite a bit throughout my academic career. I started in computer science, then electrical engineering, and then statistics. I also considered a future in business, environmental science, civil engineering, and urban planning, but I've finally settled on a combination of statistics and design -- data visualization.

    Here are the 4 visualizations that got me interested and left me wanting more.
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  • Hope Floats in Online Dating – I Want You to Want Me By Harris and Kamvar

    February 29, 2008  |  Data Art

    Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar collaborated again in their featured piece at New York Museum of Modern Art's Design of the Elastic Mind exhibit. Similar in flavor to their previous work, I Want You to Want Me explores the search for love and for self in the online dating world i.e. data collected from various online dating sites every few hours.
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  • Spamology From Visualizar is Available for Exploration

    February 13, 2008  |  Data Art

    Spamology, by Irad Lee, was one of favorite projects at the Visualizar Workshop, and it's now available online for others to play with. I talked about Spamology a little bit when the showcase was officially opened in Madrid, but the piece wasn't online yet.
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  • Visualization of Smiling Faces – Microsoft Live / Operation Smile

    January 28, 2008  |  Data Art

    For the re-launch of the Microsoft Windows Live platform, Firstborn created a generative art installation taking thousands of smiling faces and placing them into a 3-D world. It was an outdoor installation (done in Processing) projected on a seven-story sphere, and I am sure it wowed a whole lot of people. It's definitely amazing me, and all I'm seeing are screenshots and a demo.

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  • A Primer on Information and Data Visualization

    January 14, 2008  |  Data Art

    On We Make Money Not Art is a summary of Jose-Luis's talk on some of the history of visualizing data and some more modern pieces.

    It begins with Charles Joseph Minard's march of Napoleon and then onto John Snow's cholera map, both of which were made ever so popular by Tufte. By now, if you've cracked open an infovis book, you've seen both.

    Moving on to more modern stuff, there's The Dumpster, 10x10, Listening Post among some other interesting pieces. If you're new to visualization, it's a good "intro to vis" post. If you've been around for a while, you've probably seen most of the examples, but there might be a couple you haven't.

    On a semi-related note, there's also an interview with Miguel on WMMNA discussing our humanflows project. Thanks, Regine!

  • Sit Back and Relax with Casual Information Visualization

    December 28, 2007  |  Data Art

    Zachary Pousman et al. write in their paper Casual Information Visualization: Depictions of Data in Everyday Life

    Information visualization has often focused on providing deep insight for expert user populations and on techniques for amplifying cognition through complicated interactive visual models. This paper proposes a new subdomain for infovis research that complements the focus on analytic tasks and expert use. Instead of work-related and analytically driven infovis, we propose Casual Information Visualization (or Casual Infovis) as a complement to more traditional infovis domains. Traditional infovis systems, techniques, and methods do not easily lend themselves to the broad range of user populations, from expert to novices, or from work tasks to more everyday situations.

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  • Man Takes a Picture of Himself Every Day for 6 Years

    December 19, 2007  |  Data Art, Self-surveillance

    Noah Kalina took a picture of himself every day for six years (and still going); above is all of the pictures put together into a time lapse. Now that's diligence.

    When I was collecting my own step data with a pedometer, I would constantly forget, and eventually, I just got bored with it. I think my interest faded because collecting one number per day wasn't satisfying enough. This on the other hand, seems more personal, it takes a little less effort, and it only takes a second to take a picture, and like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. String them together and you get a story.
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  • News Flowing Through Moveable Type at The New York Times Building

    November 13, 2007  |  Data Art

    Every day during the summer I walked past "Moveable Type" in The New York Times lobby. Since my adviser was one of the people working on it, I had the privilege to see it up close before the actual opening.

    The picture is nice, but it's nothing like standing there and experiencing the news. It's especially nice to be in the middle of the two walls of panels (there's a panel behind the photographer) and you get bits and pieces of the day's paper and archive coming at you visually and um, auditorily. These bits and pieces are coming parsed from the paper in an intelligent (statistical) way. Listen to the NPR clip below to find out more. There's also a video on The Times page.

    Really, really great. Or as my adviser would say, "so sexy." If you're ever in the area, you should definitely take a look.

  • How Do You Visualize Time in a Drawing?

    October 18, 2007  |  Data Art

    Icastic has a fun (and growing) collection of (currently) 247 hand-drawings from contributors who have shown how they see time. Some are very detailed works of art while others are concise sketches. From words, objects, to people, the collection is a nice spectrum of imagination.

  • Showing Large Numbers to Scale

    September 10, 2007  |  Data Art

    Chris Jordan's series, Running the Numbers: An American Portrait, just opened this weekend in Los Angeles at the Paul Kepeikin Gallery. Chris depicts large numbers in a way that we can see, because oftentimes, big numbers are hard to imagine. For example, he recreates Georges Seurat's famous painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, in the form of 106,000 aluminum cans -- the number used in the US every thirty seconds. There are others like the number of plastic bags used every three seconds (60,000) and the number of brown paper supermarket bags used every hour (1.14 million).

    If you're in the area, it should definitely be worth going. I wish I could. As Chris notes, it's one of those series that you have to see in person to get the full effect. The shear size of each piece allows you to feel the largeness of it all.

  • Visualization of Taste Explosions from Ratatouille

    July 11, 2007  |  Data Art

    Ratatouille Visualization

    By now, I'm sure everyone has heard of Pixar's most recent movie, Ratatouille. If you haven't seen it, I HIGHLY recommend it. Not only is it beautiful animation and a nice story, but it's about food. I love Pixar. There are a few scenes in the movie when the main character, Remy, and his brother, Emile, are eating and experiencing the taste of some exquisite cheese.

    There was pretty taste visualization going on done by Michel Gagne.

    Around 1400 drawings were created for the animation. Each one was scanned, painted and composited using two softwares: Animo and Photoshop.

    That's a lot of hand drawings, but quite nice results. Good job, Michel.

  • Increasing Energy Awareness Through Design

    June 26, 2007  |  Data Art

    The folks with STATIC!, a project led by the Interactive Institute in Switzerland, have been working on some really cool stuff. Their research is focused on interactive design that not only brings brings up energy awareness, but makes people want to change their behaviors.

    One of their projects, the Flower Lamp, was chosen as one of the best inventions of 2006 by Time Magazine.

    lampa.jpg

    Basically, when a lot of energy is being used in a house, the lamp closes. When less energy is being used, the light opens, so to make the lamp more beauty, there has to be a change in behavior by the consumer. I haven't been able to figure out where the energy data is coming from though. Probably some separate mechanism that hooks into the power gauge in the garage.

    There's plenty of other STATIC! projects like the Power Aware Cord, Appearing Pattern Wallpaper, and the Energy Curtain. Some of their stuff seems more art than anything else, but still very cool.

    It would be interesting to put a more data-centric spin to these STATIC! projects.

    Hmm... I'll have to think about this one.

    Anyhow, the theme across all projects is certainly important as I progress -- producing visualizations that increase awareness and motivate people to change their behavior, even if just by a little bit.

Unless otherwise noted, graphics and words by me are licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC. Contact original authors for everything else.