• Radiohead Music Video by Capturing and Rendering 3D Data

    July 15, 2008  |  Data Art

    Radiohead's most recent music video, House of Cards, was made entirely without cameras. Instead the setup involved a rotating scanner, lasers, and lots of 3D data. The music video is all of that 3D data rendered.

    No cameras or lights were used. Instead two technologies were used to capture 3D images: Geometric Informatics and Velodyne LIDAR. Geometric Informatics scanning systems produce structured light to capture 3D images at close proximity, while a Velodyne Lidar system that uses multiple lasers is used to capture large environments such as landscapes. In this video, 64 lasers rotating and shooting in a 360 degree radius 900 times per minute produced all the exterior scenes.

    Check out the "making of" video for a better explanation that I can provide. I like the part when they talk about distorting the data on purpose because, uh, well that's something we usually try not to do.

    Here's the final result. There are some really beautiful scenes where the "camera" pans a landscape and it sorta blows away in a billowy wind like a house of cards.

    [Thanks, Jason]

  • Hacking the Coffee Maker – Caffeine Viewer

    June 30, 2008  |  Data Art, Self-surveillance

    The colmeia group recently installed their Caffeine Viewer project where they hacked their coffee maker to log their "insane coffee consumption" in real-time. Every time a person presses a button on the coffee maker data are logged, but there's a slight twist - the data are available to everyone via the caffeinated API. That's some serious self-surveillance. There are also a few visualizations, but mainly, they invite others to create their own.
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  • An Experiment in Organic Software Visualization

    June 19, 2008  |  Data Art

    This organic visualization, code_swarm by Michael Ogawa from UC Davis, has been making the rounds on the Web lately, and rightfully so. The data: history of commits to a software project. However, instead of focusing on the actual code, the spotlight is on the relationships between developers and their code.

    Watch as developers commit code to the repository, the types of files they commit, and watch the life-like organism grow. Below is a video demo of code_swarm that shows the development of the Eclipse IDE:

    The way code swarms, flashing and zooming towards its developer, provides a very human aspect to something that can often feel cold, mechanical, and lifeless. Just one of the many reasons why I love data visualization.

    [Thanks, Simon]

  • Personal Visualization for the Obsessive Compulsive

    June 11, 2008  |  Data Art

    Ash Spurr, in a project to try to understand Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, took inventory of and categorized every distinguishable object in his bedroom - books, DVDs, CDs, documents, storage bins... It's a simple idea yet really interesting. OCD - yet another example for you to take part and enjoy our summer project. What does your room look like in data?

    [Thanks, Tim]

  • Watch TED Talks in Sphere Form – TEDSphere

    June 2, 2008  |  Data Art

    The Bestiario design group seems to have been busy lately. Their latest project, TEDSphere, unsurprisingly, places the ever-so-popular TED talks series in a spherical space. You can watch TED talks from both inside and outside of the sphere, which is pretty cool.

    inside tedsphere

    Talks are connected with lines to show relationships between lectures. Originally, I thought relationships were talks with similar tags, but I clicked around, and that doesn't seem to be case, so I'm not immediately sure.

    Similar Look and Feel

    TEDSphere has a similar look and feel to Bestiario's previous works with the 3D browsing and connections, which is nice and often provides smooth browsing experience. Although I wish the 3D environment could be rendered a bit more smoothly. Edges and connecting lines always look so coarse. It's probably a limitation of the Flash environment, but if that could be accomplished, these 3D projects could look that much better and feel less alpha.

  • Flickr Tags and Pictures as a Universe – Tag Galaxy

    May 29, 2008  |  Data Art

    Steven Wood's thesis project, Tag Galaxy is a beautiful piece of work to visualize Flickr tags and pictures. Type whatever tag you want, and the results are organized with your tag as the sun and related tags as orbiting planets. Rotate and browse the galaxy to view pictures with the corresponding tag. Above was the result that I got after inputting "visualization".
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  • Love, Hate, Think, Believe, Feel and Wish on Twitter

    April 30, 2008  |  Data Art

    Inspired by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar's We Feel Fine, and using data from summize, twistori shows what people love, hate, think, believe, feel, and wish for on Twitter. Given the conversational feel of Twitter, twistori shows an almost natural flow of emotion and like Twittervision, is sort of mesmerizing.

    [via Twitter]

  • Personal Transactions as a Network Graph Over Time

    April 8, 2008  |  Data Art

    Transactions Graph, by Burak Arikan, is a piece placing personal transactions in network graph. Each node represents a transaction while connections (or edges) shows a relationship between transactions based on time and spending category. The thicker the edge the greater the total of the two connected transactions. Viewers are also able to scroll through time to watch how transactions evolve.
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  • Regularities and Patterns Within a Literary Space

    April 7, 2008  |  Data Art

    Stefanie Posavec, maps literary works at the Sheffield Galleries On the Map exhibit. There are several parts to Stefanie's piece mapping sentence length, writing style, and structure. From the looks of things, it looks like the parsing process was manual and involved a lot of highlighting and circling of things. I could be wrong though. For some reason, long and manual labor makes me appreciate things more.
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  • 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.

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