• 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.

  • Listening to Zen-like Wikipedia edits

    August 12, 2013  |  Data Art

    Listen to Wikipedia

    It's easy to think of online activity as a whirlwind of chatter and battles for loudest voice, because, well, a lot of it is that. We saw it just recently with the burst of emojis and what happens in just one second online. But maybe that's because people tend to present the bits that way. Stephen LaPorte and Mahmoud Hashemi approached it differently in Listen to Wikipedia.

    The project is an abstract visualization and sonification of the Wikipedia feed for recent changes, which includes additions, deletions, and new users. Bells, strings, and a rich tone represent the activities, respectively. Unlike other projects that attempt to hit you with an overwhelmed feeling, Listen oddly provides a calm. I left the tab open in the background for half an hour.

    Listen is open source.

  • A study of quantified emotion

    July 31, 2013  |  Data Art

    Mike Pelletier experimented with quantified emotion in his piece Parametric Expression. This is what you get when you break facial expressions and mannerisms into bits: part human, part creepy.

    [via Boing Boing]

  • Physics of love

    July 24, 2013  |  Data Art

    Louise Ma, along with Chris Parker and Lola Kalman, started a six-part short video series on what love looks like. Above is the first one. This is part of an ongoing project that Ma started last year, and it's still going strong.

  • GPS shoes show you the way home

    July 23, 2013  |  Data Art

    GPS shoes

    Inspired by The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy clicks her heels to get home, artist Dominic Wilcox created "No Place Like Home," a pair of GPS shoes to show you the way.
    Continue Reading

  • Movie sounds

    July 17, 2013  |  Data Art

    Moviesound is a goofy yet charming look at sounds in movies. Imagine sound waves visualized and then replace some of the spikes with illustrations that have to do with the movie of interest, and there you go. The project is mostly static posters, but the handful of short videos are the best. Here's the sound of Darth Vader breathing:

    The Jurassic Park poster is pretty good too.

  • Sensory augmentation device

    May 23, 2013  |  Data Art

    We've seen plenty of augmented reality where you put on some digitally-enabled glasses or point your camera phone on something and visuals are overlaid on reality. The augmentation is typically a layer on top.

    Eidos is a student project that tries taking this in a different direction. One piece applies an effect similar to long-exposure photography, and the other sends audio to your inner ear to focus on a subject and drown out ambient noise. See the devices in action in the video below.

    [via FastCo]

  • Putting today into perspective

    May 9, 2013  |  Data Art

    Here is today

    When you focus on all the small events and decisions that happen throughout a single day, those 24 hours can seem like an eternity. Graphic designer Luke Twyman turned that around in Here is Today. It's a straightforward interactive that places one day in the context of all days ever.

    You start at today, and as you move forward, the days before this one appear, until today is reduced to a one-pixel sliver on the screen and doesn't seem like much at all.

  • Color signatures for classic novels

    May 6, 2013  |  Data Art

    Jaz Parkinson made color signatures for classic novels. Basically, mentions of colors were tabulated and the results are shown as stacked bars, so it's fairly basic, but if you know the novels, these will mean something to you. For example, here are the signatures for Alice in Wonderland and Of Mice and Men.

    Alice in Wonderland Continue Reading

  • Glowing landscape shows river history

    May 3, 2013  |  Data Art

    DOGAMI Willamette

    The poster by Daniel E. Coe shows the life-like historical flows of the Willamette River in Oregon.

    This lidar-derived digital elevation model of the Willamette River displays a 50-foot elevation range, from low elevations (displayed in white) fading to higher elevations (displayed in dark blue). This visually replaces the relatively flat landscape of the valley floor with vivid historical channels, showing the dynamic movements the river has made in recent millennia. This segment of the Willamette River flows past Albany near the bottom of the image northward to the communities of Monmouth and Independence at the top. Near the center, the Luckiamute River flows into the Willamette from the left, and the Santiam River flows in from the right.

    Only $15 in print. [Thanks, Larry]

  • Time-lapse: Package shipped with a hidden camera

    April 18, 2013  |  Data Art

    Designer Ruben van der Vleuten was curious about the shipping process, so he did what anyone would do. He installed a camera in a cardboard box and shipped it to himself. Below is a time-lapse video of the package's journey.

    [via Co.Design]

  • Wall shelf represents water in snowpack

    April 5, 2013  |  Data Art

    Snow Water Equivalent Cabinet

    Melting snowpacks feed into streams and rivers and serve as a source of water for nearby communities. The Snow Water Equivalent Cabinet by artist Adrien Segal represents the amount of water in snowpack in Ebbetts Pass, California.

    Each drawer is one year of data for a total of 31 years - 1980 - 2010. The size of the drawer is directly related to the amount of water stored in the snowpack for the given year. Some of the drawers are so shallow that they are barely functional. Wet years have larger drawers.

    I understand the metaphor behind the limited functionality at low water points, but a totally functional version would be a sexy piece in a studio. Snow Water is currently on display at the Richmond Art Center as part of the Innovations in Contemporary Crafts exhibition until June 1. [Thanks, Michael]

  • A visualization of pi for high school math students

    March 22, 2013  |  Data Art

    On Kickstarter: A project that uses a visualization of pi to connect Brooklyn high school students to their community.

    They've already made a histogram of emotions in their school's hallway and a stacked area chart mural at a nearby senior center. Next up is a wall currently covered in graffiti.

    In Math class, students will construct the golden spiral based on the Fibonacci Sequence and begin to explore the relationship between the golden ratio and Pi. The number Pi will be represented in a color-coded graph within the golden spiral. In this, the numbers will be seen as color blocks that vary in size proportionately within the shrinking space of the spiral, allowing us to visualize the shape of Pi and it's negative space.

    Backed.

  • The world as one city

    March 8, 2013  |  Data Art

    Urbanism of the world

    When we build models of the world, we often think of it broken down into pieces, such as cities, counties, and countries. In their newly funded project The City of 7 Billion, architects Joyce Hsiang and Bimal Mendis aim to model the world as one city, to study the impact of population growth on the environment and natural resources on a larger scale.

    Every corner of the planet, they argue, is "urban" in some sense, touched by farming that feeds cities, pollution that comes out of them, industrialization that has made urban centers what they are today. So why not think of the world as a single urban entity?

    Hsiang and Mendis don't yet know exactly what this will look like (that is the question, Mendis says). But they are planning to seed their geo-spatial model with worldwide data on population growth, economic and social indicators, topography, ecology and more. Ultimately, they hope, other researchers will be able to use the open-source platform for research on development patterns or air quality; the public will be able to use it to grasp the implications of building in a flood plain or implementing an energy policy; and architects will be able to use it to view the world as if it were a single project site.

    Along with a slew of other challenges I am sure, one of the big ones is finding comparable data at high granularity. Large cities tend to track (and hopefully release) data about what's going, but once you step out of the major areas, data grows scarce.

    They started with population, which was transformed into the physical installation above.

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