• Art reproduction incongruencies

    May 12, 2011  |  Data Art


    When you think art reproduction, you probably think of something that looks almost identical to the original piece, but as Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viegas show in The Art of Reproduction, factors such as color and size can vary a lot:

    Curious just how far reproductions stray from each other, we began an investigation... For a set of famous artworks, we downloaded all the plausible copies we could find. Then we wrote software to reconstruct each artwork as a mosaic, a patchwork quilt where each patch comes from an individual copy.

    The above is a mosaic of reproductions of 21 Tears by Man Ray, and as you can see, the colors across reproductions span grayscale to green.

    Here's the reproduction for 22 Saints and Angels by Caravaggio. Again, notice the difference in shades. Edges aren't straight because different reproductions crop the original at different points.

    See the full gallery here.

    [The Art of Reproduction]

  • A century of deaths and a lot of fake blood

    May 12, 2011  |  Data Art

    100 years of world cuisine

    Rather than bars, bubbles, and dots, Clara Kayser-Bril, Nicolas Kayser-Bril, and Marion Kotlarski use jars, bottles, and bowls of fake blood to show deaths from 25 major conflicts in 100 years of world cuisine.

    Ten casualties. Ten million casualties. Our understanding of conflicts is often nothing more than a handful of digits, the more precise, the less meaningful. The anchor’s tone remains the same when talking about major wars or isolated outbursts of violence. The horror lays hidden beneath the rigidity of numbers. Figures give us knowledge, not meaning.

    We wanted to put a picture on these digits. A shocking, gory picture, like the reality of war. We wanted to give context, like a scale on which we could visualize each conflict next to the others.

    The idea is straightforward. More blood = more deaths during the corresponding conflict. What do you think—does the medium make the data more meaningful?

    The graphic is also available in print.

    [100 years of world cuisine via @moritz_stefaner]

  • Where the water resources are and where they go

    May 9, 2011  |  Data Art

    Drawing water

    Designer David Wicks compares rainfall against water consumption in his thesis project Drawing Water:

    Drawing Water is a constructed landscape shaped by the relationship between where water falls and where it’s consumed within the United States. It builds images to expose the reality that water is channeled, pumped, and siphoned to locations far from where it falls. Although the paths are imagined, Drawing Water is based on real data and it reveals a clear truth about water resources and use.

    The placement of each line represents a rainfall measurement, and the length and end placement is based on urban consumption. Lines pulled farther from its source change to black. The data comes from two sources: USGS for water consumption and NOAA/NWS for rainfall data provided.
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  • Straight lines are surprisingly hard to draw with a mouse

    March 18, 2011  |  Data Art

    Draw straight line

    Remember when you played Telephone as a kid? No matter how simple the message seemed to be in the beginning, the end result was a garbled mess of nonsense. This is the straight line-drawing version of Telephone by Clement Valla. Five hundred individuals were asked to trace a straight line, but there was one catch:

    Each new user only sees the latest line drawn, and can therefore only trace this latest imperfect copy. As the line is reproduced over and over, it changes and evolves&mdsah;kinks, trembling motions and errors are exaggerated through the process.

    Watch as a single straight lines turns into a mess of scribbles.
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  • Typographic world map and water colors

    March 14, 2011  |  Data Art

    Typographic Map and Water Colors

    Typographic maps are all the rage these days. Instead of drawing well-defined boundary lines, you substitute words or names, and the landscape shows up on its own. Nancy McCabe's maps, Charteis Graphein, are the latest addition to the genre. McCabe uses area names—oceans, countries, cities—for the letterpressed maps.
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  • History and origins of science fiction

    March 10, 2011  |  Data Art

    History and origins of science fiction

    Artist Ward Shelley maps the history of science fiction in painstaking detail. See the way big version here. Accurate?

    [Boing Boing via @brianboyer]

  • Entire movies compressed into single barcodes

    March 7, 2011  |  Data Art

    The Matrix compressed

    Choice of color in a movie can say a lot about what's going on in a scene. It sets the mood, changes the tone, indicates a change in point of view, so on and so forth, which is why moviebarcode is so fun to click through. The concept is simple. Take every frame in a movie and compress it into a sliver, and put them next to each other. Voilá. Movie barcode.
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  • Vincent van Gogh paintings as pie charts

    March 4, 2011  |  Data Art

    Vincent van Gogh as pie

    Arthur Buxton breaks down van Gogh paintings for a view of color schemes. My instincts tell me you are either loving this or hating it like the black plague.

    [Arthur Buxton via Flavorwire | Thanks, Elise]

  • Lego cartograms show immigration and migration

    March 3, 2011  |  Data Art

    Immigrants to the United States via LEGO

    LEGOs were my favorite toy growing up. This was back when the pieces came in buckets rather than the instruction-filled Star Wars sets that we see nowadays, so it was more about building whatever popped into your head. Good memories. In any case, Samuel Granados took a big ol' bucket of LEGOs and made some cartograms showing immigration and emigration in the Americas. Each piece represents 10,000 people.
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  • Painting with light to show WiFi networks

    February 27, 2011  |  Data Art

    Light painting

    WiFi is everywhere, floating and whirling around us somehow, but where is it really? In Immaterials: Light painting WiFi, Timo Arnall, Jørn Knutsen and Einar Sneve Martinussen use a rod of blinking lights to visualize signal strength in their college town.

    In order to study the spatial and material qualities of wireless networks, we built a WiFi measuring rod that visualises WiFi signal strength as a bar of lights. When moved through space the rod displays changes in the WiFi signal. Long-exposure photographs of the moving rod reveal cross sections of a network’s signal strength.

    The stronger the signal strength, the more lights that illuminate in that specific spot, updating as the walker/carrier moves. Then using long-exposure photographs, the lights are recorded for beautiful results. Super simple concept, yet very effective. See the device in action in the video below.
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  • Data visualization meets game design to explore your digital life

    February 23, 2011  |  Data Art


    The list of one-off applications that visualize your digital life, whether it be your Twitter feed, Facebook updates, or Foursquare checkins, has been growing for a short while. Ben Cerveny and Tom Carden, both Stamen Design alumni, aim to take this idea to the next level with Bloom, with elements of game design.
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  • Data in a physical context

    February 16, 2011  |  Data Art

    Pie yamaca

    We've seen this sort of thing before, but it doesn't ever seem to get old. Peter Ørntoft takes some data and puts it into physical context:

    The project deals with data from a list of the social related interests of the Danish people. The list is the result of an opinion poll from a major consultancy company in Denmark. I have used the context of specific opinion polls within each interest to shape and design diagrams. By doing so the receiver understands more layers of information about the data.

    The graphics above and below show Danish opinion on whether it's ethical to wear religious symbols in public professions. At their core, they're just pie charts. Embed them on clothing relevant to the topic though, and somehow they become more than that.
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  • Reading the face of IBM’s Watson

    February 14, 2011  |  Data Art

    Face of Waston

    Tonight on Jeopardy, the first day of the IBM Watson challenge, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter will go up against IBM's super computer in the historic match of man versus machine. In place of a person, a computer screen with an animated graphic will stand representing Watson, but it's not just some random icon.

    The avatar is actually a work of generative art designed by Joshua Davis and implemented by Automata Studios. The avatar changes based on a number of factors such as confidence in an answer and question type for a total of 27 states. For example, when Watson enters an answer correctly, the swarm around the sphere flows to the top and turns green. When Watson answers incorrectly, the swarm turns orange and flows to the bottom.

    Get the full description and a sense of the process in the video below.
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  • Looking for other livable planets

    February 9, 2011  |  Data Art

    Kepler exoplanet candidates

    Jer Thorp, who has a knack for creating stuff that's both useful and beautiful, continues his string of impressive work with this visualization for Boing Boing (video below). It shows possibly habitable planets, according to Kepler data. For those unfamiliar, the Kepler mission is to find possible habitable planets, or more precisely:

    The challenge now is to find terrestrial planets (i.e., those one half to twice the size of the Earth), especially those in the habitable zone of their stars where liquid water and possibly life might exist.

    The visualization imagines if all the exoplanets were orbiting a single star, which is physically impossible, but allows for comparisons for size, temperature, and path. There are a few views, starting with the exoplanets orbiting and then the animation transitions to something that sort of looks like an exoplanet mountain and then into a bubble plot.
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  • Visualizing deletion discussions on Wikipedia

    January 11, 2011  |  Data Art

    Visualizing Wikipedia deletions

    Fact is not always clear cut. Sometimes fact is driven by opinion. People might have conflicting points of view or maybe the truth is simply unknown. We can see this via Wikipedia, where anyone can edit and create documents. Sometimes people propose that articles should be taken down, and if the proposal is approved, people can discuss. Dario Taraborelli, Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, and Moritz Stefaner have a look at the most active of these discussions.
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  • Dynamic sculpture brings weather into airport

    December 27, 2010  |  Data Art

    ecloud in the airport

    eCLOUD, conceived by Aaron Koblin, Nik Hafermaas, and Dan Goods, displays weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) via specialized liquid crystal displays, suspended from the ceilings of the San Jose International Airport.
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  • Minimalised consumer products

    December 23, 2010  |  Data Art

    nutella brand minimalist

    Antrepo wonders what it might be like if the labels on consumer products were stripped of all their flare and were to go semi-minimal and completely minimal.

    Obviously some of them wouldn't work from a practical perspective, because well, customers would have no idea what the product was, but from an information design and visualization perspective, it's fun to think about. Strip out the extraneous until you can strip no more.

    [Antrepo via theusrus]

  • Growth in visual culture via science magazine pages

    December 15, 2010  |  Data Art

    Popular science magazine

    William Huber, Tara Zepel, and Lev Manovich compare magazine pages of Science and Popular Science.

    In the first three decades of its publication, Popular Science used very few images. In fact, if we compare Science and Popular Science in the 1880s, we discover that the latter was at first more “scientific.” While photographs and illustrations accompanied Science articles, Popular Science used only occasional graphs. Over time the two magazines reverse their visual strategies. Science banishes photographs and illustrations as they come to be considered inappropriate for proper scientific discourse. Popular Science moves in reverse direction becoming highly visual.

    Above are pages from Popular Science from 1872 to 2007.
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  • Superheroes minimalized

    December 10, 2010  |  Data Art

    minimalism heroes

    Fabian Gonzalez goes minimalistic on superheroes. I like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I used to pretend I was Donatello, the smart inventer one. Although in retrospect I'm probably more like Raphael, the moody and irritable one. Available in print and shirt form. [Society6 via Data Pointed]

  • Picturing social order

    December 9, 2010  |  Data Art

    Shirt of social order

    Gareth Holt designed several charts and graphs for Rank: picturing the social order 1516-2009 at the Leeds Art Gallery. Above is a divided shirt that depicts the social classes. I guess you could call it a stacked shirt chart. There's another that uses forks. I call it picture with forks. [Gareth Holt via We Love Datavis]

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