• Fun With Words that Collectively Make Pictures

    January 19, 2009  |  Data Art

    People have fallen in love with word clouds that make pictures. Zoom in and you see a bunch of individual words. Zoom out and you see a famous person's face. It is a dictionary or a portrait? Mystical. TBWA/Chiat/Day, an advertising agency in Nashville, Tennessee of all places, brings the concept to promotion for the 2009 Grammy Awards - in animated form. Float through the cloud of songs and lo and behold, it's Stevie Wonder.

    It's only a matter of time until someone creates the next version of Wordle. Let people upload a picture and some words and then charge people a few bucks for a printed poster. It'd be a huge hit. It's the perfect gift I tells ya. I'm looking at you, Jeff. We need to talk.

    [via uncovering data]

  • Sculptural Data Visualization – Stock Market and GDP

    December 17, 2008  |  Data Art

    anfischer_fundament_1

    In his latest data sculptures, Andreas Nicolas Fischer places data visualization in a physical space when we're so used to seeing it on a computer monitor. Above is a piece of two layers - the bottom is gross domestic product for 2007 (made of plywood) and the top maps "the derivatives volume, alloted to the coordinates of the countries on a map." I don't know what derivatives volume and I probably should, but I'm too lazy to look it up (a lil' help please?).
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  • Typographic Illustration for Jay-Z’s ‘Brooklyn Go Hard’

    December 4, 2008  |  Data Art

    Evan Roth from the Graffiti Research Lab, uses typographic illustration in Jay-Z's music video for Brooklyn Go Hard. As the song plays out, we see sketches of Jay-Z drawn using Brooklyn (sort of what we saw from Jeff at Neoformix). It's quite the work of art:

    You can download the source code for the video from Evan's site, which is pretty cool too.

    [via Animal | Thanks, Max]

  • Visualization Projects from Database City – Visualizar’08

    December 2, 2008  |  Data Art, Mapping

    This is a guest post by Greg J. Smith, a Toronto-based designer and researcher. Greg writes about design, visualization and digital culture on his personal blog Serial Consign.

    A few weeks ago the second edition of the Visualizar workshop wrapped up at Medialab-Prado in Madrid. In curating the event this year, organizer José Luis de Vicente selected urban informatics as the focus of research and visualization development. Partially inspired by Cascade on Wheels (a project created at the workshop last year), the Visualizar mandate was in line with contemporary thinking about the city where the street is viewed as a platform and urban space is considered a DIY enterprise. Visualizar'08 brought together a range of programmers, designers, architects, illustrators and scholars to participate in a seminar on contemporary thinking about the city and then bunker down to "rapid prototype" seven visualization projects over a two-week period.
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  • Explore Your Feeds in a Cloud of Posts – RSS Voyage

    November 26, 2008  |  Data Art

    I'm not exactly sure what I'm seeing here, but Voyage, by Andy Biggs, is an abstract RSS reader that places posts in a 3D cloud. As you click on items, you can drill down further to later posts. You can also use the up and down keys on the keyboard or the scroll wheel on your mouse. (The latter isn't working for me right now.) For example, press up and you'll see earlier posts from your subscribed feeds. The horizontal placement doesn't seem to have any significance.

    It's probably best to take Voyager for what it is. After all it was just meant to be an experiment in 3D Flash. It's pretty to look at and fun to play with, but not so much about practicality.

    [via can't remember]

  • Mmm, Chocolate Pie… Chart

    November 18, 2008  |  Data Art

    In the spirit of turning pie charts into food, Mary and Matt kick it up a notch with some design and 5.5 ounces of chocolate. It's a chocolate pie chart of 70% milk chocolate, 20% dark, and 10% white. Get yours today for just 20 bucks. It looks delicious.

    [via swissmiss]

  • Word Portraits of Famous People – Einstein and Ginger the Cockapoo

    November 18, 2008  |  Data Art

    Jeff Clark of Neoformix has been doing some cool stuff with words lately. Above is a word portrait of Albert Einstein looking very chipper. Einstein's entire face is composed of the word "genius" at varying shades and sizes. Inspired by Gui Borchet, briefly explains the process done in uh, Processing:

    The Word Portraits that I have been creating lately use an algorithm that analyzes a starting image and finds rectangular patches of a reasonably consistent color. These are then filled in the generated image with words or letters painted with the average color in the rectangle.

    The algorithm can of course be generalized to not just words and can be used with non-human images as well. Ginger the Cockapoo serves as the case study in which Jeff reconstructs an image of the dog with rectangles, the letter O, leaf-like shapes, and filled circles.

    Take a look through Jeff's other postings for more word portraits of Barack Obama and George Boole - inventor of a logical calculus of truth values.

  • Showing This Many Per Second – Data Humanized

    November 3, 2008  |  Data Art

    I've always thought one of the best ways to make data relate-able is to humanize it. Wouter Walmink, from studio:ludens, does this quite literally in so_many_a_second. I'm sure you've across statistics that state something like "this many people die of this condition per second in the world," but that number, even though it's a rate - something that is dynamic, feels very static.

    In so_many_a_second these rates are represented by objects in an attempt to show these types of numbers on a "human scale." The above shows number of plastic cups used by airlines per second. Oh yes, it's raining cups.

    Depicting the ongoing stream of events, this application tries to get the user in touch with the emotional actuality of these objective data.

    The concept itself isn't anything new. We've seen stuff sort of like this before (e.g. Running the Numbers: An American Portrait, Google employee count), but the novel thing with so_many_a_second is that you can create your own flows and compare them side-by-side. It's more than just a literal representation of numbers.

    Yes, we could efficiently place all the rates in a horizontal bar graph, but somehow, so_many_a_second makes me care more.

    [via infosthetics | Thanks, Tim]

  • A Bunch of Japanese Women’s Bra Responses

    October 27, 2008  |  Data Art

    Uniqlo gathered hundreds of responses from a couple hundred Japanese women about bra size, makeup, and shopping and put it into this sort of 3-d world of short video clips. Questions appear at the top, you get a few random video responses, and then the animation zooms out to show you the rundown. I can't say I know what exactly is going on since I don't know Japanese, but I'm guessing... bra commercial? OK, yeah, I have no idea.
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  • Daily Design Workout – DONE by Jonas Buntenbruch

    October 9, 2008  |  Data Art

    DONE is a sketching project by Jonas Buntenbruch. He takes 30-60 minutes per day and puts his design skills to work. He began at the beginning of this year on January 1 and has produced a sketch/design for every day so far.

    Some of his work is charts and graphs, but most are of the typography, cartoon, and icon variety. Nevertheless, it's a great way to hone the design skills. You learn what works, what doesn't work, and skills that need sharpening. Learn by doing has always been my philosophy - mostly because I suck at learning by listening, writing, and reading. Seriously. I took a learning test in fourth grade that told me so.

    Can someone please do a data visualization per day? Don't forget to make it awesome.

    [Thanks, Adam]

  • Doodle Your Way Through the News – DoodleBuzz

    September 25, 2008  |  Data Art

    I feel like I've been seeing and writing a lot about artistic visualization lately. Maybe it's because summer's ending and all the designers are finishing up their side projects. I dunno. In any case, Brendan Dawes provides you with a way to explore the news by doodling and scribbling. The piece is called DoodleBuzz. Type in a search term and then start doodling. News results (via the Daylife API) shoot off whatever path you draw.

    DoodleBuzz spawned from Brendan's desire to browse the news in a way that was completely different from the usual top-down scrolling we're used to seeing on the Web:

    DoodleBuzz was born out of an idea to create an entirely new way of exploring information - one that allows for a kind of "quiet chaos" that gives people the opportunity to explore unthought of paths and connections along their news gathering journey. You may start at Iraq but end up finishing on Britney, whilst taking in The Catholic Church, Global Warming and 50 Cent.

    I don't know about you, but the "quiet chaos" gave me a small headache. What do you think? Go try it and let us know what you think in the comments.

    [via Data Mining]

  • Visualization Workshop in Madrid – Database City

    September 24, 2008  |  Data Art

    It's hard to believe that it's been almost a year since I was in Madrid at the Medialab-Prado for the Visualizar workshop. It was a two-week event where designers from all around got together and created projects focused on data. There was a wide variety of data-centric projects on Twitter, email, art, spam, and traffic (above). I worked with migration data. It was also a pretty diverse group – computer science, graphic design, and of course, me, the token statistician.

    Call for Projects and Papers

    Now it's time for Visualizar 2008: Database City. There's an open call for projects and papers with the idea of a database city. Imagine a city where there are displays that show energy consumption, pollution, or carbon footprint. What would that city look like? Would we act differently with that type of information right in front of us?

    From the Visualizar page:

    Urban environments, which are becoming increasingly dense, complex and diverse, are one of contemporary society’s largest "databases", daily generating volumes of information that require new methods of analysis and understanding.

    How can we use the data visualization and information design resources to understand the processes governing contemporary cities and better manage them? What can we learn from studying traffic and pedestrian movement flows through the streets of Madrid? What would happen if we filled the streets with screens providing information updated each moment about water and electricity consumption?

    Important Dates

    This year's workshop is also two weeks long from November 5 - 18 and no doubt you will learn a lot. The Medialab-Prado offers housing to participants at a youth hostel and will also consider covering traveling expenses on a case-by-case basis. Submission deadline is October 5.

  • Beautiful Generative Computer Art – Metamorphosis

    September 23, 2008  |  Data Art

    Glenn Marshall has released his finished version of Metamorphosis, a beautiful piece of computer generative art programmed in Processing. I wish I knew a bit more about what I was seeing, but I can only guess that the branches and butterflies follow certain laws of nature and rules defined by the music (I hope). Nevertheless, it's beautiful. Here's the video below, but go to Vimeo to watch the video in all it's HD glory.
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  • Art of Mathematics – Visualization of Dynamical Systems

    September 18, 2008  |  Data Art

    Dynamical systems are mathematical models used to describe the time-dependent position of a point's position in ambient space. For example, a dynamical system could be used to describe the movement of a swinging pendulum. The way the pendulum moves is based on the laws of physics, but trajectory, velocity, acceleration, etc changes over time. Over at the University of Liverpool is a series of visualizations by mathematicians around the world that shows such dynamical systems.

    Lasse Rempe, a mathematician, describes the beauty of these visualization in this video on the BBC. Many more beautiful pieces in the video and explanation of the underlying structures.

  • Fleshmap: Studies of Desire – Touch, Look, and Listen

    August 21, 2008  |  Data Art

    Fleshmap is a new project by Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viégas that explores human desire from three points of view - touch, look, and listen.
    Continue Reading

  • Physical Graphs as Critique on American Culture

    August 20, 2008  |  Data Art

    These wooden graphs by Joshua Callaghan show uh, something on the left and military spending on the right. While I wouldn't call them any type of spectacular representation of data, I do like the idea of placing data into a physical space. We always get our graphs on a computer screen or on paper at best, which can take the human out of the data. It's easy to forget that a single data point can represent an entire human life (or death). Keep that in mind the next time you analyze a dataset.

    [via designboom | Thanks, Guðmundur]

  • Many Eyes Adds Wordle to its Extensive Visualization Toolbox

    August 13, 2008  |  Data Art, Online Applications

    I'm sure you've seen Wordle by now, which puts an artistic spin on the traditional tag cloud. An application by Jonathan Feinberg, Wordle lets you put any text or RSS/atom feed in as input and get a cloud of words sized by frequency and arranged every which way. Above is a Wordle cloud of the current FlowingData feed.

    Many Eyes recently added Feinberg's visualization to their slew of other visualization tools.

    Wordle marks a departure from the more analytical visualizations on Many Eyes. Why bring a self-described “toy” to a site for social data analysis? People have reported finding value beyond entertainment in creating these word clouds. Teachers have used Wordles in classrooms as conversation catalysts; others have created them to express their identities, and scholars have used them to visualize the output of statistical explorations of texts.

    No doubt Many Eyes, with Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viégas (who know a thing or two about design) at the helm, recognizes that data visualization isn't always about analytics and exactness. Sometimes visualization is just about getting people to think.

  • What Kind of Information is Hidden in Barcodes?

    July 29, 2008  |  Data Art

    Barcodes. We all know what they look like. They're the black stripes that vary in thickness with numbers that indicate something or another, but what is that something? Every product has a unique barcode number and when you pass it through an international key database, you get information about the product and the country of origin. Daniel Becker uses this data to create art in Barcode Plantage.

    Once a bar code is keyed or scanned in, the program sends a request to the database, which returns a master file data. This master file data is then analysed to define positions, curves and colours of Bezier curves of the tree structure.

    The number of these curves will vary correspondence to the number of figures in the code. Simultaneously, the user will hear a melody, which is based on the figures of the bar code.

    Because every barcode is unique so is the resulting tree. Pretty.

    [via swissmiss]

  • Martin Wattenberg On Visualizing Large Textual Data

    July 21, 2008  |  Data Art, Quotes

    Martin Wattenberg, one of the creators of Many Eyes, in reply to "Why is a numbers guy like you so interested in large textual data sets?"

    The entire literary canon may be smaller than what comes out of particle accelerators or models of the human brain, but the meaning coded into words can't be measured in bytes. It's deeply compressed. Twelve words from Voltaire can hold a lifetime of experience.

    Martin Wattenberg = smart guy.

  • 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]

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