Created by James Leng, Point Cloud is an attempt to re-imagine our daily interaction with weather data. Even with the modern scientific and technological developments related to weather and when we can deploy sophisticated monitoring devices to document and observe weather, our analysis and understanding of meteorology is still largely approximate. Weather continues to surprise us and elude our best attempts to predict, control, and harness the various elements. Point Cloud builds on this premise, exploring new ways to interpret and understand weather data.
Weather has always had a unique place in our lives, because it has a multiplicity that encompasses both the concrete and the indeterminate. It is the intangible context within which we build our lives and our cities, but it is also the physical element against which we create protective shelter. Most of the time it is an invisible network that we can see but are not aware of; yet it can manifest in a spectacle or disaster, come forward and activate our senses, make us forget our rationality in delight or fear.
Point Cloud is a sculptural form defined by a thin wire mesh, driven asynchronously by 8 individual servos controlled via Arduino. As whiteness of the hanging structure begins to disappear into the background, the viewer is treated to a constantly morphing swarm of black points dancing through midair. In the current prototype, the speed, smoothness, and direction of rotation are modulated to interpret a live feed of weather data. Instead of displaying static values of temperature, humidity, or precipitation, Point Cloud performs the data, dynamically shifting between stability and turbulence, expansion and contraction.
- Tele-Present Water [MaxMSP, Arduino] Created by David Bowen, Tele-Present Water installation draws information from the intensity and movement of the water in a remote location. Wave data is collected in real-time from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data buoy station 46075 Shumagin Islands Alaska. The wave intensity and frequency is scaled and transferred to the mechanical grid structure resulting in a simulation of the physical effects caused by the movement of water from this distant location. The installation uses MAX/MSP to drive an Arduino mega running servo firmata. It uses 11 x 24volt dc motors with drivers for the movement. In May this year Tele-Present Water received one of three ex aequo awards in Alternative Now: The 14th Media Art Biennale WRO 2011, Wroclaw, Poland. //thanks for the tip Joost 11 x 24volt dc motors Photo by Alicja Kołodziejczyk - source Photo by Ewa Wójtowicz […]
- Miebach and Posavec – Data, Visualization, Poetry and Sculpture Visualizations are created to make data more legible. They are intended to give us a neutral portrait, so to speak, of how collections of data relate to each other. In so doing, they make information accessible to us that would otherwise be obscured by its scale in a manner that is easily comprehended. Data is presented to us exactly for what it is so that it may foster the communication of information through the recognition of connections or relationships. This method of attempting to show data in an unadulterated, albeit creative way sees data more as its subject matter than its raw material. As laudable as this effort is, data as representation does not have to be the only way visualization is approached. Nor should a traditional visualization ever necessarily be perceived as the full picture. It should always be understood that there is an elusive, human, element, whether knowledge or otherwise, embedded in what is being communicated. For artists such as Nathalie Miebach and Stefanie Posavec, the notion of visualization becomes more broadly defined and expressive. Both women spoke at this year's Eyeo Festival and during their talks expounded upon and expanded the definition of data visualization proper. Firstly, for each the ability to work with their hands or to be able to tactilely interact with something visualized was very important. For Miebach the inability to touch a visualization or to fully explore it with the contours of her hand made it difficult to truly comprehend. Posavec acknowledged there were different emotions associated with hand-making something and making something with a machine. While it might seem odd to focus on the hands when talking about visualizations it is important to understand the approach to it as modeling an object or design out of a raw material rather than to merely attempt to show it. The hand or body as a human experience that is something that can be lost in the flatness of a digital image, interactive or otherwise. Take Miebach's sculptures for example. She uses as her subject matter weather data from various environments and histories. She then either translates it into music or into colorfully elaborate weaved sculptures. For the sculptor cum visualist there is a subjective appeal to how she generates her creations. Whereas typical visualizations are “'didactic” in how they present data she calls her sculptures ”poetic”. She takes joy in the ability to walk around and explore the sculptures rather than sacrifice that dimensionality to the computer screen. For her it's as important to foster an experience with the data as it is to discover new connections. Instead, in the same way folk stories preserve history, she creates narratives that contain traces of information. During her talk at Eyeo she asked whether fact and fiction could coexist and whether information becomes fictional by blending them together. The expression data in service of telling story becomes tantamount to their presentation. Like an abstract painting that does not come right out and say what its about but instead provides parameters for interpretation, her sculptures turn information into a panoply of meaning. By that same token, Stefanie Posavec takes a similar, yet opposite approach. She uses fiction to generate data instead of the other way around. Using novels such as Kerouac's On the Road she employs what she calls “data illustration” to trace patterns in the writing. By personally exploring the texts, she 'visualizes' styles and themes that reveal themselves to her within the immanent space of the book. The content of the book intermingles with her own personal traversal of the text to generate a new way of generating meaning from the 'data' that is already there. A new way of reading then begets a series of colorful illustrations that document her experience. At Eyeo she characterized data as a lens for which to see a subject from an entirely new angle. The angle becomes primary over the data as a tool to see or as she calls it, a "souvenir of human engagement." Posavec is then able to navigate a text, such as The Origin of Species, using data to discover design solutions, as she says, where informational insights aren't the main purpose of the visualization. Taking the edits and updates between different editions of Darwin's famous text she generates imagery that is aesthetically related to the subject matter in the form of botanically and organically inspired abstract images. In both cases, data is not the primary focus of what is being visualized but springboard into something not as scientifically well-wrought but on the contrary is much more human and intangible. They are about not just seeing in a new way, but also creating new objects out of what already exists perhaps in contrast to the character of the so-called New Aesthetic. They are not satisfied with simply foisting a singular means of seeing the world upon us but offering something more shifting and elusive. They are bodily insofar that Miebach's sculptures can be touched and walked around and Posavec's designs are generated out of the physical effort of drawing them out over time. We don't just look and see an image but something that we cannot immediately appertain and qualify. For both artists there is a kind of meaning the data can generate but that isn't necessarily in the data itself. Data visualization is already in some cases an abstract enterprise in how the data is presented. However, in the same way that representational art sought to imitate the appearance of something that exists in real life, so too do representational visualizations. A standard visualization practice typically involves taking a large amount of data that is incomprehensible to an individual on a macro level and presenting it in such away that it is both visually appealing and legible. Often the former effort is an extension of the latter wherein an appeal to aesthetic sensibilities generates an interest in the data that is being showcased. In other cases it is a matter of finding the visual design that most clearly presents the data. In contrast, the data expressionism of Miebach and Posavec doesn't attempt to neutrally visualize the data they are using. And whereas data representations refer to themselves insofar that they are visualizing their own raw material as subject matter, data expressionism uses data more as a starting point to suggest something that is indefinable and ambiguous, yet still truthful. Representationalist visualization is all about pattern recognition and stopping at those patterns as enough to generate understanding. However, there will always be a danger that those patterns subsume what they are intended to represent on a superficial or limited level. Miebach and Posavec remind us that as important as data is for certain ends we cannot forget what could potentially exist beyond the mere image in the form of human experience. Stefanie Posavec: itsbeenreal.co.uk | Nathalie Miebach: nathaliemiebach.com -- Author: Dylan Schenker is a writer based in New York City interested in new media art, culture and theory. You can find him on fragmince.tumblr.com and […]
- On Journalism #2 Typewriter by Julian Koschwitz Created by Julian Koschwitz, "On Journalism #2 Typewriter" installation writes generative stories about journalist killed worldwide between 1992 and today. The individual stories are typed on a continuos piece of paper, connected through common fields of coverage, places and published work. The data arrives directly from the Committee to Protect Journalists and is also the basis for an additional magazine where a set of data graphics explain the abstract numbers. After loading the data in Processing one journalist is chosen as a start. The information about this journalist is enriched with some web searches (on cpj.org, google news, google search) to get additional information. This collected information is refined using Processing and put into a short "story". Then each letter is translated into the equivalent solenoid number which is connected to the letter of the typewriter. This number is being sent from Arduino to a shift register (each is connected to 8 solenoids) which then triggers the solenoid (each solenoid the "fires" depending on the content either fast or slow, meaning in a frequency between 100ms and 1s). The installation is also accompanied by a set of prints which highlight specific aspects like the state of freedom of the press in certain countries. Project […]
- Björk – Biophilia [iPhone, iPad, Sound] Biophilia is an iPhone/iPad release of Björk's latest album created in collaboration with Scott Snibbe and her longtime design collaborators M/M (Paris). Comprising a suite of musical pieces and interactive artworks, Biophilia is released as ten in-app download experiences that are accessed through a three-dimensional galaxy, the album’s theme song Cosmogony. The first single Crystalline, is now available, others soon to follow. Björk has collaborated with artists, designers, scientists, instrument makers, writers and software developers to create an extraordinary multimedia exploration of the universe and its physical forces, processes and structures - of which music is a part. Each in-app experience is inspired by and explores the relationships between musical structures and natural phenomena, from the atomic to the cosmic. You can use Biophilia to make and learn about music, to find out about natural phenomena, or to just enjoy Björk’s music. Biophilia opens into a three-dimensional galaxy with a compass allowing navigation between the 3-dimensional universe and a two-dimensional track list. By tapping on stars within the constellations you can access each in-app purchase which includes a combination of album art, games, interactive music notation which you can pan through in realtime, lyrics, and essays that explore Björk’s inspirations for the track. Whilst the app does "borrow" some of the concepts we have already seen in the AppStore and/or on CAN, it never the less offers an unique experience where different elements are weaved together with both sensitivity and precision. The experience is unified, building on different layers of visuals and sound, Bjork with Scott and M/M have just set a new milestone, showing real benefits that lie in collaboration. Considering there are still 8 tracks to go and although I have no intention to cover each one independently, I fear I may have to as from what I have seen in no.1, there are many more wonderful things yet to come. Get it > Biophilia was created by Björk in collaboration with interactive artist and app developer Scott Snibbe, and Björk's longtime design collaborators M/M (Paris). Crystalline (one of the in-app purchase tracks) was created by Björk in collaboration with Luc Barthelet, developer of The Sims; TouchPress, creator of The Elements app; and M/M (Paris). Platform: iPhone/iPad (Universal) Version: 1.0 Cost: Free + $1.99 in-app purchase Developer: Second Wind Ltd galaxy with a compass allowing navigation between the 3-dimensional universe and a two-dimensional track list Crystalline Crystalline track construction. interactive music notation Crystalline "game" like experience where you collect gems for your library which you can thereafter share via email as […]
- emoto – Data sculpture by Studio NAND and Moritz Stefaner + Drew Hemment Back in July, Studio NAND with Moritz Stefaner and Drew Hemment created emoto, an online web application that captured and visualised the excitement around the Olympic Games in London. The project moved from real-time (see our post) to ”Archive” data sculpture which is now on display at WE PLAY. Based on approx. 12.5 million Twitter messages which were aggregated in real-time, all the data gathered has been represented in physical form in this interactive installation which allows visitors to identify patterns in message frequency. The emoto data sculpture represents message volumes, aggregated per hour and sentiment level in horizontal bands which move up and down according to the current number of Tweets at each time. The full install is a 9.50 meter long multi-layered print, designed for the visitor to explore the overall timeline of the Olympics. Th graph shows the average mood for all events and topics as tracked by emoto. It was printed on transparent acrylic glass and offset from the wall by approx. 7cm to reveal the content behind it. All messages were directly attached to the wall and have been selected for peaks in the graph based on the occurrences if the Tweet text. From the emoto archive, the team aggregated frequencies of messages per hour and sentiment level into 2-dimensional heat maps. These heat maps were then transformed into 3D geometry using Rhino and finally CNC-milled in collaboration with their manufacturer Tischlerei Bächer using Polyurethane-foam (’Chemiwood’). Additionally, the objects were painted using a dual component paint with particles to optimise the surface for projection. On top of this sculpture they have projected multiple heat maps, only displaying events for the currently selected theme (i.e. Team GB). A visitor could control which theme to show using a Griffin Powermate. Pressing the button would cycle through the themes. Rotating it would move the cursor along the timeline, showing most retweeted messages for each hour and theme. The projection mapping was custom developed in Processing as part of the installation software. The 2D heat-maps were generated in Tableau and used as textures for the mapped virtual geometry. The final outcome for these textures was designed in multiple quick iterations exploring the use of many geometric shapes for the heat maps. Project Page Created by Moritz Stefaner, Drew Hemment, Studio NAND. A FutureEverything project for the Cultural Olympiad programme and London 2012 Festival. See also Reflection II by Benjamin Maus & Andreas Nicolas Fischer Emoto Installation from Studio NAND on […]
- Microsonic Landscapes by Realitat – Transforming sound into matter Created by Realitat, Microsonic Landscapes is an algorithmic exploration of the music. Each favoured album is converted into a three dimensional representation and "proposes a new spatial and unique journey by transforming sound into matter/space: the hidden into something visible." Albums include works by Portishead, Anthony and the Johnsons, Nick Drake, Einsturzende Neubauten and Für Alina. Each objects mounts layers of tracks represented in a single cylinder. Created with Processing, printed with Makerbot. Project Site | Realitat Realitat is a research and experimental studio founded by Juan Manuel de J. Escalante in Mexico City. The work involves digital media, music, architecture, graphic design and art. See also reflection-ll by Andreas Nicholas Fisher Below is the trailer for Juan's upcoming generative art workshop at the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. Buy your ticket […]
- Best Friends – Casting in wax 451 connections on Facebook [Objects] Is post social media friendship an emotional investment of diminishing returns? It really depends who you ask. Midwest-based designer Colin Pinegar's recent BFA project Best Friends definitely calls the authenticity of ubiquitous connectivity into question, or at least adds some nuance to qualifying these relationships. Pinegar created a 'scorecard' for his Facebook friends that awarded each online connection 1-25 points based off a range of criteria (do I know this person's phone number? can I recognize this person by their name alone? etc.) These scores were plotted on a colour spectrum representing the 'intensity' of friendship and wax busts were crafted for each of Pinegar's 451 connections and arranged by value. The resulting array offers not only a bar graph plotting the prevalence of weak ties versus more meaningful bonds, but a physical representation of (and personal response to) social data culled from the web. Colin's 'friend plot' was accompanied by a series of concise information graphics and CAN was curious as to how this sidebar material related to the arrangement of wax busts. Colin provided the following response via email: "The printouts were supplemental infographics showing data from my 'friend audit' that I found interesting, e.g. when I met my friends, how many busts were in each row, as well as the data I found most alarming: how many of my "friends" I had never met (1%), how many 'friends' I didn't recognize by name alone (14%), 'friends' with an unknown (to me) location (24%), and 'friends' that I hadn't even seen from a distance in the year prior to my project (55%). There was also a short description and some FAQ's about the project and a small poster showing how the meaning of the word 'friend' has changed." When asked to describe the reasoning behind articulating his quantified friendship analysis as physical artifacts, Colin offered the following thoughts on post-digital production: "Like a Facebook 'friendship,' most graphic design relies too heavily on the computer—probably for the same reasons: it is quicker, easier, and what most people expect. Since this project was all about the importance of physicality in relationships, it seemed appropriate to avoid the computer and make something with my hands, and I think the outcome provided more impact than reading a number or seeing a graph on a poster. I also wanted to make something for my friends as an act of love and gratitude for supporting me and coming to see the exhibit (each friend was given the bust that represented him or her at the closing reception)." Best Friends clearly capitalizes on a pervasive social vertigo that has become all too familiar. Colin denies that the piece is anti-Facebook—or a polemic against any social network for that matter—but is concerned that the social web is "the communication equivalent of fast food". While Colin may be wary of the standardization of mediated relationships, he certainly has been savvy in reappropriating this logic to claim ownership of his own social data. Check out Colin's project documentation for additional info and images. via The New […]
- Precious [Objects] Created by Breakfast, Precious is a bike, currently making it's way across the US to benefit LIVESTRONG®. Starting at the Atlantic and ending at the Pacific, Precious will spend 3 months riding across the country sharing his thoughts, experiences, body temperature and much more. Fitted with a brain of wires, circuits and whole lot of code, the bike will use it's new senses to share what it feels. To gather all of the data from the bike, the team developed a Arduino based device to capture temperature, humidity, grade, speed, cadence (pedal rotation), direction and GPS. The device takes several readings from each sensor, then sends the average values via text message using a cellular module. We utilized the Twitter API to receive and parse the text messages, which are then analyzed by our servers. In order to preserve battery life (we get 35+ hours on a single charge), the device wakes itself up every 5 minutes to check readings and submit data. The rider can also hit a button on the handlebars to trigger the device to report the data for that exact moment. Once all the information reaches our servers, the "brain" really kicks in. Our servers analyze the data: how many messages have been sent so far today, the time of day, etc. This helps to ensure that every message is appropriate, both in context and timing. The servers look for patterns 24 hours a day, and if they find anything interesting, e.g. it's been 80ºF with non-stop hills for two days, it will push a message expressing the bike's feelings on the matter. Check out the site or twitter to see what's happening now. Previously: iPad Controlled Blimp [iPad, […]
Posted on: 31/05/2012
- Engineering Lead at Wieden+Kennedy
- Web Developer at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts
- Junior Production Assistant at Resonate
- WebGL/3D Creative Prototyping Devs at TheSupply
- Freelance Interactive Producers at Psyop
- Art Director/Senior Designer at Stinkdigital
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