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Invisible Cities [Processing]


Created by Christian Marc Schmidt & Liangjie Xia, Invisible Cities is a information mapping project that reveals social networks present within the urban environment. The application, built using Processing, allows realtime mapping of activity on Twitter and Flickr by displaying intensities and geographical relationships of twitter conversations. Data is displayed by location and hills and valleys are displayed representing areas with high and low densities of data.

Invisible Cities maps information from one realm—online social networks—to another: an immersive, three dimensional space. In doing so, the piece creates a parallel experience to the physical urban environment. The interplay between the aggregate and the real-time recreates the kind of dynamics present within the physical world, where the city is both a vessel for and a product of human activity. It is ultimately a parallel city of intersections, discovery, and memory, and a medium for experiencing the physical environment anew.

The application is still in development and should be available for download sometime in the future. To stay in touch, sign up for general news and future software releases here.

Project page

Christian Marc Schmidt is a German/American designer and media artist, educated in Europe and the United States and currently residing in New York. Christian earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Parsons School of Design in New York, and attended the Yale University School of Art in New Haven, where he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in 2004.

Liangjie Xia is a media artist and programmer presently based in New York City. His work explores alternative forms of communication through innovative applications of technology, his experiments vary from interactive data visualization, mobile applications to physical installations. He loves and contributes to open source projects, and hacks with whatever is handy. Liangjie recently received Master of Professional Studies degree from Interactive Telecommunications Program of NYU.

(Thanks Josh)

Invisible Cities (Italian: Le città invisibili) is also a novel by Italian writer Italo Calvino, and a worthy read.