Our Outlook on Data Visualization
This is where Ann Cudworth Projects / Alchemy Sims lives- hovering between Art and Science- we live to work on the creation of new things, new bridges between these 2 realms with new ideas in data visualization and 3-D data display.
Here are 2 of our projects:
Memonic: Real-Time Observation of Twitter streams (pictures below)
Tidal Mill: Data-based Kinetic Sculptures (pictures below)
Data- what's that? It is the documentation of change, but could it also be an engine? What if it could animate something, the same way a motion capture file animates our avatars? Kinetic sculpture- data driven and living in a virtual world- that is part of what we build. We find new ways to create 3-D data display every week, finding structures that embellish the information, and augment the viewer’s perception.
Here are some of our guiding theories and formulas.
S.O.T.D- "Spirit of the Data"- in spite of the noise, in spite of the gaps, what is the data trying to show us? We humans, are very good at piecing together a whole picture from bit parts, some of us actually enjoy a good jigsaw puzzle. When you dump those numbers out on the table- what shape does it take in your mind? It's not just 3-D data display- it's a captured experience- like the rings in a tree capture the climatologically information and create a natural form of data visualization in their rings.
No-U.B.S. "No Universal Belief System” Just because you expect something to happen, do not try to see it in your data visualization planning. Let go of the expectations, look at it from the corner of your eye, stay fresh and new to the experience.
I=D.S. "Interactivity = Data Selection” If you can interact with a device that sends out data, you will be automatically making data selection. When you collect data, what filters you chose, even just where you observe it from, all influence what meaning it will have to you.
Artistic Delivery of Data + Threshold of Interaction= Greater Engagement. An "artistic" approach makes you engage with data. Is the data cyclical, linear, and phased? What are its internal rhythms, its music, and how is that displayed? Will it be Bell Curves? Will the data create a sculptural display of information- that allows us to understand the influence of several factors simultaneously as we walk around it observing its form?
Immersion in a Virtual World is compelling; immersion in a virtual world that is under the influence of data coming in from the real world is mind blowing. Think of it- how it works like a 2 way mirror, allowing us to see in and out at the same time.
The magic that is possible, the scale that is possible, the reach that is possible in a Virtual World allows us to share more, envision more, and understand more. How will we deal with that avalanche of new connections? How will we make music from the cacophony? What will it lead us to?