Projects in Visualizing Data 1975-2017
The translation of multivariate abstract data into visualization first requires a process of classification which is inherently culturally defined, given that systems of classification tend to be shaped by discipline-specific perspectives, cultural priorities and historical circumstances. The presentation will address the evolution of methodologies in my artistic works that explore classification and the translation of information into visual experiences from pre-digital photographic works such as “A Catalog of Found Objects” (1975) to interactive works that organize cultural data as in the “Anecdoted Archive from the Cold War (1992)”, to installations that collect data from the viewing public such as “Pockets Full of Memories” (2001-2007), and “Cell Tango” (2006-2009).
The presentation will then shift to explore in detail the artwork “Making Visible the Invisible” (2005-present), a commissioned work at the Seattle Public Library, a data visualization project that receives its data hourly from the interactions of library patrons through their check-outs and check-in of books, cds, and movies. This artwork began operations in September 2005, and is expected to be active until 2019. The unusual aspect of this project is that it collects data by the hour, approximately 30,000 per day, 8 million per day, and has so far built-up a history of over 90 million checkouts, a distinctly insightful historical record tracking the cultural interests of an urban community, and the transformation of the library through the 2nd and 3rd decade following the introduction of the internet. The artwork will be described, and then follow with results of a course focused on visualizing the relations of data and explorations thru the language of aesthetics applied to information retrieval. The course has been offered annually since 2006 in which topics such as cultural trends, and system anomalies have been explored through the collected Seattle library data.
- Informed public