Data Visualization


Week 4: September 3 – 9

With the increasing attention and concern for the function of data in contemporary society, this review of data visualization takes on a new significance. Technological advances have stimulated both an unprecedented wealth of opportunity and new anxieties about privacy and identity, as everything about an individual can be measured, quantified, analyzed and nearly permanently stored. Whereas “Big Data” corporations and governments have exploited user data for their own self-serving interests, artists today have engaged data for purposes of political and social critique as well as aesthetic forms of artistic expression. The net in particularly has become a significant medium for real-time data visualizations that tap into various forms of information from abstract network data to social media discourses. We will overview some of artistic approaches that imagine data as a new material and you will learn how to draw digital images based on data using code.


Due: September 10


Rabinowitz, S., Galloway, K. (1992). “Welcome to ‘Electronic Café Interntional” in Packer, R., & Jordan, K. (Eds.). pg 345-351, Multimedia : from Wagner to Virtual Reality ([Expanded ed.). New York: Norton.

Micro-project IV:  Data Visualization

Juan Camilo Gonzaléz will lead a workshop/project in online data visualization, using real-time processing techniques for the appropriation and regeneration of Web-based graphics. See Micro-project IV in Project Assignments for more information.

Research Post III: Data Visualization

You will be assigned an artwork to research for a short written hyperessay about the work, the artist, and how it relates specifically to the topic of next week. Incorporate the reading (see above) for next week into your research, discussing how it relates contextually to the work. Post your hyperessay of approximately 400 words on your blog using relevant hyperlinks, images, video, etc, and remember to add a featured image and to use the “Research” category. You will be expected to share your research post in next week’s class discussion.

Next week’s Research Assignments (see lecture notes in The Third Space syllabus page for additional information):

(1) Shar and MJ: Hole in Space by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz
(2) John and Ruzana: Telematic Dreaming by Paul Sermon
(3) Jun and Diana: The Kiss by Annie Abrahams


Summary of artworks for hyperessay:

Raw Data Aesthetics

Carnivore” (2002) by R-S-G (Radical Software Group)

In Carnivore we find an example of software as the artistic gesture. The tool in itself is the artwork and operates as an instigator of an ecosystem in which other artists are able to investigate and create with the data intercepted over a local network.

Carnivore is a Processing library that allows you to perform surveillance on data networks. Carnivore listens to all Internet traffic (email, web surfing, etc.) on a specific local network. Using Processing you are able to animate, diagnose, or interpret the network traffic in any way you wish.

Most of the artworks that emerged from Carnivore are visualizations or sonifications of the real-time activity of a network. The information is abstracted into pulsations that are then mapped into visuals and/or sound.

Link to various art projects using Carnivore

Datamatics” (2006) by Ryoji Ikeda

Japanese artists Ryoji Ikeda does not hide the complex nature of the data. Ikeda offers an alternative to the paradigm of data visualization theory and practice which seeks to “reduce” the data to its most meaningful parts in order to represent what is necessary to “understand” it. The artist decides instead to immerse his viewers into a visceral experience of the vast data space. Ikeda describes Datamatics as:

… an art project that explores the potential to perceive the invisible multi-substance of data that permeates our world.



Abstracting the Self

Annual Report” (2005 – …) by Nicholas Feltron

Since 2005 Nicholas Feltron has been collecting data about the most seemingly mundane activities of his life: the amount of coffee he drinks, places he goes to, people he meet, etc. At the end of each year he then publishes his now popular Annual Report as a printed book. These reports are carefully crafted visualizations of the data he was able to collect throughout the year. Feltron is able to discover himself these micro activities that easily disappear from our daily lives and in a subtle exercise of auto surveillance makes these publicly available for anyone.


personal Knowledge database” by Santiago Ortiz

Colombian artists/data scientist Santiago Ortiz creates an interface that simulates a mental network of information that influences his life across the multiple versions of the self. Ortiz’s approach to data visualization emphasizes on the plasticity of the ever changing information that inspires his work.


A Bit[E] Of Me” (2013) by Federico Zannier

Zannier’s provocative experiment of selling his personal data subverts the common practice of collecting personal data exercised by corporations for economical gain. How much am I worth? Zannier asks us, his “consumers”. If data is a new commercial commodity, how can corporations make money and not the real owners of the data?

During 2003 Zannier collected all the traces que was leaving while using the Internet. The  websites he visited, what he was typing and the GPS locations recorded by his phone.


Additional Artworks from the Lev Manovich reading:

John Simon, Every Icon
Screenshot 2014-09-03 09.17.59
Lisa Jevbratt, 1:1 (requires Safari)
Screenshot 2014-09-03 09.16.52
Lisa jevbratt, Mapping the web infome
Screenshot 2014-09-03 09.19.05

DATA BEAUTIFUL (An Adventure in Info-Aesthetics) by Lev Manovich

The Cloud of Unknowing, an immersive film by Singaporean filmmaker Tzu Nyen Ho


Refer to my blog post.

The collective narrative of the #ossntu Twitter feed.

Overview of the Adobe Connect web-conferencing system:

(links below access the OSS User Manual)

Other items:

Collaborative data project?

Internet Walkthrough Project with TAFA, can anyone translate into Chinese?