This quarter’s issue brings together four very unique and diverse works. However, each of these projects and papers discusses a key element relevant to us all—how our physical presence to the objects around us builds additional stimuli to the people that also surround us. From explorations into social information sources (via portable and novel technologies) as a reflection and creator of physical spaces, to visualizing massive group dynamics, this issue's contributors provide us the ability to envision new realities from existing constructs.
Looking at these projects as disparate entities will enable you to deeply dive into the conceptual and fabrication intricacies of each one. I urge you, however, to look at these works as a larger system which together posit new methods with which to visualize the many information sources that we interact with every day.
Brian Willison, Publisher
Parsons Journal for Information Mapping
by Michael Hohl, PhD
by Shriya Malhotra, MA
by Samuel Van Ransbeeck & Carlos Guedes
by Michael Filimowicz, MFA
Ambient displays, awareness displays, calm technology, emotional design, multi-modal displays, presence indication, ubiquitous computing, user experience
In this paper we present our research into the next generation of calm technologies utilizing information visualization where data is not rendered as graphs, charts, or diagrams on the screen, but as a sensual experience in physical space. It introduces a number of examples to establish the context and relevance for communication design and proceeds with presenting our current research framework in which the social activity of visiting a website is visualized in real-time, in the form of a natural and sensual display. The paper argues that a mediator between us and an overly intrusive Social Media such as Twitter, Friendfeed, and the approaching “realtime web” is needed. This mediator should have minimal and reduced cues of expression while not sacrificing the warm and personal voice of a web-blog.
Michael Hohl is a designer and researcher working with digital media. He likes making things, thinking about things, how we make them, and what they mean to us. He studied Visual Communication at the University of the Arts Berlin and at the Cologne International School of Design before completing an interdisciplinary Ph.D. research program (Fine Art/Computer Sciences) at Sheffield Hallam University (UK) in 2007.
Presently, he is investigating “calm technologies” and telematics at the University of Hertfordshire. Michael lives and works in St. Albans. His work is documented at http://www.hohlwelt.com/en.
Data visualization, design, developing and developed countries, human development, mapping, public health, spatial analysis, urban
This article explores the important role of visual and spatial analysis in addressing Urban Public Health needs. It focuses particularly on the need for multidimensional approach that incorporates design, visualization and aesthetics to create evidence-based arguments. It also explores the role of technologies, such as geographic information systems (GIS), in visualizing epidemiological data and the important findings that may be extrapolated. It first addresses the multifaceted and changing nature of public health - particularly the growing influence of environmental and social determinants of health and their impact on human wellbeing and development. It discusses the history of mapping/visualization/spatial analysis for public health, beginning with John Snow. It concludes with an optimistic outlook of the potential applying visual analysis and technologies to overcome gaps in public health, providing research insights into more effectively addressing the basic needs of people in both the developing and developed world.
Shriya Malhotra has an MA in Cities and Urbanization from the Graduate Program in International Affairs at the New School. She is committed to applying visual and spatial analysis for medical and social science research, promoting human development and urban well-being.
Algorithmic composition, computer art, generative music, Max/MSP, sonification, stock market
Composers always have used extra-musical elements in their music. From at the least time of ancient Greece, composers have been attracted by numbers, and have used numbers in their compositions. This paper focuses on the use of one kind of numerical data, more specifically, stock market data. A software tool to sonify stock market data is presented with all its possibilities and examples. The goal of this program is to show that a non-sonnic data stream (financial data) can be transformed into a credible music composition.
Samuel Van Ransbeeck is a Belgian composer, currently residing in Portugal. He is enrolled in the masters course of composition at ESMAE in Porto. His work ranges from acoustical to electronic composition and multimedia projects.
Carlos Guedes is a Portugese composer. He holds a PhD in composition and focuses on the field of interactive music. Currently, he is coordinator of the masters course of composition at ESMAE in Porto, Portugal.
Avatar, Cartesian space, display scales, experimental video, installation, mobile media, soundscapes, virtual
Stepping on the Light is part of a series of works exploring the creative potential of extremely portable digital devices. This work was shot with the camcorder feature of a credit-card sized digital camera and explores two extremes of video display scales: that of pocket video recording, and that of large scale projection. The protagonist of this video is modeled on the notion of an avatar in a virtual space, only this avatar is wandering “real space” (downtown Chicago) in a semi-virtual environment (video footage). The duality of the layered image aims to illustrate the split-subjectivity of the real and the represented walker/avatar navigating in a not-quite-aimless fashion through the Cartesian grids of the urban matrix—grid-space redolent of game environments. Traditionally, Cartesian coordinates have aimed at: Control, Predictability, and Accuracy in the modeling and manipulation of space. The approach of the protagonist in Stepping on the Light is to highlight the embodied and pleasurable aspects of navigation. The noise in the imagery, an effect of the technology of portable image capture, is reproduced in the soundtrack, which marries noise and video game soundscapes.
Michael Filimowicz is an interdisciplinary artist working in the areas of sound, experimental video, net art, digital photography, creative writing, and public art. He received his MFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago, and is on the faculty in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University.