Maps may be highly informative without being necessarily accurate; conversely, a map may be very accurate and not informative. For mission critical applications, supreme accuracy and professionally trained users of such data are the determinates for successful outcomes. However, from this “pure” position flow limitless provider and user scenarios that permit abstraction. This abstracting may issue from provider intent, or be generated as product of data rendering tools. Such abstractions may be targeted toward the particular needs and biases of the user/viewers—as these “worldviews” play a great role in how we deal with the level of desired and undesired information: our modern milieu of “trespass or invitation.” This issue of PIIM contains some challenging articles that advocate for permitting significant subjectivity to take an equally significant role in informativeness. Is the entire dialog of standard technique and process being modified by our immersion in data that we might instinctively trust, but that proliferates irrespective of our targeted needs? We look at how levels of subjectivity and abstraction play their role in providing new ways to look data, which, as one author argues, is now understood as information itself, not as a mere source of smallest, controllable, elements.
Jihoon Kang, Publisher, and William Bevington, Editor-in-Chief
Parsons Journal for Information Mapping
by Aviva Rahmani, MFA
by Brian W. Brush, M.Arch, MS, Yong Ju Lee, M.Arch & Noa Younse, MS
by Raphaële Bidault-Waddington
by Álvaro Seiça
Cartography, ecological art, ecological degradation, ecological restoration, environment modeling, Geographic Information Systems science (GISc), GIS abstraction, mapping, participatory mapping
Geographic Information Systems science (GISc) is often used by policymakers to analyze relationships between statistical data and precise geographic locations. In this essay I have considered how GISc information about land sites may be integrated into a performative ecological art practice as well as how art may contribute to land management. Ecological art is defined here as endeavors whose Deep Green agenda may catalyze on-the-ground ecosystem support. The objective for Mapping Trigger Point Theory as Aesthetic Activism is to show how using GISc combined with art practice to identify and advocate the restoration of small sites may catalyze efforts toward large landscape environmental rehabilitation. Such efforts may function as environmental triage for landscape biomes. On a small scale these nucleus sites have been effective triggers for forestry restoration, identifying habitat remnants to anchor bioengineering. It is more difficult in coastal marine zones because the terrain is harder to control. This essay will describe how Trigger Point Theory evolved after the Ghost Nets coastal marine site ecological art project (www.ghostnets.com, 1990–2000) and is being developed to contextualize sites by combining performance art with GISc. This effort continues in a predictive modeling project to identify sites where restored eel grass beds might support finfish resilience. Presently, non-native, predatory green crabs are devastating forage fish stocks at the bottom of the food chain on both coasts of North America. Initial cartography used performance and participatory mapping to intuitively identify relationships. In modeling terms, art became an “expert witness” to inform the site analysis. Trigger Point mapping is part of an integrated strategy of science and art that seeks to identify modeling rules, addressing where resilience can be restored to degraded regions.
Ecological artist Aviva Rahmani’s art work has reflected environmental and social concerns throughout her fortyyear career. Her projects range from complete landscape restorations to museum venues that reference painting, sound, and photography. Aviva Rahmani is affiliated with Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado at Boulder, gained her MFA in 1974 from Cal Arts and is presently both a PhD candidate with the Z-Node of Plymouth University and a GISc certificate student at Lehman College, CUNY.
Rahmani’s current work reflects her interest in the application of mapping analysis in order to “explore potential solutions for urban and rural water degradation in large landscapes.” Rahmani has taught, lectured, and performed internationally. She is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including two from the Nancy H. Gray Foundation for Art in the Environment, received in 1999 and 2000. She is currently using the internet “to perform residencies without the international travel that spews jet fuel over the earth’s waters.” Virtual Cities and Oceans of If and the on-going Virtual Concerts address global warming and geo-political conflicts by demonstrating, analyzing, and interpreting the local impact of global warming at international real world sites.
Architecture, biomimicry, data visualization, intelligent environments, interaction design, light, mapping, materiality, Processing, social media, sustainability, Twitter
Architecture has always functioned as a mediating structure between humans and the environments in which they live: a static assemblage of semi-inert materials orchestrated to temper environmental forces for human habitation. With advances in material, and communications technology, architectural assemblies no longer perform as impassive boundaries separating discrete conditions of occupation between environments. Additionally, they are becoming supple matrices for inter-environmental information exchange and perception.
Dynamic Performance of Nature (DPoN) is our permanent architectural media installation in the Leonardo Museum located in Salt Lake City, Utah. DPoN intends to augment environmental perception in museum visitors by communicating global environmental information through a dynamic and interactive interface, facilitated by social media, and embedded in the material of a high-tech media wall. It’s conceived upon the notion that sustainability for the 21st century should be crafted to evolve beyond conventional application of green techniques and biomimetic pastiche into something alive and integrated with the environment.
DPoN utilizes Processing, the open-source visualization software, to create a data visualization that connects to the Google Weather, USGS , and Twitter APIs. Combined, this software manifests the data in a dynamic LED color spectrum seen flowing through the wall. Visitors interact with DPoN using Twitter to send messages to @LeoArtwall, the wall’s unique Twitter handle, which changes the global weather feed. Visitors can also “paint with social media” by sending tweets; this affects the color series displayed on DPoN based on colors actually keyed in the message. With DPoN we’ve injected static materials with live information to create a flowing picture of the world. DPoN invites curious inquisition, as well as detached contemplation, of the synthesis between light, material, space, and global environmental information.
This paper will present our theoretical, aesthetic, and technical principles utilized in conceiving and realizing DPoN. Added to these principal factors is a discussion of the resulting implications in the realms of architecture, computer mediated communication, interactive art, mapping, sustainable design, and social media. As our project is a rare example of information visualization manifesting in large-scale built form, significant attention will also be given to the architectural aspects of the project alongside discussion of the information aspects.
Brian W. Brush is an architect and educator who regards information as an instrumental material in architectural design. His work interrogates the instrumental gap between information and architecture through animating data, developing methodologies for using spatial information as a generative tool for design, and using parametric models to fully realize and manage the construction of innovative environments. Brian is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in New York.
Yong Ju Lee is an architect interested in complex parametrics and architectural tectonics in terms of new vocabularies of pattern and tessellation based on information. He is keenly interested in the geometric experiment as a primary creative and aesthetic gesture of building when information becomes essential from conceptual process to actual construction.
Noa Younse is a data visualization designer working on a variety of projects concerning the use of interactive technology and the environment. These projects range from simple iOS applications for navigation and calculation to complex mash-ups of API feeds and responsive forms.
Aesthetic intelligence, art-based innovation, art-based research, city planning, conceptual modeling, content spatialization, creative-knowledge formatting, datadeluge, information theory, intuitive mapping, urban branding, urban development
Paris Galaxy Inc. is an experimental art-based research project demonstrating how creative formal and conceptual reasoning can generate elements of thinking and representational solutions that address complex issues. In the example discussed the complex issue undertaken is city planning, specifically for the city of Paris. The proposition highlights various steps of reasoning that started from a photographic installation entitled Bulle Poetico-Spéculative (Poetic-Speculative Bubble) that lead, ultimately, to a vast conceptual map. This map suggested a full strategy toward transforming Paris into the “Grand Paris.”
Unlike academic research that might be partitioned into disciplines based upon rigorous data analysis, the process of investigation toward Grand Paris collages elements of knowledge from different sources and disciplines, using formal analogies and unorthodox inputs, that aim for radically efficient, cross-disciplinary knowledge production and transmission. The point of sharing it in an academic publication is to establish a dialogue with related scientific communities. By using the representational aspect as a meeting point I promote the conviction that art and science have significant matters to discuss at the frontiers of the known.
The suggested visual and intellectual track will somehow echo the “Compositionist approach” recently developed by Bruno Latour or Nicolas Bourriaud’s “Relational Esthetics”, but most of all the concept of “Aesthetic Intelligence” which is developed from the conceptual bases of Petite Industrie de l’Image Sensorielle (PIIMS) and Laboratoire d’Ingénierie d’Idées (LIID).
Among the influences that support the series of “reasoning steps” are aspects of parametrical architecture, political programs, geography, meteorology, general and specific theory, and astrophysics. These are addressed by citing artists, scientists, philosophers, and designers who are contributing to the dialog within each category cited. In parametrical architecture, for example, the Dutch architects of MVRDV and their “Datascape” concept. After such diverse disciplines are touched upon, with their representative, spokespersons, the concept is discussed in specificity to how each of these layers, through the artist composing eyes, and the theory of aesthetic intelligence can bring an enriching view to imaging and generating outcomes that integrate massive data quantity on one hand, and physical spaces on another.
Raphaële Bidault-Waddington, a French artist with an economic background, created Petite Industrie de I’lmage Sensorielle (PIIMS), an image lab in 2000. Additionally, she created an idea lab, Laboratoire d’Ingénierie d’Idées (LIID) in order to bring an artistic methods of thinking into organizations’ strategies. Between these two labs, she creates image architectures, intuitive diagrams, and conceptual tools to address complex issues through highlighting the non-conventional formal and conceptual reasoning processes.
Anti-spam, datascape, data mining, data visualization, digital art, impedance, projection mapping
Today, where information is continually transferred in the form of data, the word “information” has all but been exchanged for the word “data.” This shift of terms has aided in effectively transforming the world into a network-world of data. In many areas, and for many professionals, condensing information has become an almost exclusive preoccupation. This need to condense information through selecting and summarizing events—via the use of statistics, infography, visualization software, reports, databases, and animations—has dominated our mental landscape; it dominates the way we structure our perception of reality. Therefore, it is important to rethink what this phenomenon represents and how artists are responding to it.
In this network-world of data spam (which is unsolicited e-mail or electronic data sent en mass) has become one of the symbols representing the flux of disinformation, and/or unsolicited, information. Anti-spam is, therefore, a method of eliminating and screening the source data, a tool I call impedance. If we apply this point of view to contemporary art, we could consider the works of Pavel Braila, R. Luke DuBois and André Sier as anti-spam filters that allow the detection, screening, elimination, and subsequent reinvention of existing or non-existent data. In this essay, I propose considering the fundamental aspects of data mining, data visualization, projection mapping. From such considerations emerges the ability to generate, process, and recreate data from the work of these three artists. Finally, I introduce the perspective of the artist as a data miner, this reinvents its source in the new visual, social and political datascape.
Álvaro Seiça is a writer, researcher, editor and curator. He holds a M.A. in Contemporary North American Literature, having received a summa cum laude for his thesis “Transduction: Transfer Processes in Digital Literature and Art.” With Gaëlle Becker Silva Marques he founded BYPASS, a nomadic editorial and curatorial project. He currently resides in Malmö, Sweden.