When we speak of visual information the reference may be to that which we look at and interpret, as well as the supporting information which gives context and clarity to that which we see. Below this are the definitions, the denotata, of such labels. This issue of PJIM contains articles that speak to pure visual outcomes, the collective language of data as displayed through maps, the taxonomy for a single descriptor within the language of visualization, and an argument for yielding control of a message toward a next-generation of branding and marketing. The four articles look to experimentation, collection, definition, and user considerations all advanced through the informative visualization process. We advance the craft of information design and information mapping by either applying capabilities to a problem or, on the academic front, by asking a question and pursuing answers. Answering a question is a theme for this collective: “What do I see when my eyes are closed?,” “What is an intelligent icon?,” “What happens when customers can directly modify a marketers informative touchpoint?,” and, “How can every citizen become aware and involved in what pollutants in the air, ‘look like?’” are queried, investigated, and reported upon for this issue. We thank the inquisitiveness of our contributors, and our readers, for this our fourteenth issue of PJIM.
Jihoon Kang, Publisher, and William Bevington, Editor-in-Chief
Parsons Journal for Information Mapping
by Jeff Thompson, MFA
by Nerea Calvillo, MsdAAd
by You Kyoung Kim, Bac +3
by William M. Bevington & David Fusilier, BFA
Amazon mechanical turk, artwork, crowd-sourcing, database, net-art, poetics, visualization, website
What I See When My Eyes Are Closed is an online data visualization project that documents the approximate colors seen by users when their eyes are closed. The data was gathered using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, a site for crowd-sourced labor. Participants closed their eyes while facing a white screen, they then recorded the color they saw. Their name and location, when provided, are associated to the color. FIGURE 1 shows a screenshot of the results. Research into “soft data” is of particular interest: data sets culled from cultural or personal sources suggest a lack of utility that aligns this kind of information with poetics and removes the often-arbitrary relationship of data-point to image. Specifically, What I See When My Eyes Are Closed gives a very human interaction with anonymous Mechanical Turk workers, who are located across the globe. Clicking on a color fills the screen for an immersive view that simulates a temporal shift into that person’s body
Jeff Thompson is Assistant Professor of New Genres and Digital Arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he is also artist-in-residence at the Holland Computing Center. Thompson has exhibited his work internationally, most recently at SITE Santa Fe, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, the Sheldon Museum of Art, and the Taubman Museum of Art.
3D mapping, Air quality, ambient, environment monitoring, innovation and design, sentient, ubiquitous
The analysis, management, and interaction with air pollution data has been generally relegated to experts based at scientific or government institutions. There is an increasing need to make such air-related data public; where air-related data has been obtained visualizations have emerged all over the world dealing with air quality representation. The aim of this paper is to make a historical review of air quality cartographies and then to analyze these visualizations from different perspectives. Our objective is to deploy this review and analysis to cover the following topics: To whom is the information addressed and toward what purpose? Which kind of graphic and physical interfaces are being used? What are their properties, opportunities, and shortcomings in terms of communication effectiveness?
We believe that the objective of these visualizations is to produce not only information, but behavioral change in citizens; thus, a shift in visualization strategy needs to be taken. Within this context our paper presents the project In the Air, developed by a multidisciplinary team through collaborative workshops. The aim is to test some of these new strategies, e.g., 3D maps as interactive interfaces. The digital application of In the Air captures Madrid City Council’s monitoring stations data, allowing not only the capability to see the density of pollutants (PM10, NO2, SO2, CO, O3) at a certain time and place, but also the analysis of historical data, to see their evolution in time, and to recognize the urban fabric. The goal of the project is to explore the 3D visualization as a tool for research that permits the intensifying of communication between scientists, institutions, and citizens, while opening up their capacity of interaction and decision making with the information exposed.
Nerea Calvillo is an architect, professor, researcher and curator specialised in new technologies as design tools, and interested in mapping urban invisible agents.
Capital informatics, consumer modification, facetime, fashion retail, interactivity, profitability, touchpoint, user experience, window display
The pursuit of a highly controlled corporate voice emerged with the advent of modern marketing practice. At every level in which a consumer interacted with a brand there was to be careful consideration and controlled consistency. However, contemporary art practice (such as Jenny Holzer’s work), and today’s communication methods (e.g., texting and twitting), has challenged this control. New risks, and new opportunities have emerged. Next-generation marketing must embrace this risk: the consumer is already crouching at the boardroom table.
The interplay between a consumer touchpoint, how consumers/users may co-opt or interact with that touchpoint, and the profitability gain or loss associated with such interaction is an increasing concern for commercial entities. For this investigation I looked at a specific control ideas for an example touchpoint (in this case within the fashion marketing field, a typical and non-typical window display) and a control and interaction method (in this case through the co-opting of the “message” conveyed by the marketer’s proxy by allowing consumers to “put words” into the mouths of the mannequins). In terms of profitability, however, I used a default metric: increased consumer/retailer time leads to increased opportunity for sales; a simple “more equals better” formula.
I use the term “capital informatics” to apply to information that is technically accessible to the consumer/user that can be freely modified by such consumer/users and can be directly transmitted to other consumer/users without any additional intervention or vetting of any kind by the marketer.
Youkyoung Kim is a stylist and fashion researcher with a strong interest in how design modifies consumer behavior, particularly through the use of new media and interactivity. She attended Sejong University for Industrial Design, received her Bac+3 degree in Fashion Design from Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne (ECSC), and is currently under thesis review for an MA in Design Studies from Central Saint Martins under their Applied Imagination in the Creative Industries focus. Ms. Kim served in various internship roles within the fashion and design industries before focusing her professional energies participating in aspects of consumer touchpoints and user experience; her strength in consumer semantics has lead to a number of roles in which her translation skills between Korean, French, and English permit design analysis for multiple market initiatives.
Iconography, icons, ideograph, information theory, informative visual representation, intelligent icons, pictograph, quantigraph, signified, signifier, signifier key, symbols, VT-CAD
The lack of rigid descriptive standards in the field of visual communications have lead to fairly ambiguous definitions for some terms. Labels such as pictograph, symbol, or icon are used interchangeably; when additional descriptive refinement is added to these base terms, such as in the case of “intelligent icon,” the uncertainty of meaning is compounded further. This article provides general functional definitions for the terms icon, and a specific definition for intelligent icon. Such functional definitions assist practitioners in the design process. This will lead to improving the retrieval, display, and assessment of data through visualization—in turn, yielding improved decision making for knowledge workers.
Concisely, we assert that icons are: highly informative visual representations composed of symbolic (pictographs, ideographs, etc.) and/or quantigraphic elements (devices that convey numeric or statistical data); further, to be considered truly intelligent, icons must be: unconstrained (informatively self-contained), compact (conveying dense levels of information within a very small footprint), and adaptive (dependent upon and changing to reflect data specificities from which they are generated). This argument will be supported through a carefully articulated taxonomy and flow diagram that considers the nature and function of intelligent icons within the communication/information design fields.
William M. Bevington is the Associate Professor of Information Mapping in the School of Art, Media, and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design, The New School, New York. He is an Information Theorist within the Parsons Institute of Information Mapping, and formerly served as PIIM’s Executive Director. Previously, he was the Chairman of the Communication Design department at Parsons School of Design, served various professorial and instructional roles at his Alma Mater, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He is an information designer and information theorist specializing in creating tools for the rapid assessment of complex data. His first significant project was the Blackout Procedures Manual for Con Edison in 1983, and the last was a major Geospatial Media Mash-up Tool under U.S. government contract entitled the Geospace and Media Tool (GMT). Mr. Bevington has developed toolsets for transit systems applications, stock trading applications, and health management tools as a principle designer at Spire Integrated Design, New York. He has lectured worldwide, illustrated Graphic Designers Production Handbook, co-authored Working with Graphic Designers and Designing with Type with Jim Craig. He is also the author of Typography: The Principles, A Basic Guide to Using Type published by The Cooper Union.
David Fusilier has previously worked as an information and interaction designer at Parsons Institute of Information Mapping and a typographic designer at the Brooklyn-based Darden Studio. He is a graduate of Parsons The New School for Design, The New School, earning his BFA from the Communication Design and Technology department. Formerly, he pursued a premedical curriculum at Louisiana State University, complimented by jobs working as both a medical records clerk at the Baton Rouge Clinic and a volunteer in the endoscopy department of Our Lady of the Lake Hospital.