The Uses of Digital Database

DATAmap: Exploring gender balance in Ireland through interactive multimedia installation by Fionnuala Conway and Linda Doyle/Subtle Presence by William Russell Pensyl, Weiyun Melody Bai, Shou Chen Liang, Cong Thien Qui Tran, and Shang Ping Lee/ Journeys in Travel – an infinite digital database film project by Christin Bolewski
Monday, 19 September, 2011 - 17:00 - 18:00
Chair Person: 
Ala Pigalskaya
Fionnuala Conway
William Pensyl
Christin Bolewski
Linda Doyle
Weiyun Melody Bai
Shou Chen Liang
Cong Thien Qui Tran
Shang Ping Lee

DATAmap: Exploring gender balance in Ireland through interactive multimedia installation

by Fionnuala Conway and Linda Doyle

Contemporary culture produces volumes of data such as research results and often this information remains inaccessible to the public or is presented in a manner that is difficult to digest or unengaging. The traditional presentation style, for example, of presenting data as numbers and statistics is often inadequate in its ability to engage the public. In attempting to engage the public with information, the challenge is to make it appealing, impactful and memorable by making it personally relevant and meaningful.

Art and technology offers new and alternative possibilities for presentation and audience engagement. Artist researchers are addressing the use of computers to advance the presentation and organisation of large volumes of complex information by creating visualisation methods that incorporate experimental two-dimensional, three-dimensional, time-based, meaningful and metaphoric visualisation. They are also looking at ways to extend the physical interface by looking at ways to read human actions and ways to exploit the ways in which people understand the world through their body. The artist working with multimedia and technology can exploit these possibilities to present a complex view of many layers of information in an accessible and meaningful way.

DATAmap is an immersive interactive multimedia installation that presents factual information on the levels of representation in Irish State bodies, with a focus on gender balance. It is the novel result of an exploration by the artist into how the interactive installation could be a physical platform for the presentation of the complex set of local, regional and national data on the gender composition of State bodies around Ireland. This research and resulting artwork represents a step forward in the creation of art for social change by presenting an interdisciplinary and novel mixed-method approach that informs the creation of artwork to raise awareness of gender balance in Ireland. It sets out to explore the possibilities for applying art and technology to the creation of art that addresses social issues. In doing so, it explores the possibilities of an interdisciplinary approach to inform and develop an artistic practice that embraces other disciplines in order to expand the palette of artistic approaches and tools.

Subtle Presence

by William Russell Pensyl, Weiyun Melody Bai, Shou Chen Liang, Cong Thien Qui Tran, and Shang Ping Lee

This paper explores design and implementation of user centric content delivery using biometric data capture and intelligent analysis to determine the imagery and content presented.

Forms of data, captured in non-invasive manner, such as facial data, height, weight, body type, age, gender and aspects of mood can be used to alter content presented. Such systems must have an inherent intelligence that is ambient and ubiquitous – allowing for interpretation of a wide variety of stimuli that is easily captured. The systems intelligence must offer a range of options that can be autonomously responsive and give meaningful responses to visual and sensor cues.

There are many potential applications, information delivery for target advertising, social communication and emergency communications needed in public or social environments. Application can be used to create socially engaging artworks, integrated media delivery within architectural spaces and interactive media within an exhibition spaces. This allows for viewers engagement in aesthetic experiences that are subtly responsive to personal physical attributes and moods.

Technically, the design of this systems use inherent ambient, and ubiquitous intelligence through three model: Detection Model, Data Training Model, and Demo Showing Model. The Detection model algorithm detect a face, calibrates the image and extracts features using OpenCV Haar-like application [Viola & Jones] and LibSVM to classify and determine gender[SVM]. AdaBoost learning algorithm is used to boost the classification performance. The Data Training Model uses classification method, LibSVM data file to train analysis of data and generate a final data model file. The Demo Showing Model manages windows for system and audience. The detection result data is shown in face detection window and scene view window. The content images or steaming video is shown in a second projection display.

This paper describes a system that demonstrates feasibility and successful application of responsive information delivery tools that prefigure the use of facial and biometric data to cue for advertising, social communication or delivery of culturally relevant user experiences. While initially designed for marketing content in public spaces, the content can vary depending on installation location, expected crowd and population demographics.

Journeys in Travel – an infinite digital database film project

by Christin Bolewski

This is a report on a practice-based research project that investigates contemporary modes of non-linear and recombinant digital storytelling based on algorithmic computer-controlled systems. The video installation ‘Journeys in Travel’ is a story of travel and investigates relationships between travelogue, cinematic essay and digital database narrative. The Open Source Software ‘PD’, which is mainly used to create live-algorithmic musical improvisation and (interactive) music composition, controls here an infinite audiovisual narrative. It is a temporary, open-ended arrangement, which sets in motion a seemingly endless chain of references to related topics: Travel, being elsewhere in foreign places, tourism, ethnography, globalisation, a hyper-connected world, reality and simulation, movement, pace, rhythm and the relationship of film (structure), narrative, music and travel.

 ‘Journeys in Travel’ is designed as a laboratory for multiple investigations of contemporary digital narrative constructions. The database of video and sound elements can act as a source for varying research questions and experimental approaches where the 'data' or 'units' of the story are arranged and assembled according to different computer algorithms.

 The link between digital database narrative and cinematic essay has not yet been intensively investigated and emerges as one of the central aspects of the project. But there are also close and historical connections between travel, film and narrative, that are revisited and re-contextualised in the digital era. Travel can be understood as the reading of an audio-visual narrative, a sequence of images and sounds of unfolding events, captured while we are moving through time and space.

 Another interest lies in investigating relationships between structuring processes in film and music creation via principles of ‘macro-aleatoric’ music composition, which are determined by elements of chance or an uncertain outcome. ‘Aleatoric’ alignment of ‘data’ has long precident in music dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. Aleatoric music composition supports structure but also variation and chance within structure, and is similar to approaches in nonlinear recombinant film. The film units/sequences will be created after knowledge of musical units and rhythm preserving original proportions of a formula to create a structure where the possible combinations of narration reach to infinity.