Data Visualization: Practice and Aesthetics

Peripatetic Visualizations by Christina Nguyen Hung/Eye Gaze as a Vehicle for Aesthetic Interaction: Affective Visualisation for Immersive User Experience by Brigitta Zics/ Visualising Emotions and Autism by Barbara Rauch/ Aesthetic 3D Rendering of Historic Shipwrecks (An artist’s intervention in Maritime Archaeology) by Chris Rowland/ 60,000,000 Transactions Later by George Legrady/ 700 Million Miles an Hour and Other Phenomena by Rebecca Cummins
Dates: 
Thursday, 15 September, 2011 - 14:45 - 16:45
Chair Person: 
Ingrid Holzl
Presenters: 
Christina Nguyen Hung
Presenters: 
Brigitta Zics
Presenters: 
Barbara Rauch
Presenters: 
Chris Rowland
Presenters: 
George Legrady
Presenters: 
Rebecca Cummins

Peripatetic Visualizations

by Christina Nguyen Hung

In Mapping the Empire v.1, four HD video cameras are strapped to my wrists and ankles as I traverse a rock formation. A “map” of the terrain emerges from the process that suggests a mode of perception that is distributed, and polyvalent. This work is inspired in part by Umberto Eco’s essay, On the Impossibility of Drawing a Map of the Empire on a Scale of 1 to 1 and the “map” I create nonsensical -- more accurate as a record of motion defined by the logic of living flesh, rather than a systematic grid-like construction of space and time.

The project also includes an installation of multiple video projections, creating a semi-immersive environment that requires viewers to use peripheral vision and maintain an awareness of projections that are beyond their field of vision in order to fully experience the piece. At different times, moments of visual and aural correspondence between projections allow the viewer to see/understand that the video streams must be understood through their relation to a body and its movements (my body), rather than through traditional visual composition.

 This project must be understood within the context of my work with scientific imaging processes, and microscopy in particular. For example, in my work with chick embryo neurons, hundreds of photographs are shot through a microscope and stitched together to represent the in-vitro environments that house live specimens. In another work, A Bad Hand (Acer palmatum, fall 2010), the leaf of a maple tree is cut into .5cm squares. Each square is photographed at 4x magnification through a microscope. The process of photographing the samples is time consuming, the samples decay over time. All the images are then compiled and the maple segments “reassembled” in the computer. The final work is a large format image of the cut leaf segments spaced evenly into a grid.  

Taken as a whole, my work functions as a critical intervention into contemporary mapping and scientific imaging practices and viewing interfaces like the Visible Human projects of the 1980s-90s, Google Earth and Gigapan.

Eye Gaze as a Vehicle for Aesthetic Interaction: Affective Visualisation for Immersive User Experience

by Brigitta Zics

This paper will explore potential applications of aesthetic interaction with a particular perspective on emerging technologies that is inclusive of the user’s cognitive properties.  It investigates the philosophical concept of affection which in this  paper will be described  as the interplay between technological effect and affective human response. This paper argues that understanding such an interrelationship between technological effect and affective responses implies an enhanced affective intelligence of the system with a potential control of the user's immersive experience.

In this investigation affection is applied through aesthetic interaction. This implies that there is a semantic framework developed  that is based on the affective capacity of audiovisual elements  (or "meta-meaning" ) rather than other coded references. As such the designer of such an affective system uses the semantics of technological effect to anticipate affective responses of the user in order to trigger the cognitive state of immersion. Such immersive experiences will be referred to here as a cognitive flow of the user with productive and potentially novel states of consciousness.     

Applying the concept of affection in practice, the paper introduces the affective visualisation of "Mind Cupola"  which applies eye tracking technology to evaluate and respond to the changes in the  cognitive profile of the person. The paper highlights the development process of this affective visualisation and explains the technological aspects of the cognitively inclusive interaction design. It provides a conceptual overview of the interaction architecture including the system flow of the stages of " limbo", "meditative", "chaos", "eye-message board" and "golden state - nirvana". It describes how eye tracking facilitates an aesthetic interaction through direct feedback and indirect effects to guide its user toward a productive immersive state. The paper concludes with the evaluation of this affective system regarding the concept of affection and how users reflected on the   degree of immersion and their quality of experiences.

Visualising Emotions and Autism

by Barbara Rauch

Research Paper: The e_Motion research proposal integrates 3D visualization, haptic technology and rapid prototyping as a window into the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) mind. It represents an exciting evolution of past work done on emotion and digital media. Through the ground-breaking research of Simon Baron-Cohen and others we have learned that ASD falls along a broad spectrum, and high-functioning autistics like Temple Grandin have taught us that they are handicapped not by their ASD, but by the fact that they learn in different ways from “neurotypicals”. It is now well known that many ASD people are visual thinkers and learners, and Dr. Rauch proposes to utilize state-of-the-art but “APPROACHABLE” digital technologies that will allow them to speak with distinct and enhanced visual voices. This differs from art therapy in that it will lead to a better understanding of how ASD individuals think and feel, through visualization. That the products of creativity might allow psychologists and neuroscientists to better place individuals along the ASD spectrum is especially critical on an international scale. Dr. Rauch currently joins collaborators such as Dr. Stuart Shanker, Prof. Jason Nolan and Dr. Evan Thompson, who are working on studies in ASD, emotion, education and communication. Dr. Rauch’s unique contribution emphasizes emotion and visualization through digital 3D production and haptic technologies.

Aesthetic 3D Rendering of Historic Shipwrecks (An artist’s intervention in Maritime Archaeology)

by Chris Rowland

Seven tenths of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. Evidence of our maritime heritage can be found in the thousands of historic shipwrecks that lie beneath the oceans on the seabed around our coastline. The majority of them are virtually invisible to the public gaze due to their inaccessible nature. However, recent developments in sonar technology have provided opportunities for high resolution data to be gathered which can be used to produce accurate 3D images of these important shipwreck sites.

This paper describes how a novel aesthetic approach to visualising this data can make our submerged maritime heritage more accessible to the general public. It describes how re-tasking 3D animation techniques can improve the viewer’s understanding of complex underwater scenes. Comparisons are made to how scientific data can often be aesthetically ill-considered, adopting a traditional “that’s how we have always done it” approach rather than attempting to focus on clarifying the data.

Many of the case study shipwrecks described are of environmental significance, either containing unexploded munitions, nuclear materials or large quantities of marine oil. The paper describes how an aesthetic approach to improving the visualisation of the data can help to inform risk assessment for recovery or containment of these hazardous materials.

In summary, the proposed aesthetic visualisation methods are evaluated alongside traditional industry approaches. Can art save lives?

60,000,000 Transactions Later: Visualizing Data at the Rem Koolhaas designed Seattle Central Library

by George Legrady

60,000,000 Transactions Later: Visualizing Data at the Rem Koolhaas designed Seattle Central Library http://www.spl.org/default.asp?pageID=about_news_detail&cid=1126554289343 “Making Visible the Invisible” is a commission by the Seattle arts Commission for the new central library which opened in 2005 realized by artist George Legrady in collaboration with artist/engineer Rama Hoetzlein. The electronic installation was activated in September 2005 and is continuing until 2014 or beyond. It is located on the technology floor, on a wall of LCD screens behind the librarians' reference desk giving patrons and librarians an insight as to where patrons’ interests lie. Between 12000 to 36000 books, movies and cd’s are checked out each day at the library. Since September 2005, we are receiving this amazing data every hour, approximately 10 million items checked out per year. Four animations that float across a wall of display screens interpret the data fed directly from the Library's Information Technology department to the artwork, which is powered by four computers. At the time of ISEA Istanbul we will celebrate the project’s 6th year of continuous operation. This paper will give an overview and analysis of the data, discuss the potential of the project as a historical document at a time of the massive transition to the internet, presented with animations and visualizations using the data, created by graduate students in the Media Arts & Technology PhD program at UC Santa Barbara and during workshops in the past 4 years.

 

I explore the sculptural, experiential and sometimes humorous possibilities of light and natural phenomena, often referencing devices from the history of science and optics in installations that include a machine for making rainbows, a camera obscura journey through the center of the earth, paranoid dinner-table devices based on a 17th c. Czech periscope goblet, an interactive computer/video rifle that references E. J. Marey’s photographic rifle of 1882 - and site-specific periscopes and camera obscuras.   Scientific visualizations and the devices that produce them (historical examples and contemporary innovations) have influenced my artwork and my teaching.

Several sculptural and photographic projects explore time making devices, including water clocks and sundials.  Several works involve tracing shadows over regular intervals: at the Roman Forum in Italy; over lunch in Rome, Shanghai, London, Berlin, Sydney, Seattle; at the Palo Alto Red Barn; and in the desert by moonlight. Skylight Aperture Sundial, a public art commission with the Seattle Public Library and the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs tracks solar noon within the Montlake Public Library.  Also directly relevant to this proposal is 2 Dog Dial, a playful use of the heliodon and the Leech Barometer (in homage to the Tempest Prognosticator by George Merryweather, 1851).

 Along with presenting examples of these devices and artworks - and of collaborations with a physicist, an astronomer and a meteorologist, I will discuss two related courses: Art and the Cosmos - Making Giant Sundials co-taught with Astro-Physicist Woodruff Sullivan and Black Holes, Grey Matter and White Cubes: Visualizing Science, a studio art course which considers the artistic possibilities of scientific representation and instruments.

700 Million Miles an Hour and Other Phenomena

Rebecca Cummins

I explore the sculptural, experiential and sometimes humorous possibilities of light and natural phenomena, often referencing devices from the history of science and optics in installations that include a machine for making rainbows, a camera obscura journey through the center of the earth, paranoid dinner-table devices based on a 17th c. Czech periscope goblet, an interactive computer/video rifle that references E. J. Marey’s photographic rifle of 1882 - and site-specific periscopes and camera obscuras.   Scientific visualizations and the devices that produce them (historical examples and contemporary innovations) have influenced my artwork and my teaching.

Several sculptural and photographic projects explore time making devices, including water clocks and sundials.  Several works involve tracing shadows over regular intervals: at the Roman Forum in Italy; over lunch in Rome, Shanghai, London, Berlin, Sydney, Seattle; at the Palo Alto Red Barn; and in the desert by moonlight. Skylight Aperture Sundial, a public art commission with the Seattle Public Library and the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs tracks solar noon within the Montlake Public Library.  Also directly relevant to this proposal is 2 Dog Dial, a playful use of the heliodon and the Leech Barometer (in homage to the Tempest Prognosticator by George Merryweather, 1851).

Along with presenting examples of these devices and artworks - and of collaborations with a physicist, an astronomer and a meteorologist, I will discuss two related courses: Art and the Cosmos - Making Giant Sundials co-taught with Astro-Physicist Woodruff Sullivan and Black Holes, Grey Matter and White Cubes: Visualizing Science, a studio art course which considers the artistic possibilities of scientific representation and instruments.