History and Future of QS Visualization
Indhira Rojas is a visual and interaction designer. She is also a teacher at CCA California College of the Arts in San Francisco where she teaches at the Interaction Design department. In this talk, she and Daniel share visual experiments by visual artists and how they are looking to expand their visual vocabulary, how they represent data and how they represent time. She discusses the history and future of QS visualization.
Indhira Rojas History and Future of QS Visualization
Hi, my name is Indhira Rojas. I’m a visual and interaction designer. I’m also a teacher at CCA California College of the Arts in San Francisco when I teach in the interaction design department.
I want to share with you, and Dany and I have been in conversations this week about our conversation about the timeline and about the history. And I’m just the juxtaposition to tat and wat to talk about and show you projects from today. These are visual experiments done by visual artists and looking to expand our visual vocabulary, how we represent data and how we represent time.
A lot of these projects have been at hackathons, which for me are very exciting where designers and programmers can come together. And this is one of them. It’s called Data Viz Challenge. I think it was sponsored by Google and Ibeam, and the challenge was to visualize how our tax money is spent.
And here is that visualization where you can sort of put in your income and you can submit it, and it sort of create a visualization spent over time. And what is interesting about this visualization is that it talks about macro and also in micro, meaning that you can go into the data in detail but you can also see it as an aggregate over time.
And I think that is what today’s tools are allowing us to do. They’re allowing us to look at data from different points of views and use the tools of animation and motion and interaction to be able to see things from different perspectives.
I’m just going to circle through different projects and this is going to be like a quick overview just to give you a taste of what’s happening today. I’m sorry if this is too fast.
So being able to not only look at data in one way, but being able to sort of transform it and into when you’re going to see it as visual, unless you want to see it in metric. When you want to see it qualitative, and how will these things speak to each other and able to tell us and have bigger connect insights.
Another project he did I also loved is the whale hunt, and this is a more personal documentation experience. He went to Alaska to spend time with Eskimos on their whale hunt season. And this is all the photographs that he took. Not only can you see it as photographs, but you can also see it as timeline.
And here he takes the way that it’s sequenced and the more pictures he takes, the more intense the moment it was, and that’s how you’re able to tell not only time but his emotions during that time. And people here, there’s a metadata, where you can search for pictures in relations to people emotions, so we not only have the layer of time but also layers of contributors to the story of emotion.
And this is his current project. It’s called cow bird, where people come in here, they take a photograph and they tell that story. And through that he’s encouraging people to sort of document their lives, because he say’s our lives is our biggest creation. And it’s projects like these that inspires me to think about what is the future for QS, not only for personal data but also for aggregated data and how can we make that information engaging and beautiful and sort of tell our stories.
I have other projects for example the MIT Sensible CD Lab, which also does a lot of interesting data research visualizations, and I really love the type of work that they do because they try to sort of deconstruct our collective stories in CDs in how do we behave over geography.
And this is the spending for in Easter time in Spain, done in collaboration with the bank. And you can sort of see the patterns. But what I think is interesting about what we’re looking at, it’s not only that we’re looking at a timeline over time, over different categories, but we’re also seeing it juxtaposed against geography. So we’re allowed to sort of correlate this information and see something deeper than just looking at sort of one graph.
This is a different visualization also done in the MIT lab. This is about communication across New York and around the world. It’s just to talk about how we have advanced with visualization, with not only can we do sort of graphics but we can do 3-D graphics and see it in space.
New York Times has a very interesting project in this realm, where you can see this is a graph about how social media expands. How one tweet is retweeted and then retweeted, and then how you can create those connections and not from one person to another. And we’re seeing it in time, but we’re also seeing it in space. And I think that this is also another interesting way of looking at data.
And when I look at all these projects and I think about what Dan was saying about how we’re sort of using technology 300 years ago and representing time in ways that we’ve done for a really long period. I want to think about how can we use the arts and how can we use the technology to deconstruct those paragons and look at time in a very different way and look at personal data in a very different way.
So now I want to talk about some communities that exist we can belong to and sort of connect with. And I want to think the world of QS and science can come together with the worlds artists and visual artists and design.
So here are some of these communities that create this project and there is also this website called the creative application network. And here is more of a blog where people post and many time they are open sources visualizations that you can sort of see and reference and use.
There’s also info aesthetics, which is another documentation of visualizations, and these are really interesting because they serve to inspire us, and they are also experimentations, maybe not from the world of science but from the world of design and art.
And I wanted to show this festival because I feel like a lot of the well-known experiments and visualizations there’s a lot of people that went to this festival. And if you’re able to look at their speakers, there’s a point of departure if you are interested in this topic that you can start with.
Finally, I want to talk about local organizations, (SKAFTA) does a lot of data visualizations that are interesting and I want to see our community and their community coming together. I know Nicholas Felton is here, and he does a lot of data visualization work as well, and statement design doing a lot of mapping. So basically we’re saying a lot of the very talented designers and artists are local and we have access to them, and how can we integrate those communities.
Finally, I want to talk about the frameworks that exist for that visualization, which a lot of them are open source, and we have access to them and we can experiment with them, so how can we bring some of the visualization tools with our science and science art.
I think visualization is about synthesizing and complexity, and with technologies of today we can have action, reaction, animation, motion, depth. These gives us a lot more layers to work with, and on top of that you can have layers of metadata and context. You know we’re talking about looking at data from a different point of view where the access are different now, so macro versus micro in various points of departure and the juxtaposition for information which will accelerate the recognitions of patterns and bring us to deeper insights.