Data & Ethics :: Funnel

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Funnel was created for the last section of Data Art, “Data and Ethics”.  Funnel is a conceptual service where, through a browser extension and mobile app, users can see the data they generate both willingly and unknowingly.  Background network and wifi traffic is supplemented by voluntary information through social network APIs, bank accounts, wearable devices, EZpass, and whatever else the user wants to submit.  The user can see how their online activity is monitored by 3rd party trackers and cookies, and how their activity generates data points that are used to quantify them.  Weekly or monthly summary reports are available to visually analyze user and background activity.  Funnel seeks to help people gain an understanding of how data creation and collection works today.  Funnel can be used to view a portrait of yourself in data, to see the profile that companies are actively seeking to build of you.




MINED is my project for section 3 of Data Art, “Data and Publics” which focused on spatial data.  Using a USGS dataset on active commodity mines from 2003, I developed a physical representation of mining data.  Following the above slides, I mapped out all ~7000 mines, then mapped them with color according to the 5 most popular mine types.  I then got the 10 states with the most mines, and made the circular outline graphs showing the number of each type of mine in the state (larger spikes represented a large amount of a certain type of mine).  Those outlines were then mapped in size to the population of the state.  10 graphs were overlaid, extruded and rendered in Rhino.  I laser cut the 10 states to make a stack from largest to smaller, with the hope of evoking the physical form of an actual mine.  The last step is to cast the form, but it couldn’t get finished in time (also, I don’t know anything about casting).



Python parser:


Processing code:

Text and Archive

Colin Narver and I collaborated on a conceptual project for our assignment in the Text and Archive section of Data Art.  We decided to use the Wikileaks dump  of 9/11 pager messages.  We wanted to create an interactive installation using these messages.  The messages are timestamped, and parsing allows you to see the frequency of messages over time.  By selecting the most frequently mentioned phrases, we would have a baseline for our interaction.  These messages would be projected on the walls of a large room, falling form the ceiling to the floor, with the total number of messages and their frequency mapped from the overall time period to a shorter, more viewing-friendly length of time.  Kinect-based interaction by the users would cause the letters to break apart and disappear.  The installation was meant to explore the gravity and chaotic events of the day, represented through contextual data.

Jer provided some great criticism, mainly around the difficulty of presenting such sensitive material.  There are lines to consider in installations like this, and with the perhaps heavy-handedness route we conceptualized, it could be too difficult for people to truly experience.  How would we balance very delicate feelings and emotionally charged data?  We also have to consider the moral implications of using this dataset, which was originally stolen (perhaps with good intentions, but stolen nonetheless).  All extremely valid angles to consider that I admittedly overlooked before.   Below are our presentation slides, some screenshots of the processing sketch, and code.

Data Art - Text and Archive Conceptual Project

Data Art - Text and Archive Conceptual Project  (1)

Data Art - Text and Archive Conceptual Project  (2)

Data Art - Text and Archive Conceptual Project  (3)

Data Art - Text and Archive Conceptual Project  (4)


Screenshots of code prototype.  Text disintegrates with interaction:

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New Orbits



We were tasked with creating a new aesthetic visualization based the data set of someone else in the class.  I chose Kate’s data on the solar system, specifically the orbital patterns of the planets.  There was a .csv for each planet with 100 data points referencing distance from the sun.  I followed my pattern from first assignment in trying to produce a clean, visually appealing graphic that could eventually be produced as a print.  The planets are displayed in order left to right, top to bottom.  Outliers in the orbits are seen as jutting vertices from the baseline orbit.  Completed in Processing, with arrangement and layout in Photoshop.  Code is below:

Data & Aesthetics




First assignment for Data Art with Jer Thorpe.  Focus was set solely on exploring concepts of aesthetics in data.  Using the New York Times API, I scraped mentions of various countries from 1900-2000.  Represented from left to right in the graph are: Iraq, Nigeria, Cambodia, France, and the USA.  The data is mapped on the right side in a small, crystalline  graph, and on the left side in three expanding loops.  Lulls in mentions are contrasted by huge spikes in activity, with colors enhancing the frequency.  Designed to be produced as a large, rectangular print, which is coming soon.  Produced using the NYT API, Processing, and Photoshop for final layout.  Code can be found on my github.