Turning data into visual representation

Okay, so this particular data set may not be such a happy one but it's interesting, isn't it?

In recent musings regarding art and technology, digital/multi media arts has given me heart palpitations (in a good way, of course). Innovation is an integral part in bridging communities, cultures, and sub-cultures. A hybrid approach seems to be taking actual data and making it beautiful. Visit Information is Beautiful on the web. Again, exploring both realms can actually serve both Traditional and Digital/Multi-media artists. More recently, memories of Edward Tufte‘s work have been resurfacing from the crevices of my mind. I remember learning about Tufte’s work right out of college when I started the corporate grind. Not only did I find myself fascinated and engaged by statistics (wish that was the case when I was in college), I was able to relate information far better. Visual representation deals with aspects of politics, economics, culture, and society that seem far from my insular understanding of particular topics (i.e., US deficit or when people report break ups on Facebook because THAT is extremely important (no, not really)). It broadens the scope. Granted, I’m not letting go of my affinity for the traditional art and I’m not jumping on some bandwagon taking me straight to the to the Digital Arts Rally in some downtown plaza, which would probably be via Skype anyway (insert laugh track here – thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week). I’m advocating that people start expanding and evolving their understanding of what constitutes art. You would be surprised, I know scientists that don’t consider modern and contemporary works of art as Art! Yes…and these individuals have the capacity to research and create change towards medical advancement. You would think such individuals have the capacity to think outside constructs outside of science but no. So, imagine other individuals. 

Besides, I’m starting to think you can’t have one without the other. Yup, chicken and egg argument all the way on this one.

For you (or pass onto to someone you know may be interested) that WANT to delve into the world yourself…check out this call for entries!

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Author: Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos is a writer, editor, curator, and educator whose research areas and interests include new media and digital art, activism, artificial intelligence, networked culture, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She is currently the managing editor for Hyphen magazine. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and Public Art Dialogue. She has lectured and spoken at the De Young museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, and more. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” has been published to The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture in 2016. She serves as executive staff for the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism, board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center, and teaches at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the Digital Art and New Media department.

5 thoughts on “Turning data into visual representation”

  1. I love this topic! Great post! In my work, I sometimes try to match up some of my photographs with mathematical formulas or theories. I might not necessarily understand the maths themselves, but by browsing Wikipedia and reading over what I find, I am often able to discover new ways of expressing my photography. And I agree… scientists and the like should open up their minds! An old African proverb goes “He who does not know one thing knows another”. I think that the forces that be and allow some people to excel and have forte’s can become stumbling blocks to see outside their areas of expertise. Oh, and I love that Information is Beautiful website! I’d seen it before, would be great to get some of the books. Take care Dorothy!

  2. Ah, thanks so much for the kind words and reading my posts. I really appreciate your comments. I love looking at your photography and see how they can relate to both the concrete and abstract sides of the brain. Your abstract photos of light and color are fantastic. I do love the spiritual photography as well. Visually, you touch upon a lot of different perspectives. Please continue doing what you do because it’s some GREAT stuff. 🙂

    1. Aww, hey wow! I didn’t realize you had looked at my work! Thanks so much, that brings a smile to my face! RedBubble only just updated the format of their site, so my portfolio isn’t what I want it to be just yet as far as the collections go… but its fun working with grouping and adding some new (old) stuff. I spend most of my online time over there… its a great community. Thanks again Dorothy! xo

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