[Thesis 1] Peer Interview

What is my concept and motivation so far. Text by Evan:

He thinks these is more space to visualize data instead of old school way- charts. So far his investigation has been through a movie editing tool he started to develop, and also a book that mashes up two different movies, made using the same tool.

He expects his coming project to turn into both a software to create experimental artwork and a practical tool for video editors. Therefore, he will start to reach out some video editors as his targets users. Other related users mashup communities on youtube. In addition, he might try to collect comments, experience from viewers and other professionals, like sound engineers, data visualization researchers, film and media researchers, computer vision experts, critics, new media artists, software developers, musicians, etc.

The biggest challenge so far for him is that he feels like he has a too broad and maybe purely theoretical question. He’s concerned with data visualization as a language, and he feels the need to push it to a direction different from the current one.

However, the problem is, that might be his concern only. As Scott said, our projects should be relevant and answer the question: “who cares?” and he cannot answer that yet. That’s certainly his main struggle.

Therefore, he is taking the movies project as a first iteration of his broad idea. It was planned as a sort of ‘direct visualization’ tool, so it fit into his main question.

From that it might be easier to find people who care — editors, movie makers etc.

[Thesis 1] Domain and Communities


That was Evan‘s misspelling, but I love it.

Yesterday we made a workshop to map the social aspect of our projects. We split into pairs and helped each other find the areas related to our work.
In the end, we should find common areas between the two. Because Evan‘s project and mine doesn’t seem related, we tried to link them by categorizing the areas instead.
The spreadsheet below is the result of our investigation:

Student Evan Gabriel
Subject Fear. More specifically, the one derived from language barriers. Because the project is based on her own experience as an international student in NYC, she might narrow it down to English language problems. Dada Visualization. Feel the need for new tools other than charts, to visualize data. So far his investigation has been through a movie editing tool he started to develop last semester.
The first people she might talk to is a group of students from an English class she met during Summer. He might finish this tool and test it with people involved in producing experimental videos.
Target Users students video editors
Secondary Users parents people who post mashups on youtube
friends viewers
Experts psychologists data visualization researchers
sociologists film and media researchers
linguists sound engineers
ISS (International Students Services) advisors computer vision experts
ESL (English as Second Language) teachers critics
software developers who work with language applications software developers
Analogous translators musicians
Artists Movie directors whose work is about language problems new media artists


In the end we found out that we share at least two domains: language and video.

[Thesis 1] Been there, done that.

Some precedents from the previous MFA DT thesis shows that I find related to my domain:

Data Rush

1. Data Rush
Apon Palanuwech, 2014

1.1. Description
Critical piece about the use of data by tech companies. Users are asked to navigate through Facebook and/or Google pages using their phones. This interaction triggers the gears of the interactive installation. A digital display shows the amount of user data being collected by the companies. After a certain number of bytes, a candy is released from the piece to the user.

1.2. Connection
I like how Apon’s project utilizes means other than charts to tell a data-related story. The analogy with the Gold Rush is historically consistent and effective in terms of delivering his message.
Also, user interaction and system feedback work together to craft an interesting narrative.

Qualified Life

2. Qualified Life
Fei Liu, 2014

2.1. Description
Another data-related critical piece. Fei Liu satirizes the ‘quantified self’ trend with a corporate machine aimed to increase employees productivity. Users have to perform a series of physical activities dictated by the machine in an ironically authoritative manner.

2.1. Connection
‘Qualified Life’ succeeds in provoking reflection on the self-tracking trend. The machine’s lines are subtle in revealing its critical tone. In addition to the demanding physical interaction, they make the installation also entertaining.
Like in ‘Data Rush,’ metaphor and interaction create a well-crafted narrative.

Skylines 03

3. Skylines
Patricio González Vivo, 2014

3.1. Description
Series of projects exploring how the tools we use shape our vision of the world. Skylines 03 is a set of postcards that show skeleton-like image of NYC. The images were constructed using the depth information from the Google Maps Street View.

3.2. Connection
‘Hacking’ the Google data is not only an ingenious trick, but also a very consistent statement on Patricio’s point on how our current tools impose a single view on the world. It also creates an interesting connection between representational art pre-20th century and new technologies.