Younghee Jung, Research Leader at Nokia
Till 2003, humans had created 5 exabytes (5 billion gigabytes) of data. In 2011, the same amount was created every two days.
A big part of our lives revolves around data: how it is generated, collected, and discussed. Not surprisingly, design plays a huge roll in being the medium for the message(ha). In a world where we suffer anxiety from information bombardment and multi tasking, how do you find ways to navigate through it to be productive?
Some people who’ve taken big data experience to the next level:
Quantifying our daily lives has become an obsession in itself, and this is where people like Nicholas Felton, recognised as one of the 50 most influential designers in America by Fast Company*, come in. Since 2005, he has been creating yearly reports of his life’s activities and making them into posters that present insights into his own behavioural patterns. These are done through varied methods of Data Visualisation, and hint at our need to quantify everything we do. These allow him to get insights into his own personality.
“a person’s authentic nature is a series of shifting, variegated planes that establish themselves as he relates to different people; it is created by and appears within the framework of his interpersonal relationships.”.
Philip K. Dick
Jer Thorp is also a big reference in this field, having produced lots of data-focused artwork. He uses mostly Processing to build code that collects data and draws it at the same time, such as Project Cascade. This was a project created for the Research & Development team at the New York Times, and it “allows for precise analysis of the structures which underly sharing activity on the web”. In other words, it maps the sharing activity of a tweet on Twitter, drawing it’s path whenever it is mentioned or retweeted, making for an interesting insight on how information propagates in the non-physical social media space. The big questions they present in the project are “what is the impact of a single tweet? How much of a conversation occurs in just 140 characters?”. It really speaks to the way we interact and express ourselves nowadays; be it through text messages, facebook or twitter posts, we’re aiming for the minimum, but with maximum impact.
A really cool example of data being used to convey meaning is Stewart Smith’s use of computer programming as a means of communicating artistic concepts, such as the music video he created for Grandaddy’s song “Jed’s other Poem”. Jeddy-3 is a recurring character on their album Sophtware Slump and he is a humanoid robot built from spare parts. For this project, he used a 1979 Apple Computer, and, by programming simple text animations on it, appropriated himself of the media to create a haunting piece. Following it’s launch in September 2005, the source code for the project was posted, making it the first open-source music video, allowing people to use it to create their own videos.