narrative

Invisible Cities

Invisible Cities is now in beta. The project has evolved from a visualization of collective memory for Taipei to a platform with the capability of surfacing data from the Twitter and Flickr services for any geographic area. While initially we have kept the piece focused on New York City due to the density of available data, we are planning to extend it with other cities as the project progresses. For documentation, please refer to the project site, as well as our recent article in the Volume 3, Issue 1 of the Parsons Journal for Information Mapping (Invisible Cities: Representing Social Networks in an Urban Context).

Many thanks to my collaborator Liangjie Xia for his tireless dedication and remarkable talent, and also to Jason Hsu for the inspiring discourse in the early phases of this project.

City Memory Visualization update (2) / 2 comments

New York landscape populated with status updates

New York landscape populated with status updates

The visualization continues to take shape (see these earlier posts for context). We are now parsing live data from Twitter and image tiles from the Google Maps API for the surface mesh. The user interface remains the point of focus at this point in time, though we are beginning to look for data parsing solutions to help construct the semantic pathways between status updates. Below are a few images of the latest progress.

read the rest of this entry

City Memory Visualization update

Sketch of geolocated tweets, manipulating the mesh surface below

Sketch of geolocated tweets, manipulating the mesh surface below

Joining the project is Liangjie Xia, a programmer and media artist based in New York and a recent graduate from ITP.

The current project focus is on a data landscape comprised of geocoded social updates, forming narrative pathways according to themes (we are evaluating Twitter, Flickr and Foursquare as data sources). As they occur, updates add points to a basemap of Taipei, cumulatively changing the elevation of the landscape. Updates, represented as nodes, are selectable, and articulate the landscape based on other thematically related updates. Finally, we are exploring toggling between two views: the surface mesh outlined above, and a view exchanging the mesh for narrative pathways, represented by hairlines connecting nodes related by topic and time.

read the rest of this entry

A Visualization of Urban Collective Memory

I am currently working with Jason Hsu, organizer of TEDx Taipei, and Edward Shen, recent MIT Media Lab graduate, on a data visualization project aiming to document urban memory in Taipei. The project began with a dialog Jason and I started at TEDActive in Palm Springs earlier this year. Jason recently wrote a blog article comparing my earlier work Pastiche with Jonathan Harris’ We Feel Fine.  As the project progresses, I will continue to post updates here. Below is a proposal that captures my initial thoughts on issues the visualization might seek to address.

read the rest of this entry

The narrative database

It is almost cliché these days to state that the database is the form of expression of our age. Many have written on this topic, from computer scientists to media theorists, from philosophers to artists. They have examined networks as the means for connecting and accessing related objects from databases, as well as protocol in the structure of the database as undermining the assumed autonomy of the object. In the art world, the separation between content and expression no longer seems controversial—along with protocol, it has become a topic of critique. Yet, despite the growing familiarity with the database, it is perhaps given too much credit as a form of expression. The largest misconception seems to be that the database supplants an author-driven narrative. It is often seen as anti-narrative, anti-hierarchical, when in fact the database itself has inherent narrative qualities.

read the rest of this entry

elsewhere