Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Data Visualization - Mapping Britain’s Information Economy from Above

Art is everywhere – we, as a species, weave our collective artistic sense into everything we do. The paths that fiber optic cables weave as they transmit information, flight paths, shipping routes, and land based telecommunications, all create intricate patterns. These patterns were not derived from concerns of aesthetic impact, but created out of concern for the system's functionality. However, through this functionality arises a planned chaos that is both breathtaking and awe inspiring when visualized.

This type of art is concerned with presenting the everyday, overlooked, functions of the world in striking visualizations of pure data. My first encounter with this type of art making was when I researched Radiohead’s latest video. I found a group of UCLA researchers, who had inspired the video’s director, were using lasers to record the movement of aerial vehicles and compiling the data into still images.

This time around, the BBC presents data visualization, in Britain From Above, through time-lapse video using, among other things, GPS signatures or trails. The images are not of humans, but their systems, and it’s truly amazing to see so many people interacting on such a large scale. These vids makes all our randomness - seem magical.

Link to videos


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