Saturday, July 2, 2011

Event: Eyeo -- the Practice of Digital Information & Art

Lots of big names here, especially on the design side.

Day 3 at Eyeo: the Practice of Digital Information & Art


This post was written by Jan Willem Tulp, who recently won the Eyeo Data Visualization Challenge. Even more, Jan Willem recently took the courageous decision to give up his regular day job in order to start his own data visualization practice.
Day 3 was kicked off by Nicholas Felton. His talk was all about the "Annual Reports that he has been creating for some years now. He explained his fascination with measuring all sorts of aspects, like the number of plats killed, number of people met, and number of miles traveled (which included the number of miles in Grand Theft Auto). For Nicholas measuring everything is truly a way of living: "Every time I drink coffee or see Michael J. Fox, I have to take a note". His 2010 Annual Report is about his father, who also seemed to have the same fascination of collecting and recording everything. It was great to see how he used services like Google Maps and Google Image Search in his CSI-like mission to find locations of images that his father had taken, but had no description or whatsoever of where the picture was taken.
Ben Fry gave a fantastic overview of the work he has done in the past, and more recent work he and his team have made inside Fathom. Two of the remarks he made during his talk that stuck with me are: "Sometimes we need to see both the forest and the trees in order to understand the context" and "In the client work I do, interaction is the fundamental thing". Many of his famous projects were explained, like the Stats of the Union iPad app, All Streets and The Preservation of Favoured Traces which, like Ben said, is actually "track changes of Darwin's Origin of Species". More humorous projects were: MacRecipes, which shows all the tools MacGyver figures out to build in each episode, and a way to make visualizations more physical: cinnamon powder on cappuccino's in the shape of pie charts or packed circle diagrams.
The projects
Sent from my iPhone