Hey yo … super cool guest today on Data Stories. We have data artist Jer Thorp for a whole episode on Data Art and Visualization. We managed to catch him before he leaves for a deep dive in a submarine next week.
Jer is former artist in residence at New York Times R&D Labs and now he is the co-founder of the Office For Creative Research, a studio/lab that mixes science and art. Among many other things he is the creator of the algorithm and software tool “to aid in the placement of the nearly 3,000 names on the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan” and Cascade, a tool to visualize “the sharing activity of New York Times content over social networks.”
In this episode we talk about his past and new projects, teaching art and vis and the many intersections between art and science.
[Big thanks to Nathan Griffiths for audio-editing the episode!]
- The IEEE VIS’14 Art Program (that’s going to be in Paris)
- NYU ITP Data Art Course
- Cascade (vis of NYT sharing activity)
- Shakespeare Machine (earstudio | video on vimeo)
- Jer’s HBR article on “Visualization as Process, Not Output“
- Collection of vis development process images from OCR
- Example of Data Performance: Thousands of Exhausted Things (OCResearch and The Elevator Repair Service)
- Hans Rosling’s TED Talk “The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen“
- Eyeo Festival
Some great artistic insights to data.
Really enjoyed this conversation – well, I like the others too of course, but this was nice 🙂
I quite enjoyed the thoughts on process, and how the process of getting to some conclusions could actually be a more important part of working with data. The process theme reminded me of listening to lengthy artist talks from the Tate museum – they’re available online – and what the artists almost exclusively talk about is the process of getting to a work of art. The Tate talks made me realise that sometime the artworks are only the last, almost minimal, step of a long process of discovery, and that it would be really interesting to see the processes leading up to artworks.
I’m also happy that the topic of rigour and investigation was brought up. This, I suppose, partly relates to the process thread above. There are many forms of art, of course, but quite often there’s a long process of investigation involved, that goes overlooked.
One could be tempted to say that one of the nice things about art is that people often get to take an extended – and needed – period of time to investigate a topic. That’s not quite always something that happens in the design sphere.
Thanks for a great podcast – it covered really very many topics and threads that are interesting, and that are very important for communicating and understanding the world through data.
Just as a ps: I’ve been listening to a international development podcast called Development Drums, run by the Center for Global Development. The topics revolve around how countries are understood and how localities and/or states be ‘developed’. Very often decisions about development – i.e. typically political decisions – are taken based on statistics. It struck me, listening to the podcast, this is certainly a field that has tried using statistics for decisions, for a quite long time. The reflections various guests have had about the politics of data, data collection and data based decisions, have been quite eye-opening.
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