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Once again I had a good time hearing how all of you now will turn towards designing your projects/presentations/performances/objects in response to what you have been researching about the topic and data of interest.Here are some notes on the discussions I got to be a part of – I will also review and comment on other notes when they are posted up on the classwork site for Salon 2! Please post retro-salon 2 descriptions and links here

  • Sinan Ascioglu OpenVisuals – Thesis.
    • I think I understand how you envision the online data visualization tool you are creating will provide options to user to display their own data in different ways. My top recommendation (and to satisfy the requirements of this course) is for you to choose a single dataset that comes from a particular domain of knowledge (early on, you used a forest dataset from the FAO, for example) and see how well the visualization that you can produce for that single dataset helps users to interpret that particular dataset well. To test this, your data contributor should be an “EXPERT“, i.e. someone who knows what he or she wants to know from looking at the data. So you can ask this person things like “how is this data traditionally visualized (graphed, charted, mapped?)” OR “What are the most important and meaningful attributes of this dataset that should be emphasized in a visualization environment?” OR “what set of options would you most like to have to control how the data is displayed (in a tool like the one I am making)?” THEN, having understood the context and inherent meaning embodied in your test dataset, try to build (or propose the design for) visualization features in your tool that will expand beyondf the traditional ways that this dataset has previously been shown. One great example of this which I think you have shown is the global map visualization which changes the sizes of continents in relations to one another for certain types of global resource and economic data. LASTLY, you can use the same person that you use for your expert as the audience member – reveiw the proposed features with this person and get comments and suggestions to tweak your design. FOR YOUR FINAL PRESENTATION, then, walk us through how you did a test with this single dataset,telling us about your expert user, data ingest into your tool, the associated visualization parameters and why they were important, and let us know the user’s reactions to the resulting visualization (or to the plan you have to build that part of the tool).
  • Thomas Chan and Seanita Tolliver – chromatin structure modeling
    • Again, my top recommendation would be figuring out how you will best spend your time. Maybe for this project you should go ahead and pursue using Maya to “storyboard” the animation and motion you would like to create as an interpretive visualization. However, instead of getting hung up on accurate modeling at this time, use billboards or representational forms to prototype. Then also spend time getting a solid concept of how you will contextualize and situate this piece in your select setting.Towards this, I agree with the comments from the group about exploring further how you’d situate information about your topic in an iconic public place like Starbucks. Do explore more your interest in Science cafes – maybe you want to think about how space, information and visualization could be added to those type of experiences. Check out the website for the Dana Centre in London.Also, the book I was thinking about that discusses the importance of Starbucksy like third places is Oldenburg’s Great Good Place and then there is The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning the Ordinary Into Extrodinary, which talks about the business approach.
  • Keith Conway –
  • Pravin Sathe Pravin – Thesis.
    • Your description of the forms, examples and production plan are very concrete, clear, and elegant. It is obvious that for your thesis you have been spending a lot of time considering space and form for this piece – others in the class should take note of the careful consideration you are giving to situating your piece in a physical space. I am curious, since I was not able to hear your presentation, if you have followed up on a link with linguistics research for your presentation for this class.
  • Amy Khoshbin and Michael Clemow
    • I need to review your notes I think to remind me of some of the specifics, but I think you have made an advantageous partnership with a researcher studying cognition. I know we talked about how the resulting performance might mimic in some way some of the classic tests that measure attention (this is not the right word here…) Be sure to post the link to the U-Tube movie you showed during the salon. It was very revealing. I think you guys got tickets to the Richard Foreman play for tomorrow night (was it). I ope you enjoy the show. Again, we had talked about how the Foreman show reminded me of being in a kind of experiment with the flashing lights and the clips of video constantly turning my attention away from any sort of narrative. I was not, to my knowledge, wearing any sort of electrodes… Do think about how you might bring some of the “data” into your final piece.
  • Liza Singer -visualization of the brain and its different mechanics
  • Benedetta Piantella Simeonidis – thesis & DART data
    • Thanks also for the slide show covering your topic. Very polished, thoughtful, and professional which covered all the topics and went further into suggesting how your final project might be influenced by the salon exercise. I also like the careful consideration of both the physical and virtual “space” where your forms will be presented. I am sorry to have missed what you said about Spalding Gray. I will also be interested to see how you utilize an expert and how you will weave “data” into your final project for this class given the addition of the trees as an element. Can we all come to your performance?
  • Micaela Pesantes – Peru earthquakes/disaster mitigation
    • Thank you for the summary sheet addressing the salon questions, very helpful. I very much like your concept of designing a game or toy that will help people work out for themselves and understanding of the key issues associated with the frequent earthquake danger. As with the “Meeting of the Minds” process, you should think about how the “data” gets interjected into the process – so how, when, and in what form does the key science information get interjected into the process? Also, I can’t resist including a link to this classic civil defense film (may be an example of what NOT to do, but do notice the simple way that information is presented, and the use of the turtle mascot) Duck and Cover
  • Joora Song – climate change, sea level rise
    • I reviewed the description and links you provided on the class work wiki –I love the baby and polar bear picture. I wonder too whether you are thinking of another analogy –the frog in a pot of water that is slowly starting to boil, and the saying that goes that if you heat the water up slowly enough, the frog will not jump out of the pot. Of your “form” examples, I woudl be curious which ones you thought were sucessful and which not. I had this same problem when working with the ozone data. The way that data is shown in NASA data does not always make sense. And then of course, showing a single time slice of something that is a gradual change is also challenging. I hope you are still considering using some of the real-time data.
  • Ohad Folman
    • I like your initial impulse to develop a project around the concept of talking with atoms. It sounded like you got a lot of good feedback on your concept for an installation piece using a 3 dimensional object as well as separate projection or beams of light. I do wonder, and maybe it is unanswerable, how does one get from an experimental communication at the atomic level to “all clocks being extremely accurate”? I wonder if your piece could follow any one “communication” through to reveal the impact that such a specific communication could have on new technologies that are developed and the nature of what would be different in our daily lives. THAT I would like to see. We have talked about it in passing in class, but don’t forget to look up Errol Morris’ documentary on Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time. It might give you some ideas.
  • Dean Gransar – thesis, PlatoHelper
    • My comments for you are very similar to those for Sinan, in part because of the nature of the tools you are both developing. As we have discussed, you should have one or two people use your tool (or journal even on paper) and track something specific for some period of time. Then you can use the data to try and design visualizations that actually help illuminate the thing that was being tracked. This may be one of many things that you ultimately want to use the tool for, but it will help you create the tool to enhance your data’s meaning. So, as for Sinan’s project, your user and expert can be the same person or people. Let me know how it is going!

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