Why is this art making people stop in their tracks and look into the sky?

Mar 20th, 2014

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Category: artists

Why is this art making people stop in their tracks and look into the sky?

Google’s Aaron Koblin portfolio already is impressive, but when he partnered with Janet Echelman a successful master sculptor and TED talk veteran, something truly new and beautiful emerged. When you put two masterminds and creative trendsetters together, the results are always going to be interesting, but this collaboration goes way beyond interesting!

This is the crossroads where art and technology meet. Pioneers of data visualization like Eric Fischer, who created, or DJ Patil at LinkedIN Lab who developed a tool, that lets it’s users generate a visualization of their network – have demonstrated how data can be presented in an aesthetic way, not just to illustrate the information they inherently contain, but to create a piece of art that stands on it’s own right.maps based on geotagging by users on Flickr

NYC by Geotagging

With languages like Processing making it relatively easy for non-computer science graduates to develop programs that can generate this type of visualization, the tools have come a long way. And with the sheer volume of data available today (Big Data has been the center of attention at CeBIT 2014) the possibilities seem endless. However, to date, most of these project were created by science and computer enthusiasts and professionals, rather than by artists.

There are still few universities and colleges that offer any programming or technology courses to art majors. At best there are courses for Photoshop and Image editing, but rarely can an art student learn the tools needed to dive into data visualization. Yet, with so much data and so many advances in technology, this area is crying out for further deep exploration by the most creative of our globe’s people. The MAT (Media Arts and Technology) Graduate program at UCSB in Santa Barbara, California is one of the few universities with a deeper focus on merging art and technology. Other school probably have similar programs, but I might not be aware of them for a number of reasons.

Interestingly, the role of Social Media in today’s society has also been largely ignored by artists. Although many use it to promote their work and exhibitions and to market themselves, the topic itself has not made it into their work (please feel free to comment if you are an artist who has done so or if you know of any).

In the end, it is still refreshing to see projects like ‘Ununmbered Sparks’ and probably well worth a trip to Vancouver!

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