They Love the Details

In 2012, I’m going to try and create my own data visualization. Of what? Not sure…feel free to throw out some suggestions. Need an idea of what data vis looks like? Please click on the image above to learn more about it. Inforgraphics curated by datavisualization.ch

We Feel Fine...but do we really? Click here to see what the rest of the world is feeling...

We Feel Fine is  on exhibit at the Adobe Museum of Digital Media. First, I’m utterly smitten and enthralled with data visualization work. Harris and Kamvar created this project back in 2005 and wanted to show the world’s feelings, individually and collectively, to showcase the human condition in a way that was both engaging and begs the question of whether we are truly alone in the way we feel. The answer is yes (and no). As unique as we all are, there are universal ideas/concepts/feelings humans experience everyday and We Feel Fine is a contribution to the digital media and arts movement that is evidence of the desire to be connected to the world, to each other, whether we admit it or not.

Some slavic language
Same slavic language but translated into English

Now, imagine the spam above used to create art.

A few posts back, I shared a performance/video art based on spam messaging. This time around, I wanted to post about artist, Alex Dragulescu. He’s been featured on c|net and USA Today. His art has been around for some time but it’s so àpropos considering my recent obsession fascination with the messages filtered as spam via my (blog) comments inbox. Spam is spam but every now and again, I receive a message I’m convinced some artist has remixed into something quite interesting. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that an artist has already done this. Dragulescu re-imagines and contextualizes what is virtually useless but potentially malicious to the common end-user. From computer viruses to intricate coding, his work turns spam messaging into a commentary on language, computational processing, and data visualization.

The following artworks created by Dragulescu (click on the images to learn more about him and his work). Specifically, the images below were generated from the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) values contained in spam messaging.

Spam Plant by Alex Dragulescu ~ Image Source: Artist Website
Spam Plant by Alex Dragulescu ~ Image Source: Artist Website
Spam Plant by Alex Dragulescu ~ Image Source: Artist Website

Something that always troubles me – and it has troubled me for as long as I can remember – is this idea of misinformation that causes people to do bad things. We can go back to World War II, we can look at the 1990s and the Balkan Wars. Emotionally, these drive me very much, this idea of how the Balkans split apart. I’m very interested in that time. And then look at America post 9/11 with this whole anti-Muslim movement and this complete misinformation. And it’s not necessarily because somebody thought, “I’m going to be evil and go out and lie.” They really believe what they are saying, and the people listening to them want to believe what they’re hearing. So this idea that the Quran is all about terror and violence makes me go like, “Wait. Look at the Old Testament. Look at Deuteronomy. It says you can stone your wife.” Our religious texts in the Western world are extremely violent, as well.

~ Excerpt from the Substratum Series Interview with Wesley Grubbs, Founder of Pitch Interactive

Take a look at Pitch Interactive data visualization of the Bible and the Quran here.

Please view the Fast Company article here to learn more about these amazing visualizations created by artists, Cullen Miller (music), Nik Hanselmann (visuals), and Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA)! Being a GAFFTA volunteer, I get to work with these incredible minds!! 🙂