12.12 Final Project Description

Transforming Data: Cultural Strategies in DataMining
Instructor: George Legrady
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12.12 Final Project Description

Post by glegrady » Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:36 pm

Please post here your final project details:

Short description abstract (1 sentence)
Images, Animations, links
References (Other works, publications, URLS. etc.
George Legrady

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Re: 12.12 Final Project Description

Post by alessandrarosecampos » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:01 pm

Please post here your final project details:

Cultural Analytics, Cinema, and Surveillance: Transforming Culture through the Vision of Data

I explore Lev Manovich's proposal for a cultural analytics method of investigating cultural data and place it in relationship with the history of cinema (and its attendant theories, i.e. semiotics), visual analytics and ACLU's idea of the "cyberinfrastructure," as well as place it within the politics of surveillance.

In this essay, I will explore cultural analytics, cyberinfrastructure, visual analytics, database and interface, and cinema, tracing the roots of the cultural analytics model. Additionally, I will explore the possibility of unintended consequences of a data-centric approach to culture. Issues such as surveillance and privacy, cross-cultural difference, and corporate ownership of knowledge must be considered when examining the application of cultural analytics to global sets of data.


Video of cultural analytics applied to Rothko paintings: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YlT1qFhJhk#t=1m10s

Software Studies Lab website: http://lab.softwarestudies.com/2008/09/ ... ytics.html

Manovich's book The Language of New Media: http://andreknoerig.de/portfolio/03/bin ... wmedia.pdf

Manovich article on visualizations of large data sets: http://manovich.net/DOCS/media_visualization.2011.pdf

Video of Cultural Analytics in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YlT1qFh ... r_embedded

Other References:

Andrejevic, Mark. Surveillance and Power in the Interactive Era. Kansas: University Press of
Kansas, 2007.

Dayan, Daniel. “The Tutor-Code of Classical Cinema.” Movies and Methods 1 (1976): 438-451.

Lima, Manuel. Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information. New York: Princeton
Architectural Press, 201

Silverman, Kaja. The Subject of Semiotics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983.

Link to Final Project: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ipc ... UnafE/edit
Final Paper (with edits).pdf
final copy of my paper
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Re: 12.12 Final Project Description

Post by deklerk » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:53 am

Read/ReWrite City

Read/ReWrite City is a time-based visualization of the locations where New York City performed graffiti identification and removal.


“The city is a body without organs, and the graffitists themselves come from the territorial order. They territorialize decoded urban spaces – a particular street, wall or district comes to life through them, becoming a collective territory again” – Baudrillard, J. M. in Symbolic Exchange and Death

Graffiti production is an elusive political art generated from the street. Graffiti removal is mobilized by the opaque systems of information technology generating forms upon the street. Both graffiti production and removal have an explicitly urban textuality that both operate through tracing and annotation.

In my visualization, I hope to draw the viewer into a deeper sense of how these two modes of production equate. They both involve reading and writing the city. By tagging the graffiti that the City fails to remove, we represent more than a bureaucratic inefficiency (although, graffiti that takes longer than 70 days to remove will likely wander). Instead, what we see is an aspirational rather than an absolute control of the street as a site of communication.

The challenge to control the inscription of the city through this reading and writing is greater in some areas of the city than others. Visualizing domains for the lost graffiti reveals the political topography of the textual production. The location of the more densely layered territories reveal distinct areas of the city. Are these areas more or less saturated with a history of political discourse?

This visualization animates the reading and writing processes that government agencies and contractors perform. Each dot in the animation represents a record within the graffiti locations data set that the City posts on NYC Open Data. The placement of each dot in the video is based on GPS coordinates mapped to screen coordinates. The duration represented by each animation is about 12 months, starting September 13, 2010 and ending August 18, 2011.

Reading Manhattan
The sequence of the dots is determined by the date the graffiti was read into the data set. Each dot represents a location logged by a SCOUT inspector or reported by a member of the general public. The varying size to which the dot expands represents how long the tag took to be removed subsequent to identification.

Writing Manhattan
The sequence of the dots is determined by the date the graffiti was written out of the data set. Each dot represents a location in time visited by graffiti removal crews. The green dots indicate locations where removal crews logged success in finding and removing the correct graffiti. The red dots indicate locations where they were unsuccessful in finding or removing the graffiti.

Virtual Territories of Manhattan
Graffiti is popularly considered to make illegal territorial claims over urban space whereas City governance is assumed to have authoritative territorial claim over urban space. In this visualization I attempt to map and layer the two territories. Using the Voronoi diagram, boundaries are mapped for the graffiti that the City’s removal crews were unable to find or remove.

Each of these red dots generate a space with a boundary defined in relation to neighboring red dots. The boundary is drawn half-way between each of the dots. What emerges over the course of a year are virtual territories under contested claims.


Visualization performed in Processing using the following libraries: SQLibrary (for mysql), GLGraphics, and toxiclibs (for Voronoi).

This project furthers the development of my investigation into whether paths and intensities are discernible as visual forms within data visualization. See that visualization here.

Reference Project
Boundary Functions by Scott Snibbe
In Snibbe’s Boundary Functions, lines are drawn between people standing upon a platform to reveal the contours of personal space. He says it “shows us that personal space exists only in relation to others and changes without our control.”

Snibbe’s project is named after the Unabomber’s PhD thesis; an example to him of “the conflict between the individual and society.” The thesis is a representation of scientific discourse interiorized and made opaque. The visualization illustrates how an opaque mathematical abstraction can be “made instantly knowable” – bridging the individual (or scientific discourse) with society.

Data Source
“Graffiti Locations” (NYC Open Data, October 24, 2011), http://nycopendata.socrata.com/Other/Gr ... /2j99-6h29.
Last edited by deklerk on Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 12.12 Final Project Description

Post by putzb642 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:34 am

NEH Abstractions in the early 21st century

Abstract: How can something as mundane as NEH grants be made to look interesting and informative?

Utilizing data from data.gov, I pulled the XML file that contained the NEH Grants between 2000 and 2010. Roughly around 50,000 grants.

In this abstract visualization each zipcode throughout the country has a corresponding particle that contains information regarding its specific location (zip code) and how many grants that location has received within the last decade. The size of these particles are dependent on the amount if grants that location has received, giving more importance and weight to the zipcodes which received the most grants as opposed to the many that only received on. It then becomes more of a game tracking down the locations which received one grant.

Each particle has both an attraction and a repulsion force that tracks the position of each particle. These forces working together cause an organic liquid like flow to the dynamics of the visualization. They attraction function is tied to the position of the mouse where the repulsion is focused on the size of each individual particles pushing them away from each other. With the XML data it was filled with a variety of information. The most important, in my opinion, were the location by zipCode as well as the data amounts and how many went where. I used the information of instances of grants being awarded. Initially it runs through the XML information and further into the application they are then mapped by zipCode.

The use of the black bounding box for the text is for the text to be visible and not blended with the background.
Screen Shot 2011-12-07 at 3.04.46 PM.png
Screen Shot 2011-12-08 at 5.29.34 PM.png
Screen Shot 2011-12-19 at 12.22.37 PM.png
Screen Shot 2011-12-07 at 3.04.46 PM.png
**Updated 12-31-11**
For source code please visit labs.brianputz.com/NEH_Grants.zip
Screen Shot 2011-12-31 at 3.58.52 PM.png
Last edited by putzb642 on Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:03 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: 12.12 Final Project Description

Post by beth.c.carlson » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:20 am

An exploration of what constitutes a successful data visualization through the compare and contrast of four visualizations.

Data visualization is described as the study of the visual representation of abstract data. Data visualizations can be successful or unsuccessful in relating the abstract data set to the viewer. In order to explore the concepts behind what makes a visualization successful or unsuccessful, I have created several textual visualizations in order to compare and contrast. The data set consists of four years worth of SMS messages extracted from an iPhone. Using “Many Eyes,” an experimental program created by IBM Research and the IBM Cognos software group, I created four types of textual visualizations. The different types include a word tree, a phrase net, a tag cloud, and a word cloud. Through this examination I plan to determine which approach produces the most effective visualization of the SMS message data set.

Paper attached.

Interactive visualizations:
http://www-958.ibm.com/software/data/co ... tributions
email - beth.c.carlson@gmail.com
password - magg1eee

Partial data set:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc ... XljcVp1c3c

Works Cited
Fry, Ben. "The Seven Stages of Visualizing Data." Visualizing Data. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media, 2008. Print.

Many Eyes. IBM Research and IBM Cognos Software Group. Web. 19 Nov. 2011. <http://www-958.ibm.com/software/data/cognos/manyeyes/>.

Shneiderman, Ben. The Eyes Have It: A Task by Data Type Taxonomy for Information Visualizations. University of Maryland. Web.
Word tree.png
Word tree
Tag cloud.png
Tag cloud
Word cloud.png
Word cloud
Phrase net.png
Phrase net
SMS Visualizations.pdf
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Re: 12.12 Final Project Description

Post by bowea324 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:42 am

Libraries and Democracy

This project explores library-based data in order to show the inherent connection between public libraries, data analysis, and democratic process.

Here I develop a typology for understand libraries and democracy:
(1) Access to Information: The library as a space of reference and knowledge sharing. Supported by data that displays economic ties to the rise in checkouts.
(2) Contested Environments: Libraries as offering multiple frameworks for understanding. Data showing the diversity of texts check outs in relation to politics.
(3) Action: The ability to use and interact with information and politics at the library. Supported by data that shows the use of public computers for public engagement.


Habermas, Jurgen. “The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article (1964) New German Critique , No. 3
(Autumn, 1974), pp. 49-55
Langue, Larry. “Facing Big Cuts, Seattle Libraries Look for Creative Solutions” Thursday May 13, 2010.
“Budget cuts force week-long closure of Seattle Public Libraries”August 29, 2011. http://www.q13fox.com/news/kcpq-budget- ... 4572.story
Schattschneider, E. E. 1960. The Semisovereign People. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. 138.
de Vreese, C.H.(2005) “News Framing: Theory and Typology. Information Design Journal + Document Design.
13(1). 51.
Niederberger, Mary. “Patrons flock to libraries as economy struggles” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Thursday,
March 26, 2009. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09085/958220-54.stm
President Roosevelt spoke at the American Library Association Annual Conference on June 1941
The League of Women Voters. “Seattle Voter,” Vol. 50 (3), October 2008.
AB_The Library and Democracy.pdf
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Re: 12.12 Final Project Description

Post by luc393 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:59 pm

Title: Why Occupy: Mining the emotional web

Short description abstract: How can visualization criticism be used to analyze data visualization as an art form?

Description: Robert Kosara's essay, In Visualization Criticism – The Missing Link Between Information Visualization and Artand Lev Manovich's essay Social Data Browsing] provide the theoretical framework for discussing projects such as We Feel Fine, The Dumpster, and data visualizations of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Robert Kosara's In Visualization Criticism: The Missing Link Between Information Visualization and Art:
http://citeseer.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/sum ... 1.167.7669

Lev Manovich's Social Data Browsing: http://www2.tate.org.uk/intermediaart/entry15484.shtm

We Feel Fine: http://www.wefeelfine.org/

The Dumpster: http://artport.whitney.org/commissions/thedumpster/

Occupy Wall Street: http://occupywallst.org/

The Why Axis (Data Visualizations of Occupy Wall St.): http://thewhyaxis.info/occupy/

Here is the link to the visual essay: http://luzenyi.wordpress.com/data-visualization/
*All the images,resources, and projects are available as hyperlinks within the essay.

and finally, here is a link to the pdf: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B7yuxX ... lkNzU0ZGZm

Thanks George!
Why Occupy_Visualization essay.doc
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Why Occupy_Visualization essay.pdf
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Re: 12.12 Final Project Description

Post by matthew » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:51 pm

Bankruptcy by the Books: Visualizing Bankruptcy at the Seattle Public Library

Between 2005 and 2010, use of the Seattle Public Library and guide books on personal law and bankruptcy reflect the financial instability and crisis throughout the United States.
highlighting 2008
highlighting a particular title
thumbnails of other views
Do the transactions at the Seattle Public Library reflect the financial crisis of the past few years? Browsing the library for books related to bankruptcy quickly leads toward dewey numbers 346.73077 and 346.73078. These nonfiction titles cover manuals and guides for navigating the legal domain of bankruptcy and debt collection for individuals. Year by year, use of these titles increases by nearly 400%, ranging from 102 and 120 check-outs in 2005 and 2006, to 263 and 394 transactions in 2009 and 2010. Patron activity in the library dramatically reflects the struggle by families to maintain ownership of their homes and navigate the financial crisis.

Federal Reserve Bank of NY: Crisis_Timeline.pdf
Wikipedia: United_States_housing_bubble
Wikipedia: Subprime_crisis_impact_timeline
Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis: Timeline

More information on the project and data mining process.

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Re: 12.12 Final Project Description

Post by keats047 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:25 pm

Aesthetics: Kant, Dewey, Ayers towards Shelley, Global Pulse

A brief analysis of aesthetics and how they might be applied towards data visualizations of the more natural construction, such as Shelley, versus the formal construction, such as Global Pulse.

The paper briefly introduces the aesthetics of Kant and Dewey and classic philosophical conceptions of the beauty. The paper attempts to understand beauty through their eyes, and then understand how their practices may be applied to Downtown Body, a work by Ward Shelley, and Global Pulse, a work sponsored by Visual Complexity. Ayers is later introduced briefly and his more formalist approach towards defining beauty is explained through the works themselves, with both their failings and merits.

References, details, and images are embedded within the attached paper.
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Re: 12.12 Final Project Description

Post by rileb685 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:31 am

That's Ancient History: Antiquity in the Popular Imagination
A series of visualizations of data collected from an informal survey of tumblr.com users on ancient history.

My initial plan for the final project was to use the SPL database for something, since it was such a rich, detailed, and readily accessible set of data. Because of my general interest in the idea of history as a conversation between past and present, I decided to track popular interest in various historical figures, as measured in the number of books about them withdrawn in a given year. I was stuck, however, on just what historical figures to use. Even within a narrower field, like just ancient history, any data I collected would just be a reflection of some tiny arbitrary selection.

I decided to ask my tumblr followers what names came to mind when they thought of ancient history, expecting to get a handful of responses from a few friends.

Instead, this happened. The survey circulated well beyond my immediate circle of followers and garnered around 160 responses. I realized I had a set of data on my hand that was rich and fascinating enough to devote an entire project to.

Unfortunately, since I wasn't expecting it to become a full-blown mass survey, I had to hand-collate and organize the data. This was done through a number of elaborate spreadsheets:
These are my raw results:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc ... n_US#gid=0

From there, I made a new spreadsheet showing the combined total for each figure named:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc ... n_US#gid=0

After that, I pruned away names that were fictional, mythological, or otherwise dubiously historical (marked n/a on the prior sheet), as well as those who were still alive, since for what I was planning on doing with the data, I needed both a clear place of origin and a date of death.

I wanted the aesthetics of my visualizations to reflect the content, so I began examining Victorian infographics because not only are many of them quite beautiful, but going back to historical information design seemed ideal for a project attempting to visualize history.
Screen shot 2011-12-19 at 1.53.10 PM.png
map, first iteration
The idea here was to use mapping to convey many of the narratives embedded in the survey results-- the prevalence of figures from antiquity from certain areas in the popular imagination, the differences in time periods in the post popular figures from one place or another, the blurry line between antiquity and the middle ages, and the outliers that chose obviously modern figures. This iteration, however, not only failed to reflect the aesthetic precedents, but was just hard to interpret in general-- the huge numbers of responses in Greece, Egypt, and Rome quickly caused those areas to overflow with a mass of overlapping circles. It also made the relative numbers of responses in certain areas hard to divine, since overlapping clusters covered less area than more spread out ones.

I decided to bring in another aesthetic precedent-- ancient world maps, such as those of Eratosthenes or Hecataeus. With their odd, familiar but distorted geography, they pointed to a way to visualize the disjointed proportions of tumblr's conception of the ancient world.

I created a very crude version of a map where one pixel is equivalent to one survey response, just to figure out the proper proportions for everything:
Screen shot 2011-12-20 at 8.42.49 PM.png
Based on that, I created a final version in the style of an old map:
As an aside, I also created a graphic inspired by [url=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... C_1884.jpg]yet another Victorian infographic[/ur] depicting the ten most popular ancient figures on tumblr.com. While the data visualized isn't spectacularly interesting (I suppose it's mildly interesting that Caligula was the only Roman emperor to make the cut, or that Cleopatra beat Alexander the Great, and encouraging that somebody as neat as Hatshepsut made the cut), it was a valuable exercise in clarifying and resolving the aesthetic issues the project was having after the first iteration of the map.