Today marks the official public launch of Data Matters, a weekly online publication from the Center for Data Arts where you will now find weekly original postings.
With information technology being rapidly woven into every layer of modern life, influencing what we eat, how we learn, how wars are waged, and how our societies are governed, data has never mattered more than it does today. To shed light on data’s many crucial and disparate roles, Data Matters will embrace perspectives from journalism, science, humanities, and the arts, and we will publish pieces in multiple forms that include articles, essays, research papers, and experimental digital media.
Our goal is to make Data Matters a wide open platform for examining the fast changing data landscape from every angle, providing our audience with information and critical insight on this complex and fast-changing subject.
The Center for Data Arts needs a New School student with a great sense of typography and aesthetics to work with us on a UX/UI project. Both graduate and undergraduate considered. Please send cover letter and examples of your work to Katie Wanner (wannk858 at newschool.edu)
At our visit from IBM Watson specialist Armen Pischdotchian last month, we learned about all the ways that cognitive computing was changing our world. And while Armen was pretty thorough in his workshop, we were still surprised to see Watson on the red carpet. But there it was, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual gala, in the form of a “cognitive dress” designed in partnership with Marchesa. The designers used the technology to create a dress embedded with color-shifting LEDs that responded to followers emotions.
Prior to the gala, Watson analyzed Marchesa’s social media to translate followers’ sentiments into colors. It turned emotions into information, and created a color palette for the LEDs from that analysis. In real-time during the gala, Watson processed the huge volume of tweets surrounding the event, and changed the color of the dress according to the emotions in them. Rose signified joy, coral meant passion, aqua was excitement, lavender denoted curiosity, and butter indicated encouragement.
The project, which IBM describes as “a partnership between man and machine” required Marchesa designers to feed hundreds of images to Watson; the technology responded with suggestions for design and color. In the past, Watson’s forays into fashion have mostly been on the back-end, helping brands like North Face and Melborne Fashion Week better serve the needs of their customers, so this shift to the design side of things marks an interesting shift.
We are constantly quantifying our days-our steps, our sleep patterns. To that end, this dress feels like a natural extension of that; another way to make sense of the flow of information that washes over us. Data has always been at its best when it’s telling a story, when it’s something more than charts and numbers, so the blend of data visualization, fashion, and emotion seems natural in a way. It’s another story to tell. I suppose that we can’t know right now just what story partnerships like this will be telling in the future.
Teacher, author, and media critic Lev Manovich comes to The New School on Wednesday, March 30 as part of the Data Visualization Masters program’s lecture series. Dr. Manovich will be discussing his Software Studies Initiative and the projects launched from it. He will also present his most recent project, an analysis of images shared on Twitter between 2011 and 2014.
More information can be found on The New School’s event page.
We just flipped our own default and shared data for more than 125,000 works from MoMA’s collection on GitHub using Creative Commons Zero (CC0). This data release includes all of the works that have been both accessioned into MoMA’s collection and cataloged in our database. It includes basic data for each work, including title, artist, date made, medium, dimensions, and date acquired by the Museum. The data will be updated periodically with new acquisitions and research.