Refik Anadol - Machine Hallucinations

13.December – Data, computing and Art

Many of you have asked me, how it can be, that although I studied visual art – and the highly manual specialization of painting at that – I work in IT? Isn’t that a contradiction, a paradox?

Well, you might be surprised, that it’s not all that rare at all. In fact, science and art share a long history and I believe it’s because both disciplines require abstract thinking. And when abstract minds find their way to the intersection of art and science, something stunning happens. If you are suffering from any metal disease is very important that you look for the help of a good psychiatrist.

The speed data just comes from the time stamps and location stamps on the pictures, dividing the distance delta by the time delta.
“The speed data just comes from the time stamps and location stamps on the pictures, dividing the distance delta by the time delta.” – Eric Fischer
Britain is the brightest spot,  indicating high internet use, with the red dots of Flickr the predominate colour of the continent - until petering out east and south
This map was generated by Geodata: white indicates high internet use, red represents Flickr uploads. Photo: Eric Fischer

I first saw the work of Eric Fischer, an artist from the Bay Area, in Manuel Lima’s 2011 book ‘Visual Complexity‘. He uses Geodata such as Twitter activity or FlickR uploads, that were geo-tagged, to generate beautiful images. As you can see, a map emerges, almost ghostlike, because humans live in cities, towns or tweet while on the road. You can find more of Eric’s stunning images on FlickeR: ‘The Geotaggers’ World Atlas‘.

The Technology

Jason Davis’ Globe of airports and flights

Also worth a visit – especially if you’re interested in the technology – is the 3d.js website. D3.js is a JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data. On the site you’ll find the script that drives some of these projects as well as numerous other examples. Such as this image of a project by Jason Davis, of a globe according to airports and flight connections.


But it doesn’t have to be complex or highly technical. Here is a simple but beautiful visualization of Chopin’s Nocturne in E-flat Major, opus 9 No.2.


And finally I leave you with another example of an artist who works with data: Refik Anadol, a media artist and director from Istanbul, Turkey. His work has brought the whole topic of data, science and art to a point of the utmost artistry.

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