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▗ ▘ T H E - P R O J E C T▗ ▘


I’ve always seen this period of time at MAT as an opportunity to make a pause -at least in the beginning- and redirect my efforts in a more conscious way. By pause I don’t mean stopping work at all, but the forging of a necessary recognition of one’s own context. This is: knowing more than vaguely the history of the field, its key players, crucial works and then -perhaps, aided by intuition- being able to make a contribution within the field.

This project (using the NYTimes API and the Google's Ngram database) search for mentions of previously curated key topics and people since the previous century. This data is then located into a data visualization for further analysis.

The project aims going beyond the visualization aspect. It aims to be as well a study about the history about our -not that young by now- “new media/electronic art” field - - > A map of our current territory. How else can we keep going on this journey?







▗ ▘ T H E - D A T A▗ ▘


All of the data was retrieved from two databanks: the New York Times and Google's Ngram. To decrease dependency from a huge query, all of the data was saved in separate *.txt files, one for each author/topic/subject.

A different Processing code was programmed to achieve this task.




Since the NYTimes API does not support gathering data beyond the 100th page a different method was implemented. Instead of making just one call per author/topic, if the results were more than 1000, then the code will execute a segmented query every year. After all the information is gathered, then a txt file is created.

The terms "Software" and "John Cage" were two of the biggest items obtained.



As Google's Ngram data is contained in large files, a separate sketch was prepared to process this information. A short cut was implemented: a screen shot of the capture was taken with the term of interest. Then, that image was cropped and then analyzed within Processing. Procesing calculated the aproximate height of each point in the graphic and translated that data into numbers. After the numbers were retrieved, another TXT file was created.




▗ ▘ T H E - J O U R N E Y▗ ▘

Initial sketch of this visualization. At first, it was conceived as a musical score, where author's data was going to be played as the time increased.



The idea of history being played (from a musical/sound perspective), introduced for the first time a timeline. In this case in the middle. The rectangles surrounding the words would also be an early design solution that reamined untouched to the end.



Another idea that was discarded: the scrolling data to the top (as in a movie). This would lose the "full picture image", but on the other side, it would provide a more detailed view of each individual's life.



This was the first sketch dashboard. At first, inspired by sci-fi visualizations. But at the same time, showing multiple information could reveal some insights as the user explored the software. The top right circle idea was explored, but later abandoned.



The timeline movement was crucial to solidify the 'feel' of using the app. In this case, a sketch made to understand how to solve the zoom levels using friction.



Another abandoned idea: a circling 3D graph.




Sketch made to define the lower panels with TOP 3 data. In this case, trying to stay away from a standard bar graph representation different alternatives were considered.



Final details to be solved before the Beta version of "Rise and Fall".




For some time, we keep different versions of our codes. Here is the version history, up to 17 different steps to achieve the final goal.




▗ ▘ D E F I N I T I O N▗ ▘

Color scheme:



Evolution for the graphical representation of NYTimes mentions. Categories are color coded. This also represented a technical challenge since Processing is not able to render +1000 shapes per frame. The use of PShape() was used to reduce GPU usage.



Grid evolution:





▗ ▘ V E R S I O N - # 1 7 ▗ ▘

The initial view, top mentions of the year at the bottom (NYT at the left, NGram at the right). This is a bitmap image generated from a HD PDF file. The names on the left side are visible if the image is printed in a large format.





The "X" tells when an item/author/topic is first mentioned in the NYTimes database. It is an easy way to spot this beginnings.






Experimental view, since many topics can be overlaped at the same time, we built this separate alternative to analyze something in detail.





If the user clicks on a subject, then an individual graph is displayed. In this case, the red color represents the NGram mentions. Interesting to mention the case of Leon Theremin, his discrete emmigration from the US can also be noted in book mentions. As time goes forth and back, the NYTimes articles for that specific year appear on the top.





Finally, the NGram mentions graph mixed with the NYTimes data, as an attempt to correlate information.








Designed and coded at UC Santa Barbara | MAT Program
Speacial thanks to: Fabian Offert and Kurt Kaminski.

winter : : mmxv









>> Download CV
>> Previous and further work at Realität
>> "Logics of Elusion" - a photo journal from Cali.

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