New York Times – I believe they were the first newspaper to open their content via an API.
Wattson – If you’ve ever wanted to know how much electricity you consume then the Wattson is for you – You clip it to your electricity supply and it collates all the usage info. You can then interface with the API to start to play with the data.
Pachube – Taking the Wattson to a much higher level – Pachube is a dataset collated from buildings – Lots of environmental data to play with – building temperatues, humidity, lights. Building 2.0 here we come.
Last.FM – The API has exposed a mass of user data regarding music usage.
Flickr - Photographs on tap with a very comprehensive API. Very well documented.
Tools (Any further recommendations please send my way as this list is no means definitive)
Processing – The environment of all the experts – I think processing is very easy to pick up and learn but you will need to work at writing code. The forthcoming ‘Beautiful Data’ book might be a good way in.
Many Eyes – A very usable way to create quite straightforward datavisualisations – Created by IBM.
Flare – A set of libraries for Flash which let you prototype visualisations – you do need Flash knowledge for this.
Arduino – Linking physical objects to the internet a la ‘Physical Internet’ has really started to interest me and there is a growing crowd of people ‘Doing it with others’ – The Arduino is a very simple to use piece of electronics that can be flashed to control devices or transmit data to the internent. Thanks to Make and Instructables – There has never been an easier time to break out the soldering iron and get building.
Yahoo Pipes- Even non coders can start to play with data – Using Yahoo pipes you can take all sorts of data feeds and aggregate them together to manipulate them.
Flowing Data – Nathan is a curator of data and stats – Flowing data is a superb resource for more traditional forms of data vis. He also created ‘your flowing data’ which is a system of capturing data through a mobile interface and twitter. Sort of like daytum.
Marius Watz – A great fine artist in his own right – Marius has explored ways of rendering data as physical forms – his wood etchings are beautiful. When exploring visualising stock data for the Knight Capital Group, the end result have an aesthetic of an atom bomb going off. He also runs the generator.x generative art site, vimeo and flickr groups where you can spend hours taking in the work.
Jer Thorp – If anyone can make beauty out of the new york times then Jer can – His use of the NY Times API as a dataset has started to reveal some inspiring visuals. If you want to get your hands dirty then there are two tutorials to play with – one for the NY Times and one for the Guardian. His recent work ‘Just Landed’ shows how twitter can be mapped to location.
Jonathan Harris / Sep Kamvar – Gleaning emotion and sentiment from the internet and displaying this is a damn hard thing. Making an emotive art piece out of this mass of information is even harder and Jon and Sep continually do this. ‘We Feel Fine’ and ‘I Want You To Be Me’ are two examples of how they visualise emotion scraped from the ether.
Advanced Beauty – Matt Pyke curated twenty motion pieces exploring ‘synasthesia‘ – visualisaing sound. Many of the pieces are based on generative art processes and are showcases for cutting edge motion graphics artists.
Jason Bruges – Jason Bruges heads up an architectural design studio exploring visualising data created in realtime by physical interaction.Some very simple interactions such as wind powering lights or displaying the latent imprint of lift usage by hacking into the building lift interface – Very exciting stuff.
Ben Fry – In my opinion one of the founding fathers of modern data vis and co-created processing – His body of work is staggering and he currently heads up the Seed Media Group.
Robert Hodgin- I’ve been a massive fan of Robert for more years than I can remember as he is a leading experimental flash designer and coder. He creates pure beautiful eye candy.
Golan Levin – Another artists exploring visualising emotions – ‘The Dumpster’ was a great piece. It scanned the internet for comments about relationships breaking and then visualised them. His physical interaction pieces are hilarious – check ‘Snout’.
Ear Studio – I first encountered ‘Listening Post’ last year at the Science Museum – it was hidden in a dark corner and it was just transfixing – It was a bank of small screens that spoke back snippets from the millions of posts on chat rooms across the internet – effectively giving the internet a spooky synthesised voice.
UVA – A great design studio playing with light, sound, space and architecture.
Marcus Wendt – Marcus and the field.io team are not classical data vis but they are doing some stunning generative artworks.
Pitch Interactive – A really interesting interactive design agency doing some some great vis work.
If ‘Data visualisation is the new rock’n’roll’ then coders are the new rockstars. Code for me is natural – I’ve been playing for quite a few years but I was never really into exploring data visualisation – Mid last year I was fortunate enough to be given a dream project and I produced the ‘Beautiful Connections’ campaign for Nokia which explored visualising the beauty of everyday conversation.
This allowed me to reconnect with a lot of people I had admired from afar as we used data visualisation, generative art, motion and code to start to explore this space – honestly we’ve got a lot more exploration to do. So in my travels I worked with some exceptional people and also made contact with a whole scene and started to see the ‘scenes within the scenes’.
I don’t believe that data visualisation is just the expression of a static data set in a graphical way to try and glean an insight – To me it is taking any data set – static or realtime and expressing this is any other way in any medium.
So lets talk about people (who I think are exploring interesting visualisations with code and interaction), data (what datasets are out there to use), and tools (how to get your hands dirty).
You might know the music of Moondog and the track ‘Birds Lament’ as it was sampled by Mr Scruff on ‘Get a move on’. Well if you love Moondog and fancy a trip to London then the forthcoming gig at the Barbican will be a total treat -> See below for the details.
From the Barbican ->
A glimpse into the world of iconic blind American composer Moondog (1916-1999), whose music has influenced a generation of artists, from Philip Glass and Steve Reich to Charlie Parker, and later devotees like Mouse On Mars, Anthony Hegarty, Damon Albarn and Elvis Costello.
An extraordinary range of guests from the worlds of classical, pop, electronic and avant-garde music bring the music of iconic blind American composer Moondog – Louis Thomas Hardin(1916-1999) to life in an amazing one-off concert event .
The Britten Sinfonia with Andi Toma (Mouse On Mars), perform music from Moondog (1969) and Elpmas (1992) and previously unheard material. Plus London Saxophonic with pianist Liam Noble and percussionist Paul Clarvis explore Moondog’s joyful brass and sax arrangements.
In addition, a specially–assembled Moondog All-Star Choir including Gruff Rhys and Bunf (Super Furry Animals), Lightspeed Champion, Pictish Trail and Adem will provide vocals.
Pre-show FreeStage set from composer Max de Wardener and percussionist Tom Skinner exploring the canonical music from the 1970 Moondog 2 album .
Interval ClubStage DJ set from Caribou.
Post-show ClubStage live performance from Domino Records stalwarts Clinic and DJ set from Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) mixing sounds from all kinds of genres and crosses any musical borders he can find.
In a companion event, Moondog Around Midnight takes place in the beautiful setting of the church of St Giles Cripplegate at 11.30pm on the same evening with US organist Paul Jordan and Moondog percussion disciple Stefan Lakatos. Tickets are at a 50% discount for main concert ticket holders.
‘Moondog was as recognisable in the NewYork City landscape as the Empire State Building.’ New York Times
‘Wonderful music: strange, jaunty, sad, eerie, virtuosic, maddeningly catchy.’ The Independent
Spotted this story by the excellent Waxidermy music site. If your into music/records – start weeping.
Working on a fashion shoot and when we arrived I discover the location we rented for the day belonged to the gentleman who owns Oswald’s Mill Audio.
The house is a museum of vintage tube equipment (the 200w 5 channel “Fantasound” set-up used in the ’40s performances of Fantasia; Pultecs; Telefunken V72; Ampex tape machines from the ’50s, an old RCA lathe used for acetate transfers of radio shows). The tour of the house ended in his workshop where all his turntables, speakers and amps (retail and prototype) reside. So fucking crazy.