visualization

Visualization tools offer new ways to inform and improve understanding. Showing data in relation to geography, the passage of time, and other contexts helps individuals and communities to prioritize and weigh the meaning of facts. Visualization can refer to mapping, locative media, visual data, or many other ways of showing data graphically.

Activities for Building Visual Literacy

There are a lot of people talking about "Visual Literacy" right now. Shazna Nessa shared some thoughts from a journalistic point of view on the Mozilla Source blog recently. Her discussion focused on how data visualizers should consider the limitations and affordances of visual depictions of information. I'd like to offer a complementary response from a constructionist's point of view. Certainly the journalists and new explainers need to understand how to best use the tools at hand, but in addition we can help the "audience" build visual literacy by helping them create their own visual presentations of their information. The creative act of telling an information-based story offers everyone the best way to understand the affordances of various visualization tools, in addition to making them more aware consumers of this new "visual grammar". So how do you do this? What kind of fun activities can we do with people help them work with and present information?

Going to Data Camp!

I recently attended the 2013 Info-Activism Camp as a facilitator on the "Curation" track.  The Tactical Technology Collaborative organized the event for over 100 information activists from around the world.  Everyone was there to learn about Evidence & Influence.  Yes, it was awesome.

I've mostly been working on Data Therapy in isolation, because I haven't been able to find others working on capacity building for creative data presentation with community organizations. That all changed at an isolated camp in Northern Italy a few weeks ago!  I connected with a network of technologists, activists, and rabble-rousers that were thinking deeply about this topic.

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Postmarked Ignite talk - Dystopian spaces + visualizing disempowerment

I gave an Ignite talk today at the MIT-Knight Civic Media conference (#civicmedia). Wow, that went so fast! I didn't quite share all I wanted, but if I could sit down with you over a cup of coffee, this is what I would have said. If I may be cheesy for a moment, these were really my most heartfelt points. So, my lucky ducks—read on for the full spiel!

I’m going to tell you about an exploration that really began with an interest in public space and a pet question of mine: Where does a postcard sit between a letter and an online petition?

Social Justice through Data

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In my last post about this year's Eyeo Festival, I talked about the theme of "Respecting the Data." Another theme baked into several panels and presentations was how to use data for social justice. In fact, many of the same, deep thinkers at Eyeo who weighed in on the former theme did so from a position of thinking about how data can be used for social justice, social change, and activism. An interest in creating work that could served as instruments of political messaging or even audience empowerment seemed to be shared not only by those who did such work in their day job, but also those spending a large chunk of their time on client work eager to employ their skills on meaningful side projects.

Respecting the Data

Eyeo Festival logo

I was lucky enough to attend Eyeo Festival this year thanks to the Ford Foundation. There were many thought provoking and inspiring talks as well as conversations over Minneapolitan cuisine. One of the recurring themes I picked up on was how to respect data when doing data visualization, illustration, or art. This came up in different ways and under different names among speakers whom I saw talk. Furthermore there was tension and contradiction across the talks about the type of and level of respect due to data.

What Baboon Notebooks, Monads, State Surveillance, and Network Diagrams Have in Common: Bruno Latour at CHI 2013

I'm here at CHI 2013, a human computer interaction conference, for the third and final keynote, the sociologist of science and anthropologist Bruno Latour, on the topic, "From aggregation to navigation, a few challenges to social theory."

Bruno Latour at CHI2013
 
photo by @pstamara

Latour starts by explaining what he calls "the monadological principle," an alternative to the idea of collective phenomena. Latour offers "a strange argument," that "there is no collective phenomena... but there exist many collecting devices that generate collected phenomena." There is no upper level of collective experience or a lower level of individual experience. Instead, he argues, we aggregate experiences into something that we we call collective experience.

Guns, Wars and Terrorism in a real size PageOneX (photo essay)

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I finally installed the PageOneX real size project with stories related to guns, wars and terrorism. Come visit the display this week to the second floor of building E14 at MIT Media Lab. Thanks all of you that helped in this process!
What follows is a photographic guide to the PageOneX real size installation.
out-of-town-news_kioskYou’ll not find Washington Post or LA Times in Boston news stands. It’s so difficult to get the paper!

I would have never thought it was so difficult to get the paper

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It was one of those ideas that seemed easy: to build a real size 1:1 scale of a PageOneX analysis. I just needed to buy 4 newspapers during 4 weeks, highlight certain stories, and put them on the wall. However, as it usually happens, things are easier said that done.

Finding the newspapers

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Tracking memes across television news: A tool for analyzing how stories move through broadcast

Too long, didn’t read: You can use this Ruby script to query Archive.org’s recently-launched TVNews archive and download JSON files with the results. It’s great for tracking how frequently a person or topic shows up in U.S. televised news broadcasts.

(cross-posted at Nieman Journalism Lab)

Who wrote the news? Gender in the front page

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The best way to show the last improvements in PageOneX's development is by using them. After lasts Ed's commits it is possible to draw as many rectangles as you need when coding a single front page, whereas before it was only possible to draw 2 rectangles per image.

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