Getting emotional about Open Data

Publicado en mayo 9, 2012 por en Uncategorized

Open Data is a hot topic. Almost everybody seems to agree that making local data available to the public makes perfect sense. No doubt, citizens benefit from the increasing transparency of processes in their city, but the publication of this data also brings up some questions that are uncomfortable for those private corporations that gather all our individual data and use it without our explicit permission. One of the core question is who should own the data that we produce as citizens and individuals: The institutions collecting the data that we generate through our use of their systems and services or we, the data producers, ourselves. Shouldn’t those banks, phone companies, credit card services, doctors, shops, network providers, internet retailers, search engines at least provide transparency of what they actually do with the data, thus giving us the chance to decide whether we want to use their services under those circumstances or not. Should they not provide us with access to the data produced by us, so we can monitor ourselves better and maybe improve our own recording systems and simplify our tax statements for example?

At the same time, we already suffer from such an overload of information, that perhaps only a minority of people would actually access ‘their’ data and make use of it. The same applies to the public data that is already accessible. Who but those who have an affinity to data are looking up public data sets that are made available and even make use of them? This is where data visualisation can help. Data visualisation is a medium which emphasises specific aspects of the given data and offers a particular reading of it. Thus it becomes an expressive an powerful communication tool, that can even create a new reality. Numerous groups like WE LOVE OPEN DATA and individuals worldwide have started to visualise open data for the public good, driven by their own curiosity and philanthropism.

Translating rows of data into easy-to-read maps or comprehensive diagrams is one way of bridging the gap between dry numbers and the public. But why not going one step further and translating data into an even more sensual experience that we are all familiar with – like food? This is the basic idea of the Open Data Cooking Workshop. People who like to cook (and eat) are given an opportunity to explore both the local cuisine as well as local data by translating data into cooking recipes and meals. As much as this sounds fun, this collaborative research is supposed to give people concrete insights into the quality and diversity of the locally available data and teaches them principles of data representation. Through the very personal, emotional and sensual activity of cooking food they get involved with the material, be it vegetables or numbers.

After all, it looks like one of the challenges of the Open Data movement–next to opening up relevant data that citizens can relate to in a personal way–is to give people tools, methods and media enabling them to interpret, individualise and express data in an emotional way.

Susanne Jaschko


José Luis de Vicente: The symbolic dimension of data visualization

Publicado en mayo 3, 2012 por en Uncategorized

In this video interview, José Luis de Vicente, cultural researcher and director of the program: Visualizar at MediaLab Prado, speaks about the symbolic, cultural and aesthetic dimension of data visualization, in addition to its information level. He also points out its interdisciplinary quality,  as a result of the interconnection of different fields of knowledge involved, which makes it a distinctly contemporary matter. Finally, he emphasizes its narrative character which may server to describe particular complex events of our reality.

Language: Spanish.




José Luis de Vicente: La dimensión simbólica de la visualización de datos

Publicado en mayo 3, 2012 por en Sin categorizar

En este vídeo, José Luis de Vicente, director del programa Visualizar en MediaLab Prado, aborda  la dimensión simbólica, cultural y estética de la visualización de datos, además de su función informativa. También apunta su cualidad interdisciplinar  a través de la superposición de diferentes ámbitos de conocimiento, lo que la convierte en una materia de estudio netamente contemporánea. Finalmente, subraya su posible carácter narrativo para visualizar determinados  sucesos complejos de nuestra realidad.

Idioma: castellano



Gerfried Stocker: Crear una identidad

En este video, Gerfried Stocker, director artístico de Ars Electronica, habla sobre la importancia de crear una identidad para las ciudades de tamaño medio como un modo para lograr mejores proyectos culturales, programas educativos y desarrollo económico. Además, apunta cómo las tecnologías deben adaptarse a nuestras necesidades y de qué manera la conexión entre el arte y la tecnología puede servir como una herramienta útil para organizar la convivencia de los ciudadanos en sus entornos urbanos.

Idioma: inglés


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“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”

Publicado en abril 3, 2012 por en Uncategorized

Under these blue electronic words, projected on the huge screen of the Auditorium of the  Zaragoza School of Art / School of Design of Aragon, Gerfried Stocker, Ars Electronica Artistic Director, started up last March 27 Paseo Project: New Creative Models to Experience the City.

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