Interactive & Motion Research Typography & Print

Nature as a Mediator for Making: Data Visualizations of the Wind Recordings of Horn Island, Transformed and Reinterpreted Across Media

The natural environment encompasses all living and nonliving parts and systems that occur naturally in the world around us. As an observer and participant of the natural environment, I wonder how I might observe, participate, and collaborate with the environment and the natural systems occurring around me.

Exploring nature as a sort of mediator for making, I consider how systems of the natural environment might interact, overlap, and contribute to designed processes, introducing a certain unfamiliar or unknown variable into the making experience. This variable captures moments of movement, gesture, and pattern in nature, from the tangible to the intangible systems working all around us.

The results of this collaboration with nature are process-driven recordings of the natural forms and systems occurring at defined locations and times.

I view my recordings of nature as data visualizations or graphical interpretations of the landscapes and ecosystems of diverse and distinct places; they are the recordings of the experiences that take place and the interactions and exchanges that happen in-between, curated in such a way that we are able to observe and discern these natural systems through different mediums. With the primary investigation to explore form and artistic practice as a means for making unexpected solutions, these data visualizations are recorded, transformed, and reinterpreted across media and processes.

This series visualizes the movements, gestures, and patterns of the wind on Horn Island, Mississippi. Thinking about how the wind can be recorded visually as data using analog methods, I designed a drawing tool that recorded the wind onto a drawing surface over a duration of five days. This making experience, a collaboration with the natural environment, resulted in a series of 2-dimensional data visualizations; the data being the recordings of the wind on the island of Horn Island. The artifacts are captured moments of wind across location and time. The wind represents a function of time, the longer the duration of time on the drawing surface, the darker, and more saturated the marks become.

The next inquiry considered how creative technologies could be used to reimagine these 2D abstract data visualizations in other formats. After experiments of trial and error, working through design processes to critique, refine, edit solutions, I created multiple digital processes that resulted in 3D and 4D formats to transform and reinterpret the wind recordings.

The 3D formats explored static, analog solutions to reimagine the wind’s movements, gestures, and patterns. Working with 3D modeling software and 3D printers, the result was a series of object visualizations that extruded points of the 2D drawings into a 3D topographical representation. The object visualizations were rendered with the highest points representing the darkest areas of the original drawings, while the lowest points represented the lightest areas.

The 4D formats explored time-based, digital solutions to reimagine the wind’s movements, gestures, and patterns. Working with the open-source coding language, processing, the result was a series of dynamic visualizations that animated the points of the 2D drawings into a 3D orbital sequence. The dynamic visualizations were rendered with the largest variation in the z-axis, using a range of noise/randomness, to represent the lightest areas of the original drawings, while the smallest variation in the z-axis represented the darkest areas.

final thoughts
This body of work explores how nature can be a collaborator and mediator in making processes and artifacts to visualize and record natural ecosystems of diverse and distinct places. Each recording, transformation, and reinterpretation offer a different visual perspective of what we see and comprehend of these natural systems that operate all around us.

Horn Island series
Monday, May 21, 2018 — Friday, May 25, 2018
36 recordings total, wind drawings, marker on canvas
72 transformation and reinterpretations total, topographical 3D prints and digital animations

Interactive & Motion Research

Building an Icon: The Power of Counter Culture Messaging

Counter Culture Messaging (also referred to as Guerrilla Advertising) plays a pivotal role in shaping popular culture and influencing society. Found in physical and virtual platforms, counter-culture messaging lives and thrives all around us, whether we choose to participate or not.

Phase 1.

In this investigation, I am focusing on guerrilla advertising that lives in public space. Public areas constitute neighborhoods and streets as well as shared spaces like work and restaurants that are subject to many different people navigating the space.

Below is initial fieldwork research investigating guerrilla advertising in the neighborhood “Old Fourth Ward” Atlanta.

Steven Heller defines pop icons as “celebrities who have transcended the usual fifteen minutes of fame to become natural (or manufactured) members of the cultural pantheon… usually pop icons are ephemeral – hence the reference to pop – but sometimes they begin as ephemera and turn into something that transcends time. [1]

[1] Heller, Steven. POP: How Graphic Design Shapes Popular Culture. (New York, NY: Allworth Press, 2010), 39.

I also created mood boards to collect popular culture references from print media, television, and web. You can see some of this research here.

Phase 2. Building an Icon

The next phase of work was conceptualizing and producing the iconic figure inspired by popular culture references discovered in research. Nova emerged as a figural, non-gender specific representation of the societal lust for fame.

As the design developed, the goggles and antennas became the prevalent iconic elements of Nova. She can see and hear all things, always connected to culture around her. She is happy, curious, and engaged.

The color palette and pattern is also an important factor in developing the final imagery for the campaign. It was important to create a strong look and feel for the icons in order to create a recognizable family of images. Artwork influences include steam punk movement (especially for the design of the goggles) as well as pop art movement.


Phase 3. Guerrilla Advertising in Public Space


Phase 4. Experimental Video
Online Viral Messaging

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