Art made of storms


Nathalie Miebach discusses ‘art made of storms’ on July 2011 in Edinburgh Scotland. The video begins with string instruments playing for the audience and Miebach then exhibits and explains a scientific art piece that is representative of weather. She claims that “Weather is an amalgam of systems that is inherently invisible to most of us.” She uses sculpture and music to illustrate it in a visual and audible way.

She explains her creative processes and the techniques she utilises to create her artworks. She uses simple materials to extract information from the environment before comparing them to online data. Miebach then uses a basket that are made of both vertical and horizontal elements, to illustrate at least three variables. For example, moon and sun data and hours of the day. She uses natural read as it has “a lot of tension in it” and she cannot fully control it. Therefore, she allows external factors to control the sounds, not herself.

Each element of the basket represents something different and she uses allocates certain elements of music to represent weather data such as humidity, temperature, barometric pressure and wind direction. It is a three dimensional weather visualisation.

Nathalie Miebach aims to challenge the audience and discusses “what kind of visual vocabulary belongs in the world of art, versus science.”


Miebach’s string instrument 

Visualising ourselves with crowd-sourced data


The speaker in this video is “Aaron Koblin.” He states that our lives are being driven by data and that it has the opportunity to “create great stories.” He exhibits a range of projects that he has been working on in the past couple years that he believes reflects our lives.

Koblin’s first piece of work that he projects on screen is based on flights in America, that involve variables such as colour coded altitudes and a lively time lapse of monitored airplanes flying across the country. The second project illustrates International communities and how New York communicates with other cities. The third project visualises SMS messages being sent in the city of Amsterdam where the audience can view the fluctuations of messages over the year. The fourth project is called “sheep market.”

He then discusses a couple other projects where he asks people to imitate small segments of a song, artwork and animation as best as they can. He then puts them altogether and shows an image of the final result, such as the “Johnny Cash project.” Although he doesn’t show the entire video, he shows the first ten seconds of it and shows videos that show feedback from people and their thoughts on the project.

He finishes the video by stating “An interface can be a personal narrative device. And as we collect more and more personally and socially relevant data, we have an opportunity, and maybe even an obligation, to maintain the humanity and tell some amazing stories as we explore and collaborate together” and asks for the audience to take away this message, after his speech.


Koblin’s SMS visualisation 

How to build an information time machine


The speaker in this video is Frederic Kaplan and he educates the audience through a step by step process of how he intends to “build an information time machine.” He addresses that as we delve deeper into the past, the less information we have. Therefore, like historians, we must “extrapolate.” For example, a single journey of a captain would represent that a similar journey was taken by several others.

He then suggests that two variables that are needed are “large archives” and “excellent specialists.” Venice has a rich history and has always been held by a bureaucratic system where information has been recorded. There are currently 80km worth of records held. It is difficult to digitalise hard copies however, through translation, qualifying and quantifying, this is all possible.

Kaplan advocates at the end of the video that “Research in the humanities is about to undergo an evolution that is maybe similar to what happened to life sciences over 30 years ago. It’s really a question of scale. We see projects that are beyond any single research team can do and this is really new for the humanities. We need to foster a new generation of digital humanist’s that are ready for this shift.”


Kaplan at TED talk 

Art that looks back at you


TED speaker, Golan Levin is an artist and a software writer. He advocates in the video that we should use our digital tools to express art. Not just with our mouse and desktops but he suggests, with our bodies. His artwork resembles mirrors and he creates an installation called “interstitial fragment processor” which is an interactive artwork that heightens an individual’s awareness of negative shapes.

He talks about a phenomenon known as “phonaesthesia” which is a form of synethesia that most people have. The phenomenon is the way in which people associate different sounds with images. He also creates an installation based on this and it allows for individuals to ‘see’ the shapes of the sounds they make into a device.

Levin also discusses how people can relate to machines with their eyes and asks the audience a question, “what if art was aware that we were looking at it?” and “how could it respond in a way to acknowledge or subvert the fact that we were looking at it?” and “what if It were possible that I can look back at us?”

He also has created a project based on this called “eye code” which is an interactive project where “the trace left by the looking of the previous observer looks at the trace left by the previous observer.” It is a recursive operation system that records eye movements, in between blinks.

The last project he discusses with the audience is called “opto-isolator” and “snout.” While they are slightly different projects from each other in regard to size, they both include one interactive eye ball that interacts with the audience.


Interactive installation by Golan 


‘Art made of storms’ is a fascinating and unique project, as it is something I have never seen before. I like that the aesthetic of it is modern and is an art piece but is also a musical score and representative of scientific data. The sculpture itself is abstract and visually engaging. I admire that Miebach has combined seemingly unrelated sources to create something different and expressive of her passions.

‘Visualising ourselves with crowd-sourced data’ was a video I found highly engaging. Koblin is talented and I admire the way he expresses data through an interactive interface. While Koblin discusses several of his projects, the one I most admire is the Johnny Cash one. I don’t know much about the singer personally but it was touching how over 250,000 people contributed to the artworks of the animation. I like that it is personal and I think that it is the perfect song and a wonderful way to commemorate and honour his life. I ended up watching the full version of the clip after the lecture and It has been inspiring to me. I found it an intriguing and engaging way to combine interactivity and illustration together to create a personal and memorable project.

‘Art that looks back at you’ is fascinating to me in the way that the audience can gain an almost human interaction with the art installations of ‘opto-isolator’ and ‘snout.’ Although it is slightly eerie, the project itself is fun, light-hearted and engaging. Levin discusses phenomenon such as “phonaesthesia” which occurs when certain sounds are associated with meanings and images. I never really thought about this and after he discussed it, I reflected upon how intricate the relationship between linguistics and the brain is. I admire how Levin elaborates on this concept and it is unfolded into interactive installations the audience can engage with.

The speaker, Frederic Kaplan discusses in ‘How to build an information time machine’ a range of interesting facts and demonstrates to the audience that although we do not have much information in the past, there are ways where historians can “extrapolate” on data. I found this interesting as I don’t know much about history, particularly in Venice and he addresses how through this technique, we can gain an understanding of how individuals lived in the past. Kaplan also discusses how we must come together as a team if we want to achieve goals that are beyond just a small team. I believe that as time goes on, we must work together as a team to ensure important information is preserved effectively, sustain our world and continuously improve it through technology and compassion.

References in APA

Interactive installation by Golan [Image] (2017). Retrieved September 25, 2017, from https://www.google.com.au/search?q=golan+levin&rlz=1C1CHBF_en-GBAU733AU733&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiu0uqdzInXAhWCnJQKHafLCO4Q_AUICigB&biw=1396&bih=646#imgdii=tGbRw503WsKjUM:&imgrc=shndYJ–HbHsdM:

Kaplan at TED talk [Image] (2013). Retrieved September 25, 2017, from https://www.google.com.au/search?q=frederic+kaplan&rlz=1C1CHBF_en-GBAU733AU733&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiZnru9zYnXAhVBu5QKHRV1Da8Q_AUICygC&biw=1396&bih=646#imgrc=-q1wA4vYq7WrwM:

Koblin’s SMS visualisation [Image] (2017). Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://www.aaronkoblin.com/project/amsterdam-sms/

Miebach’s string instrument [Image] (2015). Retrieved September 25, 2017, from https://www.google.com.au/search?q=nathalie+miebach&rlz=1C1CHBF_en-GBAU733AU733&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi0t-T6zYnXAhWDnJQKHeutABYQ_AUICigB&biw=1396&bih=646#imgrc=yOk6QpRJHZd6dM:


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