Interacting with Data: Visualization for Exploration

FALL 2014

I was invited to give a presentation to The World Bank in Washington DC at their Big Data in Action for Development event. I was among a dozen scientists and researchers invited to present their perspective on big data, how they deal with it in their practice, and how they believe it will impact the future. My portion of the event was focused on issues around visualizing and deriving understanding from big data sets. With that in mind I began with an introduction to visual abstraction in the context of the modernist art movement and how elements of information design practice were influenced by the work of early abstract expressionist painters. I present the work of Wassily Kandinsky alongside early abstract cartography and quantitative design techniques and attempt to segue that into explaining how my own work fits within the history of visual art making. In the end I present some findings and explain the process of development of Petition Planet, a visual interface in exploring petition signature activity on the White House web site.