Data visualization: a social commentary


The Science, Art and Trash project seeks to make a hidden aspect of reality visible: waste that is hard to convert to something useful as in the case of plastic disposables. The author has lived in the same neighborhood for over 20 years, picking up litter from the front yard almost every day. Streets are generally clean because almost all neighbors do the same. Yet the question of behavior change in terms of avoiding disposables has remained hidden in the act of putting litter away without knowing how much is really out there. Enter citizen and community science data collection and classification projects which afford knowledge gains, and can allow neighbors to see what others have found and, in doing so, appreciate the extent of the pollution. They not only make the subject of garbage and its relation to personal behavior visible, but also afford experiencing how data is important for decision making as part of collective effort. To amplify the visibility of the data in the community, it was compiled into an array and then digitally overexposed into a fragment of a historical postcard in a mosaic fashion. From a distance, the building landmarks in the postcard can be discerned. When close to the image, each piece of litter can be clearly recognized, inviting viewers to reflect not only on the individual pieces depicted, but on the amount of trash that makes the resolution of the image possible. …

We can understand diversity at different scales

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At first glance mentioning diversity may simply evoke variety or randomness or merely a lack of order. That notion may discourage further thought by assuming everything is disconnected. Such is the case when one visits cities and see so many people one has not met, who are doing things one does not comprehend, and who are moving from one location to another for reasons one does not know. …


Julieta Aguilera

SciViz in space

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