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visualizationData visualizations are a wonderful way to display the interactions between large groups of people within a network. Virtual places like Twitter (Twitter reviews), Facebook (Facebook reviews), or Flickr (Flickr reviews) can be easier understood when you see a visual representation of their inner workings. We’ve chosen five fresh videos that visualize various social media ecosystems.

1. SweetNTweet

If all Twitter searches were this fun, I’d probably do little else than stare at them all day. This experimental Twitter search engine is made with Processing; it lets you choose keywords for a Twitter search, and results are displayed in the form of petals which turn into tweets when they reach the destination. I haven’t been able to find the actual application, but you can see a demo in the video below.

2. World’s Eyes

This project displays a visualization of digital photos publically shared on the web by people visiting Spain. In the video you can see which regions of Spain are photographed the most, and which are more or less tourist-free. The other video focuses on partying in Barcelona in the summer of 2007.

3. Bicycle Built for 2,000

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a service that harnesses the power of an on-demand human workforce. It’s been used in a very interesting way by Aaron Koblin and Daniel Massey, who’ve employed the voices of around 2000 people to create a version of the song Daisy Bell (yes, that’s the song sung by HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey). You can see the entire project in action here, or a narrated video introduction of the visualization below.

4. Edinburgh Twestival Social Visualization

One of the sponsoring companies of the Edinburgh Twestival, which happened on February 12th, used Twitter to track the networking and socializing at the event. What you see in the video is people sending messages to a special Twitter account with details on their conversations with other participants. This data was then retrieved through Twitter’s API and displayed live at the event. The result is a cool visualization that shows how many connections between people happen at one such social gathering.

5. Visualizing Last.fm

This fascinating visualization video uses data from music social network Last.fm to display the popularity of music genres in certain parts of Europe. On the project’s site you’ll find other interesting visualizations, such as the geographical distribution of fans of bands such as Tokio Hotel or Bjork and how various factors (concerts, for example) affect the fan base.

The video is available here.

Data as a Creative Visual Medium - April 17
Harvestworks presents:

Jeff Thompson, Moderator
Panelists: Louisa Armbrust, Tali Hinkis, Siebren Versteeg and Ben Rubin


596 Broadway #602 New York City (at Houston St)
Subway: F/V Broadway/Lafayette, 6 Bleecker, W/R Prince

Harvestworks is pleased to present a special panel discussion that explores the idea of using data as source, material, and inspiration for visual artists. Moderated by Jeff Thompson, the four participating artists, Louisa Armbrust, Tali Hinkis, Siebren Versteeg and Ben Rubin will explore questions about possible trajectories and problems arising from working with data. Of special interest is a second-wave of new media work that is less concerned with a novel visual presentation of data than with a sympathetic way of working that can manifest itself in software, sculpture, prints, quilting, painting, and other media. Each panelist will present their work followed by a question and answer period with the audience.

Jeff Thompson has exhibited and performed his work internationally, most recently at Hunter College, The Weisman Art Museum, White Box Gallery, and Museo Arte Contemporaneo in Argentina. Thompson was awarded the Van Lier Fellowship from Harvestworks in 2008 and is also the co-founder of the Texas Firehouse, an alternative gallery space in Long Island City. He received his MFA from Rutgers University.

Louisa Armbrust makes art about play. Her projects explore the limits of rules and the line between freedom and authority embodied in games and sports. Awards include a full fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center, 2005 Biennial Blow Out Denver, and Honorable Mention at the Rocky Mountain Biennial 2004. Her work has been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, Studio Aiello Gallery, and Singer Gallery, Denver.

Tali Hinkis is a member of the interdisciplinary artist duo LoVid. LoVid has performed widely at venues including MoMA, PS1, The Kitchen, Roulette, Aurora Picture Show, NY Underground Film Festival, and FACT. LoVid has exhibited installations, videos, and media objects in venues such as The Jewish Museum, The Neuberger Museum, The Butler Institute of American Art, Exit Art, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, Institute of Contemporary Art (London), and Science Gallery (Ireland).

Siebren Versteeg's practice includes interactive paintings, digital prints and sculptures that dissect the interactions of media, intention, and indeterminacy. Versteeg has shown his work internationally including solo exhibitions at the Art Institute of Boston, Max Protetch, Bellwether, and the Wexner Center for the Arts and group exhibitions at the Hirshhorn Museum, Fabric Workshop, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

Ben Rubin is a media artist based in New York City. He has been a frequent collaborator with artists and performers including Laurie Anderson, Diller+Scofidio, Ann Hamilton, Arto Lindsay, Steve Reich, and Beryl Korot. Rubin's installation Listening Post (2002, with statistician Mark Hansen) won the 2004 Golden Nica Prize from Ars Electronica as well as a Webby award in 2003. Mr. Rubin received a B.A. from Brown University in 1987 and an M.S. in visual studies from the MIT Media Lab in 1989. Mr. Rubin teaches at the Yale School of Art, where he was appointed critic in graphic design in 2004.

Oooh the adorable Red Ball Rocker by Knú is being reintroduced ~ adorably simple and playful! *NOTCOT

Oooh the adorable Red Ball Rocker by Knú is being reintroduced ~ adorably simple and playful!


Everyone Will Smoke These in the Future

A new way to get sick and annoy passersby
By M. Farbman Posted 04.13.2009 at 1:00 pm 0 Comments

Inside an E-Cigarette: Horsten (GNU Free Documentation License)

How's this for innovation?: electronic cigarettes. Little white tubes that look like the real thing have a nicotine solution that's heated by a battery, and the user exhales a water vapor that looks like smoke. The FDA isn't quite sure what to make of them, although the manufacturer is clear: "It is not a drug, if you will. This is an adult smoking experience."

Tweenbots Examine Human-Machine Empathy


The Tweenbots project by Kacie Kinzer examines the random kindness of strangers.  She designed tiny smiling cardboard robots that rely on the help of pedestrians to get to their destination. The Tweenbots roll at a constant speed, in a straight line and are dependent on humans to steer them in the right direction to reach their final location (which is printed on a flag attached to the robot’s body).

Kinzer talks about the results of the experiment:

The results were unexpected. Over the course of the following months, throughout numerous missions, the Tweenbots were successful in rolling from their start point to their far-away destination assisted only by strangers. Every time the robot got caught under a park bench, ground futilely against a curb, or became trapped in a pothole, some passerby would always rescue it and send it toward its goal. Never once was a Tweenbot lost or damaged. Often, people would ignore the instructions to aim the Tweenbot in the “right” direction, if that direction meant sending the robot into a perilous situation. One man turned the robot back in the direction from which it had just come, saying out loud to the Tweenbot, “You can’t go that way, it’s toward the road.”

The Tweenbot’s unexpected presence in the city created an unfolding narrative that spoke not simply to the vastness of city space and to the journey of a human-assisted robot, but also to the power of a simple technological object to create a complex network powered by human intelligence and asynchronous interactions. But of more interest to me was the fact that this ad-hoc crowdsourcing was driven primarily by human empathy for an anthropomorphized object.

See the Tweenbots in action below.

[via Picocool]

Telegramstop by CH Contributor

by Laura Neilson


As older methods of correspondence become more obsolete in today's digital age, TelegramStop brings the best of the old and the new world. Through the company's website, anyone can send vintage-era telegram to any country in the world for a flat fee of $4.70.

After typing in a message on TelegramStop's homepage and previewing how the telegram will look, it's dispatched via post to its recipient. Harkening back to the authentic telegrams of Western Union's heyday, words appear in a classic typewriter font on vanilla-colored paper stock with the text "[STOP]" inserted wherever you punctuate with a period. Delivery usually takes 4-6 business days.


Founded by Mark Sehler and Ranjan Tharmakalusingham only a month ago, the Melbourne, Australia-based enterprise has already become a popular alternative to e-mails and traditional greeting cards. "It pretty much confirmed our thinking that the romance of the humble telegram as a form of communication has been lost in the modern world," notes Sehler.

The duo are currently working on new features, including an option to write your telegram in advance and specify for a later dispatch date, as well as special template designs for different occasions.


littleBits launch party and exhibition opening

littleBits is a growing library of preassembled circuit boards, made easy by tiny magnets

Opening: Thursday, April 30, 2009; 6PM – 9PM
Eyebeam: 540 W. 21st St. (btw 10th and 11th Aves.)

6PM: littleSneak: press preview
7PM: littleGeek: talk by Ayah Bdeir
7:30PM: bigLaunch: party

Exhibition was on view at Eyebeam April 30 - May 16, 2009

Crave creativity? Make something! Join us for the official product launch of littleBits at Eyebeam.

littleBits has a vision: to end the mysticism around engineering and electronics, to counter the black box product ideology of consumer electronics, and to fuel an explosion of creativity and innovation in artists, designers, kids and hobbyists. The release of littleBits Version 1 on April 30, 2009, unveiled a growing library of circuit boards preassembled by tiny magnets—the first of its kind. littleBits requires absolutely no programming, no prior knowledge and no hardware or software set-up. Just snap and play!

littleBits is an open source project developed under a Creative Commons license by Ayah Bdeir, in collaboration with Axel Esquite, Jie Qi, Luma Shihab-Eldin, and Young Jin Chung.
For more information visit: http://www.littlebits.cc


Trading Glances allows people to trade glances separated in time. The installation consists of a screen displaying faces streaming by as if the viewer were passing people in the street.

As the viewer watches the other person's face, the system records their face and precise eye movements. Later their face is added to this stream of faces in the installation and on the project web site. People can go to the site to see who glanced at them and replay exactly how another person's gaze travels across their face. Ones' eye movements can betray very private preferences and yet they are usually publicly viewable. This project tries to invade the privacy of the person doing the surveillance.


O'Sullivan is an associate professor at ITP, the interactive media program in New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He developed the classes, the show and the lab for Physical Computing at ITP and is currently the area head for Networking and Computational Media. At NYU he has also been an Interval Research Fellow and research scientist for Intel, Microsoft and NYNEX.


Golan Levin and Zachary Lieberman have developed a new concert performance technology in which speech, shouts and songs are radically augmented in real-time by custom interactive visualization software. This work touches on themes of abstract communication, synaesthetic relationships, cartoon language, and writing and scoring systems, within the context of a sophisticated, playful, and virtuosic audiovisual narrative.