Some notes about Sarah Sze’s video:
How experience affect design?
First of all, the artist has a clear goal of this project, which was build a dynamic experience for audiences to let them walk through this installation and observing the natural environment. So she decided to play around with perspective, to be more specific, is one-point perspective. In the video clip, one of the scene was showing her sketch of the view from a far distance. The installation was basically a plane image from that point of view, and when the audience walk towards the object, it gradually turned to this 3D object.
Challenge? The relationship between visual language and audience?
- Dealing with nature, don’t know what gonna happens. If nothing happens, the piece is a sculpture for people walk through it. This is a multi-purpose installation, which was already planned ahead. The type of installation will heavily rely on the environment (space), so always prepare a “backup plan” should be good.
- The concept was making the public piece to intimate experience, and bleed out into space. From the interview clip of visitors, it’s quite successful. Nobody asks why the piece is there, but curious the function. It implied that the piece blend in pretty well.
- My personal favorite quote from Sarah: An art piece is a novel. The first view is the first line you read. The last view is the last line you read.
After Critique – Research Update
The first thing I was trying to figure out is a more specific perspective of this general topic. In my opinion a good data visualization should be able to bring questions and curiosity to audience. Just like one of the iteration I did from last semester, the comparison between data from March 2020 and November 2020. The disappearing of dots and colors potentially has an ability to tell more stories and raise the question. As a result, I need to take a step back from the visual presentation to rethink about the relationship between my data and how should I present it.
I looked back to one of the articles that I found last semester, “Seeing Cities Change: Local Culture and Class” by Jerome Krase. There is a paragraph wrote by British historian Tony Judt:
Today I drop my cleaning off with Joseph the tailor and we exchange Yiddishisms and reminiscences (his) of Jewish Russia. Two blocks south I lunch at a place whose Florentine owner disdains credit cards and prepares the best Tuscan food in New York. In a hurry, I can opt instead for a falafel from the Israelis on the next block; I might do even better with the sizzling lamb from the Arab at the corner.
Suddenly, a key word jumps into my mind: distance.
According to this project: https://gradfoodstudies.org/2017/03/01/mapping-migration-restaurants/
This map only focus on one avenue and the diversity is superb already.
I start to think about a comparison between the actual distance versus the real distance of different cultural background communities. For example, in the previous quote, the author encounters people from different places around the world just within 2 blocks around his apartment. This daily scenario is so unique to NYC. From Italian to Russia, and then Middle East, finally to the far East, the real physical distance(not sure this is the accurate word) is thousands miles away.
recreate the space – with two dimensions of distance?
restaurant type versus their food? maybe
web-scraping to find their menu and ingredient and analysis those ingredient origin or where are they from? then extend to this trading data, both domestic and international.
After last time group review, I started to think about this main concept about how to overlap and measure “distance” in two different scales, which was the physical distance and the distance between the cultures that those people represented.
These are two example from my Data Visualization class, I considered that they are actually great inspiration for me to start my own prototype. In the first example, the traditional visual encoding of distance would be a single line to indicate the distance, but through the transformation from distance to area, the final outcome can potentially contain two levels of information (size and distance of the object), at least in my opinion. Also, it’s a challenge to our perception of objects’ relationship in the space. The mind-set and vision can be mislead us.
In the second example, instead of using normal text indicator, such as 400 meter, 3 minutes walking, 1 minutes biking, etc., by introducing some facts about Olympic athletes’ related information to imply the total distance also adding another layer of information to the final presentation. It’s by using our familiar information to re-calculate or “imagine” the target object.
So I start to think about my method to combine multiple players of information in my project.
Basically, the mirage has an ability to present more images, information that beyond our visional limitation. It’s almost like eye tricks.
From previous research, I noticed that one of the elements that unique to the 3D space is light and shadow. And mirage is related to the light refraction. I decided to play around with light / shadow and perspective to make an overlap between different layers of information.
//What is the most resonant feedback and criticism you have received? What was unclear, hard to understand or seen as an issue?
Harpreet – If this is going to be in a specific space it’s okay for it be abstract, but you need to have some aspect that communicates what this visualization is about. It doesn’t need to be literal in terms of images.
After the midterm presentation, I was reading an article named “The Line Between Data Vis and Data Art”. And there is a statement in that article really reminds me to reconsidering that what does this object communicate me? I want it to be a Data Art, then the most important indicator is not readability, the strength of idea / concept or strength of aesthetics and how those visual elements stimulate emotions or thoughts of my audience is the section I need to focus on.
//What concrete actions will you take to adjust your project based on this feedback?
First step is addressing the specific context of my project. For a site-specific work, wether it’s in a restaurant or a park, in order to figure out a specific space, I need to decide what kind of emotion that I ejected into this model and how is the outer space can help me to extract this kind of emotion or intuitive feeling out of the object. The next step is figuring out that what kind of elements can help convey those feelings. For example, scale, material, lighting, etc.
//Map out an adjusted timeline based on the above.
Some after-midterm Thoughts
After the midterm critique, I start to reconsidering the context and original purpose of my thesis project. I agreed on one of the comments which was pointing out that the form could be abstract but the communication(or the information) should be clear to your audience.
Also, after the mini writing workshop last Thursday, I asked myself how did I come to this project and what was my intention in the beginning of this two years graduate study. What I gained and what I lost in this progress. I still remember in the first semester of DT, I made an AR Menu project for the major studio 1. My intention at the moment was trying to cooperate technology to improve dining experience in the restaurant. At the same time, using technology to introduce and reveal those hidden stories behind food, including restaurants, cuisines, ingredients.
Back to the last semester, I decided to keep working on this food culture theme for the thesis. But the theme has been shifting away from food culture and restaurant related scenario unconsciously. There is only two months till the graduation, I have to ask myself: does this abstract data-based “sculpture” really has an ability to represent my progress of two years and my initial intention of the graduate study? I don’t think so.
Therefore, what should I do to pull my thesis project back the right track? It doesn’t means that I will give up all the hard work I had so far in this semester, but rather than produce this abstract form out of nowhere, I should insert it into somewhere in a restaurant scenario, to be more specific, a link in the whole dining experience.
The design intention of this data physicalization model was guiding my audience(if in a restaurant scenario, it should be diners) to understand that In a society where polarization, extremization, pure nationalism, and racial discrimination are becoming increasingly serious, by revealing the history and culture behind food, people can understand that it is more complicated than the way they used to think about the links between people of different culture background.
Is there anything in a dining experience in the restaurant could play a guidance role? In my opinion, these two things were taking charge in my dining experience, menu and interior decoration. The menu, pretty obvious, provides all information that you need for ordering, including dishes’ name, cooking method, ingredients, etc. Diners need to focus on reading and interpreting the information on the menu, wether it’s traditional paper menu, or digital menu by scanning QR code. It’s not an ideal place for inserting the abstract art, I guess nobody wants to get distraction when reading the menu. Also, if it’s a digital menu, the screen size of mobile device is a serious restriction for any 3D animation or animated effects. Same logic as paper menu, too much information might interrupt the reading process of the menu.
Therefore, the time between ordering and actual serving might be a good time slot for display the animation. As for the canvas, the table would be a good choice.
Second thing is lighting. When I was walking around my house another night, I took this picture and immediately start to consider that the meaning of light.
For me, lights in the dark means leading and guiding. It matches the role of my model which is guiding diners to discover the complexity and connection behind a multi-cultural space. But how does lighting design affect actual dining experience and interior atmosphere, I do need more in-depth researches on that topic.
In the end.
The above two ideas were sort of Eureka moments. Like I mentioned before, those ideas have to be rely on more researches and presences to be solid prompts. Estimated working time on further researching is 2 weeks.