15 Jan 2015

Automated Beacon
project site

This project is a website that displays search queries it collects in real time. It “acts as a silent witness: a feedback loop providing a global snapshot of ourselves to ourselves in real-time”. When I think of searching for something online it seems like an extension of my curiosity/need to know more about a topic. It feels like a private event to enter a question or phrase and get results on it. Viewing it from this perspective makes Automated Beacon feel like peering into a global brain and its collective curiosities. The aesthetics are, if not outdated looking, bare and minimal to complement the kind of poetic premise. It also doesn’t provide much information beyond the search query itself which makes it a project you don’t necessarily spend more than a minute with. I’m not sure if it’s necessary or would ruin the mystery to try to add more, or slow down the display of different queries.

A Sense of Patterns
project site

This project is an ongoing series of visualizations of movement through urban spaces. I found the initial description provided for this project really compelling: “The visualizations have a focus on the patterns of moving entities in public like commuters, cars and public transportation vehicles as well as the interaction between these entities and physical structures like roads, sidewalks, buildings and parks.” I’ve been fascinated by this idea of a city as a pulsing system of movement and energy and to see that visualized sounds very exciting. The static visualizations have an interesting aesthetic that seems to refer to neurons, webs or other biological imagery. But most of the data represented so far relates to taxi routes. I was expecting more novel visualizations different types of “entities” movements  so that we could see some of that interaction between physical structures, moving people and objects. While these are visualized by overlaying paths, I wish for example, that there was visualization of entities moving inside structures and out of them, some added dimension. This is one way it could differentiate itself from other mapping projects, given that mapping one’s path is becoming easier and easier to do as its integrated as a standard functionality in devices.