Text size
  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large
  • Standard
  • Blue text on blue
  • High contrast (Yellow text on black)
  • Blue text on beige

    Moving Data: Artistic tendencies in visualising human and non-human movement

    Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA 2018)

    London, UK, 9 - 13 July 2018


    Michele Barker & Anna Munster



    How does data ‘move’? How can we both feel data moving and feel movement through data visualisation? As more of our media become data-based and driven, we need to ask: how is movement being registered through data visualisation? We need to inquire in to how specific practices of visualizing data - both analytical and artistic - constrain or help us explore all kinds of movement, including that initiated both by human actions and nonhuman forces. This paper proposes that artistic approaches using ‘movement data’ within experimental animation, including our own artistic work pull made in 2017, as well as choreographic and experimental cartographic visualisation practices register a ‘feeling’ for and of moving data. The use of ‘movement data’ - typically geographical x,y coordinates accompanied by timestamp data - has been an strong focus of big data visual analytic research in to geospatial movement of human, animal and inanimate objects tracked via GPS devices.

    However, the overall conceptual approach to movement comes from data science influenced by a mathematical (and implicitly Euclidean geometrical) framework. Here movement is conceived as series of discrete positions occupied by moving objects, connected through the sequential unfolding of time. Space, time and object then give rise to discrete data sets that can be analysed and visualized either separately or together through various techniques. However, this approach runs into many classic conceptual problems, such as how to account for movement between time instances, and how to represent collective movement heterogeneously as the differential of the relations across all this data. We argue that these problems pertain to questions of how to register the way movement moves (changes) and how data participates in such movement moving.

    We will explore approaches to moving data via our own artistic practice-based research developed in the audiovisual installation pull. Here we took x,y coordinate and timestamp data derived from a cinematographer’s movements while shooting underwater wave sequences over several hours. This data was re-animated using 3D visualization and fluid simulation techniques. We will also look at examples from choreographic visualization (William Forsythe’s Synchronous Objects, 2010). We will propose that by focusing on movement as a field of relations, artistic approaches to visualising movement data might enable a feeling of (data) moving to register.


    PDF Icon PDF Version of this Paper 548(kb)