I talked to three alumni on Monday about my project direction: Sherri ?, Gabe B-C, and Drew Burrows. All three found the concept compelling, once I was finally able to summarize what I’m interested in. They all said that it sounded like I had a few directions I was considering, and that I’d need to decide soon which direction was the most compelling.
Out of the three I spoke with, Sherri picked up the most on the idea of a map or visualization on the distance – speed – value relationship, or Value in terms of distance and time. She pointed me to a few references and inspiration sources:
Sherri said she was currently working on an exhibit with David Breashears that documents the receding Glaciers in the Himalaya. She pointed out that the source photographs from the early 1900s are all surveying tools, and how that could be an interesting angle to tell the story.
Trevor Paglen’s work – especially on investigating the hidden.
She also told me to focus on a simple story that manifests the idea – an entry point. When I described the Spread Networks cable, she said that the communication between Chicago and New York could be a good entry point.
She also told me to really focus on who is my audience – namely in the data viz infographic vs art piece debate, which affects the level of accuracy I should be looking to portray, as well as if this is a “tool” a la the interactive map with a slider, or a piece that provokes conversation – a la the maps as critical design tool.
Her final advice to me was to get all the iterations and angles that I could possibly go in out and down on paper. Then select and refine as I choose a focus.
The next alum I spoke with was Gabe B-C. I wanted his opinion on a video piece I did last semester, which is a sketch for one direction I could take this project. When I showed him the piece, he told me to look up Marco Brambilla’s work, especially the pieces he did with grided comparisons, like every revolving restaurant, or split screen reaction shots of first person shooter games.
When I mentioned that one idea I had was a roadtrip from New York to Chicago traveling along the same route as the fiber optic cable, he said he could see a series of pieces inspired by transactions – or doing things with technology and money, but sloooowwwly. I’d have to engage in transactions on either side of the journey for sure. He also got me thinking along more physical lines, like making an actual sculpture that might be influenced by financial data – a glacier whose temperature is controlled according to financial data.
I talked to Drew next, who seemed to have the hardest time understanding what I wanted to do, or perhaps more, why I wanted to do it. He said he liked the idea of the 3D landscape generated by real-time financial data, but that the surveyor maps were the hardest to grasp.
Last, I also talked to Kathy, who nicely volunteered to reach out to people in the NYU Financial Mathematics Dept, basically the Wall Street Quant program that NYU has. She also said to look into Mae West and Mae East, which are routing maps of the internet. I have a lot more research to do, but I found a list of IXPs, Internet Exchange Points, where the various ISPs, Internet Service Providers, exchange traffic between their networks. This happens in various physical locations around the world.