Philip Groman

Parading the Troops

A shocking and satirical visualization of state military expenditure by the top ten national spenders.

Introduction to Computational Media

In an attempt to build narrative into data, this dynamically generated Processing sketch pulls in data on military expenditure and displays it like a timelapse military parade through a city street. Counting down from number ten, we begin to feel the volume of the figures by the time the parade reaches number one.

I came to this project after watching Baraka, a time-lapse film that presents the globe as a diverse collection of landscapes and people. I noticed that some of the movement within the scenes of cities and people could be used to represent data.

Important numbers and datasets are becoming increasingly ignored due to a lack of context to the presentation. In the sphere of politics and development work, which often demands action on the part of the audience, data needs to be visualized in a more powerful way that impacts the viewer on both an emotional and analytical level.

User Scenario
The piece is displayed on a screen, with a mouse in front of it. An on-screen menu allows the user to select from a series of different datasets and comparisons which are then visualized.

The piece is already made in Processing as a dynamic sketch that takes figures of the military budgets of ten countries in a CSV file. If the piece is selected for the show, I will build it out to include a series of other dynamic visualisations based off other datasets, and allow the user to select between them.

I learnt a great deal about Processing from this project. I also noticed ways that data can be more emotionally and metaphorically presented.