EVENT: Repetition and surprise, rehearsal and reinvention

November 4, 2011
6:30 pmto8:00 pm

Repetition and surprise, rehearsal and reinvention
Mark Hansen, NYTimes and UCLA
Friday, November 4
6:30pm – 8pm
Room 50

Repetition and surprise, rehearsal and reinvention
Mark Hansen
The New York Times and
UCLA Department of Statistics

For the last decade, I have had the privilege of collaborating on a number of artworks that take their inspiration from data. My talk will be both a presentation of a few of these pieces as well as a riff on what they imply for traditional data practices more broadly.  I will spend a fair bit of time on Shuffle, a performance by the Elevator Repair Service that was created for the New York Public Library’s centennial celebration in June of this year. This work was designed to be a mixing or reinterpretation of the material from the last three ERS tours, classic works by Faulkner, Fitzgerald and Hemingway. I will contrast this performance with projects that engage large archives of events, projects that encourage a kind of self-reflection through data. In each case, we see how memory, rehearsal, and performance function as important components of data exploration.

In terms of a statistical practice, I see these collaborations as waypoints in an expanding field of data analysis. They present complex data for the public but in nonstandard venues and employing novel presentation techniques. These artworks have, in turn, shaped my views on the role of data, its collection and analysis, by the general public. Toward the end of the talk, I will present some of the curricular work I have helped develop for the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Specifically, I will discuss a new, NSF-funded program for high school students that introduces data analysis in the context of a year-long course in computer science.

Mark Hansen is a Professor of Statistics at UCLA and a visiting researcher at the R&D group of the New York Times. He currently serves as Co-PI for the NSF-funded Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS) and heads the Center for Statistical Computing, a unit within the Statistics Department at UCLA. Over the last five years, he has been exploring data collection and analysis as practiced by the general public. In addition to his formal statistical work, Mark also has an active art practice involving the presentation of large or complex data streams for the public. His work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, the London Science Museum, the Cartier Foundation in Paris, and the lobby of the New York Times Building (permanent display) in Manhattan.

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
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