Brendan Dawes: Carefully Everywhere

Orde Saunders' avatarPublished: by Orde Saunders

Brendan Dawes was speaking at Handheld Conference about data visualisation, these are my notes from his talk.

Data is a material, a bit like clay (yes, that sounds pretentious).  Data is falling around us all the time (and the NSA is scooping it all up).  What does data look like?  The Dr No title sequence!   This doesn't look like a raw data file :-(  Created a visualisation of James Bond's kills per movie in the style of the Dr No title sequence and it went viral - provoked lots of conversions even though the raw data had been around before.  Surfacing the stories that were already in the data.  Symbolise and Summarise ~Saul Bass.  Film posters are data visualisation - they have to summarise the film in an image.  Ridley Scott (allegedly) sold  Alien as "Jaws in Space" - no need to explain anything else to get it funded.

Photshop 2 didn't have layers - it was like working in a mine!  Then Photoshop was like 60's Elvis in his black suit - he was the dude.  Now it's fat Elvis sat on the toilet waiting to die.  It's a tool designed for visual effects, not the web.  We need to use tools that are more suited to our medium.   Our medium is interactive, we need tools that can describe interactive effects.

Data needs poetry and that's what we do as human beings otherwise we end up with a Bauhaus vision of the future.  Everything can be represented as numbers and we can transpose those numbers into another system.  Nature creates patterns - like sunflower seeds (boval spiral), we can use these patterns to create interactions.  Try things out and, no matter how polished they aren't, put them away for a rainy day - they can form the basis of a project that gets delivered. 

Naivety is the gateway to curiosity - it's awesome!  If you don't know how to do something you are forced to learn. 

Context.  Events live in tandem with each other - people remember where they were when significant events happen.  (Kennedy app to record your now.)

You own your own data but that often isn't the case.  You shouldn't have to ask for permission to use your own data.

With 3D printing we can turn data into a physical object.