Visualisation of complex data

Spam architecture

I was catching up with mobuzztv today and caught quite a few things in the links, which I felt like sharing.

First up was a link to a guy who has made quite aggressive objects out of his email spam.

The images from the Spam Architecture series are generated by a computer program that accepts as input, junk email. Various patterns, keywords and rhythms found in the text are translated into three-dimensional modeling gestures.

Nice stuff, but I was thinking it would be great to see a real time view of this thing growing over days or weeks then bits getting lobbed off when he purges his spam folder. And this could easily be done with x3d, hey what ever happend to x3d? Anyway, it also seems Alex has a few projects based on visualising complex data like this one called Brecht, a VJ tool based on SQL queries.

Second through the gates, and on a simlar vein is shape of song

The custom software in this work draws musical patterns in the form of translucent arches, allowing viewers to see–literally–the shape of any composition available on the Web. The resulting images reflect the full range of musical forms, from the deep structure of Bach to the crystalline beauty of Philip Glass.

I don't what else to say but I would love to see these drawn using multiple colours and animated to the music. Which (with my remix head on) could be done using clever use of SVG. Do check out the Gallery to get a feel for what I mean.

Third but somewhat deserving to be last, Brian Eno and David Byrne offer all there song data from there latest album My life in the bush of ghosts under a creative commons licence. Great, and lots of people have already started remixing but there something I can't let go of so easily. Why wrap the whole damm site up in Flash! Its really fiddley and means I can't permalink to any of my favorate remixes or even copy the text for a blockquote. One word…. suck! Although the general idea is good. Shame its let down by some over the top flash wankery.

Oh quick plug for one my favorate blogs about information visualisation, information aesthetics. Now if only someone could make the link between information visualisation and real world remixing of xml and webservices.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.