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Walking papers
2009-03-30 21:35:57 - by Nicolas Malevé

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«It’d be interesting for generated printouts of OSM data to encode enough source information to reconnect the scanned, scribbled-on result back with its point of origin, and use it as an online base map just like GPS traces and Yahoo aerial imagery.»

Read more of this beautiful idea

Topology for the rest of us!
2009-02-28 11:11:21 - by Nicolas Malevé

On Jill Britton’s website, a wonderful introduction to topology.

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«A simple trick illustrates topology: taking off a vest without taking off a coat, since (topological) the vest is outside the coat — in the sense that a paper lying on the bottom of a wastebasket is really outside the basket, not in it, since being in would require removal of a boundary. One puts an arm through one vesthole; pulls the coat through this vesthole until it is hanging on the other arm; then pulls the through that other vesthole, where it is obviously "outside".»

Read more

All streets
2008-12-10 10:18:30 - by Nicolas Malevé

All Streets, by Ben Fry
All streets: all of the streets in the lower 48 United States: an image of 26 million individual road segments. The last work of Ben Fry.

«The data in this piece comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s TIGER/Line data files. The data is first parsed and filtered (to remove non-street features) using Perl. Next, using Processing, the latitude and longitude coordinates are transformed using an Albers equal-area conic projection (which gives it that curvy surface-of-the-Earth look that we’re used to), and then plotted to an enormous image that’s saved to the disk. »

Read more here for technical details and here to zoom in the project.

Yesterday’s man
2008-09-04 10:39:20 - by Nicolas Malevé

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Yesterday’s Man


In the framework of The City as Commons in a Divided World, the Kaai Theater presents Yesterday’s Man described as:

" [...] the voyage of a stranger who’s confronted with an ever changing city, Beirut. The project is based on the hypothesis that every city has another city beneath it, and below that another and so on. From time to time, and for unknown reasons, fragments of these hidden cities rise to the surface, confronting the present in the supposedly new city; they appear brusquely or hesitantly and sometimes with harshness and cruelty. "

A collaboration between Rabih Mroué, Tiago Rodrigues, Tony Chakar and Thomas Walgrave. The performance will take place on the 11th of September 2008 at 20.00.
Read more

Denis Wood on maps, neighborhoods and pumpkins
2008-07-02 12:14:10 - by Nicolas Malevé

From the archive of This American Life’s radio, a wonderful broadcast described as:

Five ways of mapping the world. One story about people who make maps the traditional way—by drawing things we can see. And other stories about people who map the world using smell, sound, touch, and taste. The world redrawn by the five senses.

Especially moving is the interview of Denis Wood who creates maps of Boylan Heights, Raleigh, North Carolina, his neighborhood: a traditional street locator map; a map of all the sewer and power lines under the earth’s surface; a map of how light falls on the ground through the leaves of trees; a map of where all the Halloween pumpkins are each year; and a map of all the graffiti in the neighborhood

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Pumpkins map, by Denis Wood

More images

I couldn’t resist to make a partial transcript of the interview. Here it goes:
Denis Wood: I have a map of the pumpkins that were on the porches at Halloween.
Ira Glass: What does it tell you?
DW: That’s actually a very interesting map. I like to relate it to the map that shows the number of times each residence was mentioned in the Boyler Heights newsletter in the past 25 years
IG: You made a map of that?
DW: Yes, you take all the newsletters and you just note every address that appears in it.
Wether it appears as the name of a specific individual in the neighborhood or as address and you just do frequenties attached to each one of the residences. And the thing that strucked me about that map when I first did it was that some locations, some dwellings ... are frequently mentioned no matter whoever lives in them and I imagined that who were going to be movers and shakers in the neighborhood pick homes that are in important locations in the neighborhood are architecturally significant or historically significant
IG: They have just got more money
DW: Believe me, money is what’s behind both the pumpkin map and that map.
IG: As you told me this, I was thinking where are the pumpkins? Where is the greatest proliferation of orange pumpkins.
DW: Oh that’s not what the map was. I photographed the pumpkins face and then I printed them black on black so you see the eyes and the mouths of the pumpkins on the black background
IG: So the map of the pumpkins is a map where there are just little eyes and pumpkins mouths floating by the houses which have them
DW: They are just floating on the black background just like the traffic lights were floating...And the map of the traffic signs is just traffic signs, there are no streets or anything. On the map of the streets there are just streets, on the map of the trees there are just trees. And what you do when you go through these maps is you begin to build up even though it is never said a kind of structural knowledge that you take away as a kind of resonance of that neighborhood. You know the idea that we have to have the pumpkins drawn against the streets only makes sense when you don’t have any other images. As soon as you have other images, you say oh my... look look look where these pumpkins are, they are just exactly where, and I here answer your question, exactly where people are mentioned all the time in the newsletter And if you go away to the edges of the neighborhood where people aren’t mentioned in the newsletter My good they don’t have pumpkins on their porches
IG: So the people mentioned in the newsletter they tend to be people in the bigger homes
DW: Yes, they do.

...
DW: [I made maps of] patterns of leaf light in the neighborhood light coming through the leaves of the trees in summer time
IG: What does that tell you?
DW: They are what it is to live in the neighborhood. the neighborhood is experienced as a clutch of patterns of light and sound and smell and tastes and communication with others

...
DW: But I guess, what I am pushing for here is selecting subject for cartographic display that are other than these that are typical
IG: it almost sounds like you are trying to create a ... novel
DW: I am
IG: but with pure symbols of map
DW: yeah. why not?

note: I found the link to the broadcast on the excellent Perrygeo weblog

The power geometry of it all
2008-06-10 21:59:49 - by Nicolas Malevé

A Global Sense of Place – by Doreen Massey
From Space, Place and Gender. Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 1994.

Imagine for a moment that you are on a satellite, further out and beyond all actual
satellites; you can see ’planet earth’ from a distance and, unusually for someone with
only peaceful intentions, you are equipped with the kind of technology which allows
you to see the colours of people’s eyes and the numbers on their number plates. You
can see all the movement and turn in to all the communication that is going on.
Furthest out are the satellites, then aeroplanes, the long haul between London and
Tokyo and the hop from San Salvador to Guatemala City. Some of this is people
moving, some of it is physical trade, some is media broadcasting. There are faxes, e-
mail, film-distribution networks, financial flows and transactions. Look in closer and
there are ships and trains, steam trains slogging laboriously up hills somewhere in
Asia. Look in closer still and there are lorries and cars and buses, and on down further,
somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, there’s a woman - amongst many women - on foot,
who still spends hours a day collecting water.

Now I want to make one simple point here, and that is about what one might call the
power geometry of it all; the power geometry of time-space compression. For
different social groups, and different individuals, are placed in very distinct ways in
relation to these flows and interconnections. This point concerns not merely the issue
of who moves and who doesn’t, although that is an important element of it; it is also
about power in relation to the flows and the movement. Different social groups have
distinct relationships to this anyway differentiated mobility: some people are more in
charge of it than others; some initiate flows and movement, others don’t; some are
more on the receiving-end of it than others; some are effectively imprisoned by it.
In a sense at the end of all the spectra are those who are both doing the moving and
the communicating and who are in some way in a position of control in relation to it -
the jet-setters, the ones sending and receiving the faces and the e-mail, holding the
international conference calls, the ones distributing films, controlling the news,
organizing the investments and the international currency transactions. These are the
groups who are really in a sense in charge of time-space compression, who care really
use it and turn it to advantage, whose power and influence it very definitely increases.
On its more prosaic fringes this group probably includes a fair number of western
academics and journalists - those, in other words, who write most about it.

But there are also groups who are also doing a lot of physical moving, but who are not
’in charge’ of the process in the same way at all. The refugees from El Salvador or
Guatemala and the undocumented migrant workers from Michoacan in Mexico,
crowding into Tijuana to make a perhaps fatal dash for it across the border into the US
to grab a chance of a new life. Here he experience of movement, and indeed of a
confusing plurality of cultures, is very different. And there are those from India,
Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Caribbean, who come half way round the world only to get
held up in an interrogation room at Heathrow.

Or - a different case again- there are those who are simply on the receiving end of
time-space compression. The pensioner in a bed-sit in any inner city in this country,
eating British working-class-style fish and chips from a Chinese take-away, watching
a US film on a Japanese television; and not daring to go out after dark. And anyway
the public transport’s been cut.

Or - one final example to illustrate a different kind of complexity - there are the
people who live in the favelas of Rio, who know global football like the back of their
hand, and have produced some of its players; who have contributed massively to
global music, who gave up the samba and produced the lambada that everyone was
dancing to last year in the clubs of Paris and London; and who have never, or hardly
ever, been to downtown Rio. At one level they have been tremendous contributors to
what we call time-space compression; and at another level they are imprisoned in it.

Human Brain Cloud
2008-03-26 10:16:01 - by Nicolas Malevé

A massively multiplayer word association game, by Kyle Gabler.

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Redes digitales y espacio físico
2008-03-03 18:30:11 - by Nicolas Malevé

Medialab Prado organises a «production workshop, talks and seminars around geospacial web and geosemantic web, web 2.0, place blogging, urban markup, open source mapping tools, locative art and locative gaming.»

Medialab Prado

Their list of selected projects looks impressive.

Earlier workshops include Visualisar and its Advanced Project Production Workshop Showcase.

Gli esclusi
2008-02-22 13:22:57 - by Nicolas Malevé

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«Decisions are normally taken from the high, by a minority of players, leaving out those more related to the territory.
How we can get them in?
Through four steps: awakening, aggregating, activating, complaining»

Gli exclusi is a map/diagram created by density design to illustrate a scenario to organise citizens response to the Italian National Action Plan.

Read more about this map (and many more )on the density design’s website.

Downtown Los Angeles Homeless Map
2007-11-05 18:59:03 - by Nicolas Malevé

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Homeless Map, from Cartifact

The Los Angeles Homeless Map, by the people of Cartifact.

“The purpose of the downtown Los Angeles Homeless Map is to visually tell the story of downtown’s homeless population. Before a problem can be solved it must be understood. These maps exist to convey the situation on the streets to City leaders, the Police Department and all those who are concerned with homelessness in our city.”

Visually efficient and the map-making process is documented here.

Statistiques qui poussent depuis les profondeurs enfuies des bases de données souterraines
2007-09-25 23:26:46 - by Pierre Huyghebaert

Hans Rosling, expert suédois en statistique et médecine, est le promoteur très efficace de Gapminder, une intéressante interface de production de statistiques animées, récement rachetée par Google... Son graphisme assez rudimentaire rends peu justice à la finesse de ses critères et à la justesse de ses choix, mais c’est accessoire. Après avoir essayé le système, il faut voir Monsieur Rosling commenter live avec exhaltation les chiffres évoluants simultanément année par année aux très branchées conférences Ted de Monterey (BMW-powered). Et voir comment en 2006 puis en 2007 il insiste avec une vigueur communicative et visuelle sur les articulations sensibles des données qu’il manipule est plutôt ravigorant ! Irrésistible et bien sur culte.

"Nocturne, of Chopin, so beautiful music. But few people will appreciate the music if I just show them the notes. Most of us need to listen to the music to understand how beautiful it is. But often that’s how we present statistics ; we just show the notes we don’t play the music."

2006 :

2007 :

Visual complexity
2007-07-12 19:37:19 - by Nicolas Malevé

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Visual complexity
by Manuel Lima

VisualComplexity.com intends to be a unified resource space for anyone interested in the visualization of complex networks. The project’s main goal is to leverage a critical understanding of different visualization methods, across a series of disciplines, as diverse as Biology, Social Networks or the World Wide Web. I truly hope this space can inspire, motivate and enlighten any person doing research on this field.

Not all projects shown here are genuine complex networks, in the sense that they aren’t necessarily at the edge of chaos, or show an irregular and systematic degree of connectivity. However, the projects that apparently skip this class were chosen for two important reasons. They either provide advancement in terms of visual depiction techniques/methods or show conceptual uniqueness and originality in the choice of a subject. Nevertheless, all projects have one trait in common: the whole is always more than the sum of its parts.”

View site

Turing machine in muffins
2007-03-09 12:23:20 - by Wendy Van Wynsberghe

On my daily browse through blogs, I found this computer science professor Susan Rodger who maps out her mathematical experiments with baked goods.

Turing calculus in muffins 01

On this occasion she made edible Turing machines, one batch on March the 23rd 2004, the other batch on March the 27th, 2004.

Turing calculus in muffins 02

Susan Rodger has other delightful mathematical baking experiments online.

I do wonder what happens with the Turing muffins, afterwards...

Thanks Xeni Jardin!

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