Visualisations are selective representations of reality. As we create a visualisation, the subject matter is as much our own perspective as it is the data. When developing a visualisation that is based on not-yet evidenced data but on prognostications, our anticipations and desires materialise in concrete forms. Resonating Friedman’s notion of value-sensitive design (1996), this workshop aims to explore the potential of visualisations to envision futures that participants would like to live in and experience.

Workshop Description:

Participants will intellectually and tangibly explore the possible roles that visualisation can play in imagining the future, using this exploration to reflect critically on existing visualisation practices. By adopting emotive approaches, the hope is to elicit new insights into design practices in data visualisation that challenge present representation forms. Participants will use paper prototyping techniques to develop descriptions of personal utopias. These descriptions will be examined in group exercises to mine them for ‘data stories’ – imaginary data sets which exemplify or illustrate their particular utopia. By sketching visualisations for such data sets, we will discuss the language, aims and claims of visualisation processes.

Participants include:  artists, designers, and scholars interested in critically exploring the different lenses that visualisation can provide onto the future.


Workshop Presenters: Tom Schofield, Marian Dörk and Brigitta Zics

Tom Schofield is an artist, researcher and Ph.D candidate. He studies and teaches at Culture Lab, Newcastle, UK (culturelab.ncl.ac.uk). His research interests and art practice centre around the use of data as a material for art making. Recent projects include Neurotic Armageddon Indicator, a wall clock for the end of the world (tomschofieldart.com/Neurotic-Armageddon-Indicator), null by morse, an installation with vintage military equipment and iPhones (tomschofieldart.com/null-by-morse), and Burj Babil (with Guy Schofield fieldventures.org/burj_babil.html), a video installation which warps computer models using the google translate app. www.tomschofieldart.com
Marian Dörk is a postdoc working in Culture Lab, Newcastle University on the PATINA project, exploring new ways of interacting with digital information. With a background in computer science, his particular interest lies in information visualisation. During his PhD research at the University of Calgary (2008-2012), he designed and studied visual interfaces to support exploratory information practices. He has also undertaken related work at Google, Microsoft Research and IBM Research, and before his PhD he studied Computational Visualistics at Universität Magdeburg (2003-2008). His website has videos, demos, and papers of his work: mariandoerk.de.
Brigitta Zics is an artist, media philosopher and interaction designer with a particular interest in emerging technologies and their impact on creative practices and human cognition. Her main concern is the philosophical  investigation of human experience in technologically enhanced environments, and her recent research subjects include experimental data visualisation, bio-signal interaction, affective games, application of swarm theory, and environments that facilitate immersive experiences. She is currently interested in collaborative ecologies that can foster innovation through creative making and open technological production.