Archive for the 'Visualisation' Category

Real-time times two

Recently I have been hooked on two websites which are (un)related real-time updates of digital (mis)communication.

The first is a site created by Norse, an internet attack intelligence agancy (very Neuromancer but without the rastas in space). The site is a real-time visualisation of a small percentage (apparently <1%) of cyber attacks. It shows where the attacks originate, where is being targeted and the type of attack. It is pretty incredible. If you watch it for long enough you’ll see the map quieten down and then, boom, a massive coordinated attack will fire off. Usually against the USA.

The second site is a real-time visualisation of every emoji being used on twitter. I find it mesmerising. It follows on from an article I read in The Observer last weekend which was interested in the popularity of Emoji and how it has become a ubiquitous virtual language, with pictograms replacing words and combinations of these symbols replacing whole sentences but adding a multitude of increased interpretations. As the author of the article writes at the end of the article, “Barthes would have had a field day.”

Both of the sites are socially interesting and although at first glance I think it seems that the Norse one is the more ‘important’ of the two, I am fascinated by the Emoji one and by the questions it raises about how we communicate digitally, why are we always more drawn towards using pictures (pun intended), what does this mean for words and writing, is the majority of written language superfluous to communicative needs, can we call emoji a recognised language in its own right, and how would a shift towards a pictorial-based language system affect things like journalism, poetry, books etc, and physical interaction? Its a highly unlikely thing to happen but it is interesting to think about.


It’s sunny in Dundee mostly


Tentsmuir WW2 Coastal Defences

In the spirit of inter-institutional caring and sharing:


Preview: Thursday 27th March 7pm
Exhibition Open: Friday 28th March 12 – 4pm, Saturday 29th March 12 – 4pm

The White Room project space, Tin Roof Studios. 38-40 Bellfield Street
Dundee DD1 5JD

Presenting an exhibition of work created by 3rd year Illustration Students from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.

Come along to our show! It consists of hand printed posters and set designs for a series of imagined theatrical adaptations of plays exploring climate change, sustainability, urban planning and related social and political issues.

Exploring subjects such as:
Hydro Fracking, Gentrification, Micro-topias, Climate Activism, Nuclear waste disposal, Nuclear War, Social Housing, The melting ice caps, Surveillance, Community Gardening.

For more information please visit:

Re-Brand hype

POW if you don’t know about me

POW better ask someone quickly

’cause POW!

This is Visual Thinking

The Muppets, Henson and Sesame Street are covered in an interesting article in the latest Bulletin of the Serving Library.

Shock of the New-ish

New Aesthetic, New Anxieties is the outcome of a book-sprint organised by V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media. (downloadable as either pdf or e-book from that link there). It explores and expands upon the concept of the ‘New Aesthetic’, as coined by James Bridle in 2011. We’ve touched on this before, in terms of both the idea and some critical comment on it. Thanks to Michelle for the link.

Vis Com 12 Degree Show

Vis Com 12 is the website of this years graduating 4th year students. And representing as it does, a fantastically diverse body of works, has the most tags of any post on the vis-com blog ever.

London Study Trip

1st Year Department of Visual Communication

London Study Trip
24-27 January 2011


VISIT / 10.00am
Company / Alex Swain
– An informal insight into business acumen combined with how to take a client on a creative journey.

VISIT / 11.30am
The Association of Illustrators / Paul Ryding
– There is very little former graduate Paul Ryding does not know about contemporary illustration.

VISIT / 1.00pm
Tomato / Michael Horsham
– An intimate sharing of large and small projects from one of the most influential agencies. There portfolio goes back to 1991 and are continuing to work with Underworld.

VISIT / 4.00pm
Pentagram / Jane Pluer
– One of the most impressive offices in the creative industries with a workshop to match. Imperious work delivered with style and elegance.


VISIT / 11.00am
Browns Design / Jonathan Ellery
– Jonathan engaged with the students immediately by asking how they defined art compared to design. Award winning work from a man who applauds the students form outside London including The Glasgow School of Art.

VISIT / 1.30pm
Field / Vera-Maria Glahn
– A German duo working with all the latest programming software and code to produce really beautiful ‘cross-media’ work. Cool rooftop garden with views over to the City of London.

VISIT / 4.30pm
Build / Nicky and Michael Place with former graduate Lynne Devine
– Michael allowed us to touch, feel and sniff the quality of his best design for print. Designers Republic guru happy to be working in a small agency with one of our best graduates.

Day-to-Day Data

It sometimes feels like everyone is talking about data visualisation, but lets for a minute look back rather than around at both the peerless work of Edward Tufte, and the social/political/communicative projects of Otto and Marie Neurath, and collborators like Gerd Arntz. I like the pictogram on the left, it looks like facebook on a bin-bag.

Pentagram_Data Visualization

Elegant new data visualization from GE measures mid-market CFO confidence in the economic recovery.

This is Happening

This happened… Edinburgh #6: This Happened… are generally really good talks and a chance to meet people from a range of backgrounds doing things that are, broadly speaking, happening in the design/technical/art/digital/web/interaction sphere. Happens on 2nd Dec, tickets available from 1pm, 25th Nov. (Image: Simon Yuill)


BERG collaborator Matt Brown creates this interesting ‘mash-up’ which contextualises the scale of things in relation to where you are. Kind of like an interactive and digital update of “it’s as tall as 7 statues of liberty” or “as big as 4 football pitches.”

Alter(ed)modern Images

Couple of interesting posts via Firstly a new exhibition by M/M of Paris, the favoured graphic designers of any altermodernist. Secondly, an intriguing looking publication on ‘Image Aggregation‘. I haven’t read it yet, but it looks interesting, and (i think, probably) ties to an interest in the ‘semantic web‘, ‘aggregation’ (in general) and new approaches to tagging and indexing.

Cloud People

Quite last minute I know, but Cloud People hosted by New Media Scotland is on tonight at the Apple Store.

Nostalgia for the Future (Revolution)

The film above by Chris Marker, could be taken as an interesting design research proposition, and way of visualising scenarios. ‘Future Artifacts’ (to which this film could possibly tenuously be said to belong) are a useful way of trying to ‘evidence’ the impact of design decisions, particularly across larger and more complex projects that involve networks, services and interactions.

Marker himself is a very interesting filmmaker and visualiser, a leading exponent of the ‘compilation’ or ‘essay’ film.Notes from the era of imperfect memory‘ is a blog dedicated to him and his work.

Thanks to Gordon Hush for the link.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

Two money related links – the first to an enlightening excerpt from an RSA lecture by radical geographer David Harvey, with helpful accompanying animation.

And secondly, a conference (with some interesting speakers) that asks the following questions: “Data visualisation – a genre within visual culture that depicts data streams in provocative, poetic or insightful ways – has been booming, thanks to the growing availability of large amounts of data and the desire to grasp ever more complex realities by visual means. But is it always a good idea to assign such an important role to numerical information? How can we best interpret various data in relation to the values we consider important? And which new forms of storytelling does data visualisation have to offer us? Will the data film be the new documentary form?”

(and point 2.1, if you’re mad for data, the following set of videos from the gov 2.0 conference in the US)