Sanders Series Lecture
Sara Diamond: Data Visualization – Fundamental 21st Century Knowledge
2018-01-16 12:30 at MaRS
I side-stepped into data visualization two decades ago, as an artist trying to answer a series of related questions about IRC chat that had arisen for me as a user and through my dialogues with other users, “Why can’t IRC chat be more dynamic, less linear, relational? How can we manage flaming, lurking and other behaviors that discourage users? What strategies, like play, might resolve conflicts?” Over a number of years I led the creation of the CodeZebraOS which was a playful, non-linear visual chat environment that applied basic affective computing to text analytics. Now a decade later I lead the Visual Analytics Laboratory at OCAD University – a group of researchers who are committed to bringing together visualization design and data analytics. Times have changed and with them the recognition that big data requires analytics tools to be usable. Visualization systems are built into many software packages and info graphics are everyday fare. The Visual Analytics Laboratory works in partnership with data owners and sources, some with their own analytics capacities, others who rely on the VAL to analyze as well as represent the data. Over the course of the lecture I will present a glimpse of my early work and provide a history of VAL projects, addressing differing strategies for making meaning from data. Projects include public displays of data, artistic data presentations, media analytics, urban planning, public data analytics, social media analytics, etc. Researchers in the VAL also raise questions about the use of data and the need for critical literacy regarding data sources and visualizations.
Dr. Sara Diamond is the President of OCAD University, Canada’s, “University of the Imagination”. She holds a PhD in Computing, Information Technology and Engineering, a Masters in Digital Media and Honours Bachelors of Arts in History and Communications. She is an appointee of the Order of Ontario and the Royal Canadian Academy of Artists and a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to Canada. She is the winner of the 2013 GRAND NCE Digital Media Pioneer Award, recognized as one of Toronto Life’s Top Fifty and. she is a Senior Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto. She was recently honored as one of Canada’s 150 leading women. Since her appointment in 2005 she has led OCAD University’s evolution to a full university, helping to build its transdisciplinary and research-creation research capacity and infrastructure, integrate STEM subjects, create its Digital Futures Initiative, launch the Indigenous Visual Culture Program, strengthen its approach to inclusion, and grow its undergraduate and graduate programs in studio art and design. Diamond is a researcher in media arts history and policy, visual analytics and has created wearable technologies, mobile experiences and media art. Diamond was honoured with a 1992 retrospective at the National Gallery of Canada, represented Canada in festivals and biennials, and her works reside in collections such as the MoMA in New York City, National Gallery of Canada and Vancouver Art Gallery.