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Data & Representation

activation:fields relies on the HYPOTHESIS that the environment can be represented as a function of the data flowing through it. Thus, by measuring energy exchanges of specific environmental activities, we can first measure this network, and then visualize it. Data will be captured using simple tools. These tools can be either sensors invisibly embedded in the landscape, sending data over local networks to server databases; or, they can be tools like the Cyanometer, used to measure the environment. Both types of tools, digital and analogue, are capable of capturing three types of  Data:

  • qualitative data, which asks, “What is the activity?”;
  • quantitative data, which inquires as to the intensity of any one activity (its duration, how many (people, objects, things…), how much…); and
  • locational data, which asks, “Where is the activity taking place?” (physical world, virtual world, social network…).

Although data is objective project parameter, a numerical value, its subsequent representation is subject to interpretation. We developed spatially immersive visualizations as our interpretive, representational tool. These visualizations will evolve from 2-dimensional graphic abstraction to interactive, tactile spatial immersion, by accruing informational, material and spatial dimensionality. These representations will be built into an immersive virtual environment whose physics, spatial coherence and topography will be designed to SIMULATE scale, distance, interactivity and modularity… Embedding visualizations into immersive environments is compatible to the process of data mapping (which is the creation of functions between distinct data models, for data integration).

We strive to effectuate a direct correlation between the content (or data) and its representation (or mapping); this is a data-driven creative process. For example, when expressing the SCALE of an environment, an immersive visualization permits us to develop a 3D space whose size and navigation are a direct (not metaphoric) expression of its scale. This is due to the fact that immersive visualizations take place in a virtual space (or environment) with physical characteristics (physics, movement, temporality) similar to the physical world we inhabit.

It is not a question of mapping the totality of the environment, but of determining its extents. The natural and man-made environment possess an inherent logic that is both divergent and convergent with one another; this can be considered their points of vergence [1]. Therefore, the extents of any one environment is nebulous; the lines separating them are blurred by their dynamic co-dependence. Interpreting the data that tries to represent this phenomenon will be accomplished by isolating specific states of the natural and man-made environments and representing their points of vergence, revealing the tension between :

  • comparable states (or activities) in different worlds (ie, distance and velocity for comparing mobility in virtual and physical worlds);
  • different states (or activities) in the same world; and,
  • simultaneous activities in more than one world (ie, interactively representing the same data-set in a virtual world and in an online visualization).

By establishing this, we can map the scale, texture, intensity and context of this environment. By accruing informational and spatial dimensionality, the project will push its visualizations to evolve from objective abstraction towards spatial immersion. Visualizations will be created using interactive representations built into an immersive virtual environment whose physics, spatial coherence and topography will be designed to simulate the scale, interactivity and modularity of the hybrid infrastructure’s form, location and intensity. Embedding visualizations into immersive environments is compatibility to data mapping (the creation of functions between distinct data models, for data integration), of which our visualizations will become a particular subset.

[1] vergence is a measure of the convergence or divergence

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