Data is now everywhere. From the websites we visit, the cars we drive and phones we carry, data is increasingly being used to make decisions and shape the world around you.
How we move through the world, and the data trail that is left behind, tells a story about who we are and where we are going as a people.
Making this data transparent and accessible requires using the creativity to find new ways of exploring data in a user-focused way. Art is a perfect way to innovate that interaction.
The State of Vermont has a large Open Data portal, including contours at varing intervals for the entire state. My first explorations with laser cutter was taking this line data and creating small keychain items in wood and acrylic
Depicting information that is not topography was interesting to explore. Material and the size limiations of the laser printer introduce legibility problems but adding color to emphasize trends, in this case the cocentric rings around burlington of median age fluctuations.
Play is a really good way to learn, so I created a tile for each county in Vermont and made the size reflect the county population. On each various statistics were engraved to enable people to physically sort the tiles and see how different population centers were affected.
Lidar is a surveying method that measures distance to a target by illuminating the target with pulsed laser light and measuring the reflected pulses with a sensor with astonishing accuracy. Vermont has scans of the entire state but I was fascinated in how the past pathes of the rivers could be seen in the ground height.
My Garmin smartwatch can measure an incredible amount of data for my runs and bike rides. Using watercolors and the laser cutter I experimented with layering the routes from monthes of exercise on top of each other.
3D printing is a fascinating to quickly prototype an idea, my interest was taking the Lidar from the previous step, importing it into Blender to create a digital model for eventual printing. In this case Camel's Hump is represented with the Long Trail lmarked out on the ridge.
As someone who spends most of the summer on the lake, I utilized GIS (Geospatial Information Systems) software to take depth soundings and convert them into elevation models and contours which, with a multi-step process, I could burn into a piece of wood with pretty extreme 3D relief.
The Burlington City Marathon happens here every year and I was interested in taking all the skills thus learned and using them to make a 3D model of this year's route to make an interesting and potentially marketable object.
Kendall is a Data Artist with a degree in Fine Arts from Vassar College with years of experience working at a variety of tech-focused companies. Self-taught in R and Python for data analytics and visualization, Kendall has been exploring data as a Data Innovation Fellow for the State of Vermont and helping as an organizer and presenter for local groups about technology.
The merging of fine art, design skill and data analysis is the natural progression of his work and reflects the importance of creativity approaches even in extremely technical fields.