In this ever-changing industry, artists and designers instinctively grow and change with the technology of the era. This past week, I attended the Eyeo Festival in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The festival assembled an incredible set of creative coders, data designers and artists. They conducted fascinating presentations, unique workshops and interactions.
There were a few of the presentations that resonated with me and were very inspirational.
Janet Echelman is a sculptor who creates textiles made of braided fiber, and Aaron Koblin is a digital artist who works at Google. Their combined skills allowed for a project in which people used their mobile phones to cast kinetic projections on a building-sized net. Their gestures of tracing brightly-colored paths across their device was projected as splashes of color on the large texture canvas.
My long adoration of typography initiated my admiration and interest in the work of Luke DuBois. His work of Hindsight is Always 20/20 is an interesting tie between typography and portraiture. Luke took the State of the Union addresses from each president and sorted them according to words used most frequently. He then generated eye charts for each president, with the more frequent words larger at the top of the chart and the less frequent words smaller at the bottom. Additionally, eye chart information appears in the margins concerning the use of the chart as a testing device. Luke says in his essay that, “The aim of the piece is to make a statement about the perennial political metaphor of vision, without which much of the rhetoric of presidential politics quickly deflates. The choice of words employed by a given presidential administration to articulate its message is in many ways its signature. Looking back, we can use this vocabulary to test the metaphorical eyesight of the nation throughout its history.” Luke displays the work so that they actually worked as 20/20 charts to the view.
I found the work by Tahir Hemphill very innovative and unique. He created a semantic and sentiment of lyrics from American hip-hop artists. He focused on whether artists such as Drake and Tupac had more positive or negative words in their lyrics. He was inspired by Picasso’s light paintings, which give something that is temporal and doesn’t exist in a visual format. He then utilized a robot arm to create the light paintings of the data, and then he took photographs of each artist’s result. You can see the results here.
Lastly, I connected with Stefanie Posavec because she is a designer who was inspired by data and used it as her medium. She did an artist residency at Facebook in the Analog Research Lab and created interactive pieces on the floor that converted a month of a couple’s Facebook interaction data into dance steps. This portrayed how couples publicly show their relationships on social media. The dance steps were timed to an 8-step count and were an accurate representation of a couple’s digital movements and interactions in the real world. You can view examples of the work here.
The festival allowed me to reflect on myself as a designer, encouraged me to think about projects from a conceptual standpoint, and inspired me to look forward to my future growth as a designer. This festival taught me where the future of artistry is going and what large possibilities exist for future endeavors for the company and myself.