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Summer Thesis Thoughts: Version 7

July 12, 2008

(Answering a few questions from Anezka’s thesis blog post)

1. What do you see yourself doing next year when you walk out of the MFA DT?

– At this point, aside from the dream of having my thesis being so phenomenally great that it takes me across the country, creates new projects out of it’s unique perspective, opens doors that establish myself as an artist/designer, and overall allows me to not have to find a real job for while, I want to be able to really use and apply all the knowledge and skills I’ve been learning in DT for the greater good of a non-profit or organization (hopefully well paying) such as the CDC, Pew Research Center, or something politically related (yes, as much as I try to get away from it, I seem to keep getting sucked in) in which my job would be an interactive information designer making to make the data collected more meaningful to the public, and be a catalyst to raise awareness of the phenomena it studies or causes the organization promotes. I really love graphic and interactive design, and having a job at a company that solves design solutions for businesses would be okay, but the satisfaction of that type of work is short lived until each next project comes around. Having a specific position surrounding a cause would be so much more satisfying because not only would I learn something from the data or content I would be working with, but I would also be truly working to establish the public perspective and awareness of social issues. I never thought of myself as a ridiculously loud activist, but the more that I follow the news the more I find myself compelled by heated issues which makes me want to work in an arena specific to a cause.

2. Say you want to become an artist — are you going to be pushing the envelope in the interactive art world? If you are, you had better know that world inside and out. You need to know who is making what art. Who are your heroes of that world? Whose work would you like to be seen with and why? Find a curator who you can have a conversation with about your project. What are they interested in seeing?

– Heroes of that world – Jonathan Harris, Ben Rubin, Golan Levin, and Ben Fry. Realizing this, if I could go back to college I would have definitely pursued a second major in Computer Science. So many tools from this are necessary to do really great interactive visualization work, but at the same time, great work can also come out of simplicity so we’ll see where I can go with what I know now, from tutorials, and what I’ll learn in the Fall. I’m meeting with curators at the Museum of Design Atlanta sometime this month to share my thesis ideas and get some feedback on that, based on what look for in the work they curate for the museum.

a. define an industry or art world that fascinates you personally

– Interactive data visualization involving harmonious and compelling design, touch response, multi-leveled visuals, sound, motion, and generative content. I absolutely love layered interactions visualizing what is otherwise difficult to understand without extracting the pieces and giving new light to these pieces that make up the overall picture / defining otherwise unseen patterns that make up a newfound awareness of a particular issue / creating meaningful interactions with the anecdotes that make up clouds of data floating among us.

b. find out more about it–become literate in it by reading about it and meeting people–make something that could be a prototype for a thesis that addresses something that our particular world needs or perhaps is already engaged in.

– check thesis blog posts / recently corresponded with data visualization designer of blog FlowingData , Nathan Yau who offered some good suggestions on how to get started with this type of design / Going to attempt to read and do the examples in Visualizing Data (O’Reilly) by Ben Fry.

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