Saturday, December 12, 2015

Lecture #2 Kevin Chen

This was a very interesting lecture. The artist began by discussing a brief history of his own art practices as a curator. Part of this discussion included various exhibitions on data visualization. One of the most captivating projects concerned data visualization particularly surrounding San Francisco where the use of a program color coded hairline data representations of traffic surrounding the San Francisco area. Chen mentioned how maps are an extraordinary way of showing information. Maps have the potential to summarize very crucial or niche information and display that information in concrete and easily referenced means. Another interesting variation of this project was the color coded data points referencing tourist/local/unknown photos. This was shown in multiple cities including San Francisco and New York as well. These were very interesting and very accurately showed hotspot locations for various groups. This method of color categorization was very impactful and provided an excellent means of viewing specific information as it pertained to a geographic location. This was very evident in the population data points for African American, Hispanic, White, and other races in showing inner city divides as well. Another project utilized movie cover boxes of subjects such as 9/11 and were burned to show the location of disasters within cities. Other projects similarly focused on different forms or aspects of maps including art pieces where the only visible parts were humans zoomed in dramatically from Google Earth. This produced a very interesting aesthetic effect and showed remarkable patterns of positioning in crowds. Another project involved an interactive object whereby users could locate personalized stories about specific locations.

Chen's own work reflected a certain fascination with the growth of humans and the corresponding development of 'megacities'. A number of works involved these megacities whose scale was emphasized by the minute size of the structures hand drawn by Kevin Chen. These drawings were further used in various other projects including one transforming the buildings into magnets and encouraging audience participation to construct their own megacities. Projects such as these emphasize the multiplicity of these megacities and the spontaneity of their development.

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