Drew Hemment, Moritz Stefaner, Stephan Thiel, Steffen Fielder, Jonas Loh

Research output: Other contribution


There has been an explosion in the number and scope of data repositories and data-driven services. This poses new challenges in dealing meaningfully with data. Data Visualisation is an emergent area of design and art practice, involving exploration of visualisation techniques and new online social phenomena. 'EMOTO' is among the first projects to visualise in real-time structured insight on the online emotional response to a major global event. It created a dynamic manifestation of online reaction to the London 2012 Olympics, in an interactive online visualisation and physical data sculpture. EMOTO tracked social media for themes related to the games and analysed for content and emotional tone 12.5 million messages in real-time. The online emotion data was made tangible through a web-based visualisation (http://emoto2012.org), which allowed the audience to track the results in real-time as the events unfolded. After the games, a tangible data sculpture served as an aggregate archive of the collective response to the games, shown at 'WePlay' (London 2012 Festival/Cultural Olympiad) and 'Information in Style' (CAFA Art Museum/Beijing Design Week 2013).The research explored how creative expression and meaning can be generated out of the everyday interactions of millions of people. It considered how data visualisation is a creative practice based upon being 'true' to its materials of data and code. Specifically, it looked for restrictions in our ability to visualise the world’s response to the Games, and the limitations and biases inherent in data visualisation. By documenting the challenges and barriers encountered in the creation of a major data visualisation artwork for London 2012, the research was able to interrogate and clarify the limits to openness in today's online world, as well as what it means to perceive and experience events at the scale – in size and complexity – of so-called 'Big Data'.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherLondon 2012 Festival
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2012


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