Data Viz and Dead Fish

3:40 – “I believe that behavior and responsiveness is the essence of the computer as an art medium and what that means is that any time we create art that doesn’t have behavior we’re not living up to the potential of the medium. It’s not native art.”

4:34 – “… what sort of art is possible when both the art and the artist are alive? When the art and the artist are responding to each other and working together to create something beautiful.”

15:00 – “So what you’re seeing here is kind of the interplay between two living and behaving beings. There’s the fish behaving through simulation. There’s me behaving through performance and there’s this wonderful kind of symbiosis with the two of us working together to put on a show. The simulation and the performance are really complementary. So when I was making that little scene with the fish there was always this back and forth between the simulation and the performance. So if there was something I wanted the fish to do but I couldn’t perform it with my hand because it was too complicated, I had to move my hand too fast, there’s too many other things going on with the scene, I take that and put it in the simulation.”

16:02 – “There’s this back and forth, this trying to find a balance of responsibilities between what the art should do and what the artist should do.”

22:49 – “So code is language. We code in programming languages. We think linguistically when we’re coding but the thing is, to a large extent, the entire reason that artists create visual art is they want to express something they can’t express in language. Artists draw because they want to convey something they can’t describe.”

32:30 – Note to self: This starts to feel a bit like the Fluid Math program pieces that I really liked.

34:45 – “David Hestenes points out that the reason that we have these two different ways of understanding mathematics, algebra and geometry, is that they correspond to two different facilities in the human mind. Algebra runs on our language facilities. Geometry runs on our visual perception facilities, our spatial perception.”

46:36 – “The reason I’m showing you this is I want to break the association between behavior and code. I want to break the assumption that creating behavior equals writing code. So when I say our art needs to behave you don’t hear that as artists need to code. Artist don’t need to code. We need to invents ways of creating behavior that make sense in the context of visual art.”

48:27 – “The main thing I want you to get out of this talk is dissatisfaction.” “Ultimately I want you to have higher standards for this medium.”

I’m looking at this through Bret Victor’s other lens, explorable explanations, as well. What does data visualization look like that takes advantage of the possibilities inherent in the medium? What kind of tools should we have to create that kind of content? What expectations should we have for research aimed at the public?

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  1. Portfolio // Data Visualization – Bionic Teaching said on January 26, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    […] Victor’s presentation ‘Stop Drawing Dead Fish‘ is about art but can easily be applied to data visualization. He makes a number of strong […]

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