[RF-EU] DATA DRIFT Exhibition in the RIXC Festival from October 10 in kim?

DATA DRIFT Exhibition
October 10 – November 22, 2015
Opening: October 9, 2015, at 19:00

Venue: kim? Contemporary Art Centre in Riga

DATA DRIFT exhibition showcases works by some of the most influential data designers of our time, as well as by artists who use data as their artistic medium. How can we use the data medium to represent our complex societies, going beyond “most popular,” and “most liked”? How can we organize the data drifts that structure our lives to reveal meaning and beauty? How to use big data to “make strange,” so we can see past and present as unfamiliar and new?

If painting was the art of the classical era, and photograph that of the modern era, data visualization is the medium of our own time. Rather than looking at the outside worldwide and picturing it in interesting ways like modernist artists (Instagram filters already do this well), data designers and artists are capturing and reflecting on the new data realities of our societies.

The Exceptional and the Everyday: 144 hours in Kyiv by Lev Manovich (USA), Mehrdad Yazdani (USA), Alise Tifentale (Latvia / USA), Jay Chow (USA). Photo: Kristine Madjare

DATA DRIFT represents data visualization artworks by SPIN Unit (EU), Moritz STEFANER (DE), Frederic BRODBECK (DE), Kim ALBRECHT (DE), Boris MÜLLER (DE), Marian DÖRK (DE), Benjamin GROSSER (US), Maximilian SCHICH (DE/US), Mauro MARTINO (IT/US), Periscopic (US), Pitch Interactive (US), Smart Citizen Team (ES), Lev MANOVICH / Software Studies Initiative (US), Daniel GODDEMEYER (DE/US), Dominikus BAUR (DE), Mehrdad YAZDANI (US), Alise TIFENTALE (LV/US), Jay CHOW (US), Semiconductor (UK), Rasa SMITE, Raitis SMITS/RIXC (LV), Martins RATNIKS (LV), Kristaps EPNERS (LV).

Curated by Lev MANOVICH, Rasa SMITE and Raitis SMITS, the DATA DRIFT exhibition is featured event in this year’s RIXC Art Science Festival programme, taking place in Riga from October 8 to 10, 2015. The DATA DRIFT exhibition is produced by RIXC Center for New Media Culture, which in its 15th anniversary is changing the title and the course of its annual festival: from the 90s network culture and “art+communication” ideas the festival now is making a shift towards broader art and science fields. On this occasion, we also launch new conference series – Renewable Futures.

The Exhibition Opening programme includes public talk in the Renewable Futures conference by the exhibition curator Lev MANOVICH, that will take place on October 9th at 17:00 at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga. The talk will be followed by the official opening of the exhibition at 19:00 in the kim? Contemporary Art Center.

The DATA DRIFT exhibition will be open from October 10 to November 22, 2015 in Riga.

Venue: kim? Contemporary Art Center gallery, Maskavas street 12, Spikeri Creative Quartier, Riga, Latvia. Opening hours: Mon – closed, Tue 12.00-20.00 (free entrance), Wed–Sun 12.00-18.00.

More info: http://rixc.org

Contact: [email protected], +371 67228478 (RIXC office), [email protected], +371-26546776 (Rasa Smite, RIXC festival and DATA DRIFT exhibition co-curator)


DATA DRIFT Exhibition Artists and Artworks




When we talk about the urban fabric, we are led to consider the urban landscape as a physical arrangement defined by objects, voids and their visible relations. For decades, the field of urban morphology has sought to unveil, measure and study these relations to learn more about the evolution of the city form. At the same time Social media has become a common feature of our everyday life. For researchers, social media provides large amounts of readily accessible, on-time and qualitatively rich data that can be used to study urban activities and people’s interactions. The specific characteristics of different forms of social media, such as Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare, open different avenues for both quantitative and qualitative analysis.

In this work we are aim to hack the invisible city, leverage the secret strengths of urban spaces, and explore how the many characters, all the different layers of the urban fabric come together.

SPIN Unit Aiming to combine art and science to study urban phenomena, has coalesced into an international network of professionals. Although based in Tallinn, SPIN currently has ten members across Europe.




Lev Manovich (USA), Mehrdad Yazdani (USA), Alise Tifentale (Latvia / USA), Jay Chow (USA)

“The Exceptional and the Everyday: 144 hours in Kyiv” is the first project to analyze the use of Instagram during a social upheaval using computational and visualization techniques. We explore how during the exceptional events, the exceptional co-exists with the (Instagram) everyday. The visualization shown in the exhibition includes all 13,208 images shared by 6,165 Instagram users in central part of Kyiv during February 17–22, 2014 (the week of 2014 Maidan Revolution). The images are organized by shared date/time, top to bottom and left to right. The images of Maidan clashes, political slogans, and burned cars and buildings appear right next to everything else. People continue their lives and post their “likes” as on any other day. The exceptional co-exists with the everyday. We saw this in the collected images, and this was our motivation to begin this project.

Dr. Lev Manovich is the author of seven books including The Language of New Media (The MIT Press, 2001). Manovich is a Professor at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and a Director of the Software Studies Initiative. In 2014 he was included in the list of 50 “most interesting people building the future” (The Verge). Dr. Mehrdad Yazdani is research scientist in Qualcomm Institute at California Institute for Telecommunication and Information, University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

Alise Tifentale is a doctoral candidate in Art History at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her academic research as well as curatorial and editorial work is focused on photography in art and popular visual culture.

Jay Chow is web developer in Katana, San Diego, CA, and researcher in Software Studies Initiative.



Moritz Stefaner (Germany)

Stadtbilder presents an attempt to map the digital shape of cities. While traditional maps show us buildings, roads and physical infrastructure, these maps reveal where and in which form the city is alive. The maps show an overlay of all the digitally marked “hotspots” in a city, such as restaurant, hotels, clubs, etc. collected from online services like yelp and foursquare. What they don’t show are the streets, the railroads, the buildings. The only exception are the rivers and lakes, for their help in framing the information for the viewer and the influence they have on shaping the cities.

Moritz Stefaner works as a “Truth and Beauty Operator” on the crossroads of data visualization and information aesthetics. With a background in Cognitive Science and Interface Design, his work balances analytical and aesthetic aspects in mapping complex phenomena.

http://uberblic.com (The data is sourced from Uberblic)

http://stadt-bilder.com (Project website)

http://truth-and-beauty.net (Author’s website)


Frederic Brodbeck (Germany)

Cinemetrics is a project about gathering and visualizing video data, in order to reveal the visual characteristics of films and to create a “fingerprint” for them. Information such as the editing structure, color and motion are extracted, analyzed and transformed into animated graphical representations, so that movies can be seen as a whole, and compared side by side. Since motion pictures are a time-based medium, they can only be seen one image at a time – that’s why it’s challenging to capture and display them in their entirety. With its graphical fingerprints, Cinemetrics allows you to put two or more movies next to each other and immediately see the similarities and / or differences, for instance: original vs. remake; movies of the same genre / series; different epochs of film-making; movies by one particular director.

Frederic Brodbeck studied graphic design in Germany and the Netherlands. He currently works as designer and creative coder in The Hague.



Daniel Goddemeyer (Germany/USA), Moritz Stefaner (Germany), Dominikus Baur (Germany), Lev Manovich (USA)

The interactive installation and web application On Broadway represents life in the 21st-century city through a compilation of 40 million data points and social media images covering the 13 miles of Broadway that span Manhattan. The result is a new type of city view, created from the activities and media shared by hundreds of thousands of people. How we can best represent a “data city”? We did not want to show the data in a conventional way as graphs and numbers. We also did not want to use another convention of showing spatial data – a map. The result of our explorations is “On Broadway”: a visually rich image-centric interface, where numbers play only a secondary role, and no maps are used. The project proposes a new visual metaphor for thinking about the city: a vertical stack of image and data layers. There are 13 such layers in the project, all aligned to locations along Broadway. Using our unique interface, you can see all data at once, or zoom and follow Broadway block by block.

Daniel Goddemeyer is a freelance visualization designer; exploring the cultural impacts of ubiquitous access to information to create new products and services. M.A. Royal College of Art. Moritz Stefaner is an independent consultant in information visualization / Truth and Beauty Operator. M.A. in Interface Design, B.Sc. in Cognitive Science. Dominikus Baur is a data visualization and mobile interaction designer, Ph.D. in Media Informatics from the University of Munich. Lev Manovich is an expert on digital art and culture; Professor of Computer Science, The Graduate Center, CUNY; Director, Software Studies Initiative.




Kim Albrecht, Boris Müller, Marian Dörk (Germany)

Culturegraphy is interactive web-tool that investigates cultural information exchange over time also known as ‘memes’. These networks can provide new insights into the rich interconnections of cultural development. Treating cultural works as nodes and influences as directed edges, the visualization of these cultural networks can provide new insights into the rich interconnections of cultural development. The graphics represent complex relationships of movie references by combining macro views summarizing 100 years of movie influences with micro views providing a close-up look at the embedding of individual movies. The macro view shows the rise of the self-referential character of postmodern cinema, while the micro level illustrates differences between individual movies, when they were referenced and by whom. The visualizations provide views that are closer to the real complexity of the relationships than aggregated views or rankings could do.

Kim Albrecht is a visual researcher and information designer, currently based in Boston, working at the Center for Complex Network Research as a visualization researcher. Culturegraphy work is created in collaboration with graphic designer Boris Müller and information visualization researcher and designer Marian Dörk.



Benjamin Grosser (USA)

Computers Watching Movies shows what a computational system sees when it watches the same films that we do. The work illustrates this vision as a series of temporal sketches, where the sketching process is presented in synchronized time with the audio from the original clip. Viewers are provoked to ask how computer vision differs from their own human vision, and what that difference reveals about our culturally-developed ways of looking. Why do we watch what we watch when we watch it? Will a system without our sense of narrative or historical patterns of vision watch the same things?

Computers Watching Movies was computationally produced using software written by the artist. This software uses computer vision algorithms and artificial intelligence routines to give the system some degree of agency, allowing it to decide what it watches and what it does not. Six well-known clips from popular films are used in the work, enabling many viewers to draw upon their own visual memory of a scene when they watch the work. The scenes are from the following movies: 2001: A Space Odyssey, American Beauty, Inception, Taxi Driver, The Matrix, and Annie Hall.

Artist Benjamin Grosser focuses on the cultural, social, and political implications of software. Grosser’s recognitions include First Prize in VIDA 16, the Expanded Media Award for Network Culture from Stuttgarter Filmwinter, and a commission from Rhizome.



Maximilian Schich (Germany / USA), Mauro Martino (Italy / USA)

This animation distills hundreds of years of culture into just five minutes. A team of historians and scientists wanted to map cultural mobility, so they tracked the births and deaths of notable individuals like David, King of Israel, and Leonardo da Vinci, from 600 BC to the present day. Using them as a proxy for skills and ideas, their map reveals intellectual hotspots and tracks how empires rise and crumble. The information comes from Freebase, a Google-owned database of well-known people and places, and other catalogues of notable individuals. The visualization was created by Maximilian Schich (University of Texas at Dallas) and Mauro Martino (IBM Research).

Mauro Martino is an Italian expert in data visualization based in Boston. He created and leads the Cognitive Visualization Lab at IBM Watson in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Maximilian Schich is an art historian and Associate Professor in Arts & Technology and a founding member of The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History at The University of Texas at Dallas.




Periscopic (USA)

Using data from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report, this data visualization and exploration tool visualizes the gun murders that took place in 2010 and 2013, the most recent years for which data was available.The Uniform Crime Report includes voluntarily-reported data from police precincts across the country, and represents more than 285 million U.S. inhabitants – 94.6% of the total population, containing details of each person who was killed, including their age, gender, race, relationship to killer, and more. What the dataset does not contain is an assessment of the potential life that was stolen from these individuals as a result of their murder. To calculate that, we used the World Health Organization’s UNSD Demographic Statistics, and performed an age prediction weighted according to the age distribution of U.S. deaths, paired with a likely cause of death at that age. We’ve added near real-time data for gun deaths in 2013. While the data isn’t from a source that is as official as the FBI, it does help us get an idea of the gun-related violence that happens every day. The 2013 data also includes suicides and gun accidents, and offers a more comprehensive understanding of the effect of guns in our country.

Periscopic is a socially-conscious data visualization firm that helps companies and organizations promote information transparency and public awareness.



Pitch Interactive (USA)

A web based narrative visualization documenting every drone strike carried out in Pakistan. Out of Sight, Out of Mind was inspired by the inadequacies of other attempts to report the effects of an invisible technological war. Using data from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism we visualized every known attack by the US and Coalition military since 2004 by date, location and number of fatalities. The visualization builds itself as each attack generates the timeline across the screen. The viewer can dig deeper by hovering or clicking in to reveal specific details about each attack on the horizontal timeline. The ‘Victims’ tab provides an alternate view showing the aggregated number of victims by month. In both views the data produces patterns that urge viewers to reflect on realities hidden by the numbers.

Pitch Interactive’s work spans illustrations, physical installations, projections, console game user interfaces, software applications, websites and textiles. Their work has been showcased at the MoMA’s TalkToMe exhibit in New York, the Data Flow books and many other exhibitions internationally acclaimed publications.



SMART CITIZEN (2012 – present)
Smart Citizen Team

Smart Citizen is a crowd sensing project that started in 2012 to develop bottom-up citizen science tools under an open source philosophy, facilitating every citizen to learn about open data, programming, computer science, internet of things, and more importantly: about social and political change through technology, encouraging participatory urbanism and activism practices. The Smart Citizen project is based on geolocation, Internet and free hardware and software for data collection and sharing, and (in a second phase) the production of objects; it connects people with their environment and their city to create more effective and optimized relationships between resources, technology, communities, services and events in the urban environment. It is also a platform to generate participatory processes of the people in the cities. Connecting data, people and knowledge, the objective of the platform is to serve as a node for building productive open indicators and distributed tools, and thereafter the collective construction of the city for its own inhabitants.

Smart Citizen is an open source participatory sensing platform that comprises a sensor kit (SCK), an online platform and a mobile application. The project was launched in 2012, instigated by the Fab Lab Barcelona, the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), Hangar art production center, Media Interactive design (MID) and Goteo crowd-funding platform.



BAND 9 (2015)
Semiconductor (UK)

Band 9 is a light box installation that considers nature within the framework of science. Nine light boxes show scientific cloud data, which have been captured from space by a remote sensing satellite, orbiting the Earth. Using optical sensors it collects reflected light in various wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. By focusing on very thin slices of these, scientists can pinpoint individual phenomena such as the band we see here, which is designed to reveal high-altitude clouds called Cirrus. What we see in the images is dictated by the capturing technology; the satellite scans in 115 mile wide swathes orbiting the earth from north to south and anything beyond the dedicated wavelengths is swallowed into a black void. The angle the light boxes are installed reflects the incline the data has been captured and archived at. By presenting the raw satellite data using techniques informed by the capturing technology Semiconductor are, exploring how technologies that are made to study nature, mediate our experiences and understanding of it.

Semiconductor is UK artist duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt. In their work they explore the material nature of our world and how we experience it through the lens of science and technology, questioning how they mediate our experiences of nature.



Rasa Smite, Raitis Smits, Martins Ratniks (Latvia)

Talk to Me is an artistic inquiry into human and plant communication, yet also scientists have nowadays performed various experiments in order to verify the old assumption that communicative with plants makes them grow better. RIXC artists developed a human-plant communication interface, by using which people were asked to send encouraging messages to the growing plants, who grew in different exhibition venues, and were “equipped” with web-cam, wi-fi and loudspeakers. We received over 13 000 messages during the two-year period of the human-plant communication experiment performed in various locations in Tallinn, Basel, Riga and Ventspils. The outcome of this project is a book, which introduces to the project idea, performed experiments, and analyses the content of the received messages. Also an other new artworksnow have been created including time-laps video from web-cam image archive, as well as silk screen prints and 3D objects mapping the most commonly used words and their inter-relations, whereby using data as artistic medium.

Rasa Smite and Raitis Smits are artists, curators and cultural innovators, working with science and emerging media technologies since mid-90s. They are key founders of RIXC, Riga based center for new media culture and artist collective, who collaborate with video artist and graphic designer Martins Ratniks.




RUN (2015)
Kristaps Epners (Latvija)

The running ritual is everyday practice by the artist. Since 2012, when running he is taking video camera with him. He compares the running with writing the diary, where words are replaced with the images and trajectories of the running path. The work consists of the book, sound and video, interpreting the data from the artist’s running times.

Kristaps Epners is based in Latvia, he has from graduated the Latvian Academy of Arts, Visual Communication department. The artist mainly works with video, installation and photography. More recently, he explores how the cyclical and everyday activities interect with the time.



More info: http://rixc.org