Data Art / Project #3 / Place & Space

DATA ART #3: Place & Space
Paths in Space – Melissa’s Week on the Moon


Melissa Parker
Anne-Michelle Gallero


Melissa and I exchanged OpenPaths data and used it to create our own interpretation of each other’s week in outer space. Below is Melissa’s week on the moon visualized.

MoonPath from annemgal on Vimeo.


MoonPathAbstract from annemgal on Vimeo.





Piecing It Together / Wk 8 / 3D Puzzle

Jennifer Tis
Anne-Michelle Gallero


To create a 3D maze in the shape of a tree on either the 3D printer or on a wood panel using the CNC machine.








1. After collecting some photos and links of 3d mazes and puzzles that we liked, we decided to continue with the maze idea as either a 3D printer object or using the CNC machine after seeing some examples of wooden mazes online.

2. Created a maze from a puzzle  generator online: mazegenerator

3. Started building the 3D version in Tinkercad and figured out that we could build the object in Illustrator and then import it in Tinkercad as a SVG file.

4. Initially, we were having problems importing the file because Tinkercad would disregard the complex shapes with grooves and simplify it into a filled-in piece. We needed to create the twists and turns of the shape as an object instead of a stroke. Attempted to rebuilt the maze from scratch in Illustrator to turn all the lines into a combined object (and not just lines).

5. Needed to find a simpler and faster solution of taking the stroke and turning it into an object… and after doing a google search, discovered “EXPAND.”  By applying the “EXPAND” feature in Illustrator, it turns the stroke into an object.
6. Importing the new SVG file into Tinkercad: The Tinkercad program still filed in the shape as a solid piece, so opened the SVF file in Fusion 360 and it maintained it’s original shape in there.

7. Next step will be to prototype and test the design on a 3D Printer.

Nature of Code / Exercise #1 / Binary Tree

full screen

EXERCISE #1Visual Binary Trees: I wanted to concentrate on something visual and understand binary trees in code. The samples above (heavily relying on Dan Shiffman’s video tutorial and source code on binary trees viz) are really basic playing with colors and shapes in p5 taking inspiration from Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec’s Dear Data graphs to help myself understand the mechanism of the code. I definitely need to work on this more to come up with something more original. Eventually, I’d like to model it after these neural illustrations done below by neuroscientist, Santiago Ramon y Cajal.


Data Art / Project #2 / Text & Archives

PROJECT: Aesop’s Fables

CONCEPT: Data Art project using archives from Project Gutenberg and taking the text for Aesop’s Fables to animate the stories and letterforms, while highlighting the fables’ lessons as an art installation for children.


DA_Fables_ProcessingVideo_3 from annemgal on Vimeo.

The rough sketch below shows how I would like to play with the text and illustration to make the story come alive. I would like the text to be more graphic and dynamic. For instance, using the text as paint to break words apart from the sentences and animated the letters so they start falling like rain or scrolling line by line within the space to simulate water or wind. It’s something I need to work on if I continue developing this idea. I also want to take the list of characters (animals, trees, gods & goddesses, etc) and visualize their relationships and the number they appear in each story as another feature to this piece.


Avant-Garde Art / Wk 6 / Final


ARTWORK: Found Tweets Colorized

DESCRIPTION: 9 small rectangular canvases (6″ x 4″), painted with a range of skin tones and displaying a single found tweet referring to essential human needs and wants.

I started thinking more about immigration after doing my first assignment for a Data Art class.  My project needed to be more abstract and less info graphic-like with lists and numbers. This led me to try to think more about the issue of how to capture more of the essence rather than showing data in a graph or bar chart. When you look around yourself, especially in NYC, all the people that you encounter or ride the train with makes you question, “why does a person or family leave their original country?” And it mostly comes down to the essential human needs of food, money, work, second chances, safety, religious freedom and a better life. Since I just finished a Twitter Bot class and learned to do searches with the Twitter API, I wanted to try something with that. For the last 10 days, I took sample of data of each of the words [money, work, second chances, safety, immigration and a better life] and collected the results. And since results for the morning might be greatly different than results at night, I tried to tooks samples of data from each hour of day.

Monitors, Projectors or Paintings? Figuring out how to display the piece
I liked how my prototype as gifs could show more tweets and my original idea for the piece was to figure out how to get real time tweets on the searches, but I realized after reading through the data that there’s a lot of things to filter out, like retweets, racist comments, spam and I’m still trying to figure out how to code that. The process of reading all the data and trying to see patterns and find meaningful tweets, I felt like this piece was turning into a collage by using found tweets by chance occurrence. And with Marina’s feedback in mind and references that she suggested, I decided to turn this into a series of paintings which would help to make it be object like and a more permanent way of capturing a digital moment that would otherwise be lost in the digital abyss. The only downside is how to pick 1 tweet to represent a whole word found.

Tweets Colorized: Many Skin Tones
I had an idea at first to photograph people and color sample their skin tone colors for a more actual representation, but lucikly one of Marina’s references, she sent along the colourstudio site and I used that as a guide for the background colors of canvases.

This piece is a mash-up of many different artists’ works that I’ve encounter during this project and have been inspired by. This has been done before and to me this reflects conceptual and procedural art in the sense that it’s not the actual product, but the idea that’s impactful. Through this project, I gained a lot more insight into the many different meanings of these ‘words’ from many different kinds of people/tweeters. Twitter contains  a lot of noise that you would rather not spend your time reading, but sometimes there are a few ideas or statements that could resonate. And Twitter is a good places to get different perspectives after an specific event or a moment.

Avant-Garde Art / Wk 5 / Draft for Final

INITIAL IDEA:  My original thought was to create a p5 or processing sketch with 3 boxes across a canvas with a line of text inside each box (similar to Jenny Holzer’s Truisms or Ben Rubin & Mark Hansen ‘s Listening Posts and using colors inspired by Byron Kim’s Synecdoche). After seeing ICP’s Perpetual Revolution: The Image and Social Change, Thomas Dworzak’s “Instagram books” collection and taking Allison Parrish’s Twitter Bot class, I thought it would be interesting to explore the Twitter API and extract snapshots of tweets associated to particular words. I wanted to take an issue like immigration or skin color and search for particular words like “immigration,” as well as words associated to it like “better life” and “dreams” on the Twitter API and display the tweets in each of the 3 boxes.


TWITTER 3.9.17 / 11am


1. In an effort to learn and practice my Processing & P5 skills, I decided to work in this medium as my final project.  Since I’m still learning how to code and parsing data, it’s taking me a while to make the code work and look the way I want. The draft above was actually done in Indesign and Photoshop, but I’m determined to code this in p5, so the API or a text file of tweets loads into the canvas automatically.
2. Extracting data from Twitter API. My initial idea was to have 3 panels, flashing different shades of skin tones with twitter feed info of the words: ‘brown’, ‘white’, ‘black’ in the tweets. These particular words are so general that they convey a wide range of meanings from actual color to people’s names, so I decided to change the word search to ‘immigration’ and the things that migrants strive for like ‘second chances’, ‘dreams’, ‘better life’, ‘happiness’ to see more positive tweets. After seeing the results for these word searches, I felt like I needed to filter out a lot of information like retweets, the user’s Twitter name and abundance of mean or negative tweets.
3. Design – 3 boxes of text vs 1 box. It’s probably better to focus on 1 line/ 1 box of text at a time. I also want to add more design elements or more animation to this so it’s something that I need to work on, as well as figuring out the coding for this.



Piecing It Together / Wks 5 & 6 / Gear Box Midterm

WEEK 5  (Prototype)
I decided to focus on the Karakuri mechanical box, so I can explore the mechanics of gears and translate the paper form to a wooden version. To help me get started, I used the paper templates from the book, Karakuri: How to Make Mechanical Paper Models Move. I was able to cut and assemble a paper model of the box and gears as the start of my prototype.


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WEEK 6  (The Construction)
The next steps for me was to draw the flat pieces into a digital vector format so I could easily adjust the pieces into an updated design using wood with a 1/4″ thickness.

1) Taking the box apart and measuring the individual pieces to translate them into a vector form in Adobe Illustrator. (TIP: When I used a regular ruler to measure, it was a little frustrating to get precise measurements. Instead, I used a precision ruler that I’ve had for years to help me measure the exact fractions. And when I need to convert the fractions to decimal points quickly, I keep a conversion chart of fractions to decimals by my desk and in my sketchbook.

2) Template in Illustrator and making gears:  I struggled with drawing the gears but after watching some YouTube videos, I figured out some quick and less frustrating tips in gear making. Start with 2 circles (diameter, diameter with length of teeth), then a star (to help guide the placement of the teeth), use the ‘Outline’ tool in the ‘Pathfinder’ tab, ungroup and set the stroke to Black, and delete the lines that are not needed.

3) Testing the template on a vinyl cutter: I tested the template on a vinyl cutter first. This helped me correct template by adding or removing lines that should of been cut versus needed to be perforated. Adjusting my template before trying the template on a laser cutter definitely helps save time. When using the vinyl cutter, I first started off with 100# Bristol paper which required a deep cut blade and I experimented with cutting the template on wood paper as well. The wood paper has a nice finish, but it’s too flimsy and the vinyl cutter didn’t cut all the way through so I needed to over the edges with an Exacto knife. I also need to figure out the correct settings to get the vinyl cutter to cut through thick sheets—I had the same issue with the 100# paper stock.
4) Testing the template on the laser cutter and more prototypes: Translating the flat pieces to something that has depth, particularly the 1/4″ thickness of the wood. I first tried cardboard and then wood. The challenging part of this task was recreating the box without the paper flaps. After seeing a rough prototype of the wood version and how I glued it together, the thickness of the wood added to the length of the cube and if I glued it that way,  I would need to make some ‘sides’ shorter in order to compensate for the added depth.  (NOTE: the laser cutter didn’t go through the wood completely after 3 passes and needed to run through the laser cutter a couple more times to cut through the wood. Also book enough time to do this.)

5) Constructing Boxes with Interlocking Edges: I actually tried to construct this last semester for my PCOM midterm (and before I learned how to use the laser cutter), but I couldn’t get the grooves to match perfectly and ended up buying an acrylic cubed enclosure from The Container Store. I tested a rough version on cardboard with the laser cutter first, but ran into the same problem of figuring out where things should interlock, so I carefully worked on laying out the  interlock in Illustrator and spacing the grooves apart by 1/4″ (which is also the same size as the wood thickness).  In Illustrator, I also laid out each side of the box like a cross so I could easily see what was connected to what and tested the grooves next to one another. After each round, I tested a paper version on the vinyl cutter a couple times, taped the pieces together and was able to mark with a Sharpie, what grooves were unnecessary or missing to adjust my template.

6) Laser cutting with the final template on “wood”: For this latest version, it took an 1 hour to do 9 passes through the laser cutter. It did cut through to almost everything except for 2 gears with the longer teeth, which were luckily my backup pieces that I didn’t need). I was very happy that the sides interlocked with no missing pieces and decided not to use wood glue to lock them together cause the interlock fits tightly together. On my template, I tried to keep the pieces interlocked while it was laser cut, so the sides would fit together smoothly when constructing the box.

7) Work in Progress: In order for the gear mechanism to work better, I need to make the holes (or squares) in the center of the inside gears and the big circular ‘turner’ smaller and the long beam a little thicker, so it has more tension and doesn’t allow the gear to slide around as much. In the paper version, there were small paper tabs to glue onto the beam to keep things in place. By making the holes a little tighter, I’m hoping that it will keep things in place better. I also want to add a top piece to the box and attach it to the gear mechanism. I was thinking of trying to animate the wheels of a Mars Rover and have little human figures inside the ‘gear’ box, standing on and around the gears to convey the idea of them controlling the Rover’s “movements.”

Avant-Garde Art / Wk 4 / Conceptual Art

Conceptual Art Research: Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #1085 and #46

Research & Photo Sources: Dia: Beacon, MASSMOCA

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PROPOSAL FOR FINAL: In researching the evolution of Neo-Conceptual artist, Jenny Holzer’s work from her Truisms of the late 70s to her current LED sculptural installations mixing text and art to call attention to important social issues, I plan on creating a series of p5 sketches using social media data like the Twitter API combined with graphic design elements (and some Sol LeWitt influence) to create computer generated snapshots of culture and news now. I’m envisioning 3 rectangular panels containing the pieces of text that will constantly change. The idea for the format was also inspired by a class field trip to see Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin’s artwork, Movable Type in the lobby of The New York Times. Hansen and Rubin’s piece consists of 560 small screens (280 screens on each facing wall) revealing data feeds of the NYTimes content and it’s archives.

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INSPIRATION: Jenny Holzer’s artwork

Research & Photo Sources: Jenny Holzer, MOMA, Whitney, Lustmord, Art History Archive, NYTimes, Walker Art Center, Protect, Protect, Wikipedia, Lucy Lippard’s “Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object”

Twitter Bot / Wk 6 / Final: What’s Going On?

My original idea was to generate a more visual twitter bot, but after last week’s discussion about getting out of your bubble and Trump’s constant repetition of the words “fake news” towards media coverage that he doesn’t like, I decided to focus my attention on news sources who do ‘fact check.’ Another source of inspiration for this idea came from listening to a Design Matters with Debbie Millman podcast interviewing Anil Dash, who had a hand in creating Internet technologies in the last two decades. Millman’s question of “…how do we use technology to combat alternative facts and false news?” struck a chord with me. Dash’s response to that question was, “People consume, amplify and believe fake news, alternative facts as a matter of identity…to belong to a community… the only way to uproot someone from that is to speak to the values that they have disconnected them from that group.” Empathy and trying to understand these differing viewpoints is something that we can strive towards to unify the current division. My new Twitter Bot idea titled after “What’s Going On?” (also the title of a Martin Gaye’s song which stemmed from Four Tops member, Renaldo “Obie” Benson who witnessed police brutality and violence committed on anti-war protesters who had been protesting at Berkeley’s People’s Park during “Bloody Thursday”)  is a space to collect a wide range of credible new sources, including local publications that have verified twitter accounts and tweet a link to the news source in a random way and accompanied by a computer generated piece of art. To gather the credible new sources, a journalist friend wrote this article, 10 Journalism Brands Where You Find Real Facts Rather Than Alternative Facts and it gave me a base of news sources to start with.  This article not only provides a  little more insight into these top 10 news sources, but suggests subscribing to your “local newspapers as well.”  This led me to the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers site to get the whole list of publications around the United States. To combat fake news and get out of the “bubble” is a “lifestyle change” that I hope this artbot can start a conversation on or give empathy for.


#1) Collecting Data: I first started collected a list of all the 2017 newspaper publications that were in the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers‘s records, which I added to an excel file. The problem with this is that there were so many publications for each state and my goal later would be to go through the list and find out whether each news publication has an online website or twitter account that I can add to the Twitter Bot. Because there is so much data (19,165 rows) to parse and click through individually, I did not include it in this current bot. The LOC site did have JSON files to download, but when I checked for a specific publication, I didn’t see it so I didn’t trust the filter searches on the site. Instead, I started with a more smaller and manageable list on national news sources from the article, 10 Journalism Brands Where You Find Real Facts Rather Than Alternative Facts.

#2) Researching different art bots with Generative Art: I initially thought the bot would be a little more whimsical with generated art of a sunrise to go with your morning cup of news, but I couldn’t decipher the code for the softlandscapes bot and tried to find an easier way (with my beginner coding skills) to add the visual images. I did find this nice article on art bots and then I turned to Shiffman’s online Twitter Bot tutorials of creating the images in Processing and bringing it to the node program. This is something that I would like to add to this Twitter Bot, but was unsuccessful in merging it together with my current code. Part of the problem was the spaces in the naming conventions of my folders for the file path.  I need to get in the habit of naming my folders with underlines instead of spaces, because the processing sketch will not work in the terminal.  I also need to rethink an image and learn how to map the data of the “Scoreboard” to an object that will be tweeted along with the news source.

#3) The Coding: I wanted to understand how to search the Twitter API and used Allison Parrish’s in-class example of the “scoreboard” to assign the key word a number rather that retweeting the tweet or the person’s twitter name. I substituted key words to “fake news” vs “real news”. By doing this, the bot and tweets are pretty straightforward giving current tallys of the word usage of ‘REAL NEWS’ vs ‘FAKE NEWS’ with a direct link to the twitter homepages of the news sources to read the ‘REAL NEWS’.


Illustration Credits: HEADER: Rawpixel Ltd/iStock by Getty; ICON: filo/iStock by Getty

Piecing It Together / Wk 4 / Midterm Sketches

For my midterm project, I was thinking of creating a mechanical piece of artwork inspired by Francis Picabia’s Dada Movement drawing. I want to reinterpret it in today’s fast paced information age of social media and the internet using wooden gears and pulleys in a 8″ x 10-7/8″ space. This would be an exercise for myself in making a physical and moving editorial illustration.

INSPIRATION: Francis Picabia’s drawing on the Dada Movement

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Below are my initial sketches and in doing these, I realized that I need to research the topic more to map out the system. I also got a couple of books (Karakuri: How to Make Mechanical Paper Models That Move and Making Wooden: Gear Clocks) to help me understand how gears work and the workings of a clock. If all else fails with my initial idea, my fall back plan is to do to something more straightforward like a Karakuri piece or attempt wooden clock making).

SKETCH 1: Initial Idea




SKETCH 5: back-up plan