Data Rep Cupcake Testing Process
The series of videos of cupcake testing are for my Data Representation final preparation. I ran a “Taste Test” for my Data Representation planned final.
For my final, I plan to bake the increments of the Happiness Index into cupcakes. Each cupcake represents a different country. Its sweetness is mapped to that country’s position on the Happiness Index.
I did a test run and baked cupcakes with three variants of sweetness.
My users could taste the differences and understood the concept.
It will be a little more light-spirited and less obvious when I bake countries that only have minute, granular differences in sugar. I plan to use a dry-weight scale so that I can be precise.
Then, I will display the cupcakes in a clear display case in the position of the spot in the Index— making a physical graph of the Happiness Index.
Cupcakes Data Representation
Data Representation: Spatial Practice
Concepts in Human Geography -
“On Space and Spatial Practice in Contemporary Geography” by Michael Curry.
My notes from the article:
Four main notions of space:
1. Aristotle: static, hierarchical, concrete. A concept of place.
2. Newton: grid within which objects are located and events occur.
3. Leibniz: Newton’s scientific outlook combined with Aristotle’s relational space.
4. Kant: space is a form imposed on the world by humans.
- Concept of being “out of place”— “we live in a hierarchical world where things and people have places where they belong.”
Medieval painting to painting in the Renaissance:
- Seemingly unreal perspective and arrangement of objects and people in space. But in fact it was indicative of social or religious importance.
- Question of the reason for creating a space, need to explain why an object might be here or there.
- Space consists of the relations among extended objects.
- Lays out a way of thinking about the act of acquiring knowledge that made it possible to see the knower as standing outside of any possible situation and viewing it from that detached position.
Newton and Absolute Space:
- Absolute motion: translate a body from one absolute place into another. Relative motion: translation from one relative place into another.
- Space is relational but consists just in those relations and nothing else (not absolute).
But… Kant says:
- Space is a condition of our understanding the outside world— all of our perceptions of the world are already spatial and we will never be able to get beyond our own perceptions.
- Space as a container for regions.
New French theory - 1970s:
- Space is about human experience of it. Nonhuman space is irrelevant.
Gould and Downs:
- “mental map” theory
- Space is a human construction. Place is a human construction.
- Locality movement:
- Geography and gender.
- Anything goes
We see the world in terms of objects and events.
- If you are out of place, you are a subject of research. If in place, then invisible.
- Renaissance painting’s perspective shows a closed system that is Euclidian - nothing else in the world matters.
- Kant: all about the observer.
In fact, we’re all four systems…
- Aristotle in daily life: things are here, not there, real, palpable hierarchies.
- Newton in reflections on space as something vast and directionless, timeless and unaffected by what we do.
- Leibniz conceptual systems to comprehend the world.
- Kant in that we are looking at everything for our own unique perspective.
In the second data representation, I wanted to comment on what the global temperature differences might mean for us. The background image is of a forest being conserved through the Arnold Arboretum. The data layer is a visualization of global surface temperature differences (in celsius) from 1850-2009, compared to an average of temperature during the period of 1960-1990. The circles that climb the tree are scaled proportionally to the temperature differences— and two colors range from cold (at 1850) to warm (at 2009). The layering is to evoke tree ring imagery and at the same time demonstrate the invasiveness of humans in our forests.
Differences around the norm are slight— the lowest is just -.6 and the highest is .5. The trend for the past 40+ years is positive differences from average temperature. While we may not feel these slight changes in our daily life, the trees around us feel them acutely— as well as being affected by constant human disturbance.
As opposed to earlier centuries, now, the healthiest tree species are those that thrive in disturbed areas. This means that our forests are changing— whether from direct human disturbance such as logging and construction, or indirect human disturbance that may cause these slight increases in temperature as well as other changes in the atmosphere that lead to a changed climate.
This option is a necklace I made from laurel leaves. I laser cut with a pattern I created from data on temperature anomalies since 1850. The cutout circles are big when there were big shifts, small with small shifts in temperature.
I prefer the light shade with beech leaves. But it’s interesting to see the way the laser cutter worked on different leaf materials.
Beech leaves, wrapped to form a lightbulb shade.
Laser cut with a pattern that shows temperature anomalies since 1850. The cutout circles are big when there were big shifts, small with small shifts in temperature.
Temperature anomalies mean that leaves age, color, and fall in different ways than they do during average temperature years. For more about the way temperature changes leaves, see this excellent article.
I propose to do a project combining my data representation class with my digital fabrication class for the next assignments.
I would like to take the data set available on The Guardian’s Data Store, “UK and US temperature changes for the last century” and evaluate it for the assignment— first as simply as possible, and then in a way specific to the “unique character of the data.”
I hope to create a few different lasercut & preserved options that would communicate the temperature data, cut or etched on leaves and then mounted as jewelry— necklace, earrings etc.
The link between leaves and temperature changes is literal according to this PBS article, “Why Do Leaves Change Color,”
Studies from Europe and Japan, where color change and leaf fall is extensively monitored, indicate that trees are flowering and leafing out earlier in the spring and holding their leaves later in autumn, said Richard Primack, professor of conservation biology and plant ecology at Boston University. These changes are linked to warmer temperatures.