Visual Rhizome (2006)

Visual Rhizome is a thesis project by Aaron Siegel for the degree of BFA in Digital Media Art from the CADRE Laboratory for New Media and the Art & Design department of San Jose State University.

Rhizome.org is a highly regarded database of new media art work, constantly updating and evolving its collection. It continually adds new artists and their work, each one tagged by keywords, terms, and genres. This project is an attempt to visualize the associations between artists work utilizing the very keywords, terms, and genres applied by the artists themselves.

Users can navigate the database of artwork by exploring the different relationships, or simply by browsing the works by date they were added. This is a useful navigation technique for people seeking work of a similar nature, work done within a particular timeframe, or artists seeking collaborations on a particular subject.

Full Description

My current work follows the ideals of presenting unbiased information in a format that is easy for visual deconstruction and understanding. I aim to achieve an overlapping relationship with aesthetic representations of data and scientific empiricism. My work strives to display relationships and correlations within information systems that would remain unseen from any other perspective.

In contrast to many information technology artworks that attempt to transform data into purely visually aesthetic pieces, I strive to create design systems that transpose information into temporal forms specifically for the purpose of dovetailing cognition into a visual task. The decentralized natures of the systems I create allow them to take on a visual representation in an emerging manner that truly reflects the structure of the data they represent.

The projects I produce also deal with issues of interaction design with information systems and their affect on the cognitive response of the viewers. This involves procuring publicly available data sets and re-inventing their display to promote readability and simplicity. I find something interesting about the somewhat covert re-arrangement and display of information, since it places the control over interaction on the clients side rather than relying on someone else's interface.

Most of my work surrounds the idea of improving human/information interface. Many people have negative reactions towards technology and information because of their experiences with poorly designed interfaces. A negative experience with an information interface most often results in frustration, anxiety, and confusion. A positive experience most often results in intuitive interaction, heightened understanding of the subject, and even leads to further investigation. By improving the interface, the experience of the interaction is improved along with it. Life is comprised of experiences, positive and negative, and by improving one experience at a time life can be made a little better.

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