Posts Tagged ‘data’

Creativity and Technology Symposium (C.A.T.S.) at NCSU

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

This week I’m presenting at the Creativity and Technology Symposium hosted by the North Carolina State University Libraries.

Using our feline friends as a theme, we will explore a variety of topics that relate to the ever-expanding and complex work of libraries and academic institutions including: GIS-data enabled location tracking and the implications for privacy rights; the use of social media in research; how new technologies are expanding the possibilities for data gathering; and digital archiving as it relates to common computer usage and pop culture. Plus, we have a few special guests who will be paying a not-to-be-missed visit to the Libraries. All C.A.T.S. events are free and open to the public.

Track Your Cat
Researchers from NC State and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Oct 25, 2015, 3:00–4:00 PM
At the Cameron Village Regional Library
Image Macros, Memes, and Viral Content
Amanda Brennan, Tumblr
Oct 26, 2015, 3:00–4:00 PM
At the Auditorium (Hill), D. H. Hill Library
A Life-Changing Cat
Mike Bridavsky and Lil BUB
Oct 26, 2015, 7:00–8:00 PM
At the Auditorium (Hunt), James B. Hunt Jr. Library
Animals, Technology, and Us: How the Internet is Affecting Participatory Science
A panel discussion with Dr. Rob Dunn, associate professor of biological sciences at NC State, Amanda Brennan of Tumblr, and Professor Owen Mundy of Florida State
Oct 27, 2015, 7:00–8:00 PM
At the Auditorium (Hunt), James B. Hunt Jr. Library
Using Technology to Measure Pain in Animals
Oct 28, 2015, 7:00–8:00 PM
At the South Theater (College of VM), Veterinary Medicine Library, College of Veterinary Medicine; 1060 William Moore Drive, Main CVM Administration entrance, South Theatre

UPDATE: C.A.T.S. was a success, AND I met the famous Lil Bub!

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Story-re-telling exhibition, National Audiovisual Institute (NInA), Warsaw, Poland

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Photos from the Story-re-telling exhibition at the National Audiovisual Institute (NInA), Warsaw, Poland (September 25–October 18, 2015) curated by Anna Desponds.

“I know where your cat lives” proclaims artist and programmer Owen Mundy. And indeed – the website created by him can not only recognize pictures of cats from the web, but also precisely pinpoint where they were uploaded.

Cats, which had heretofore led a sheltered life, have recently become Internet mascots. They have entered the public sphere – much in the same way as information about Internet users. This seemingly innocent, funny and simple project in which we watch a map with thousands of photos of cats, moving in a matter of seconds from Bangkok to Rome, is in fact a commentary on the all-knowing web and the often unquestioning satisfaction with which we relinquish our privacy. After all, it’s easy to imagine a similar app for pictures of children instead of cats.

This is not the first one of Mundy’s projects to deal with the topic of the safety of data on the web. He has also created the app Give Me My Data which allows users to reclaim their own information from Facebook and use it for further analyses or visualizations.

Unlike Facebook’s creator Mark Zuckerberg, who claims that privacy is dead, Mundy thinks that it is evolving. Many people didn’t want to show their cats on the webpage – browsing the site you can see which pictures have been removed by users. On the other hand though, many people supposedly reached out to Mundy to ask how they could add their cat to the map.

I know where your cat lives
USA, 2014
Author: Owen Mundy
Team: Owen Mundy, Nicole Kurish, Tim Schwartz, Alissa McShane, Shana Berger
URL: iknowwhereyourcatlives.com

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Photos: Malwina Toczek/NInA

Beautiful Data II @ Metalab at Harvard University

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

This month found me at the excellent Beautiful Data II workshop at the MetaLab at Harvard University sponsored by the Getty Foundation. Participants worked together in the Carpenter Center and Harvard Art Museum under the theme “Telling Stories About Art with Open Collections.”

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There were presentations by known visualization and museums experts, breakout sessions exploring how to represent problem data and collections, and talks by participants and Metalab staff and fellows, including a wonderful group of artists, curators, designers, and scholars in attendance.

Here are a few of the many highlights starting with this nerdy shot of me…
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Data Therapy workshop with Rahul Bhargava (slides1, slides2).

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Learning about provenance at the Harvard Art Museum (note stamp declaring Nazi property)

This spanking cat statuette from the Cooper Hewitt collection.
Colour Lens produced at Beautiful Data I.
Presentation by Seb Chan Director of Digital at Cooper Hewitt.
Memory Slam by Nick Montfort.
Meow Met Chrome extension shows cats from the Met Museum in new tabs.

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Behind the scenes of Ivan Sigal‘s Karachi Circular Railway, Harvard Art Museum Lightbox.

The Life and Death of Data by Yanni Loukissas.
Ben Rubin discussing his and works by Mario Klingemann, Ryoji Ikeda, Jer Thorp and others.
William James Twitter Bot by Rachel Boyce.


Cold Storage documentary by Jeffrey Schnapp, Cristoforo Magliozzi, Matthew Battles, et al.

Cooper Hewitt Font Specimen
Cooper Hewitt typeface by Chester Jenkins


“Unicode” by Jörg Piringer shows all 49571 displayable characters in the unicode range.

*Most photos by Metalab staff

Art In The Age Of… Planetary Computation, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

I Know Where Your Cat Lives at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam.

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Opening of the exhibition ‘Art In The Age Of…Planetary Computation’, 21 May 2015. Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn

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Opening of the exhibition ‘Art In The Age Of…Planetary Computation’, 21 May 2015. Photo: Aad Hoogendoorn

Art In The Age Of… Planetary Computation
22 May – 16 August 2015
Opening: 21 May 2015, 5pm

With: Aram Bartholl, Rossella Biscotti, Nina Canell, John Gerrard, Femke Herregraven, Antonia Hirsch, David Jablonowski, Navine G. Khan-Dossos, John Menick, Owen Mundy, Trevor Paglen, Lucy Raven, Stephan Tillmans, Julia Weist

How would you draw a picture of the Internet; through the machines and ‘their’ language that broadcast and store ‘our’ messages, or through the affect and power relations that those messages and their movement produce?


Exhibition visitors guide

Art In The Age Of… Planetary Computation investigates how quantification, telecommunications, and our ever-expanding information apparati not only inform contemporary artistic production, but also how contemporary art can hold a mirror up to these processes and formations. The participating artists explore the fissure between literal infrastructure—code, machines, wires, and other like-vocabularies—and the subjective socio-political interactions fostered by using these devices. Guided not only by that which can be seen on the computer screen, and the various other black mirrors we stare into day in and day out, this exhibition also looks to what happens behind these screens. Moving from objects to subjects, we ask, how do these positions impact daily life, or said in another way: what does it mean to be ‘screened’?

Art In The Age Of… Planetary Computation is the second iteration of Art In The Age Of…, a three-part presentation series running throughout 2015, that investigates future vectors of art production in the 21st century.

witte_de_with_logoWitte de With
Center for Contemporary Art
Witte de Withstraat 50
3012 BR Rotterdam
The Netherlands
www.wdw.nl

“Owen Mundy just ruined the Internet” and the last days for the kickstarter

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

It has been an intense couple weeks since my last post. It turns out the internet loves cats even more than data, maps, and politics. So here is an update on many things “cat”…

Update on the project

I Know Where Your Cat Lives has received an overwhelmingly positive response from international press. Besides photos of cats on a world map, there are charts, an FAQ and (now) links to press on the website.

I have to admit I specifically picked cat photos as an accessible medium with which to explore the privacy issue. Still, I was astounded at just how much the internet responded. It’s not only cats, the issue was important for discussion, and I appreciated that as well as the thoughtful responses from everyone. Even the puns.


The privacy implications of cat pictures (4:24) MSNBC Interview with Ronan Farrow


Meet The Guy Who’s Putting Your Cat On The Map — To Prove A Point (2:12) Interview with National Public Radio’s All Things Considered

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“If you have posted a picture of your cat online, data analyst and artist Owen Mundy, and now, the rest of the world, knows where it lives. And, by that logic, he knows where you live, too. That should probably creep you out a little bit, and that’s really the point.”

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“Using cat pictures — that essential building block of the Internet — and a supercomputer, a Florida State University professor has built a site that shows the locations of the cats (at least at some point in time, given their nature) and, presumably, of their owners.”

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“Attention all 4.9 million users of the #Catstagram hashtag: You’re being watched.”

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“I recognize that a single serving site like this should be easy to quit, but I’ve been refreshing for hours and looking at all the different cats of the world. Near, far, wherever they are, these cats just go on and on and on.”

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“If I put up a “cat” photo on Instagram, I am not just sharing a cat photo on Instagram. I am offering up data about my, and my cat’s, location. “I Know Where Your Cat Lives” is, as a title, meant to be vaguely threatening.”

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“Owen Mundy just ruined the Internet. What were once innocuous photos of grumpy cats, tired cats, and fat cats, have now become adorable symbols of just how little privacy we have online.”

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Some charts

Because, charts.

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Traffic and hosting

So far 19,169 cats have been removed from the map due to privacy settings on their photographs being increased. I think this is awesome. And, it is also the ironic part of this project in that its success is measured in increased privacy. Meaning, the more people who are convinced to manage their data better, the less cats I will be able to represent on the map!

Truthfully speaking, I don’t think I have to worry about running out of cats, since this is a small portion of the total one million. And, I figured out a clever way to show this progress as it unfolds:

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The bandwidth and computing resources consumed by this project have been crazy. Even with a very fast Amazon EC2 server (high I/O computing-intensive 4XL server with 16 virtual cpus and 30 GB RAM) I watched the CPU hover at 100% for the entire day of The New York Times article. And this is after I put many hours indexing the database columns and making the scripts efficient in other ways. All told my bill for “going viral” was $1,019.73 (the month of July 2014).

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I used a few different logging tools to monitor the status of the server. Here are some basic stats (from awstats installed on the server) from the three weeks since I launched the project. This is for the requests and bandwidth on the EC2 server only. It does not include the actual cat photos, only the website itself (html, css, json, php, etc):

  • 353,734 unique visits
  • 14,141,644 pages (total clicks on the site)
  • 16,786,127 requests (additional files)
  • 8846.24 GB bandwidth (again, only text files)

I also used CloudFlare CDN (thanks for the tip Tim Schwartz!) to cache the site files and cat photos and serve the data from various locations around the world. This helped with the speed and to decrease my costs. Since all requests are routed through their DNS I believe their stats are likely the most reliable. According to CloudFlare, they served:

  • 20,631,228 total requests (3,089,020 of which were served through CloudFlare’s cache)
  • 10.2 TB bandwidth!! (437.3 GB of this data (site files and cat photos were served by CloudFlare)

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The Kickstarter has <3 days left!

And great news, thanks to 123 backers, including a big push from the awesome folks at Ghostery and Domi Ventures, the Kickstarter will be funded! There’s still time however, to help contribute to the number of years I can keep the site live while getting fun rewards from the project like I Know Where Your Cat Lives themed beer koozies and plush fish-shaped catnip-laced cat toys, as well as a limited edition signed I Know Where Your Cat Lives archival ink jet print. The kickstarter closes on Sat, Aug 9 2014 11:49 AM EDT.

Thanks again to everyone who supported the project. It’s been fun.


I Know Where Your Cat Lives launched

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

I just launched a new ongoing project this week. Here’s the text, a video and some screenshots. I’ll post more about how I made it soon.

Welcome to the today’s internet—you can buy anything, every website is tracking your every move, and anywhere you look you find videos and images of cats. Currently, there are 15 million images tagged with the word “cat” on public image hosting sites, and daily thousands more are uploaded from unlimited positions on the globe.

“I Know Where Your Cat Lives” iknowwhereyourcatlives.com is a data experiment that visualizes a sample of 1 million public pics of cats on a world map, locating them by the latitude and longitude coordinates embedded in their metadata. The cats were accessed via publicly available APIs provided by popular photo sharing websites. The photos were then run through various clustering algorithms using a supercomputer at Florida State University in order to represent the enormity of the data source.

This project explores two uses of the internet: the sociable and humorous appreciation of domesticated felines, and the status quo of personal data usage by startups and international megacorps who are riding the wave of decreased privacy for all. This website doesn’t visualize all of the cats on the net, only the ones that allow you to track where their owners have been.

Folks can also contribute to a kickstarter to help with hosting costs.

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“Data and Site: Visualizing Indexicality” lecture @ Florida State

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

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I am giving a lecture on my research tomorrow at a Florida State Department of Geography colloquium. I’ll be addressing artistic and cultural works that make use of data visualization and various forms of mapping to critique or engage issues surrounding data privacy, militarism, and surveillance. I will be giving a preview of a new web-based project involving mapping and cats. I will also talk about Representing Place, the collaborative graduate seminar I co-taught with Prof. Phil Steinberg in Geography.

“Data and Site: Visualizing Indexicality”
Owen Mundy, Assistant Professor in Art
Friday April 18, 3:30-4:30pm
DeVoe Moore Conference Center, Bellamy 150-E.

Term vs. Term for Digital Public Library of America hackathon

Monday, April 14th, 2014

I made a small app to compare the number of search results for two phrases from the Digital Public Library of America for a hackathon / workshop here at Florida State next week.

http://owenmundy.com/work/term-vs-term

dpla term vs term

Digital Humanities Hackathon II – Digital Public Library of America

Monday, April 21, 2:00-3:30 p.m.
Strozier Library, Scholars Commons Instructional Classroom [MAP]

The Digital Scholars Reading and Discussion Group will simulate its second “hackathon” on April 21, allowing participants to learn more about the back-end structure of the Digital Public Library of America. With its April 2013 launch, the DPLA became the first all-digital library that aggregates metadata from collections across the country, making them available from a single point of access. The DPLA describes itself as a freely available, web-based platform for digitized cultural heritage projects as well as a portal that connects students, teachers, scholars, and the public to library resources occurring on other platforms.

From a critical point of view, the DPLA simultaneously relies on and disrupts the principles of location and containment, making its infrastructure somewhat interesting to observe.

In this session, we will visit the DPLA’s Application Programming Interface (API) codex to observe some of the standards that contributed to its construction. We will consider how APIs function, how and why to use them, and who might access their metadata and for what purposes. For those completely unfamiliar with APIs, this session will serve as a useful introduction, as well as a demonstration of why a digital library might also want to serve as an online portal. For those more familiar with APIs, this session will serve as an opportunity to try on different tasks using the metadata that the DPLA aggregates from collections across the country.

At this particular session, we are pleased to be joined by Owen Mundy from FSU Department of Art and Richard Urban from FSU College of Communication and Information, who have considered different aspects of working with APIs for projects such as the DPLA, including visualization and graphics scripting, and developing collections dashboards.

As before, the session is designed with a low barrier of entry in mind, so participants should not worry if they do not have programming expertise or are still learning the vocabulary associated with open-source projects. We come together to learn together, and all levels of skill are accommodated, as are all attitudes and leanings.

Participants are encouraged to explore the Digital Public Library of America site prior to our meeting and to familiarize themselves with the history of the project. Laptops will be available for checkout, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own.

Taking Care of Things! Archives, Life-Cycles, Care, Lüneberg, Germany

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Excited to be heading to Lüneberg, Germany, tomorrow for this conference organized jointly by Habits of Living (Brown University, CIS Bangalore) and the Post-Media Lab in conjunction with Stadtarchiv Lüneburg.

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January 15-18
Taking Care of Things!
Archives – Life-Cycles – Care
organized by Post-Media Lab/CDC and Habits of Living in cooperation with the Stadtarchiv Lüneburg

Venue: Stadtarchiv Lüneburg, Germany

From the perspective of current theoretical approaches the figure of the archive seems to have lost its central status and its fever. Meanwhile, in our medial and cultural set-up new (kinds of) archives seem to crop up everywhere, accelerated by new means of production and distribution. Cultural repertoires are being remixed alongside technological repositories – often giving new life to almost forgotten relics. Ever more things, valuables, processes, projects, constituencies, even movements, need to be taken care of. It is not only cultural and critical theory that is being challenged, but also law, the natural sciences and design, alongside other applied sciences. But what are the complex dynamics and contexts of these new (non-)archives? Do they really make sense? And if so, by and for whom?

To address these questions, ‘Taking Care of Things!’ focuses on the transformation of things – analog and digital – into life-cycles and specific practices of care. This will be done in different thematic groups dealing with topics, like Mesh Media!, Civil Archaeology, Measure Drones, Unearthing the Archive, Translating Ontologies and Extinction in Context.

This workshop will address such fundamental changes in archiving and objects by generating practices and chances to take care of things. That is, we will seek to extend (or sometimes end) the life-cycle of objects not by simply preserving them (this usually guarantees they will be forgotten), but rather through acts that respond, react, and/or reuse.

‘Taking Care of Things!’ will be based at and operating from the Stadtarchiv Lüneburg, the city’s rich and still to-be-further-explored archive, headed by Danny Kolbe.

‘Taking Care of Things!’ will start Wednesday evening (Jan 15) with a public talk by Kelly Dobson (Brown University) and followed by short introductions by Oliver Lerone Schultz, Nishant Shah and Wendy Chun to set the scene for the following days. Clemens Apprich together with Marcell Mars will then turn the evening into a Public Library, offering the first charge of Post-Media Lab publications as free downloads.

Thursday and Friday (Jan 16-17) will be reserved for intensive exchanges and workshops among the invited participants, all of whom deal very differently and critically with post-medial (non-)archives. There will be the opportunity to interface with the Lüneburg public, assembling archival objects of different kinds. On Saturday (Jan 18) all these activities will culminate in a public presentation and fair under the umbrella of ‘Parliament of Things’ held at the Stadtarchiv.

‘Taking Care of Things!’ will create multiple interweavings not only with the rich repository of the Stadtarchiv, but also with the multiple potentials of existing and new collaborations around the Center for Digital Cultures – possibly starting some repositories that will carry on into a future, where the Post-Media Lab will have been supplanted by other, new life-cycles.​

‘Taking Care of Things!’ is a collaborative event between Habits of Living (Brown University, CIS Bangalore) and the Post-Media Lab in conjunction with Stadtarchiv Lüneburg.
This event will mark the conclusion of the first life-cycle of the Post-Media Lab by bringing together former fellows and new participants.

Among the participants are: Adnan Hadzi and James Steven (DeckspaceTV), Femke Snelting and Michael Murtaugh (Constant/Active Archives), Eric Kuitenberg and David Garcia (Tactical Media Files), Boaz Levin and Daniel Herleth and Adam Kaplan (The Rise of Data), Fabian Giraud and Inigo Wilkins (Glass Bead), Jonathan Kemp and Martin Howse („Stack, Frame, Heap –SFH)”, as well as Memory of the World (Marcell Mars), Mathias Fuchs (Gamification Lab), Cornelia Sollfrank (Giving What You Don´t Have), Hauke Winkler (Freifunk Lüneburg), Robert Ochshorn (InterLace), Tapio Makela (M.A.R.I.N.) [had to cancel bec of illness], Fabrizio Augusto Poltronieri (MaisZero), Rodrigo Novaes (Flusser Archiv/UdK), Owen Mundy, Kristian Lukic (NAPON), Vahida Ramujkic (irational), Volker Grasmuck (CDC/Grundversorgung 2.0), Kilian Froitzhuber (netzpolitik.org), Vincent Normand, Jeremy Lecomte, Ida Soulard, Erich Berger, Connie Mendoza, and more.

Coordination & Care
Christina Kral: christina.kral@inkubator.leuphana.de
Oliver Lerone Schultz: oschultz@leuphana.de

Team
Wendy Chun, Nishant Shah, Clemens Apprich, Josie Berry Slater, Anthony Iles; and Nora Hannemann, Sina Hurnik, Nina Kersten, Ann-Kathrin Wagner, Nicolas Schrape

After Douglas Davis – The World’s First Collaborative Sentence

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

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README for After Douglas Davis
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Statement
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The World’s First Collaborative Sentence was created by Douglas Davis in 1994 and donated to the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1995. Much like today’s blog environments and methods for crowdsourcing knowledge, it allowed users to contribute practically any text or markup to a never-ending sentence with no limits on speech or length.

At some point the sentence stopped functioning, and in early 2012 the Whitney Museum undertook a “preservation effort” to repair and relaunch the project. Measures were taken during the “restoration” to stay true to the original intent of the artist, leaving dead links and the original code in place.

During the preservation the curators placed small sections of garbled ASCII text from the project on Github with the hope that others would “fork” the data and repair the original. However, the Whitney Museum did not succeed in realizing that the collaborative culture of the net Davis predicted has actually arrived. This is evident not only through sites like Wikipedia, Facebook, and Tumblr, but the open source movement, which brings us Linux, Apache, and PHP, the very technologies used to view this page, as well as others like Firefox, Arduino, Processing, and many more.

In the spirit of open source software and artists like Duchamp, Levine, runme.org and Mandiberg, on September 5, 2013, I “forked” Douglas Davis’ Collaborative Sentence by downloading all pages and constructing from scratch the functional code which drives the project. I have now placed this work on Github with the following changes:

1. All pages are updated to HTML5 and UTF-8 character encoding
2. The functional code was rewritten from scratch including a script to remove malicious code
3. The addition of this statement

I was originally disappointed the Whitney Museum didn’t place the full source code in the public domain. What better way to make it possible for artists and programmers to extend the life of Davis’ project by learning from, reusing, and improving the original code than to open source this work? Though, possibly like Davis, my motivation is largely in part an interest in constructing a space for dialog, framing distinct questions and new possibilities, and waiting to see what happens from this gesture.

Included software
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HTML Purifier http://htmlpurifier.org/

Live version
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Enter After Douglas Davis

About the author
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Owen Mundy http://owenmundy.com/