Visualisation of Data


With the idea behind my proposal being quite intangible, I went to the Big Bang Data exhibition at Somerset House in order to find out more about how to visualise this idea of data and data transfers of the stock exchange.


There were a number of works that could relate to my project. The first a shoet movie which took you behind the scenes of what actually controlls the data- similar to the server sheds of the NYSE- bland and white rooms with servers in them. IMG_0964 IMG_0960

Other works included the infinite amount of data, showing your movements around the exhibition, allowing you to become in charge of how you would run london if you had the power to (no surprise when I did it, the most popular job was architecture!)…

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The exhibition also had a piece of art on time, and how it relates to the everyday, in the form of a clock which told you random statistics about what had happened in the world since noon, such as 1870 visitors to the british museum and 2 pillow related injures in the US since noon. This idea takes data and allows everyone to understand it through the use of the relation to everyday life.

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One of the most interesting pieces of work relates to the stock exchange. The work Black Shoals turns the Stock Exchange World into a Planetarium.

The project takes the form of a darkened room with a domed ceiling upon which a computer display is projected, like a planetarium. Audiences are immersed in a world of real-time stock market activity, represented as the night sky, full of stars that glow as trading takes place on particular stocks.

In Black Shoals each traded company is represented by a star, flickering and glowing as shares are traded. The stars slowly drift in response to the complex currents of the market, while outlining shapes of different industries and the huge multinational conglomerates like the signs of the zodiac. The movement of the stocks is based on calculated correlations between the histories of each stock and those of its near neighbours. The stronger the correlation between the histories of the stock prices of any two companies, the more powerful the gravitational attraction between them. Although they start out randomly distributed in the planetarium, over time the stars clot together and drift into slowly changing constellations, nebulae and clusters. Through this technique different industries naturally start to emerge as galaxies. Any general disturbance in a section of the market will have a visible effect on the sky – the collapse of Enron, for instance, would have caused a sort of black hole – all the companies affected would glow very brightly due to the level of trading and would be pulled in to a single point in a very powerful vortex.

Within this environment, a complex ecology of glowing amoeba-like “artificial life” creatures emerge. The creatures live in a world composed entirely of money and they feed on trading activity. Whenever a stock is traded its’ equivalent star produces food for the creatures – the bigger the trade, the more food is produced.”



This installation shows how you can take data from the stock market and make it into something else that shows market trading, as opposed to the standard ticker tape.


In addition to this, I always went to the Materials Lab where I was able to gains some ideas about material use etc.


I have complied a list of drawings to work on for the tutorials, including a map that links the 10 major stock exchanges in the world. This is still a work in progress so will continue to work on it.

Global market Map

With regards to the model, I am hoping to make a site model which will allow me to test shape and form of the building on the pier, but with laser cutter slots like golddust, I can only get one for next wednesday, so will start making and blog it for next week.

One thought on “Visualisation of Data

  1. Like the idea of the model and as you start to design the building think about how it can become a way to perform the data flows and transfers happening on site -similar to what you uncovered through the various installations at the Somerset House exhibition. Work more on the 3d model of what you would like to build and we can discuss that on Tuesday. In the crit, we discussed the “theatre of the stock exchange” and I think thats the clue for how to move forward. I love that image of the white blank rooms of data – void of any people screaming down phones and screens – the rooms inhabited by data. How do you invert the existing NYSE which has certain iconography of the classical envelope that contains it and is a theatre of screaming traders and flashing screens, bells and whistles within? How can your proposal start to make the interior a space occupied purely by data and the envelope something more performative, a visualisation of the intense activity within. Where are the traders now? Are they scattered through the city or in pods adjacent to server rooms? Are they on display as artefacts in the museum? Looking forward to seeing the new drawings and the model in progress files on Tuesday! Thanks for the detailed summary of the exhibition – it felt like I got to see it without leaving the house! Here’s an interesting project by architect Asif Khan to visualise the world’s population by spatialising it through a pavilion – his work is interesting in general since he has done a few projects where he animates the facade to suggest what happens on the interior etc: or this one which is more like Bert’s project on emotion but he transforms the facade into a monument: (watch the video)

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