Personal Cycle Map Cork City by Charlotte Krause is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
“It’s time to leave behind any presumption of absolute control and universal truth and embrace an informed depiction of the big numbers and small imperfections that work together to describe reality” (Lupi, 2017).
For this art project, I visualized my cycling route to work, inspired by Giorgia Lupi and Data Humanism. I wanted to create an artwork about everyday life, out of my personal, small data as opposed to allegedly scientific, impersonal visualizations of big data as they are now everywhere.
I have a tendency to become obsessed with counting waiting time, walking distance, and other measures of daily life routine. Four times a week, I leave the house at 7.35 am and start my ten-minute cycle to work across town. For this project, I recorded the average time I spent on every traffic light and calculated the probability of me breaking it –I am a reckless cyclist. Because of the regularity of the traffic light circuit, the figures were almost the same every day and I noticed that I adjust my speed so that I make it through the light when I know that it only stays green for a few seconds. Furthermore, I recorded sights that catch my eye along the way and locations of puddles that I need to try to avoid when it is raining or has rained.
I recorded the data with pencil and paper (Figure 1) and made a concept sketch (Figure 2) from which I created the final artwork with Adobe Illustrator CC. I had to make many design choices along the way. Firstly, I chose a standard web format as the artwork is meant to be published and viewed online. Secondly, I had to decide on how to display the map of Cork City so that it can be recognized but does not dominate the picture or confuse the eye. Thirdly, I had to decide on a color palette, which is easily recognized, harmonious, and suited for screen display as well as people with color blindness. Finally, I had to make decisions regarding layout, font, and font-size. I decided to add an explanatory legend with easily legible text on the left and the map itself on the right. The grey padding encloses the visualization and helps the viewer’s eyes orientate themselves.
This project combines the scientific and meticulous work of data recording and visualization with the personal and emotional nature of artworks. As Data Humanist and Data Artist, I aim to creatively express personal data that tells a story about the human being behind it. I believe that the role of an artist is to find ways of bridging the gap between society as a whole and its individual members. By visualizing personified data of my everyday life, I bring the abstract concept of “data” – which everyone knows but most of us do not relate to ourselves – into a position in which it is accessible, observable and thus – hopefully – understandable.
Lupi, G., 2017. We’ve Reached Peak Infographics. Are You Ready For What Comes Next? [Online Magazine] PrintMag. Available at: <http://www.printmag.com/information-design/data-humanism-future-of-data-visualization/>.