Many moons ago, I produced a number of images visualizing various aspects of the blogosphere. These pictures proved of interest to a number of people in part due to the notion of visualizing the fundamental network structure of the blogosphere and in part, I hope, due to some amount of aesthetic presentation.
I haven't done much more tinkering in that area excepting a few visualizations of the G+ network and some animated diffusion videos. Recently, however, I started thinking about re-visiting some network visualization projects. As I considered what would be a novel twist I realized that I was just as interested in the visual aspects of the experience as the data aspects and started thinking about producing something with more of an artistic twist. A visual presentation inspired by data rather than an attempt to visualize the data itself.
In deconstructing the aspects of the earlier network graphics I identified a number of key components: the data, the environment (some aspect of the system that influences the presentation), the visual objects (i.e. the shapes, lines etc.) and the presentation surface itself (which might be a simple plane or something more complex like a hyperbolic transformation). All of these elements can be cast as some sort of agency: the data, for example, is an agent which generates information; the visual objects are agents which can transform and present themselves, the environment is a set of objects whose characteristics might interact with the visual objects and so on.
In the video below, I've captured a very rough attempt to bring these thoughts together. Here the data is the simplest stream I could think of : the current time. The time is represented by 3 objects which move around a circle representing seconds, minutes and hours. These objects emit visual objects (circles) which are influenced by an environment of initially random forces that change over time. Clearly this is mostly form with a tiny bit of data, but it acts as a starting point for more complex and richer ideas. Data might modify the visual and environmental aspects of the presentation.
[note that the numbers on the 'hands' of the clock indicate the angle of the hand and are remnants of testing the code.]