I am currently taking a processing and data visualization course! I am very excited about this endeavor; it is something I’ve been interested in learning for a while, but have not been certain where to get started.
For my first project, I was assigned to take a physical design that I have built in my design career, and create a new representation of it using basic geometric shapes in Processing. Visual stylistic choices should focus on the spirit and emotion of the design, its users and uses.
To start, I got acquainted with the basics of code for Java, and figured out where to place all the pixel locations for each shape. I am still working on capturing the mood of the piece, which I intend to do through color. I hope to have a looped blinking light coming from the window. Perhaps I can even attach the song that it plays! Stay tuned for updates as soon as I figure it out!
Did you know that bees can see UV light? In fact, their perception of the world is quite different from ours. Where we see red, green and blue, bees see blue, green and ultraviolet. What does this mean? Not only do they have the evolutionary ability to fully enjoy a blacklight poster, bees use this sight to locate pollen on flowers. Invisible to our eye, every flower has intricate patterns forming electric UV runways that guide the bee directly to its nectar source!
I mention this because I have found a nifty artist who has played with this notion of UV vision to bring an audience of both people and pollinators to a riverside in Louisville, KY. In order to create a space where people can interact with and return to nature, she first had to entice pollinators to stay! She created an art installation in which she planted milkweed, a great source of nectar for many pollinators and the only plant on which Monarch butterflies will lay their eggs. Each display is encased in purple yarn, representing the UV runways the bees follow to their food source. She also included blacklights as aid for the human eye to visualize the scene from the pollinator’s view.
This installation is just one of many inspiring, beautiful and different ways she has used art as a platform for environmental activism. In addition to her works, she has created a great resource for artists called the OPPfund, or some of you may know it as Other People’s Pixels, a website that hosts artist portfolios and uses their monthly fees to create grants that are givento arts, environmental and social justice organizations. To top all of her great accomplishments off, she has just been invited to first artist-in-residency at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental law and policy non-profit focused on conservation.