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Martin Wattenberg is a computer scientist and artist. He is a co-leader, with Fernanda Viégas, of Google’s “Big Picture” data visualization group.

Before joining Google, he and Viégas founded Flowing Media, Inc., a visualization studio focused on media and consumer-oriented projects.

Prior to Flowing Media, they led IBM’s Visual Communication Lab, where they created the ground-breaking public visualization platform Many Eyes. From 2005 to 2010, Wattenberg founded and managed IBM’s Visual Communication Lab, exploring new forms of visualization and how they can enable better collaboration. A key project was Many Eyes (http://www.many-eyes.com), an experiment in open, public data visualization and analysis.

Lesson / Koan : Finding Nowhere or Noplace is a global community search.

Noplace (2007-2008)

A series of physical and online art installations exploring visions of paradise. The artwork takes feeds from networked society—images, sound and text—as raw material to generate shared and personal utopias.

MW2MW is a collaboration between Marek Walczak and Martin Wattenberg. Started in 1997, both artists work independently but come together on long term projects such as Apartment, Wonderwalker, Thinking Machine and Noplace.

Main project page / MW2MW

In a series of projects, Martin Wattenberg, Marek Walczak, Jon Feinberg, Rory Solomon have revisited the theme of spaces and architectures created from information. Noplace extends those spaces to the ultimate limit, to paradise—or rather, to the realm of possible paradises.The project takes utopian images and music from collective feeds. The output is multiple, personalized visions of utopia incorporating concepts from peace to rapture in vibrant, evolving multimedia environments. A museum installation includes multiple screens of different utopian visions, while a companion web version of the piece allows viewers to create personalized Noplace worlds.

A first conceptual version of Noplace was presented at the Netherlands Media Art Institute in 2007, and a full installation (six projection screens with an additional touch screen) premiered in June 2008 at the Synthetic Times exhibit at the National Art Museum of China.

The web edition of Noplace, sponsored by the Tate Gallery in London, launched in September 2008. The site allows viewers to create and publish short videos based on their own utopian visions.

More work from Martin Wattenberg

The Shape of the Song (2004)

What does music look like? The Shape of Song is an attempt to answer this seemingly paradoxical question.

The Shape of Song began as a quest to “see” musical form. Martin Wattenberg created a visualization method called an arc diagram that highlighted repeated sections of music–or of any sequence–with translucent arcs.

The resulting images reflect the full range of musical forms, from the deep structure of Bach to the crystalline beauty of Philip Glass. The image above, for instance, is a view of Madonna’s Like a Virgin.

The method has since inspired many variations, as can be seen in the visualcomplexity.com catalog of arc diagrams.

View Shape of Song online.

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As She Was / Talking Heads:
Jupiter Symphony / Mozart:
Koyaanisqatsi / Glass:
Moonlight Sonata / Beethoven:
Four Seasons / Autumn / Vivaldi:
Four Seasons / Summer / Vivaldi:
A collection of many more!

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