Visiting a Digital Museum

google arts.PNG
artsandculture.google.com

Of all the digital museums I observed, I enjoyed Google Arts and Culture the most. I prefer it to experiences like the Smithsonian virtual tour because the Google arts and Culture website takes advantage of it’s digital venue, while the Smithsonian simply tries to convey it’s real life venue through the display of one’s computer. Google’s website is a perpetually changing exhibit that can be visited every day for a different glimpse at the world of art, a different perspective. Google takes advantage of the website medium by introducing different forms of exploration that would be unavailable when visiting a classical museum, making it a very different, yet fascinating, experience.

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deepsadness.com

deep-sadness
deepsadness.com

My favorite digital artist is named Rafaël Rozendaal. Rozendaal is most famous for his work with creating works of art contained in a single website. He believes that the window, the window you are looking at now, is the canvas of the new era. His works are very abstract, but many can instill great amounts of emotion.

Among his works is deepsadness.com, a very simple website. I recommend using headphones when interacting with this work. An abstract polygon is displayed in a bright color in contrast with another bright color in the background. Upon clicking the polygon, the shape and the colors change, and a strange, dissonant tone is played. The observer can click as fast or as slow as they want, almost as if creating an uncomfortable melody. This work always makes me feel anxious but enticed to keep playing with it.

One of Rozendaal’s most famous works is called stagnationmeansdecline.com. Another notable work is called muchbetterthanthis.com which was exhibited on some of the displays in Times Square in New York.

A Review of Dig Dug

 

digd0001
Courtesy of RetroCrush

Dig Dug is a classic arcade game that was originally created by Namco in 1982 and was playable in an arcade cabinet. The licence for home versions of the game was acquired by Atari and the game was ported to various home gaming systems (some were not very good). Namco also ported the game to the Nintendo Family Computer (the Japanese version of the NES) in 1985.

Dig Dug is a very enjoyable game, but gets difficult very quickly. The objective of the game is to dig tunnels around the screen and pump the enemies full of air until they pop. The player moves slower when digging through the dirt, and the enemies can travel without using the tunnels, but much slower. Touching enemies causes the player to lose a life. Once all of the enemies have been popped, the player moves to the next round. In later rounds, the enemies move faster than the player.

The game does a very good job of making the player feel trapped in their tunnels. Timing is also very important because there are situations in which enemies can surround the player. Ultimately, the game feels very exhilarating because the player is thrown into fast-paced gameplay very quickly without much introduction. The game is not very relaxing because of this. It feels very active and a little bit high pressure because of evading enemies, but serves its purpose. The game keeps the attention of the player and forces them to put all of their focus and critical thinking into the game.

 

Virtual Reality

 

someplace.PNG
an AirPano 360 degree video

Virtual reality promises to allow users to enter a new reality. This is a complicated task, and many new technologies have been created to access different levels of immersion. In a most basic way, virtual reality can be experienced as a device held over the eyes of a user while the user looks around a 360 degree image. It is possible to get the idea by exploring this video, but it is much more intuitive with a virtual reality headset. With the headset, all a user has to do is look around and the head tracking allows the user to visually explore a new world.

 

Word Visualization

wordcloud
Created with wordclouds.com

For my wordcloud, I used the text of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. I used the image of a scale to represent the conflict of money between Shylock and Bassanio, which ended up being visualized quite well. Shylock is on one side of the scale while Bassanio is on the other. The location of Portia’s name in the center base of the scale may represent her fake role as a lawyer in which she saves Antonio.

The idea of a wordcloud is an interesting concept with enormous amounts of possibilities despite limited options. These options are the color of text, the color of background, font, and shape of the word cloud. To make mine work the way I wanted to, I needed to play with the threshold of what would appear, lowering it a little bit to make the names pop a little more, but not lowering so much that there aren’t enough words to fill the strings holding up the sides of the scale.

Conveying Information with Digital Maps

Digital maps are a great way to convey visual information intuitively. Maps feel fairly natural to read, so it makes sense to add another layer to better understand the area being looked at. Personally, I would like to make a map of startup companies in the Silicon Valley in Northern California. I’d like the user to be able to click on a location and get information about the startup such as what they do, who works there, and some basic history. Mapping Gothic France does  something similar to what I want to do:

french_gothic_map
A Selection from mappinggothic.org

When clicking on a church, the user is presented with pictures, a map of the church, and other useful information. I feel like if this were applied to small  businesses and startups it would be a good way for them to get attention and for users to know what is going on around their community.

The Evolution of News Media

visualmedia
Graphic by Reid Kovacs

News as been in many forms, from physical paper to television to all digital. As media moves toward visual, news will too. This is apparent in many places around the web. For example, many news providers are choosing to use media that consists solely of visuals and photos. For example, the Instagram account of the BBC attempts to convey news through single images and short videos. Another example of this is This Week in Pictures by NBC news. NBC provides compelling photos that represent stories and breaking news that happens throughout the week. Simply, news providers are meeting a strong desire for visual content and doing it well.