Data Flow (River Brent)

v1.0 by: Michael Takeo Magruder with Drew Baker and collaborators, 2015

An interactive new media art installation transforming live data from the River Brent in London into a virtual stream of information.

Installation Documentation:

About the Artwork:

Data Flow (River Brent) is an interactive new media art installation that is generated from blending live environmental data and personal memories of the River Brent. The work uses these two distinct sources of raw information to reimagine the river as a 3D virtual environment that, like its real-world counterpart, is both unpredictable and ever-changing.

The artwork's physical form is constructed from three main elements: a dual digital projection of the virtual river mapped onto the ground; a Leap Motion sensor atop a small white plinth that allows spectators to manipulate the projection; and a sound system that renders the work's algorithmic soundscape. The virtual river consists of multiple currents of flowing 'water' that mimic the dynamics of actual waterways. Woven into this flow are personal images of rivers uploaded by visitors to Instagram with the hashtag #livingdata. The scale, movement, and speed of the digital water is controlled by environmental data (depth, direction, and flow rate) collected in real time by monitoring stations placed at different points along the River Brent. Furthermore, the flow is affected by the interaction of visitors with the installation; 'ripples' appear in the digital water as people use the Leap Motion interface. The virtual environment is constantly in flux as it responds to the behaviour of the real river and the interaction of visitors, and incorporates new memories as more images are uploaded to Instagram. The result is an ephemeral experience that is as 'live' and fleeting as the River Brent itself.

Source Data:

• real-time environmental data from the River Brent collected and published by the UK Environment Agency

• digitised personal images of rivers uploaded by visitors to Instagram with the hashtag #livingdata

Digital Media Documentation:

In Collaboration with:

Drew Baker [ Unity3D programming ] . Giorgia Beltrami, Seapei Bultingaire, Mie Funahashi, Melissa Gonzalez, and Maria Navarro [ Watermans' workshop participants ]

With Thanks to:

Irini Papadimitriou [ curation ]

Supported by:

Data Flow (River Brent) is a 2015 commission by Watermans Arts Centre for the Living Data exhibition funded by Arts Council England.

Artwork Requirements:

Site-configurable new media installation constructed from: real-time virtual environment (Unity3D) and soundscape (Flash) rendered by a high-specification Windows 7 64bit computer, dual 1080p projection and stereo audio systems, and Leap Motion sensor (for interaction).

Video Documentation:

© TAKEO 2015