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Eyeo Festival 2017

Enjoying the view before the final evening of Keynote speakers
Enjoying the view before the final evening of Keynote speakers

You will have a hard time finding a more creatively engaging experience than Eyeo Festival. At the intersection of art, interaction, and information, Eyeo brings people together who are working in important and unexpected ways with art and technology.

This year was my second time at Eyeo, and I was impressed with the direction the festival has taken. When I was last there in 2014, a major theme was data visualization, and with that, the ethics of working with data (the dataviz community was still dealing with the implications of bulk data collection exposed by Edward Snowden). Three years later, the US has become much more complicated, and the festival has matured to involve significant threads of activism and resistance throughout the speakers and discussions. The final talk by Steve Lambert, founder of the Center for Artistic Activism, called on Eyeo attendees to lend their creative expertise to activist causes. 

What follows are highlights from a few notable talks I attended during the week, which include thinking about missing datasets, mapping police violence, hyper local activism, and a library of VR projects.

Mimi Onuoha // How we Became Machine Readable

Project: Missing Datasets

  • There are things that don’t fit patterns of collection; There are also patterns to exclusion and “complicating factors”
  • Those with resources lack incentives and those with incentive lack resources
  • Collection of data that doesn’t fit pattern takes more than it gives
  • Sometimes there are benefits to staying undocumented

Top Quotes:

"Sometimes you have to package the work you do in something someone is willing to pay for"
"If you aren’t considering the collection process, you’re only working with half the dataset"

Sam Sinyangwe // Using Data and Technology to End Police Violence

Photo of the talk by Sam Sinyangwe - the slide reads "using data to debunk false narratives"

Project: Mapping Police Violence and Campaign Zero

  • The conversation in policing was being held up on data
  • "Mapping Police Violence” uses data to DEBUNK false narratives and move past assumptions and rhetoric.
  • Good work is getting trapped in academic papers and closed circles
  • Roll of design is to extend this info to the public.

Complex Movements // Hyper Local High Tech

Project: Beware of the Dandelions

    • Can complex science ideas be applied to social movements?
    • Measure of success: depth and frequency of unlikely relationships
    • Don’t feel like you always need to be the architect

    Beware of the Dandelions is a mobile art installation that functions as a performance, workshop space, and visual arts exhibition.


    Jess Engel // Unlocking the Language of VR

    VR Work by Within:

    • Clouds Over Sidra
    • Strangers
    • Evolution of Verse
    • Curl
    • Chocolate
    • Neurospeculative Afrofuturism
    • Google Earth VR
    • Job Simulator
    • Life of Us

    Web VR

    • Under Neon Lights
    • Treehugger
    • Tree sense
    • Notch
    • Previz