Gateway to the World: Data Visualization Poetics

María Mencía


In my creative research practice, I am interested in stretching new technologies and programmable languages in order to explore multimodal digital textualities. During the last seven years, I have developed projects assisted by programmers in order to create language-art media work through the exploration of interactive grammars, aesthetics, and poetics in digital writing. My interest in new literacies, new text, the reader/writer/performer of generative texts, sound, and visual interfaces in a world of unstable, generative visual words, is reflected in my creative work, and this essay considers how these concerns have unfolded through the development of an application for the iPad. The application, titled Gateway to the World (2014), was developed specifically for an exhibition in Hamburg, Germany. It is an exploration of data visualization poetics that use open data to visualize the routes of the vessels arriving at and departing from the Port of Hamburg, with the names of the vessels being mapped to Wikipedia entries. This paper establishes a context for the app through the discussion of artists’ and designers’ works, the presentation of ideas, notions, and concerns related to the creation of data visualization projects, as well as the creative process involved in the production of the application.


e-literature, data visualisation, open data, poetics, translation, Internet, textual remix, digital literacy, interdisciplinary, practice-based research, creative process, maritime, landscape, navigation, Hamburg

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