Why do we …..?

Experimental data visualization as a means to understand public motivation for a global movement

Empathic Computing Lab UoA: Ryo Hajika (JP/NZ), Amit Barde (IN/NZ)

School of Music UoA: Dr. Fabio Morreale (IT/NZ)

Project Description

The COVID-19 pandemic and #BlackLivesMatter movement are influencing various communities worldwide on an unprecedented scale, and revealing many hidden truths buried, not only in our communities, but also our history. People now raise their voice in both physical and virtual spaces through various media to transform the society. But sometimes those voices are filtered, modified and conveyed to others in a way people don’t want or expect. What if we use algorithms to unfilter those voices to discover the common thread that binds them? What would we see if we unfilter or bring to the surface these voices that have suppressed? “WhySpace” is an experimental room setup that turns the spotlight on opinions and voices that have been neglected. The artists have retrieved tweets and web posts that have been channeled into this A/V installation using an algorithm developed by them. The artists seek to explore and understand the motivations that fuel a global movement like #BLM. This installation invites the audience to enter a space where they are surrounded by words, voices and images related to the #BLM movement in order to provoke and encourage introspection regarding the state we find the world in currently.

Project Credits/Acknowledgements

Empathic Computing Laboratory, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, University of Auckland.

School of Music, Faculty of Creative Arts & Industries, University of Auckland.



Artist Bios

Ryo Hajika (JP/NZ): Ryo is a HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) researcher, a prototype designer and a programmer, who currently works as a research assistant at the Empathic Computing Lab at the University of Auckland. He explores the intersection of media art and academic research to unearth hidden human factor that moves people from the data using code, and create new value. 

Amit Barde (IN/NZ): Amit is a researcher and sound designer with extensive experience in the field of sound design for short films, games and other forms of visual media. He is currently a Research Fellow at the Empathic Computing Lab. His research interests include the role of sound in information delivery in everyday life, and also the part it plays in empathy 

Fabio Morreale (IT/NZ): Fabio is a Lecturer and Coordinator of Music Technology at the School of Music of the University of Auckland. He has a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction applied to Music Technology and a MSc in Computer Science. The focus of his research is the critical analysis and innovation in the design of digital musical instruments (DMIs). He has put my theoretical research into practice by developing numerous musical instruments, interfaces, and installations. He is also interested in the creation of digital artworks in which forms of Artificial Intelligence (AI) participates in the work’s creation.