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AIC Seminar Series

Visualizations of Our Collective Lives

S. Joy MountfordOsher Fellow, Exploratorium

Notice:  Hosted by Richard Waldinger

Date:  Tuesday, March 2nd 2010 at 4:00pm

Location:  EJ228 (SRI E building)  (Directions)


The lines between art, design, and information are dissolving as we experience new places and objects. Consider, for example, the organic flow of air traffic over North America at daybreak, the bursts of search query memes spreading around the globe, and the pointillist surge of mobile phone usage on New Year’s Eve. Using the new techniques of generative data visualization, a new generation of artist/designers/engineer/scientists are creating gorgeous, dynamic experiences driven by massive sets of data about our own lives. Their work comes to life in architectural spaces, on walls of wood and metal and light and shimmering glass clouds suspended overhead. Of course it must be touched to be appreciated and engaged with, simple gestures launch a thousand images and possibilities. Many of these projects have received international recognition. They are primarily 3D applications that can run in real time, but really can only be appreciated by watching them, as movies. These data movies aim to make information easier to understand while being enjoyable to watch. Surprising insights surface through looking at our ’data life’ in new ways, and may compel us to design in different, even better ways.

   Bio for S. Joy Mountford

S. Joy Mountford has been designing and managing interface design efforts for over 25 years. Currently she is an Osher Fellow at the Exploratorium, where she is working on data visualisations for the new Exploratorium Pier building. Her experience encompasses a range of innovative and pioneering interface developments on various user systems, including airplanes, PCs, toys, consumer electronics and the Internet. At Yahoo! she was recently V.P. of User Experience and Design and was invited to start an Innovation Team in San Francisco. Her responsibilities included managing UED for Front Doors, where Y! front page is the most visited page on the Internet, and the popular Yahoo Mail, Messenger, Photos, Groups and 360. At Interval Research Corporation she led a series of musical development projects both in hardware and software for musicians and non-musicians to jam. She was the creator and manager of the highly-acclaimed Human Interface Group at Apple Computer for nearly eight years. Joy has worked at MCC, an A.I. computer consortium, and she designed advanced user interfaces for military avionics systems at Honeywell. She started and is still managing the highly leveraged University Design Expo with multiple sponsors, which has now been running for over 20 years. Its legacy members hold influential positions across many design industries.

   Note for Visitors to SRI

Please arrive at least 10 minutes early as you will need to sign in by following instructions by the lobby phone at Building E. (or call Wilma Lenz at 650 859 4904, or Vicenta at Lopez at 650 859 5750). SRI is located at 333 Ravenswood Avenue in Menlo Park. Visitors may park in the parking lots off Fourth Street. Detailed directions to SRI, as well as maps, are available from the Visiting AIC web page. There are two entrances to SRI International located on Ravenswood Ave. Please check the Builing E entrance signage.

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