Draft:Informative Art

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{{See also|Calm Technology}}

INSIDE THE MACHINE 2017 -DIGITALLY AMPLIFIED

Informative art, which is also known as a kind of slow technology, is computer amplified works of art, aiming at boosting more concentration and reflection on surroundings for long periods of time.[1][2][3][4]. As a part of the designed environment, informative art introduces information related to the environment to people as well as offers visual aesthetics for enjoyment or performance. Informative art has been applied into the fabric of public spaces by means of the effects of information visualisation, novel information display strategies and art[1][4][5][6][7]. This kind of art uses advanced new aesthetic IT-design and skills to vividly present information and achieve the agenda of mental rest, based on various mapping relations between information and the characteristics of artworks[1][3]. Technical, methodological and theoretical researches on the design of informative art have promoted the development of this new art, contributing to practical applications of informative art in everyday activities[1][4][8][9]. Informative art focuses on how traditional art can be amplified and applied into information displays systems[1][4]

In the current, there are many pictures, posters, textiles etc. in public spaces. These designed artworks are not only simple objects but also part of the designed environment.[1][10][11]. The designed environment utilises the properties of informative art to reflect the information where they are located and present the distinction of the environment for people to distinguish various environments[1][11]

There are other exploring of the effects and applications of informative art, such as Spark and WaveWatch, which are examples of informative art display systems under the development of visualisation technology and skills.[9][12][13]. These information display systems use informative art to visualise activities or pictures to increase engagement with a more reflective environment[9][11][13]. They also can be called as Ambient Information Systems because they dynamically reflect the information about surroundings, implying where informative art focuses[2][9][14][5][15]. InfoGallery is also an example of informative art display in physical library spaces[3]

Informative art displays mainly focus on five issues as follows.[16]:

1) Culture Context

The culture context of information display system affects experiencers' perception of visual performance of artworks[16]. Informative art displays utilise the potential of better recognition of designs to express related information with proper culture background[16].

2) Aesthetic pleasing surfaces

Informative art displays apply the aesthetic attraction into emotional information expression to enhance information reflections and concentration with methods of adjusting some properties of appearance, such as colours, brightness and dispersion[16]. Information attractiveness is partially determined by aesthetically peripheral appreciation[16].

3) Surroundings

The surroundings contribute to the appeal of artwork appearance as the same object can reflect various information on different occasions, such as a public park, bedroom and library[16]. Informative art displays exploit diverse platforms to strengthen information expression and concentration[16].

4) Continuity and Comprehension

Because signs of information display threaten the continuity of comprehension of informative artworks, advanced technical approaches about combining information technology and information expression are significant to decrease the effects, making more smooth and slight visual changes to represent informative art[16].

5) Periphery of Perception

In an informative art display, a significant function is to highlight information but make experiencer keep calm from the surroundings, indicating the perception of information should be controlled inside a peripheral degree, not the core[16].

Background[edit]

There are some reasons contributing to the rise of informative art, such as the developed technology of information visualisation and ubiquitous computing. First, the traditional information display system is limited to convey more information to the public in real time. To acquire desired information to meet people’s needs of recognising the dynamic environment, a new approach of information display is created. One of the motivations of informative art is complementing a new layer of information to a current information context[1][11]. Second, information is highly dependent on the environment and the moment. Informative art is a combination of art and environment in real time, facilitating more reflective information displays[1][5].

Information visualisation is referred to as computer customised interactive graphic representations of information[6]. Techniques of information visualisation are concerned about aesthetic values to some extent as it consists of the “art” part of informative art[1]. Furthermore, information visualisation transforms numerical and nonnumerical data to interactive graphic information, exploring how layers of information can be complemented to an existing information composition[1][6][7]. By means of computer-generated visualisation of information, informative art is concerned about fine design and arts of information display, interpreting new information to graphic patterns[1][6]. In addition to the art value, information visualisation is beneficial to address complex relationships among statistics from digital perspectives[17]

Ubiquitous computing also accelerates the process of information technology as the computer is accessible everywhere in the contemporary society, indicating another motivation of informative art[1][5][18][19][20]. Invisible information systems are thoroughly influenced by ubiquitous computing about the way people recognise, communicate, study and other conduct related to information[16].

Calm technology[edit]

It is a typical example that calm technology is used to create a physical environment to enhance moment and reflection on information[1][2]. Calm technology is developed by Weiser and Brown to appeal the periphery as well as the core of people’s information perception and ensure people’s concentration move between the two in 1996[21][22][23]. Relevant systems are proposed to increase peripheral details to boost the perception of periphery[21]. Subsequently, peripheral interaction facilitated the process of “calm computing” via providing rapid and efficient information exchange[21]. This technology is mainly utilised in ubiquitous computing, peripheral interaction and ambient display system[23]. There are some specific practices such as WaveWatch, InfoGallery and NS(a nature soundscape)[3][12]. A nature soundscape model is a new method exploiting natural sound to exhibit calming information to simulate the natural environment[23]. This NS model not only develops infrastructure for sound designers to establish continuous sound scenes but also transfer information in a calm approach through a way of connecting statistics to recognise the whole soundscape[23]. The NS research falls into two parts, one part is to design the structure of natural sound, the other is to build the hidden relationship between the acoustic parameters of natural sound and the perception of the whole natural sound of experiencers[23].

Amplified Artworks[edit]

Amplified artworks are based on traditional art objects with technological enhancement.[1][24]. It is mainly a kind of conceptual strengthening other than aesthetically strengthened expression[1][24]. Amplified artworks in public present amplified reality as amplified artworks reflect and strength information about real life, indicating the characteristics of informative art[1][5][24]. Ubiquitous computing plays a pivotal role in amplified reality[2][24]. Through the flexible and blending utilisation of computers and other technologies, the expression and function of existing artefacts can be promoted[2]. For instance, the electronic audio technology, such as the combination of microphones, loudspeakers and amplifiers can make it probable for musicians to perform with effects that non-amplified acoustic devices hardly achieve[2]. The fundamental requirement is to design equipment that can enhance the expression of specific surroundings thus it can be magnified in a certain space or time in real life[2]

Example of practices[edit]

Spark[edit]

Spark is a web application that visualises physical activities with the design of informative art.[9][25][26]. In the main screen of Spark, there are five forms of visualisation for users to choose[9]. The five visualisations are Spiral, Rings, Bucket, Pollock and Column[9][27]. The Spiral visualisation generates a circle which moves outwards in a spiral form from the middle of display areas[9][27]. The Ring visualisation presents the moment of physical activity with the shape of rings[9]. The bucket, displaying on the screen, circles fall from the top to the bottom[9]. As the process proceeds, circles overlap with each other and gradually fill the whole screen[9]. The circle will rebound when it falls and touches the surface of other circles[9]. The fallen circle will bounce along with the falling circles and the time sequence of movement also will change accordingly[9]. The most abstract visualisation, the Pollock, is to randomly display a continuous white line on the screen[9]. Every five minutes, the white line will appear in a circle, which will gradually display in a shape similar to paint spots[9]

WaveWatch[edit]

WaveWatch is an ambient information system of web traffic with the focus on aesthetics as well as information concentration.[12]. The WaveWatch system utilises high-quality computer graphics and applies the wave metaphor to visualise web activities as diverse levels of wave activities[12]. And the metaphor of WaveWatch is also related to the similarity between the theory of calm technology and the calming performance of the waves[12]. Abstract wave scenes represent peripheral information with the aesthetically pleasing performance[12]. WaveWatch display explores screen-bases visualisations to dynamically reflect the complex activities concerning the height and frequency of ocean waves[12]. Low web traffic means calming waves while increasing web traffic implies risky ocean waves[12]. This wave model can be used to estimate wave extremes in real time by advanced graphical tools[28]. The reliable estimation of ocean waves is the result of informative art as it methodologically conveys and collaborates information[6][28]

WebAware[edit]

WebAware refers as information system related with web site activity in public places.[29]. It is an application of spatial information on the basis of dynamic visualisation[1][29]. The information of web site activity is useful and entertaining to certain people, such as web administrators, designers and anyone interested[29].  Issues like the quantity of web site visitors and the most popular page on the web site are focused on information about WebAware[29]. It not only meets public interest concerning web sites but also dynamically reflects spatial information. WebAware system displays the company's web site in an open office space in a map, enable all staff in the office to access to real-time information in the office[29]. The information map is not in a traditional style of pure digital but a more aesthetically pleasing picture to attach attention and concentration[29]

ChatterBox[edit]

The installation of ChatterBox using the computer projector in the workplace generates a more interactive and reflective environment for dynamically expressing and transforming information.[1][30]. ChatterBox can analyse the contents and maintain the information in a database, which can generate new information according to existing materials and relations of various information when receiving e-mails[1][31][30]. ChatterBox creates an enhanced information display with entertaining value[31][30]. It is a practical application of informative art in everyday life[31][30]

InfoGallery[edit]

InfoGallery is a web-based infrastructure in physical library space, aesthetically expressing information mainly with informative art display.[3]. There is a server architecture, an editor application and diverse display clients in InfoGallery[3]. For instance, RSS(really simple syndication) information can be exhibited in the style of informative art through InfoGallery[3][32]. Kaj Grønbæk with his partners conducted relevant library project experiments, exploiting informative art to help readers access digital materials[3]. Experimenters set up digital InfoColumns in libraries for librarians to publish announcements in a pretty graphic environment through web traffic in the form of animation[3]. Readers can transfer the needed materials to their device through Bluetooth in a specific place near the InfoColumn[3]. Finally, the experimental results pinpoint the fact that it is beneficial to apply digital information management into physical libraries on a large scale[3]. In such InfoGallery, visitors can see digital information displayed on the surfaces of large walls, floors or ceilings[3]. The display screen is characterised by information animation and each information object consists of a paragraph of text and several pictures[3]. Every information object is likely to be randomly augmented and displayed in the centre of the display screen for a moment, and then continue to be a part of the animation[3]. Given the informative interaction is reached, experiencers can touch the sensitive surface and mark it to further explore the information they are interested in[3]. Therefore, under the foundation of web-based informative art, InfoGallery is proposed and developed to efficiently manage digital materials[3]

Evaluation[edit]

When evaluating information display, the prime criteria should be issues concerning readability and efficiency of information enhancements.[1][33]. When evaluating the art value, evaluations of informative art are complicated as it combines reflection with critical analyses. Informative art is designed for efficient information concentration as well as entertainments[33]

For example, ChatterBox is interesting from the perspective of art value and is limited in the usefulness and efficiency of information display[1][31][33]. In order to evaluate the affordance of ChatterBox, it is necessary to determine the expected function of the display: an ordinary display or an artwork, which is crucial for selecting an appropriate evaluation scheme[1]. Finally, every assessment is majorly designed to obtain knowledge and understandings into the field and prepare for further improvement of existing objects[1]. In the field of information art, the evaluation scheme may include elements of users' research, reflection and critical analyses concerning art. [1]

References[edit]

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