I Want You to Want Me: Visual Data Trend

Gorging ourselves on data is creating mental obesity. Minds so bloated with information that we can’t tease out what’s useful. That’s why data visualization is becoming such a hot new art form. It rubs together art+science+technology. Done well, the remix can be arresting. And it makes the transfer of knowledge about socially complex ideas fun and interactive. Very RenGen.

Take online dating, for instance. Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar were commissioned for the Museum of Modern Art’s 2008 “Design and the Elastic Mind” exhibition. In their installation, “I Want You To Want Me” Harris and Kamvar mined self-generated profiles on dating websites. The raw data can be viewed in myriad ways through a touchscreen interface. Harris calls it a “mosaic of humanity” that reveals, for example, what most 30-year-old men want, or where online daters most often go to meet.

Oh, and what are the top five turn-ons among online daters?
1. Intelligence
2. Confidence
3. Nice smile
4. Sense of humor
5. Good kisser

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