Collective Memories

Exploring Multidimensional Data

Does information in a computer become thoughts and memories? How can innovative technologies help us understand data visualisations better and differently? How will growth and change in the Information Age affect society and culture?


Every person generates vast amounts of data every day through their actions, thoughts and feelings. Over the last years the percentage of it that is collected is growing exponentially. We collect more and more of what we have always collected, but suddenly also take things that have always contained information but have never been translated into a data format. This amount is being stored and retrieved faster than ever before, becoming an endless flow of information. So we come into contact with data anew every day. How often you think of something specific or feel something during the day remains unmeasured, however, because only a fraction of all information is collected. Namely, those that seem important to the collectors. These extraneous entities exert a great deal of influence on us, often without us being aware of it. We benefit almost every second from GPS, weather data or algorithms that make recommendations based on our user profile. A large part of the data generated by you and your environment is also used by you.


Collective Memories confronts people with the only information they leave behind in an anonymous net visit and generates a generative data portrait in the form of a sculpture from personal, browser and location data.Thus, with consent, everyone can find themselves in this portrait collection, together with other visitors, if they so wish. The collection thus becomes the site's memories of the interactions that have taken place here between man and machine. By conceding information and being willing to interact with the computer, each visitor contributes to this gallery of collective memories. The website around the installation introduces the topic on a personal level, allows visitors to interact with data visualisation and thus to develop key insights themselves. It discusses how the processing of data into information graphics can be problematic and how people are consciously and unconsciously manipulated in various ways. In addition, possibilities in the area of innovative technologies are shown that will change the way we work, design, perceive and experience data visualisations in the long term.


In the course of the project, a wide variety of tools were used. In order to visualise data three-dimensionally, classic data visualisation tools can be used, but also 3D modelling software and game engines such as Blender and Unity or Three.js if these are to remain interactive afterwards and be integrated on a website, for example. From point clouds, height maps to classic bar charts and geospatial data visualisations, various methods were tested for their usefulness, flexibility and manipulation possibilities. In addition, innovative technologies such as virtual and augmented reality were used to test how information can be better understood and processed.


The interview outlines the basic ideas behind the work, explains how the webstory is structured and what questions drove and excited me during the project.
The sound of this project.