We become the city
A collection of data improvisations that explore how people, machines, time and place become the city they share. What does it mean to improvise with data? In a context of interactive visualization for the masses, who does the improvisation – the 'producer' or 'consumer'? Does improvised data generation, visualization, assembly and consumption affect the objective authority claimed by computing technologies and the use of big data? This work explores these questions by considering interpretations of improvisation in the context of data on movements of people and bicycles in the city of Chicago.
Data were mapped from the Chicago 'Divvy' public bicycle hire scheme for all journeys made in 2014. Over the year 2,454,634 trips between 300 docking stations were made on a total of 2,968 bicycles. New mappings of these data are explored in this exhibit through temporal and spatial juxtaposition and superposition prompting us to question who shapes the cities we live in, how we shape them and how we build our shared identities though movement and place. By viewing our movement not from the perspective of the individual, but from the viewpoint of the bicycle, we see the imprints we leave on our cities.
We make journeys with a purpose but the shared vehicles on which those journeys are made have none. As we move a bicycle from one station to the next, a larger, unplanned composition is created, sequencing a set of discrete yet connected movements to create an urban choreography. There is diurnal and seasonal polyrhythm to the composition, embellished with the illusory randomness of thousands of small stories.