Martin M. Wattenberg

Vivaldi's Autumn visualised by Wattenberg's programming

Martin M. Wattenberg (b. 1970) is an American scientist and artist known for his work with data visualization. Along withFernanda Viégas, he worked at the Cambridge location of IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center as part of the Visual Communication Lab, and created Many Eyes. In April 2010, Wattenberg and Viégas started a new venture called Flowing Media, Inc., to focus on visualization aimed at consumers and mass audiences.[1] Four months later, both of them joined Google as the co-leaders of the Google’s “Big Picture” data visualization group in Cambridge, MA.[2][3]

As an artist, Wattenberg uses interactive graphics and visualization as expressive media. He has primarily worked on internet-accessible projects, but has also created installations, videos, and prints.

In the 1990s he began to work with information visualization as an artistic medium. For example, his Shape of Song series (1999–2002) depicted the form of musical compositions; this project exists online as well as in prints that have been exhibited in multiple venues.[16] Starrynight (1999), a collaboration with Alexander Galloway and Mark Tribe, provided a new form of social, visual navigation for an online discussion.[17] Idealine (2001), an interactive representation of the online art universe, was the first internet artwork commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as a very early example of an artwork that used “crowdsourcing” to gather data.[18] Wattenberg has also worked with Golan Levin, contributing to the visualization technique used in The Secret Lives of Numbers (2002). [19] [20]

Wattenberg frequently works with Marek Walczak, with whom he formed a collaboration known as MW2MW.[21] A key theme of their work is the relationship between language and space. For example, Apartment took inspiration from the concept of a memory palace, turning free-form text entered by a viewer into an architectural floorplan.[22] The piece has appeared in many versions, including online (2000), an installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2001) and in many other venues.[23] Other works explore the possibilities of interaction: the Thinking Machine series (2004–2008), for example, is based on a chess- playing program that attempts to best the viewer while displaying its own thinking process[24] .[25]

Since 2003, Wattenberg has collaborated with Fernanda Viégas to create interactive works that evoke the joy of “revelation”.[26] They have used academic techniques such as history flow to create prints that have been shown in venues such as the New York Museum of Modern Art.[27] The two have also created purely artistic visualizations. For example, the Fleshmap series (2008- 2009) portrays aspects of sensuality, and includes work on the web, video, and installations. For example,Fleshmap: Touch provides a collective view of erogenous zones,[28] while Fleshmap: Listen visualizes the language used to describe the body in song lyrics.[29]

Extracts taken from his Wikipedia page


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