EYEO 2019

Posted on July 4, 2019 | in Uncategorized | by Taj Carson

What is EYEO?

EYEO is a festival held at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. I say festival because it involves not only top notch international speakers, but also things like karaoke, playing with arts and crafts, trying out virtual reality experiments, and going to cool places like Aria and the Machine Shop. Its changed a bit over the years, as it featured more information visualization and interactive art speakers early on, versus more machine learning and artificial intelligence speakers in these last couple of years. No matter what topic is featured, I always come away from EYEO with inspiration and insights, true to their tag line Converge to Inspire.

In case you didnt want to hang out in the Walker (very cool building) and hear about building free-form circuit sculptures or how to make art using generative adversarial networks, I did, and here are the highlights.

Things I Loved

Your Playground Skills Can Come in Handy Later in Life

Who doesnt love Nathan Yau? You may have seen his beautiful visualization about how men and women spend their time or how what we eat has changed over time (what’s with all the cooking oil? His talk this year was about the playground skills he developed as a child set him for his current career as a data visualization specialist. Skills include people watching and searching for patterns.

If Alexa Were Real It Would Freak You Out a Little

Lauren McCarthy is an artist who thinks a lot about social relationships in the modern era of surveillance and social media. I had a lot of fun using US+, her skin for the emotionally unintelligent using google hangouts. This year she talked about what one journalist called the Creepiest Social Network Ever, a project called Lauren where people could sign up to have an actual human (McCarthy) be their own personal Alexa.

**Virtual Reality can be super cute. **

Whether its used to raise awareness of prison conditions, allow you to interact with sound or treat vision problems the applications for virtual reality are still being discovered. But sometimes its just plain cute, as with this adorable virtual reality pet created by Edwon. Tamagotchi 2019, anyone?

Things I Learned

Google News Lab Will Let You Play with Their Data

Nadieh Brehmer’s project, Why Do Cats and Dogs, uses google trend data to explore the many, many questions we ask about our pets. You may not be surprised to learn that the most common questions we ask are about dogs are why they lick things. Brehmer’s site is used to explore what the most popular questions are, and she also provides links to some answers as well. In a discussion about a related project she also let us know that the fact that the U.S. has four states that begin with MI makes data cleaning a pain. In case you were wondering.

**Facial Recognition Software Gets It Wrong A Lot. **

In Adam Harveys talk on facial recognition software, I learned that we have a long way to go. Facial recognition software often gets in wrong, sometimes mis-identifying people incorrectly up to 98% of the time. Harvey explored ways to foil this technology, involving everything from wearing an anti-drone burka to elaborate hairstyles.

Its OK to Play with Your Data

Amy Cesal brought her fun Day Doh Viz project to EYEO this year. She uses Playdoh to make some very fun and often beautiful visualizations. See examples of how you can unleash your nostalgic childhood craftiness on everything from the kind of plugs people use to how to interpret probability here.