Data-Based Project

The data-based project* is not a database. Rather, it is an opportunity to remediate a set of data into an argument about that data. In other words, your task is to transform an existing data set—through the interface, its visualization, and so on—in a way that highlights some underlying argument you want to make about the data. The project may be speculative, in the form of a mock-up or proof-of-concept. What is essential is that you take some sort of stance—about the particular dataset, about visualization, about data more generally, or about some other aspect of data and its role in contemporary culture.

The data project will be accompanied by a 3-4 page analysis of your project. The analysis should explicate your data project and connect it to the readings and themes of the semester. Some themes from the semester worth revisiting:

  • The changing meaning of “information” and “data” over time
  • The simplifications and “lies” that maps, timelines, and charts must necessarily include
  • The aesthetic dimensions of data, ranging from strictly informational visualizations to purely artistic visualizations
  • The relationship between databases and narratives
  • The dynamic between privacy and knowledge

The data-based project due at the end of the exam period, but you may hand it in earlier. The data-based project is worth 20% of your final grade.

* Special thanks to Dr. Lauren Klein at Georgia Tech, whose own assignment provided the inspiration for this one.