Data visualisation with living displays

Merle Ibach and Benjamin Gaub
Merle Ibach and Benjamin Gaub

Merle Ibach (Gastforscherin IXDM, Basel; Interface Design (MA), FH-Potsdam), Benjamin Gaub

Start of project: March 1, 2017

Project length: March to August

Diagrams and bargraphs are the predominant forms of data representation and knowledge transfer for scientists today. This type of representation shows real world processes/ data in a very abstract way – means and standard deviations are shown in the plots but outliers and deviations from the normal distributions are often left out. And these representations only provide a snapshot of the data at one single timepoint rather than showing the evolution of the data over time. All this makes it difficult for the viewer/ the recipient of knowledge to relate to the data. 

We want to challenge the conventional way of data representation by creating a „living matrix“, a display of 96 „pixels“ each of which will hosts microorganisms. Using our genetic toolbox, we will induce these microorganisms to produce flourescent proteins. The brightness and color of their fluorescense is going to be determined by the input of a data series (a matrix of numbers). By translating the numbers of a dataset into a biological phenomenon of a living organism we are enabling them to evolve and thereby go beyond the snapshot of a single timepoint and venture into the unkown. This living display, once established, will be a unique and novel way for people to interact with data and hopefully relate to it more naturally.

MA Fine Arts Degree Show 2017

"The colour of repetition", an Art of Molecule project by Esther Mathis and Gabriel Flückiger from the ZHdK, will be shown on 17 September 2017. More here.

Poster show

On the occasion of the beginning of the cooperation with argovia philharmonic, posters designed by young scientists from this NCCR and from the "Zürcher Hochschule der Künste" (ZHdK) were shown. You can see them here.

Contact for Art of Molecule

Ralf Stutzki, Head Ethics

More about Ethics in the NCCR Molecular Systems Engineering

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