[ISEA2017] Artists Statement: Samaa Ahmed, Sara Diamond, Lan-Xi Dong, Ana Jofre, Stephen Tiefenbach Keller & Steve Szegeti — DataBlocks: A Tangible Interface for Data Visualization


We present a prototype for a Tangible User Interface designed for interactive data visualization, which we believe will be useful for facilitating collaborative work in data analytics. Our hybrid system combines a tabletop graspable user interface with a two-dimensional screen display; the users interrogate the data by manipulating tokens on the tabletop and the screen displays the results of the user’s query. We demonstrate our system with demographic data from the UN, but we have designed our system such that the user can enter their own data to visualize.

  • Samaa Ahmed
  • Dr. Sara Diamond is the President of OCAD University, Canada’s ‘university of the imagination’. She is a computer scientist, digital media artist and historian, and director of the Visual Analytics Lab at OCAD U, with funding from NSERC, SSHRC, Mitacs and the Ontario Research Excellence Fund. She researches and writes about media and other art histories. She is an appointee of the Order of Ontario and the Royal Canadian Society of Artists and a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to Canada. She is the winner of the 2013 GRAND NCE Digital Media Pioneer Award, and a Senior Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto. Diamond served on the 2011-2012 Council of the Canadian AcademiesÕ expert panel on the State of Science & Technology in Canada. She sat on the board of the National Centre of Excellence GRAND. Before her tenure at OCAD University she founded and led the Banff New Media Institute, an incubation, digital media research centre and think tank (1995 – 2005).
  • Lan-Xi Dong
  • Ana Jofre received her PhD in Physics from the University of Toronto, Canada, did Post-doctoral work at NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) in Gaithersburg MD, and taught -and did research – at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte for six years before transitioning her career towards the arts. She then completed her MFA at OCAD University in Toronto. Her publications and conference presentations cover a wide range of intellectual interests, from physics to critical theory, and she has exhibited her artwork extensively. Her creative and research interests include figurative sculpture, the aesthetics of camp and of the uncanny, public pedagogy, human-computer interaction, and data visualization. She is currently employed as a post-doctoral fellow in the data visualization lab at OCAD University in Toronto, and will be, as of fall 2017, faculty at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica NY, USA. onewomancaravan.net
  • Stephen Tiefenbach Keller 
  • Steve Szegeti