[ISEA2011] Paper: George Legrady – 60,000,000 Transactions Later: Visualizing Data at the Rem Koolhaas designed Seattle Central Library.


“Making Visible the Invisible” is a commission by the Seattle arts Commission for the new central library which opened in 2005 realized by artist George Legrady in collaboration with artist/engineer Rama Hoetzlein. The electronic installation was activated in September 2005 and is continuing until 2014 or beyond. It is located on the technology floor, on a wall of LCD screens behind the librarians’ reference desk giving patrons and librarians an insight as to where patrons’ interests lie. Between 12000 to 36000 books, movies and cd’s are checked out each day at the library. Since September 2005, we are receiving this amazing data every hour, approximately 10 million items checked out per year. Four animations that float across a wall of display screens interpret the data fed directly from the Library’s Information Technology department to the artwork, which is powered by four computers. At the time of ISEA2011 Istanbul we will celebrate the project’s 6th year of continuous operation. This paper will give an overview and analysis of the data, discuss the potential of the project as a historical document at a time of the massive transition to the internet, presented with animations and visualizations using the data, created by graduate students in the Media Arts & Technology PhD program at UC Santa Barbara and during workshops in the past 4 years.

mat.ucsb.edu/~g.legrady/glWeb/Projects/spl/spl.html   mascontext.com/issues/7-information-fall-10/making-visible-the-invisible   Video:  Seattle Public Library