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When rock stars die, they are never gone. They continue to be memorialized by millions of their fans, music lovers, and the public. Their songs are played again and again, and as cultural icons, their life stories are discovered, passed on, and exaggerated year after year.


This project is a data visualization exploring the “aliveness” of David Bowie. Based on the database of the Seattle Public Library from 2006-2015, I visualize the checkout times and durations of David Bowie’s related items. 

Exhibited in MAT End of Year Show 2016

the visualization model


The visualization is based on the event-river model, which regards each event as a characteristic creature in the river of time. The metaphor of river and fish inspires me to think of more possibility of the visualization. In this project, I develop this 2D model into a 3D dynamic interface. 




































General layout


The data visualization consists of the “river" and “creatures".

The river serves as the container of all the checkout events of David Bowie’s related items in the Seattle Public Library. The x-axis is the timeline from 2006-2015, and the y-axis shows all the titles of the items. Z-axis displays each checkout event on the same day with the same title.

The creature represents one single checkout event by the reader.  It has two main characteristics: the checkout times and duration. They are mapped to the events with two different methods: the scale and motion. In the scale mode, the checkout durations is mapped to the tail length, and checkout times is mapped to the square size. In the motion mode, the checkout duration is mapped to the tail’s rotation, and the checkout time is mapped to its fluctuation. The motion mode provides the audience with a more vivid experience of the data.




An audience can experience the visualization object from a general view or explore the data in detail with a different type of mouse interaction. When the label switch is turned off, the user can examine the detailed data of one checkout event by clicking on one creature. When the label switch is turned on, the user can examine a whole row of data with the same title by moving a mouse in that row. The motion of those creatures will also be exaggerated to provide a clearer comparison. 






















































Special thanks to Zhenyu Yang for his generous help.


// The program is developed with SQL and Processing. 


259M Data Visualization / George Legrady