All Rights Reserved. © 2010-2020  Jing Yan
MAT works
past works
on sketchbook
about Eye

Life is elsewhere. The“elsewhere” represents the remote areas, the geolocation changes. It represents a specific point of time, that “frozen moment” you keep as photos, some retainable matters in the digital world. It also represents a reflection of yourself in someone else’s eyes, the trace of your existence in the social world.


"Life is Elsewhere" is a data visualization exploring the relationship between users’ social interaction and temporal changes using the Instagram APIs. 

Exhibited in MAT End of Year Show 2016

visualization model

The visualization is based on the three dimensional space time cube model. The horizontal ground represents the geo-location, and the vertical axis represents the timeline. One single box in the cube represents one image that was posted at this certain location and time. Thus, the boxes from the same user are lined up to show the trajectory of that user. The range is within the United States and during 2015.12.01-2016.3.14. In the general view, around 100 random user trajectories are demonstrated in this visualization object.







To present the social interaction of the user, I use the comment data as an indicator. Also, a metaphor of galaxy is implemented to each user in a specific time and place. Each smaller box rotating around the larger box represents one comment other user has posted on that photo. The number of comments is mapped to the number of boxes. The radius of the orbit represents the time difference between the comment time and photo post time, which means more previous the post, the further the small box will be from the large box. The speed of the rotation is mapped to the text length of that comment. 


To organize the whole dataset, I designed three levels of perspective: the user group, the media of each user, and the comment on each piece of media. 

User group: When the visualization object is far away, the selection mode is turned off. All the trajectory lines are drawn equally, which provides the viewer with a general experience of all users' trajectories and interactions from the Instagram. The viewer can also click the rotate button to get a thorough view of the whole cube.

Media: When the visualization object gets closer, the selection mode will be turned on. The lines and boxes of other users will fade out, while the user that is selected with the mouse will be underlined with more lines. 

Comments: The viewer can select one piece of media to show the social interaction. Also, the motion of its related comments will be exaggerated which allows the viewer to examine the difference between each comment.










// The program is developed with Instagram APIs and Processing. 

[ 259M Data Visualization / George Legrady ]