Reactor

Visualizing a Cloud

by Ben Valentine on June 15, 2012

James Leng’s new piece “Point Cloud” is a stunning kinetic sculpture with mesmerizing movement and a clean, digital-like aesthetic that is actually an abstracted data visualization:

Modulated to interpret a live feed of weather data. Instead of displaying static values of temperature, humidity, or precipitation, Point Cloud performs the data, dynamically shifting between stability and turbulence, expansion and contraction.

Leng is interested in how, despite the immense quantity of data collected around weather statistics, (like temperature, wind speed, direction and more,) scientists still have trouble predicting what all of that data will amount to tomorrow. “Point Cloud” is similarly rooted in concrete data and machinal precision, yet the resulting motion is less predictable. “Point Cloud” is one of a handful of new data visualizations of weather that I love like “Wind Map,” which An Xiao previously covered on Hyperallergic, here, and “Tele-Present Water” by David Bowen.

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