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Slingshot Features Tech Talkers and Data-based Art


The tech sector in Athens is slowly growing, and so is the tech at the annual Slingshot Festival. This year, the tech components of Slingshot, curated by Dan Geller, include the Sensory Overload Conference, a Data Perceptualization Competition and various demonstrations and pop-up events downtown throughout the weekend.

The Sensory Overload Conference, which spans Thursday, Mar. 26–Friday, Mar. 27 at the UGA Special Collections Libraries, will host speakers from around the world and across many disciplines to share their work related to big data and visualizing data. The conference is hosted in partnership with the UGA College of Engineering, the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts and the Office of the Vice President for Research. You can register for the free event at slingshotathens.com. Students who register for a conference event can get a $10 discount on a Slingshot wristband.

One presenter, Samantha Joye, is a professor in the department of marine sciences at UGA and the director of Ecosystem Impacts of Oil & Gas Inputs to the Gulf, a research group studying the effects of the 2010 BP Macondo Well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. The oceanographer will discuss how she uses technology to collect data in the field, as well as make sense of it afterward.

I think it provides a real-world sort of scientific application to a lot of the high-tech stuff that you’re going to hear about at Slingshot with respect to everything from how to handle big data and how to visualize it,” Joye says. “Everything that others are going to talk about has application to what we do as oceanographers.”

A detailed schedule can be found on Slingshot’s website.

The Data Perceptualization Competition winners will be announced at the Sensory Overload Conference. The entrants submitted visualizations or sonifications of some type of data—turning that data into images or sound. The following people are finalists for the competition:

  • Annelie Berner–AiryLight: Visualizing the Invisible (2014). This submission visualizes air quality through a kinetic light fixture. It will be on display at the Georgia Museum of Art beginning Thursday, Mar. 26.

  • Thomas Rex Beverly–Telepresent Storm: Rita (2013). This submission is a sonification of data from Hurricane Rita and is one of the performances at the Sensory Overload Conference. You can see it at the conference on Thursday, Mar. 26 at 2 p.m.

  • Przemyslaw Sanecki–The Source of the Work of Art (2013). This piece is a semantic space visualization/sonification of philosopher Martin Heidegger’s Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes (often translated as The Origin of the Work of Art), with AI-generated text derived from analysis of the work. It will be on view Mar. 26 and 27 in the Special Collections Libraries Room 285.

  • Jody Zellen–The Unemployed (2009, updated 2011 and 2014). This submission is an interactive video installation that visualizes data on worldwide unemployment. It will be on view Thursday, Mar. 26–Saturday, Mar. 28 from 9 p.m.–midnight at Ciné Lab.