TDDE 131 Week 6: Imaging

[Critiques of Last Week’s Assignment]
[Astronomical Image Making]
[Aesthetic and Social Interpretation of Images]
[Assignment for Next Week]


6:00-7:00 pm – Crit

City lights – Adriana & Melisa

  • dataset – used Kepler (all 4 columns), image from Curiosity Rover
  • presentation of two “cars” – one on a roadless space, one of cars on a highway
  • saw mars image as abandoned cityscape – reverse temporal form
  • data driven – color and intensity changes, shimmer effect
  • what was research – how to use isadora; didn’t understand data, treated as numbers; work could be stronger with clearer intention
  • car footage was a little jumpy – seemed to be not controlled (better with tripod)
  • choice of mars – astronomy picture of the day, this stood out

Twin-somnia – Adrian & Elliot

Screen shot 2013-06-18 at 12.25.14 AM

  • two images – night view image of earth, storm image; datasets
  • both kepler & spectral data driving positioning, brightness, kaleidoscope effect
  • research:
    • title based on novel “Somnium” that Johannes Kepler wrote, first piece of science fiction, travel to moon => external perspective of earth
    • kepler mission objective is to find a twin earth
    • spectrum – storm on saturn, lots of color, less research on this one
  • saw parallel universes – mutated, chaotic
  • petal, organic quality – makes actual image of earth appear boring – do we keep beginning or end earth shot? depends on desired narrative (different opinions on this)
  • storm of backdrop gave an unusual sense of scale – but in fact storm scale is probably right
  • actual projection of piece could be size of building
  • after research there was so much to work off of – hard to condense/edit down – one suggestion is to look at the process of the data collection to inspire the process for data manipulation
  • we get many elements of Kepler’s story without “illustrating” story

Red Orbits in Sync– Duy & Tasha

Screen shot 2013-06-18 at 12.24.36 AM

  • data – kepler, found footage of mercury and mars curiosity landing, one channel was controlling other data stream
  • had an old fashioned quality, like a filmstrip destroying itself
  • visual treat in the beginning of it – a distractor?
  • research – read kepler biography, thought about orbits and elliptical motion
  • movie is very controlled; working with many images and forcing into a design
  • “noisy” star mask – has a meaning, for observer this looks like real data (cosmic ray hits – irritant to Adam)
  • Michael – lose Mars lander and this is submittable to a film festival – abstract 5-minute film grounded in science
  • real partnership
  • could use a different title

Black Hole Einstein – Aisha & Ryan

  • used kepler & spectrum data sets – used schwarzschild radius formula and fed 2 columns of data into it  (change title to “solving for 2 unknowns”?)
  • Einstein’s head was a major distractor – without it focus went to black hole, darkening
    • changes tone from playful/goofy to serious
    • could be used as a “popper” but is useless after it
    • a lot of discussion on pros and cons of this
  • had goal to do something on black holes – saw image on APOD and was drawn by it
  • could make color more vibrant (saturation)
  • Kepler data- visibility of screen, spirals, flashing, background stars fluctuating – paid very close attention to what controlled light


7:45-8:20 – Lecture: Astronomical Imaging (Adam)


How color is perceived – rods and cones, create multiple images that are transformed in our brain into a single color image

Not everyone sees the same color – range of sensitivity, color blindness (noone in room was color blind!)

Photographic and digital imaging replicates our eyes – CCDs apply a color filter map and interpolate the “true” color between pixels (see this).

RGB (screen) and CMYK (print) systems for blending color

In photography, we have more flexibility by choosing different filters – can either replicate eye colors (“natural color”), use different optical filters (“enhanced color”) or image through filters at wavelengths are eyes could not detect (“false color” or “representative color”)


Natural Color: Galaxy ESO 510-G13

This would be how our eyes would perceive this galaxy (if we could stare long enough!)

Screen shot 2013-06-08 at 12.09.32 PM


Enhanced Color: Eagle Nebula

By using narrow band filters, it is possible to see very detailed structure where ionizing radiation strikes the cloud surfaces.

Screen shot 2013-06-08 at 12.10.30 PM

Part of the data-artist’s toolbox is to understand what part of the light spectrum do we want to see, and how can this enhance, obscure, change our view of the cosmos

8:20-8:50pm: Lecture: Interpretation of images (Tara)


Dorothea Lange’s migrant mother iconic image – why that image?

cultural images we’re familiar with – madonna and child has similar structure over hundreds of years

how do we read it? documentary evidence or propaganda – subjective act of image making – we have a cultural reading of it

considerations – directionality, costume, shadow and tone


Abu Gahrib iconic image – Sabrina Harman image of horror – she is smiling, there is a corpse, we assume she did it – could be propaganda, but stuck as horror

Errol Morris analyzed this image and others and proved she didn’t do it and and proved she wasn’t happy

argument – all images are subjective

e.g., X-rays – second opinions are accepted as different doctors can read the same image 2 different ways

automated traffic camera – how can a machine be subjective?  someone has to decide where it points, choice of detector may make it easier to see some cars (e.g., red ones) more than others, etc.


Individually, begin to think about final project – consider (1) subject, (2) data form and type, (3) scale and time, (4) resources needed.  Next week we’ll share and identify natural pairs to move forward with.

A possible tool: Stereo Movie Maker


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