Thesis II - Update

There is a vast negative space around us, and we think it’s empty, the same way we imagined life before germ theory. It’s not empty. It’s more alive than anything we build. This is a project in shifting what Foucault called “the liminal horizon” so that you understand the whole world differently when you look away from what we’ve shown you.
— Kevin Slavin


My final piece for the thesis show and main representation of my research will be a web-based visualization tool that is meant to be an evocative art piece. I am intending for this piece to capture the imagination of the audience.

I am building a web-based experience that is a cross between a film, video-game, and data visualization, enabling the user to imagine the microbial nature of the city.

I am asking the user to reimagine what it means to be human in the vast metropolis that is New York City. Who are the “companion species” that live among us? How might the world appear from a microbes point of view?

The web site will be built out to include information about the data collection, analysis and preliminary findings based on the data-set from New York City.



I am using three.js to build a custom web-tool. The user will be able to select a path or journey through the city (say 5th Ave and 10th St, to 5th Ave and Washington Square Park). Then using hyperlapse.js and Google Street Images, a video of the path will be made. The video is then mapped to a 3D mesh in 3D space. Various custom filters (which are part of my visualization tool-kit) can be applied to the video to make the city appear as if the microbial world is coming to life. Finally 3D particle systems are applied to the 3D video that further seek to illustrate the microbial nature of New York City.