False Color @ UMass

As anyone who follows our UMass social media feeds (@UMassBCT on Twitter and Facebook) knows, this fall we (the BCT program at UMass) organized an exhibit of some of our work under the title of “False Color”. This exhibit was up in the UMass Design Building since October 8 and will be taken down tomorrow, October 28th.

Some of my work was part of the exhibit and is shown below.

The 3D model of thermographic imagery of the single-family house was actually an older project of mine. For this exhibit, I teamed up with a colleague and we created another one for the Design Building (which houses our offices). You can read more about this project here.

My false color paintings were also an older concept that I had been envisioning for some time now, but never had the time (or occasion) to finish all the paintings. This exhibit finally gave me reason to do so. Here’s my concept behind those:

Painted Data

Acrylic on canvas, 2017

The visual element in data presentation and its ready digestion by the observer can lead to unquestioning acceptance of data that may be perceived as fact. Aesthetically clear visualizations can easily lead to negligence in questioning parameters and assumptions on which the visualizations were based. Because much of such imagery is used to form public opinion, the possibility exists that what should be considered a good tendency—the public and broad understandability of data—can lead to misinformation and lack of depth in understanding the issues at hand.

The paintings shown here were created based on scientific data visualizations. They all employ a False Color display methodology. However, the artistic process of painting removed the direct association (pixel by pixel) between color and data. What at first looks like a clear presentation of data ultimately highlights the fact that the process of creating a visualization consists of limitation, interpretation, and the setting of reference scales.

1: Stress field around a hole
2: Thermal imaging of a house at night (with temperature target)
3: Temperature gradient of a laptop keyboard
4: Census data

This third piece was also a collaborative effort and allowed people to experience thermography interactively. It was basically a thermal camera (FLIR’s IR module), strapped to a display, which proved to be great fun for gallery visitors.

Over the next days, we will be archiving the exhibit on our BCT site. Visit that link soon to see everyone else’s work as well.

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