Urban Digital Displays

The Data Canvas Urban Digital Displays will be public installations of the Data Canvas network. Urban Digital Displays will transform high traffic public areas into dynamic, educational art and information displays and forums. The public installations will be visible to thousands of pedestrians for 24 hours a day, every day, for its duration. The information and data elements will spur community action and dialog around pertinent urban issues, while the aesthetic and interactive elements will engage foot traffic and visitors to the project site.

Urban Digital Displays will bring together the local community with some of the city’s best technical talent. Together they will design a public digital display with street­ level seating, and decide what information is most useful and relevant to showcase on the street. The result will be a forward­-thinking public art installation that represents both the culture and history of the Central Market area, and the unique culture of innovation in San Francisco as a whole.

The project is informed by Gray Area Foundation for the Art’s years of direct engagement with the Central Market community, the City and County of San Francisco, swissnex San Francisco, Arup, The Berkeley Center for New Media, Rebar and YOU — Bay Area’s leading digital artists and information artists.

The first Urban Digital Display will be installed in front of Gray Area’s Grand Theater location on Mission Street, with funding from the City of San Francisco’s Community Challenge Grant. A mobile version will then travel across the United States, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, and head to Europe on a tour to share the power of real-time visualization of our public environment.

On February 22nd, 50 out of 125 applicants were selected by GrayArea.org, swissnex San Francisco, Berkeley Center for New Media, Arup, and Rebar for a one day hackathon led by Casey Reas, co-founder of processing.org and designer of the Data Wall for IBM’s THINK Exhibit. The winning participants from the day are being supported to collaborate on a $10k Commission to develop the first public installation for Data Canvas. See the winning projects below.

Urban Digital Displays: Hackathon

February 22nd, 2014

9:00AM – 9:00PM 

Application Only

What new ideas do you have to show the flow of multiple data streams, and the possible correlations between them? What graphic or other displays can engage urban citizens in ongoing discussions about our urban metabolism and our lives? How can these displays speak to the “ground truth”, and connect the data back to the source from which it originates? How can such displays enter the sightlines of the people who are the most affected by the data? What does it take for us to leverage our explorations of urban life?

On February 22nd, we are hosting an application-only hack day to develop real time data visualization pieces for display in the public realm. You and your team will have 12 hours to conceive and execute a visualization based on real-time data streams. The jury will recommend projects to be further developed for display on street-level public installations within the Data Canvas.

Important Dates:

  • Jan 15th- Feb 17th: Applications for hackathon participants accepted , apply here
  • Feb 19th: Accepted hackathon participants notified
  • Feb 22nd: Hackathon at swissnex San Francisco, 730 Montgomery Street
  • Feb 22nd: Hackathon participants are recommended for funded 3-month residency by jury.
  • Feb 24th- Mar 1st: Recommended hackathon project teams are interviewed for funding award.
  • Mar 7th: Funding and Residency award announced