Exhibition: NaN - Not a Number

In computing, NaN, standing for not a number, is a numeric data type value representing an undefined or unrepresentable value (Wikipedia). In many ways, data is meant to represent often unrepresentable features about the spaces, places, and people around us. This presents us with a problem - how are the fundamentally unquantifiable things, the things that should otherwise return a computational error statement - the NaN - actually being assigned numerical values that affect life in the city?

Our theme this year is “Not a Number” to speak to the ways in which space and place are being transformed and shaped by the numbers that are meant to represent complexity in the everyday. We ask our artists to reflect on the stories within our city’s open data that speak to the undefined or unrepresentable value of the things that the data may be hiding.

2019 Artists

Data Through Design 2019 will be supporting a total of 9 projects. The selections were made based on the artist's portfolio, the strength of their proposal, and the overall connection of their work with the other projects that were selected. We believe these projects offers a unique contribution to this year's DxD theme — Not a Number (NaN) - and are happy to support their work. The artists bios and their forthcoming project titles are shown below.

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  • Crystal Penalosa & Melissa De La Cruz, Temporal Views of the Bike Lane
    • Crystal Penalosa & Melissa De La Cruz : Crystal Penalosa (she/they) is an American artist and interdisciplinary designer based in New York. Their work as an artist focuses on queer identity, utilizing modular electronics and voice. She has performed collaboratively and solo in New York at Issue Project Room, Roulette Intermedium, Sediment Gallery, MoMA PS1, Experimental Intermedia, SPEKTRUM in Berlin, and the Golden Pudel in Hamburg. Crystal currently works at Stae as the community engineer, collaboratively developing hardware prototypes with cities to solve problems. They hold a Masters Degree in Urban Planning from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service.
  • Karl Munstedt, Collision Course
    • Karl Munstedt: Karl is digital artist and technologist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. He was born in Boston, MA and grew up spending much of his time on the internet befriending strangers and finding numerous cyber boyfriends. Using technologies like game engines, augmented reality, and the web, his work explores issues of queerness, future, and fantasy. Karl's work has previously exhibited at queertech.io and FILE festival. He received a BFA in Interactive Art from Pratt Institute in 2018.
  • Itay Niv & Aidan Nelson, NYC Trees Soundscape
    • Itay Niv: Itay Niv is an interactive and visual designer with more than 10 years of experience in the intersections of motion and interaction design, working in a wide array of formats and domains, bridging the digital and the physical. He holds a bachelor's of design from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Currently based in NYC, attending NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) in Tisch school of arts where he explores intersections in the fields of augmented and virtual reality, music, machine learning and interactive media.
    • Aidan Nelson: Aidan Nelson is an artist and educator based in New York City whose most recent interests include CT-scanning butterflies, making flexible silicone lenses, performing photogrammetry (3D scans) on historic masks, teaching reinforcement-learning (AI) agents and building electrostatic headphones. He is passionate about the theatre (where he once spent all of his time) and teaching and is currently pursuing a masters in Interactive Technology at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).
  • Ana Mengote, Exhausted New York
    • Ana Mengote: Ana Mengote is an Industrial Designer that spends her time between New York, Seattle, and Manila. She recently started school at Columbia University's GSAPP to marry her design background, to larger-scale urban needs.
  • Eric Forman, UnBuilding
    • Eric Forman: Eric Forman is an artist and designer working with interactive installations, light sculptures, and digital fabrication. His work is open-ended and exploratory, crossing boundaries between fine art, design, and architecture and employing modalities not often found in dominant forms of new media: thoughtful, slow, subtle, perhaps unsettling. His creations give us the surprising and magical qualities of the new, yet also play on our uneasy fascination with the intersection of human and technology, and the tension between the natural world and our built environment. Eric is also faculty and Head of Innovation at SVA’s MFA Interaction Design.
  • Mollie Ruskin, Xena Ni, & Eric Chiu, Tempo: Human Rhythm of a New York Day
    • Mollie Ruskin, Xena Ni, & Eric Chiu: Mollie Ruskin, Xena Ni, & Eric Chiu are designers, artists, and organizers who design and build interactive experiences for the public good. They believe in dignity and democracy at scale and that public institutions should work with and for the people they serve. Mollie, Xena, and Eric work with government partners, community organizations, and art collectives to help their local communities become more representative, equitable, and just.
  • Achim Koh & Wonyoung So, From Point A to Point B
    • Achim Koh: Achim Koh is a researcher, software developer and translator. His work engages the technopolitics of machine learning, digital culture, musical interfaces, and the web.
    • Wonyoung So: Wonyoung So is a data visualization designer and researcher. His main interests are about bottom-up driven data movement, and he is interested in how the open-source and DIY movement will affect the urban space. He is currently a graduate student of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
  • Stephanie Luu & Andrew Lin, Cards Against Hate
    • Stephanie Luu: Stephanie graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in business and was a technology consultant before moving to NYC two years ago, where she fostered her career change to her current role as a visual designer for KPMG Innovation Labs. She enjoys opportunities where she can harness the synergy (old habits never die) from both her past and present focus areas: problem solving, visual design, and fun. She is also collaborating with Andrew to provide the graphic design for a fun, improv-based party game named Skittish!.
    • Andrew Lin: Andrew holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of North Carolina. He was a management consultant in the life sciences sector for 4 years before working on entrepreneurial ventures full-time. One of these ventures is Skittish Games LLC, which develops card-based board & party games. Andrew is currently working with Stephanie on Skittish, the flagship game for the company.
  • Nicolas Grefenstette & Pierre Depaz, Below, just a point
    • Pierre Depaz: Pierre is an educator, artist and programmer from France. He currently teaches at multiple NYU campuses. He is interested in the multiple ways computers are attempting to represent and interface with human concepts and emotions. His academic research revolves around simulation, semantics and public organization through technological means, while his artistic practice includes digital games, computer simulations, interactive installations, networked performances and experimental web projects, and has been exhibited in NYC, Paris, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Brussels and Berlin.
    • Nicolas Grefenstette is a landscape designer and urban planner. His academic background in cultural and human geography at University College London (UCL) and his experiences living and observing cities across Europe, Asia and the United States have led him to complete his graduate studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he focused on the reclamation of industrial and underutilized urban land. He currently works for Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners, where he designs public space in New York City.

We are proud to present the work of the following artists. Our artists come from backgrounds ranging from fine arts, engineering, urban planning, and more.

Exhibition 2019

DxD19 had over 1000+ registered attendees for the opening night and dozens more visitors over the course of 10 days. Here are a few images of the exhibiton and projects. Photos by Junyu Cao, Joey Lee, and Stephen Larrick.