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12 October 2014

About.

Now that data visualization is a larger part of my day job, the domain "story by numbers" takes on new meaning. It was originally a play on "paint by numbers", where childish expression has to find itself within predetermined forms, following a simple prescription. The idea hasn't expired.

Since joining Total Active Media in Amsterdam, my work and professional interests moved closer together. A lack of time can account for that, but also the subject material. I particularly like working in the culture and journalism sectors because there are specific stories to tell, and context is everything.

But this is a personal project. Not everything is work, work, work.

Anyway, work is not the word I would apply to what I do. Work is too large a term, too serious. Workers work. The great ones work. As for us middling men, there is no word sufficiently modest that yet will be adequate to describe what we do and how we do it. Dabble I do not accept. It is amateurs who dabble, while we, the class or genus of which I speak, are nothing if not professional. Wallpaper manufacturers such as Vuillard and Maurice Denis were every bit as diligent --- there is another key word --- as their friend [the artist Pierre] Bonnard, but the diligence is not, is never, enough. We are not skivers, we are not lazy. In fact, we are frenetically energetic, in spasms, but we are free, fatally free, of what might be called the curse of perpetuance. We finish things, while for the real worker, as the poet Valéry, I believe it was, pronounced, there is no finishing a work, only the abandoning of it.

The Sea, John Banville

Topics

Annotations, footnotes and how texts refer to one another. Open data, my own private note taking, graph databases, the hyperlink, recommendation engines, looking at how images can describe text and how text can describe images, either through usage and context (eg: linking, embedding, history, social nodal connections) or through semantic annotation (the "spelling it out" that ontology offers). Handwriting is important. Alles ist architektur.

Background

This site began as a web design portfolio while I freelanced during university, became a forum for writing about music with a couple of friends shortly after, and for its longest period, back when I lived in San Francisco, it was a space to link found images with texts I was reading.

For other developers, and also to give credit where credit is due, this site uses a Node.js static site generator called DocPad, and is hosted for free on Github.

Twitter

@storybynumbers
@aquariumtap (work)