Prof Pick: Ying Tan

Associate Professor Ying Tan joined the UO Art Department in the Fall of 1996. Her extensive creative practice both as an artist and a designer has resulted in a wide range of work including film, video, animation and digital imaging, landscape painting, and communication design of all shapes and forms.

Tan’s work has been exhibited or screened nationally and internationally including venues such as Mediarama 2002 (Spain), Sydney Film Festival (Australia), transmediale Berlin (Germany), Technoimage Festival (Brazil),Bauhaus-University Weimar (Germany), Cinematheque Ontario (Canada), Dream Centenary Computer Graphics Grand Prix (Japan), Triennale diMilano (Italy), Circulo de Bellas Artes (Spain), Museum of Modern Art(NY), The National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), Harvard Film Archive (Cambridge, MA), The Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley), Cyberarts Festival (Boston). SIGGRAPH Electronic Theater (San Antonio), Visual Arts Museum (NY) and Anthology Film Archives (NY).

Professor Tan’s recent work explores the relationship between vision and sound in time-based design. In both her teaching and practice she advocates design without boundaries, and interdisciplinary collaborations. She is active in developing academic exchage programs with institutions in China where she used to work and live.

Professor Tan will be teaching two courses next term that count toward the certificate’s electives requirements. Data Visualization (ARTD410/510 Winter 2018) and Experimental Animation (ARTD512). Details about Data Visualization (ARTD410/510). She provides more details on Data Visualization’s course content in her NMCC “Prof Pick” below!

One of my primary research interests within art and technology is data visualization. Over the last decade, I have observed tremendous development and growth within this field. I initially developed this course to serve our academic programs in Portland, at the time serving students from architecture, digital art, and product design. Since offering this course, it has also attracted students from other art majors, landscape design, journalism, and more.

This studio course aims to explore data visualization in the context of contemporary art and design practices. We study various strategies developed by leading practitioners who work with data for meaningful discovery, truth finding, knowledge dissemination, and mind changing. Using quantifiable personal and public data as well as crowd-sourced data, students research and develop visualization projects that may share insights into ourselves and our society, promote understanding, and enrich creative expression. This class welcomes students from all disciplines and educational background to participate, work in teams or individually.

This course examines data visualization in these three categories:

[1] With the ‘Qualified Self’ project, we consider the culture of self-tracking and discovery through personal data analysis and visualization. Examples of leading practitioners’ work includes:

Nicolas Felton’s “Annual Report” series

Laurie Frick: A data artist exploring the bumpy future of data gathered about you 

Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec: “Dear Data”










[2] With the “Quantified Society” project, students work with public data to examine particular aspects of our society, developing work that might be truth revealing or mind changing on those topics that students care most about, in order to gain insights or express beliefs. Examples of leading practitioners’ work includes:

Periscopic: Do good with data

Manuel Lima: Visual history of human knowledge (TED Talk)

Truth and Beauty Operations

Chris Jordan Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait

Jordan – “Over the Moon”

Ben Fry Watching the evolution of the “Origin of Species”

Similar Diversity





[3] With the “Crowd Sourcing Data Visualization” project, a social practice exercise, students set out to create a framework that allows the public to contribute data materials and/or take part in the visualization itself. Examples from leading practitioners including:

Aaron Koblin: Visualizing ourselves … with crowd-sourced data

Ondak – “Measuring the Universe”

Roman Ondák: Measuring the Universe

Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher: Learning to Love You More (LTLYM)

Kevin Macdonald: Life in a Day, a historic cinematic experiment to create a documentary film about a single day on earth


The following is a list of reference books on data visualization available in our Design Library:

“The Truthful Art: Data, Charts, and Maps for Communication” by Alberto Cairo
“Dear Data” by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec
“Information Graphics” by Sandra Rendgen
“Book of Trees” by Manuel Lima (also UO Library online access)
“Book of Circle” by Manuel Lima (also UO Library online access)
“Visual Complexity” by Manuel Lima (also UO Library online access)
“Map as Art” by Katharine Harmon
“You Are Here” by Katharine Harmon

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