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Published September 28th 2012

How We Transformed Data into … Art?

What do you get when you take copious amounts of beer, burgers, pizza, sweat, testosterone, imagination, creativity, code and buckets of data and lock it all in a room for 48 hours? Clue: the answer’s not Facebook.

It’s a slightly different approach to the squeaky-clean professionalism of how we develop the Brandwatch app (it isn’t), but the above recipe is actually for the Digital Sizzle, an event staged in London this week.

Two weeks ago, 100 developers and artists got together to see what amazing things they could make from data, and were given two days to do so in Mozilla’s headquarters. We’re just glad we weren’t involved in the cleaning up process.

As the sponsors and data providers of this hackathon, we not only helped out but also entered a team and offered support for other teams that used our data.

The 26th of September saw the grand unveiling of the amazing creations to the masses, as over 500 gawkers from across the country crammed into the famous Whitechapel Gallery to network with other digital bods, found new avenues of business, admire the projects and of course, to consume as much food and drink as possible.

Our own project was called the ‘stream of emotion’, which split data on things like weddings and deaths into a flowing rainbow of emotion, dividing the tweets on those topics into eight types of emotion in a visually engaging way.

We’re going to host some of the most impressive projects on our site soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

One project featured a game of Asteroids that used the Brandwatch API to pick up tweets, only with a twist.

As the player played the game, onlookers could send various tweets that would give the player power-ups or even up the difficulty and hinder their attempts to survive (in the game!).

Other apps used Brandwatch in novel ways, from mapping all mentions of TFL onto a map of London to powering a machine that squashed bunnies digitally, based on the sentiment of incoming tweets.

Others simply visualised social media data in exciting ways, such as plotting all the attendees Twitter handles into a giant web of circles, with countless variables such as speed and colour indicating their influence, rate of tweeting and more.

One of our highlights was this dress, built entirely from print-outs of data about London Fashion Week.

It’s incredible some of the things that these creatives managed to do with Brandwatch (and other) data, and we’re proud to have been involved in such a great event. Let us know if you attended, or if you have any favourites.

Moreover, if anyone has some interesting ideas for how you can make data come alive; how you can transform data into something approaching art, then get in touch and we’ll see if we can do something special together.

Thanks to Paul Clarke for the images in this article.

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Crimson Hexagon has merged with Brandwatch. You’re in the right place!

From May 8th, all Crimson Hexagon products are now on the Brandwatch website. You’ll find them under ‘Products’ in the navigation. If you’re an existing customer and you want to know more, your account manager will be happy to help.