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In November 2007, the Medialab Prado Center in Madrid, a space for research on art and new media, started the Visualizar project [visualizar.org]: an exploration of the social, cultural and artistic potential of data visualization as a medium.

The program includes a series of talks and presentations, an international call for papers and projects, and a 2-week intensive workshop where up to ten new projects are developed by interdisciplinary teams made up of designers, programmers and artists with the help of important names in the field. Last year, these included people like Ben Fry, Fernanda Viegas, IBM Visual Communication Lab, Mark Hansen, Gapminder and Spanish datavis company Bestiario.

You can watch some of last year's keynote speeches below (recommended!), or check out some of the projects, such as Cascade on Wheels, Metabolic Visualizer or Casas Tristes (visualizing such different things as traffic flows in Madrid, empty buildings left by the housing bubble or molecular reactions in the organism).

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Next week, Visualizar 08 starts again in Madrid. This year there is a common topic to all projects to be developed: the city, city dinamics, and urban processes that can be best understood and interpreted through visualization. We will be joined again by great people like Fabien Girardin from MIT SENSEable City Lab, Ubicomp theoretist Adam Greenfield and Juan Freire, and visualization practicioners Bestiario and Aaron Meyers, among others. People from all over the world will be gathering again in Madrid to form interdisciplinary teams that will approach the nine selected ideas to be carried out during the workshop.

While the projects for 2008 have already been selected, the call to join as a collaborator is still open for a few more days. All kinds of backgrounds are well received; from sociologists to architects, from programmers and designers to biologists or chemists, the wide range of ideas that will be pursued this year require a great network of knowledge. Go to the Visualizar Forum to read the discussions going on around the selected projects to know more about them, and please check the call to know more about all the details. Medialab can offer some support for collaborators, like acommodation.

José Luis de Vicente is a cultural researcher and curator. He directs the Visualizar program at Medialab Prado, Madrid. He has developed along with Bestiario and Irma Vila the Atlas of Electromagnetic Space project.

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Fernanda Viegas talk at Visualizar 2007.


Mark Hansen talk at Visualizar 2007.