Stacked-stacked bar graph is the working title of a visualization that builds on the strengths of a stacked bar graph. Where a stacked bar graph allows for a visual comparison of the parts to the whole, our proposed visualization further divides the parts to allow for additional points of comparison.

For more information, see:
Szigeti, S., Patrasc, J., Schnitman, D., and Diamond, S. 2014. “The Stacked-Stacked Bar Graph: A New Twist on an Old Visualization.” IEEE InfoVis Proceedings.

Stacked-stacked bar graph is the working title of a visualization that builds on the strengths of a stacked bar graph.
Stacked-stacked bar graph is the working title of a visualization that builds on the strengths of a stacked bar graph.
Monday, September 14, 2015 - 3:45pm
Lab Member: 
Dr. Sara Diamond
Dr. Steve Szigeti
Joana Patrasc
David Schnitman


MAKING DATA FELT is a research-creation project of experimental data visualization/data materialization, designed to explore the affective dimensions of statistical information. The project appropriates low-cost DIY ‘maker tools’ (such as laser engravers, 3D printers, and thermal printers) for the creation of open-source data visualization solutions that allow research-practitioners to ‘make data felt’ by highlighting the social, political, and ethical stakes that are often overlooked in statistical information.

The project asks how we can translate impenetrable statistical information back into meaningful affective experiences. Dr. Zeilinger's visualization experiments will yield aesthetic artifacts built from statistical data that is otherwise presumed to be disembodied, alienating, and impersonal. MAKING DATA FELT foregrounds the critical, cultural, and social stakes encoded in such data, and plays with the reversal of the obfuscatory, dehumanizing effects of numerically encoded statistics.

The first iteration of the project mines publicly available data regarding the time/place/duration/intensity of the 2014 aerial bombardments of the Gaza Strip, and uses a custom-made laser engraver to etch the data points into paper maps of the region, partially destroying the maps in the process. The installation thus ‘performs’ a tangible and emotionally charged reenactment of the destruction encoded in the statistical information, and lends a body, shape, duration, and smell to the otherwise faceless data.

Making Data Felt Image 1
Making Data Felt Image 1
Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 9:15pm
Lab Member: 
Dr. Martin Zeilinger

Fetal Alcohol Visualizing

Working with large sets of intricate and comprehensive data, this research takes a highly interdisciplinary approach to dissecting the discourses that surround fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Novel correlations across data collected from stakeholder groups, derived using advanced visual analytics tools, help to better inform new strategies for communicating FASD. The interdisciplinary approach to this project grants the researchers with the ability to employ creative methods of study; the design of striking infographics and innovative simulation technologies will serve the production of provocative public performance in an effort to refresh the dialogue on FASD.


Red and green DNA testing visualization
Friday, April 12, 2013 - 3:30pm
Lab Member: 
Paula Gardner
Patricio Davila
Lawrence Kwok
Tim Bettridge
Maggie Chan
Marjan Verstappen
Harjot Bal
Shuting Chang

OCAD announces innovative research partnership

Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 5:00am

(Toronto — March 4, 2010) The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) announced an $11.5 million interdisciplinary research project designed to develop the next generation of data analysis and visualization tools. The collaborative project includes computer scientists, vision scientists, designers, artists and social scientists at York, OCAD and U of T, with 14 industry partners.

How do you look at millions of genomic patterns and see the diagnostic implications? How do you assimilate satellite data to better predict and visualize the effects of global warming, pollution, and weather patterns? How can you chart the global migration of millions of people under slavery? How do you assess the impact millions of blog entries have had on the print media economy? How do you sift global intelligence reports to identify the real threats? Each day, humanity poses thousands of similar questions as we produce massive data sets in every field − but as the data grows, the challenge becomes translating this data for the human senses and delivering the best analysis to solve real-world problems.

The Centre for Innovation in Information Visualization and Data-Driven Design (CIV-DDD), led by York University in partnership with the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD), promises to develop the next generation of data discovery, design, and visualization techniques by developing new computational tools, representational strategies, and interfaces.

The $11.5 million five-year project brings together a unique multidisciplinary team of over 50 researchers from York, OCAD, the University of Toronto, 14 industry partners, and significant international collaborators. John Tsotsos, Canada Research Chair in Computational Vision and professor of vision science at York, is the project’s principal investigator. Nick Cercone, professor of artificial intelligence and data mining, will co-lead York’s team of 14 researchers, who include Amir Asif, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science, and Caitlin Fisher, Canada Research Chair in Digital Culture in the Department of Film. Sara Diamond, visualization design researcher and president of the Ontario College of Art & Design, will lead OCAD’s team of 12 researchers, who include Vladimir Spicanovic, dean of the Faculty of Art, and Greg van Alstyne, professor in the Faculty of Design and director of Research, Strategic Innovation Lab.

Ontario's Ministry of Research and Innovation has provided over $3.8 million in funding through the Ontario Research Fund-Research Excellence Program; industry partners will contribute over $3.6 million, with the remaining $4.1 million coming from the project’s institutional partners.

“Humans’ capacity to interpret sensory stimuli is limited, which is why the human processing strategy is to attend to the relevant and ignore the irrelevant,” says Tsotsos. “Determining what’s relevant is a key task. Equally important is discovering how best to present such data in a form that is quickly and effectively understood. By combining our team’s expertise in computer science, design, digital media, visual perceptual science, fine arts, and the social sciences, CIV-DDD will discover and provide new visualizations for underlying patterns, processes, and relationships within data sets. These in turn will suggest new research directions and applications, laying the foundation for a new wave of knowledge creation and technological products.”

CIV-DDD formalizes many existing research collaborations, both within York University’s faculties and departments and among researchers at York, OCAD, and U of T. “In the new paradigm of data-driven discovery, art and design researchers have a profound role to play in partnership with scientists, making the invisible visible, heralding a new era of knowledge, cultural creation, and technological products,” said Diamond. “This preeminent research hub for the development of next-generation data visualization techniques is unique in its level of interdisciplinary fire power, strong collaboration with end-users and international links. It aggregates and extends much successful collaboration amongst the researchers, and between OCAD and York University.”

Many techniques and technologies developed by research groups associated with CIV-DDD will become resources for the entire team as they focus on new data-driven design and information visualization solutions in four thematic areas:

  • bioinformatics and medicine
  • fine and performing arts
  • engineering and physical sciences
  • humanities and social sciences

Collaboration between industry and academia is crucial to the project’s success. “Platform Computing is honoured to support the CIV-DDD project and provide the students and researchers at York and the OCAD with cutting-edge technologies to explore and create the next generation of visualization solutions and services and help them tackle scientific, social and human challenges,” said Jingwen Wang, vice-president, products, at Platform Computing. “Collaboration and information sharing are fundamental to academic research and Platform products enable researchers and students to easily collaborate and manage data and resources to capture, simulate and analyze their results.”

CIV-DDD’s industry partners highlight its wide applicability across sectors, including:

“CIV-DDD responds both to a dramatic paradigm shift in the health, social and economic challenges facing Canadians and the need for more research capacity and state-of-the-art infrastructure in this region,” said Stan Shapson, York’s vice-president Research & Innovation. “It also builds on the existing strengths of York’s Centre for Vision Research in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, the Institute for Research on Learning Technologies in the Faculty of Education, and Future Cinema Lab in the Faculty of Fine Arts, among others.

“By leading the Consortium on New Media, Creative, and Entertainment R&D in the Toronto Region (CONCERT), York and its partner universities and industries identified the preconditions necessary to develop a high-end visualization industry in Ontario. This unique collaboration will help fulfill one of CONCERT’s long-term objectives, which was to grow the region’s entertainment, screen-based and other innovation-driven creative industries into a globally competitive cluster.”

CIV-DDD will also support Ontario’s economy by producing innovative technology for commercialization, such as new:

  • data-mining algorithms
  • 3D-vision and 3D-modeling technologies
  • data-display tools and protocols
  • visualization-design methods and techniques
  • data-inquiry paradigms
  • user-friendly interfaces that can be scaled to a variety of screen displays
  • new aesthetics and research practices

“We’re proud of the cutting-edge work that our researchers do at York University and the wealth and jobs they create in York West and across Ontario,” said Mario Sergio, MPP for York West. “New discoveries will continue to be made and we want those people, those ideas and those jobs right here in our community.”

CIV-DDD is one of 21 projects funded by the Ontario Research Fund–Research Excellence program, which has provided almost $69.5 million to support more than 214 researchers in seven cities across Ontario. The Ontario Research Fund is a key part of the province’s Innovation Agenda, a $3.2 million strategy designed to move world-class research from the lab to the global marketplace in key areas such as life sciences, digital media, and green energy to ensure Ontario will be among the 21st Century’s winning economies. The Research Excellence program helps develop Ontario’s research talent while ensuring Ontario researchers have the operating funding they need to undertake world-leading projects.

For a full list of funded projects, visit MRI’s Web site.

About York University
York University is the leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada. York offers a modern, academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto, Canada’s most international city. The third largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic academic community of 50,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff, as well as 200,000 alumni worldwide. York’s 10 Faculties and 28 research centres conduct ambitious, groundbreaking research that is interdisciplinary, cutting across traditional academic boundaries. This distinctive and collaborative approach is preparing students for the future and bringing fresh insights and solutions to real-world challenges. York University is an autonomous, not-for-profit corporation.

About the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD)
The Ontario College of Art & Design ( is Canada’s “university of the imagination.” OCAD is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. The university is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinarity, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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For more information and images please contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer, OCAD
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

Elizabeth Monier-Williams, Research Communications, York University,
416 736 2100 x21069

Sean Billingsley, Faculty of Science and Engineering, York University,
416 736 2100 x22814

OCAD U’s President’s Speaker Series continues with a free workshop and talk by Lev Manovich

OCAD U’s President’s Speaker Series continues with a free workshop and talk by Lev Manovich
Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 5:00am

(Toronto—February 16, 2012) Dr. Sara Diamond, President of OCAD University (OCAD U) welcomes renowned digital culture theorist, data visualization artist and educator Lev Manovich on Friday, March 23. He will give a free practical workshop (2 to 5:30 p.m.) and lecture (6:45 p.m.) exploring the dynamic field of information and scientific visualization. Both events are open to everyone; (registration for the workshop is required).

A celebrated thinker, designer, digital media artist, and programmer, Lev Manovich is the publisher of several books, including The Language of New Media (The MIT Press, 2001), considered to be the first systematic and rigorous theory of new media to be published, and hailed as "the most suggestive and broad-ranging media history since Marshall McLuhan." His other publications include Software Takes Command (released under CC license, 2008) and Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database (The MIT Press, 2005).

In The Language of New Media, an accessible and insightful study, Manovich places digital media within the histories of visual and media cultures of the last few centuries. He discusses digital media's reliance on conventions of old media, such as the rectangular frame, and shows how digital media creates the illusion of reality and engage audiences. He also analyzes categories and forms unique to new media, such as the interface and database.

OCAD U President's Speaker Series:
Lev Manovich: "How to compare one million images? Visualizing patterns in
art, games, comics, cinema, web, and print media"

Friday, March 23, 6:45 p.m.

Manovich shares OCAD University's significant engagement with the growing field of information and scientific visualization and visual analytics. "The explosive growth of cultural content on the web including social media, and the digitization work by museums, libraries and companies, make possible a fundamentally new paradigm for the study of cultural content," says Manovich. "We can use computer-based techniques for data analysis and interactive visualization employed in sciences as well as the artistic techniques developed in media and digital art to analyze patterns and trends in massive visual data sets. We call this paradigm Cultural Analytics."

"In 2007 we established Software Studies Initiative at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and California Institute for Telecommunication and Information (CALIT2) to begin putting this vision into practice. I will show examples of our research including visualization of art, film, animation, video games, magazines, graphic design and other visual media. I will also discuss how working with massive cultural data sets — such as one million Manga pages — forces us to question most basic concepts of cultural analysis which we normally take for granted."

Workshop with Lev Manovitch
Friday, March 23, 2 to 5:30 p.m.

In 2007 Lev Manovich established the Software Studies Initiative to develop "Cultural Analytics" — intuitive visual techniques and software tools for exploring massive sets of cultural images and video in new ways. The examples of lab work include visualization of artistic development of van Gogh, Mondrian, Rothko and other artists; mapping the "design space" of variations in hundreds of Google logos; exploring visual languages of Manga by analyzing one million Manga pages; and many other projects which take on everything from motion graphics to 19th century American newspapers. The lab received grants from both National Science Foundation (NEH) and National Science Foundation, and its visualizations have been included in many exhibitions.

In this workshop Manovich will lead the participants though the number of the lab's project, discussing the methods and practical techniques which make them possible. Participants will be introduced to the powerful open source ImageJ digital image processing platform used in all these projects, and the lab's recently released free ImagePlot software.

Register for the workshop  (Free)

OCAD University - 135 Years of Imagination
Auditorium (both workshop and talk), 100 McCaul Street, Toronto
416-977-6000  |

Manovich is a Professor at the Visual Arts Department, University of California, San Diego (UCSD) where he teaches practical courses in digital art as well as history and theory of digital culture. He also founded and directs the Software Studies Initiative at California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (CALIT2), which facilitates work in the emerging field of software studies. The lab is also developing a new paradigm of Cultural Analytics: data mining and visualization of patterns in large cultural data sets. Manovich is also Visiting Research Professor at Goldsmith College (London, UK), De Montfort University (Leicester, UK) and College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia). Among Manovich's accomplishments is receipt of a National Endowment for the Arts Humanities High-Performance Computing grant (2008), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2002-2003), a Digital Cultures Fellowship from UC Santa Barbara (2002), a Fellowship from The Zentrum für Literaturforschung, Berlin (2002), and a Mellon Fellowship from Cal Arts (1995). His writings have been published in over thirty countries, and he has delivered more than 300 lectures, seminars and workshops around the world over the last ten years.

OCAD University (OCAD U): 135 Years of Imagination
OCAD University ( is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The university, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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Download this release as a PDF document.

For more information contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416-977-6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)