Canada Council Visualization: Training for visual analysis of complicated data

The Canada Council for the Arts engaged researchers from OCAD’s Visual Analytics Lab to meet a need for the visual analysis of complicated data from various industries, including the Canada Council’s Open Data set, the CADAC data set, and Parliamentary appropriation tables.

Researchers met with Canada Council staff to identify key challenges and gain an understanding of the user group that the visual analytics approach would first serve. They defined co-dependencies of this user group and, working closely with Canada Council employees, developed an appropriate approach to visualizing the various data sets.

A key component of this collaboration was the training of Canada Council employees in the methodologies and applications of data visualization.

This project culminated in the creation of a web-based interface and methods to guide users in exploring and gaining valuable information from the visual representations of grant allocation data.

See the data visualization tool in action on the Canada Council's website.


Canada Council for the Arts dashboard
Canada Council for the Arts dashboard
Canada Council for the Arts Logo
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 12:15pm
Lab Member: 
Dr. Sara Diamond
Dr. Ana Jofre
Afrooz Samaei
Marcus A. Gordon

Expanded Context: Black Canadian Curators at the 56th Venice Biennale

Expanded Context: Black Canadian Curators at the 56th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale 2015 was a forum which brought together black Canadian curators and critics at the 56th Venice Biennale in order to build transnational networks and promote black Canadian visual art. The forum sought to ameliorate the invisibility of the works of black Canadian artists, curators, and critics within the international sphere.

The goals of Expanded Context: Black Canadian Curators at the 56th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale 2015 were as follows:

  • To foster greater awareness, understanding and opportunities for partnerships and collaborations between culturally diverse curators and the visual arts establishment, negotiating progression pathways for the new generation of leaders in visual arts.
  • To promote Canadian black artists and develop an engaging dialogue between Canadian art and the international stage
  • To allow Black curators a space for critical reflection, research, dialogue, experimentation, and exchange
  • To provide access to ideas, artists, and artworks that can be developed for curatorial research
  • To develop partnerships for future exhibition opportunities

Expanded Context: Black Canadians Curators at the 56th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale 2015 was a unique professional development opportunity for Black Canadian curators and critics. It was a two-day gathering (held May 7th and May 8th, 2015) which addressed the politics and practice of curatorship in a globalized world.

The program of engagement included networking meetings and interviews with artists, curators, gallerists and collectors, as well as the opportunity to visit Biennale exhibitions and collateral events. The participation of Black curators and critics at the 56th Venice Biennale served to correct the visible absence of Black Canadian curators at key international arts events. The Expanded Context project provided an international platform for connecting Black Canadian curators, and created a global forum for these professionals to share projects and initiatives.

Participants included: Julie Crooks, Pamela Edmonds, Andrea Fatona, Sally Frater, Dominique Fontaine, Gaetane Verna, Camille Turner, Rinaldo Walcott.

Participants were selected from the group of curators and academics who attended the State of Blackness : From Production to Presentation conference. Keynote speakers included curators Bisi Silva and David Bailey

This project has been the subject of an article, “Questioning Citizenship at the Venice Biennale: Responses and Interventions” in C Magazine, Issue 128, and a podcast, "New Point of View at the Venice Art Biennale" by Fresh Arts International, Fresh Talk Series.

Other Resources:
The State of Blackness Website
 The State of Blackness on Youtube

  • We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.
  • Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.


The State of Blackness Logo - text and a gradient in stacked rectangles from black to gray
Canada Council for the Arts logo
Ontario Arts Council Logo
Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - 10:45am
Lab Member: 
Andrea Fatona

Measured Mile

This research is an exploration of the technology and strategies required for large scale audio mesh networks for eventual use in interactive, locative audio art installations. The use of wireless transmitters coupled with Arduino microcontrollers and sound generation and playback, as well as geolocation will be explored for the development of an extensible, modular network. 

Iteration 1

One Xbee attached to a computer running Processing serves a a coordinator, sending playback commands to several Arduinos with WaveShieds from Adafruit. Processing requires Andrew Rapp's Xbee API and the Arduinos use his Xbee Arduino. The Xbees are Series 2 in API mode. The WaveShields use SD cads (8 Gig, FAT32, fomatted with Mac Disk Utility) to store the audio files in WAV format (mono, 44 kHz, 16 bit).

Sample Processing 2.0 and Arduino code here

Iteration 2

The viewer's location is used to determine sound playback. An iOS App created in PhoneGap 3.1 and Xcode sends location information to a web based database. Processing queries the database for the latest user locations. (This hack elimates the need for a web service running on the controller computer running Processing and issues around getting a static, public IP address.)

Assumes you've got a local web server with PHP and MySQL. (Setting in your Apache config file may need to be adjusted to connect to clients other than 'localhost'.) I've configured a local database table with fields: user, long, lat, id and time.

A whitelist setting needs to be made to one of your config.xml files in your PhoneGap / Xcode project to be able to connect to jQuery remotely.

Sample PhoneGap (Xcode), Processing and PHP files here

Shea, Geoffrey and Alan Boulton. Telegraph: Transmission in a streetscape audio artwork. Trans-X Symposium, Toronto, 2012.

Rendered image of the measured mile.
Sunday, March 3, 2013 - 4:30pm
Lab Member: 
Geoffrey Shea
Alan Boulton