• Our Mission

    What if we could unfold data, or slice it down the middle, or turn it inside out?

    The Center for Data Arts develops new tools to interact with data, new language to discuss it, and new metaphors to make sense of it. We strive to tell data’s stories with both rigorous accuracy and emotional resonance, empowering individuals to harness the meaning and power of large-scale data and computation.

    The Center for Data Arts addresses fundamental questions: What and how do we learn from data? What cognitive and sensory technologies can help us grasp and feel the fabric of information around us?  

    Using advanced realtime graphics, immersive physical environments, and virtual reality, we aim to fluidly integrate data with our sensory perception of the world. Our practice redefines data visualization to include sound, touch, space, and motion, along with interaction and simulation, resulting in expressive multi-sensory data narratives that make the most of our human perceptual and cognitive strengths.

    An investigative and trans-disciplinary approach

    Data is never self-contained; it comes into existence only when someone expends resources to gather and record it, and it’s meaning is inextricable from its context. Faced with a specific situation, such as an intensive care unit, a family home, or a trading floor, we seek to understand how information enters and flows through the environment in question. At every point, we examine who is controlling the collection of data, the access to it, how it is used, and we observe the ways cultural, economic, and institutional forces may affect both the data and the decisions it drives.

    Studying data in context requires a transdisciplinary approach. As an independent center within The New School, CDA is uniquely positioned to leverage diverse expertise and energy from every part of the university, creating opportunities for a one-of-a-kind collaborations and encouraging new hybrid practices among students, faculty, and industry professionals.

    Our project teams also draw talent from the New School’s exceptionally strong programs in anthropology, economics, journalism, strategic design, music, cognitive science, and public policy, among many others. And of course CDA looks to Parsons, The New School’s art and design division, for product and interface designers, architects, urban planners, graphic artists, writers, fashion designers, and other creative practitioners whose fields are being revolutionized by data.

    A critical posture

    The Center encourages a creative tension between radical innovation and critical perspective toward emerging data practices. We are committed to active and mindful engagement with the political, legal, and ethical concerns around information technology, including data rights, privacy, ownership, and control.

    The New School’s history establishes it as the vital heart of New York’s intellectual avant garde. Building on that foundation, the Center for Data Arts functions as a creative and intellectual hub for the study of information systems in society and in our personal experience. The center draws on the incredible diversity of The New School community to set new standards of excellence for creativity and critical thinking in data research, information design, media art, and technological innovation.

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