Eyeo 2015 Day 1 – Dear Data

The Eyeo crew changed things up a bit this year, using the Guthrie Theater as the opening night venue after a few years at Aria, which was bumped to Tuesday night (Day 2) this time around. Moving festivities to the Guthrie gave attendees a glimpse at this major venue and it’s footprint on the Mississippi River, while also taking Eyeo to the Mill District, another of Minneapolis reborn neighborhoods. Personally, it provided an opportunity to stroll a few new streets and put even more mileage on my already tired legs and feet.

Part of the beauty of Eyeo is the ability to chat with other attendees from around the globe who descend on Minneapolis each June, eager to learn and share. After exchanging pleasantries with a few folks, I had the good fortune to engage in a long conversation with Roman Verostko, one of the pioneers of algorithmic art, and a presenter at Eyeo 2014. Roman is a couple generations older than the typical Eyeo attendee, but retains a curiosity that I find both admirable and enviable. After talking about his art, Minneapolis evolution, Detroit (my town), and a host of other topics, we descended into the theater to learn more about Dear Data, a collaborative project from Eyeo regulars Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec.

The premise behind Dear Data is fascinating – a weekly exchange of postcards on a single topic. Given that both Lupi and Posavec are exceptional illustrators, the postcards were visually engaging, informative, and often downright hilarious. The topics included ‘a week of physical contacts’, ‘a week of complaints’, ‘a week of drinks’, and so on. The desire to learn more about one another served as the fuel for the project; the pair first met at Eyeo 2013, but live on different continents, and wanted to find a way to learn more about each other through this project. The presentation was fun and engaging while offering a window into their respective quirks, habits, and drawing styles.

As mentioned in a prior post, I love to eat and drink when I come to Eyeo, and this year is proving to be no exception. After meeting a friend for lunch at Dan Kelly’s (very good chicken pot pie), I later visited Freehouse, a brewpub in the hot North Loop district to sample some of their wares. From there it was a short walk to Black Sheep Pizza to grab one of my favorite pies on the planet – the olive, sausage, salami, and onion version, with beautifully charred edges courtesy of the coal-fired oven. Then on to the Guthrie, a nice little 1.2 mile walk to burn off some of the recently acquired calories.

All this activity had me too tired to stay for the entertaining Ignite sessions which followed the Dear Data talk, so I’ve had to hear about those second-hand. Feedback has been positive, especially for the ‘mayonnaise’ talk. I’ll have to wait for the video to see what everyone’s talking about. Next post will recap Day 2 – see you soon.

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Ken Cherven is the Founder and Curator of the Visual-Baseball.com website. He loves to merge baseball data with all sorts of visualization methods - charts, network graphs, maps, etc. to provide greater insight into underlying data patterns. Ken also authors books about baseball and visualization, and loves to listen to jazz while drinking some wine, craft beer, or bourbon.