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Dr. Collins to speak at ArtSci Salon: Data Imaginaries

Christopher Collins will be joining Graham Wakefield (Digital Media, York University) and Haru Ji (Sogang University) to discuss his visualization research in a unique art meets science collaborative event on November 19.

Some details are below and also on the ArtSci Salon website.

ArtSci Salon: Data Imaginaries

Graham Wakefield, Digital Media, York University
Haru Ji, Sogang University


Christopher Collins, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Thursday, November 19, 2015, 6:00-8:00 pm
Rm 230, The Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences,
222 College Street,Toronto



We often think of data as quantitative variables or as discrete pieces of information that bear little or no cultural significance in their assumed “raw” state. With the increasing digitalization of every aspect of today’s life, they have become crucial not only in understanding trends, behaviours, phenomena etc.., but also in initiating reflections on their very nature. A lot has been written about the politics and ethics involved in collecting data, and the ways in which data are endlessly and invisibly seized thanks to algorithms and technological devices. Conversely, little attention has been given to the creative processes employed, the artistry that goes into making them meaningful and, often, beautiful, or the conceptual reflections that data collection as an activity evokes. During this ArtSci Salon, we hope to instigate this latter aspect by presenting diverse, though ultimately converging perspectives and practices of artists Graham Wakefield and Haru Ji, and computer scientist Christopher Collins.


Artificial Nature is the artistic partnership of Haru Ji and Graham Wakefield ( exploring the subject of life and complex systems in art through artificial natures: a form of computational generative art creating artificial life ecosystems as immersive environments. Rather than representing nature as it appears, we aim to create an environment in the manner that nature works. It is an interdisciplinary art form linking the generative open-endedness of both biology and computation within aesthetic experience. Since 2008, A.N. have had over thirty-five exhibits across nine countries,including festivals such as SIGGRAPH (Yokohama), Microwave (Hong Kong), Digital Art Festival (Taipei), conferences such as ISEA (Singapore), and EvoWorkshops (Tubingen), and venues including La Gaite Lyrique (Paris), CAFA (Beijing) and City Hall (Seoul). It was awarded honorable mention in the international VIDA competition, 2014.

Christopher Collins ( is the Canada Research Chair in Linguistic Information Visualization and an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT).  His research focus is interdisciplinary, combining information visualization and human-computer interaction with natural language processing to address the challenges of information management and the problems of information overload.  His work has been published in many venues including IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, and has been featured in popular media such as the Toronto Star and the New York Times Magazine.  Dr. Collins received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Toronto.