Dietmar Offenhuber

Dietmar Offenhuber
Northeastern University | NEU · Department of Art and Design

PhD Urban Studies and Planning (MIT)

About

74
Publications
28,318
Reads
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628
Citations
Additional affiliations
December 2019 - January 2021
Princeton University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
September 2019 - present
Harvard University
Position
  • Associate Faculty
August 2014 - present
Northeastern University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Description
  • Dual appointment in School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs
Education
September 2009 - October 2013
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Field of study
  • Urban Studies and Planning
September 2006 - June 2008
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Field of study
  • Media Arts and Sciences (MIT Media Lab)
January 1993 - June 2002
TU Wien
Field of study
  • Architecture

Publications

Publications (74)
Book
Full-text available
Waste is material information. Landfills are detailed records of everyday consumption and behavior; much of what we know about the distant past we know from discarded objects unearthed by archaeologists and interpreted by historians. And yet the systems and infrastructures that process our waste often remain opaque. In this book, Dietmar Offenhuber...
Article
Full-text available
The interaction between environmental noise and the built environment is an often-neglected area in the practice of urban planning and design. Most quantitative research is limited to single value loudness metrics and ignores the more complex spatial nuances of the noisescape. Qualitative soundscape research, on the other hand, is difficult to gene...
Article
Full-text available
This article investigates the design and evolution of smart city platforms in the global south using the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Surabaya as case studies. While smart city projects are often framed in generic rhetoric of efficiency and modernization, the concept was originally formulated for cities in developed countries, and therefore req...
Article
Full-text available
Data physicalizations map data to physical form, yet many canonical examples are not based on external data sets. To address this contradiction, I argue that the practice of physicalization forces us to rethink traditional notions of data. This paper proposes a conceptual framework to examine how physicalizations relate to data. This paper develops...
Article
Full-text available
Information visualization limits itself, per definition, to the domain of symbolic information. This paper discusses arguments why the field should also consider forms of data that are not symbolically encoded, including physical traces and material indicators. Continuing a provocation presented by Pat Hanrahan in his 2004 IEEE Vis capstone address...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The DRS 2022 track 'Valuing the Qualitative in Design and Data' features eleven accepted papers on topics including visualisation and physicalisation of qualitative data, the use of materials in this context, practical applications in design and education, and applications in personal informatics. In this editorial, the track chairs introduce the t...
Preprint
Full-text available
It is human to want to touch artworks, to feel their surface curvature and texture, their shapes and structures, and to feel the hand of the artist. Museum guards need to be constantly vigilant to protect art objects from adoring and exploring touches by visitors. This paper introduces a novel technique for capturing where and how art objects are t...
Preprint
Full-text available
The paper presents the case study of BERLIN_LOKAL_ZEIT, a collaborative archive and exhibition project aiming to document and reflect individual experiences of the COVID-19 lockdowns in Berlin, Germany. What began as an observational effort in spring 2020became a year-long archive, exhibition, and broadcasting platform that generated various hyper-...
Chapter
Das Verhältnis von Gestaltung und Kommunikation wird heute neu befragt. Mit einem gesellschaftlichen Wandel entstehen neue Kommunikationsmedien, -kanäle, -räume und -systeme. Maschinen, Objekte, ja ganze Umgebungen werden zu eigenständigen Akteuren, die mit uns kommunizieren und auf diversen medialen Ebenen in Interaktion treten. Wie sind die Konte...
Article
Full-text available
We asked Dietmar Offenhuber for an interview upon investigating his recent works, Staubmarke (Dust mark) and Ozone Tattoo, which together suggest an artist with an insightful eye for injecting particulate data engagingly into art pieces that spur awareness in an audience. We were impressed by his deep considerations on the potential for scientific...
Preprint
Full-text available
Data physicalizations "map data to physical form," yet many canonical examples are not based on data sets. To address this contradiction, I argue that the practice of physicalization forces us to rethink traditional notions of data. This paper proposes a conceptual framework to examine how physicalizations relate to data. This paper develops a two-...
Chapter
Full-text available
Article
Full-text available
For means of communication, persuasion is a natural and critical part of conveying a message. Data visualizations, being means of communication themselves, are used as rhetorical instruments, but how they persuade has yet to be fully understood. Based on George Campbell’s rhetorical theory, this paper presents the results of an empirical study test...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We present two examples of autographic visualizations-displays based on material traces rather than digital data-that aim to make environmental pollution visible and legible. Using particulate matter and ground-level ozone pollution as case studies, this pictorial illustrates the design principles of creating autographic visualizations that make ph...
Preprint
Full-text available
Information visualization limits itself, per definition, to the domain of symbolic information. This paper discusses arguments why the field should also consider forms of data that are not symbolically encoded, including physical traces and material indicators. Continuing a provocation presented by Pat Hanrahan in his 2004 IEEE Vis capstone address...
Chapter
Full-text available
The urban planning discourse is increasingly shaped by technological concepts such as Smart Cities, the Open Data movement, or the Internet of Things. Technologies deployed at the urban scale by well-funded tech companies are already reshaping urban environments; ride-sharing platforms or the gig economy are leaving traces on the socio-economic fab...
Article
Multiple Sequence Alignments (MSAs) are a fundamental operation in genome analysis. However, MSA visualizations such as sequence logos and matrix representations have changed little since the nineties and are not well suited for displaying large-scale alignments. We propose a novel, web-based MSA visualization tool called NX4, which can handle geno...
Chapter
Learning management platforms are widely used in the courses in different levels. The goal of this research is to investigate the usability of the Blackboard platform a popular learning management platform. We use an eye-tracking method to investigate the usability of the platform. The analysis provided information about the points where students h...
Article
Full-text available
The ongoing Syrian civil war raises new cartographic challenges, including the ethical question of how the self-proclaimed Islamic State should be represented. Based on a comparative study, this article investigates the visual languages of IS sanctuary maps as published by news agencies, intelligence agencies, or circulated by the insurgents themse...
Article
Many nations seek to control or prevent the inflow of waste electronic and electrical equipment, but such flows are difficult to track due to undocumented, often illegal global trade in e-waste. We apply wireless GPS location trackers to this problem, detecting potential cases of non-compliant recycling operations in the United States as well as th...
Article
Infrastructure modernization is a central concern in many cities of the developing world. Local governments struggle to provide adequate public services under budgetary constraints and vast spatial and economic inequalities. After the demise of the centralized modernist planning paradigm, current approaches to urban development focus on public-priv...
Article
Full-text available
A central question for programs that involve constituents in the coproduction of government services is: what motivates constituents to participate? This study compares two perspectives on this question: the traditional public-as-citizen model treats participation as a function of a general civic disposition that extends to many forms of civic and...
Chapter
Full-text available
Urban Entropy by Dietmar Offenhuber, is an auditory display of complaining and repair, as on-going and necessary dynamics of the never-stable and continuously developing city. The installation reads out loud complaint letters to the local government of the city of Linz through speakers embedded in the façade of the Ars Electronica Center. The compl...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The Internet of Things has complicated the network of relationships behind both the physical and digital urban infrastruc- tures we use everyday and it raises new questions of ownership, governance and control. Dietmar Offenhuber proposes an accountability-oriented design approach, which calls attention to issues of gover- nance through the design...
Chapter
Full-text available
Contemporary cultures of ubiquitous computing have given rise to new way of interacting with digital information through embodied, ambient, contextual, performative means. Yet the way we visualize information still largely follows the logic of flat media. Data visualizations typically rely on symbolic languages found in charts, maps, or conceptual...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Informal waste collectors can provide recycling services to developing cities, while cities seek better data collection and stewardship of their waste systems. Mobile applications can mediate this relationship, but must be accessible and adopted by informal workers. Based on past work with recycling cooperatives in Brazil, we built and tested Forag...
Book
The MIT based SENSEable City Lab under Carlo Ratti is one of the research centers that deal with the flow of people and goods, but also of refuse that moves around the world. Experience with large-scale infrastructure projects suggest that more complex and above all flexible answers must be sought to questions of transportation or disposal. This ed...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Digital platforms such as smartphones can enable a richer dialogue between the general population and urban maintenance services in real time. Data dashboards may help officials and companies manage urban operations, but often lack relevance, accessibility, or actionability when presented publicly. We review the history of urban dashboards and 311...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
To what extent can information be successfully communicated through a media façade and what are the relevant parameters? In this paper, we focus on the issue of information design for media façades, which is not often discussed separately. As a thought experiment, we propose homing in on this topic as a core domain for the deployment of low-resolut...
Article
Full-text available
This dissertation investigates practices of participatory infrastructure monitoring and their implications for the governance of urban infrastructure services. By introducing the concept of infrastructure legibility, the three essays of this dissertation investigate ways to make waste systems and their governance more legible: its formal structure,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The relationship between emerging disciplines focusing on 'Big Data' and Urban Planning research has not always been an easy one. In the recent decade, new data-intense methods of inquiry have taken shape and are rapidly gaining influence on the studies of cities and social systems, yet (sometimes fundamental) differences and tensions remain around...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Informal urban infrastructures are a challenging environment for participatory design, both from an organizational and technical perspective. In this paper we reflect on a recent research project involving participatory sensing and design of participatory technologies for informal recycling cooperatives. We collaborated with COOPAMARE, a cooperativ...
Article
Full-text available
During the past decade, most large US cities have implemented non-emergency incident reporting systems via telephone helplines, websites and more recently, mobile applications. Using data from systems operating in the larger Boston area, and spatial and grounded theory analysis of submitted reports, this article investigates the role of design in s...
Conference Paper
Building on top of an experiment in tracking the movement of trash, we tested whether viewing this sensor data would change peoples' sustainability attitudes and behaviors. We showed subjects real-time maps of trash tagged with networked GPS sensors, and surveyed them before and after seeing this information. Our results show that subjects did not...
Book
A growing part of the public is concerned about cities being designed and governed in a responsible way. In the contemporary information society, however, the democratic obligation of the citizens to inform themselves thoroughly, so that they can participate in public affairs has become impossible to fulfill. Rather than submitting to the opinions...
Article
Full-text available
Pervasive computing technologies are becoming an integral part of contemporary life and an invaluable tool for research scholars all over the world. Increasingly, software engineers are witnessing real-world deployments of technologies such as sensor networks, GPS tracking devices, and RFID in such diverse domains as transportation, tourism, urban...
Article
New technologies allow for new ways to sense the city. Thinking of urban data as substance, this paper criticises a certain approach in dealing with urban-related data analysis when it comes to identifying certain patterns and deriving narratives based on these patterns. In this approach, coined here as the 'big data' approach, having access to lar...
Article
Full-text available
Waste and recycling systems are complex and far-reaching, but its mechanisms are poorly understood by the public, in some cases government organizations and even the waste management sector itself. The lack of empirical data makes it challenging to assess the environmental impact of trash collection, removal and disposal. This is especially the cas...
Book
The mental image of the city has become complex. Since mobile phones have become geo-social devices, location-based data is increasingly shaping the way we experience public space. Until recently, the physical and the virtual spaces have been separate domains, now they are tightly packed together into what Malcolm McCullough calls the Ambient Commo...
Article
Full-text available
This article investigates the social structures reflected in the annual jury sessions of the Prix Ars Electronica, a major media art competition—the composition, the temporal evolution and ultimately the decisions of these juries. The author focuses on three different structures: the network of co-jurors across different categories and years, the c...
Article
Full-text available
Problem, research strategy, and findings: Reliable information on trash disposal is crucial but becomes difficult as waste removal chains grow increasingly complex. Lack of firm data on the spatial behavior of waste hampers effective recycling strategy design. In particular, the environmental impact of electronic and household hazardous waste is po...
Article
Full-text available
Problem, research strategy, and findings: Reliable information on trash disposal is crucial but becomes difficult as waste removal chains grow increasingly complex. Lack of firm data on the spatial behavior of waste hampers effective recycling strategy design. In particular, the environmental impact of electronic and household hazardous waste is po...
Chapter
Full-text available
logy llection is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the relationship between in the next twenty years. The rich mix of approaches begins to define a field for understanding nedia that is emerging out of ubiquitous computing." sor, Digital C ultures Research Centre, University of the West of England ditations on what it is to be a bo...
Article
Full-text available
With the recent emergence of a wide range of information displays that reach beyond the traditional graphics-based computer screen, it seems that the original definition of ambient display, and its focus on user attention and aesthetics, has become diluted. Instead, we propose a taxonomy of alternative information displays that is mainly based on c...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental sustainability and energy management are increasingly critical issues in people's lives and their livelihood. New and rapidly evolving tracking technologies are major tools for addressing these challenges because they provide visibility to the otherwise hidden processes of everyday infrastructures such as those involving waste removal...
Chapter
Full-text available
The ideal state of urban infrastructure is invisibility. Infrastructure takes vast coordinated efforts to establish and maintain, but once in operation, we quickly learn to forget that it exists. Infrastructure systems are taken for granted and treated as a black box, as Steve Hinchliffe explains: black boxes are "settled items whose users and coll...
Chapter
With the recent emergence of a wide range of information displays that reach beyond the traditional graphics-based computer screen, it seems that the original definition of ambient display, and its focus on user attention and aesthetics, has become diluted. Instead, we propose a taxonomy of alternative information displays that is mainly based on c...
Article
Full-text available
The discourse on information visualization often remains limited to the exploratory function — its potential for discovering patterns in the data. However, visual representations also have a rhetorical function: they demonstrate, persuade, and facilitate communication. In observing how visualization is used in presentations and discussions, I ofte...
Article
Full-text available
With the recent emergence of a wide range of information displays that reach beyond the traditional graphics-based computer screen, it seems that the original definition of ambient display, and its focus on user attention and aesthetics, has become diluted. Instead, we propose a taxonomy of alternative information displays that is mainly based on c...
Chapter
From media art archeology to contemporary interaction design - the term interface culture is based on a vivid and ongoing discourse in the fields of interactive art, interaction design, game design, tangible interfaces, auditory interfaces, fashionable technologies, wearable devices, intelligent ambiences, sensor technologies, telecommunication and...
Article
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, 2008. Page 76 blank. Includes bibliographical references (p. 72-75). The ability to create an unlimited number of identical copies is a privilege of digital documents. What if that would not be the case, if each copy of a d...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents contextual strategies for staging ambient interfaces in public space. While ambient displays are often treated and evaluated as solitary objects in existing literature, I will argue that the experience of an ambient display is not determined in the first place by its intrinsic qualities, but essentially by the way how it is situ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This sketch presents Dewy, a display surface of 'pixelized' condensation, creating images, patterns and text out of the process of the physical state change of water. Dewy works like a spatially controlled fogged window, one that can communicate back to you, conveying information through a slow and subtle means. In developing Dewy, we have been mot...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper we introduce a novel interface for exploring dynamic equilibria using the metaphor of a traditional balance scale. Rather than comparing and identifying physical weight, our scale can be used for contrasting digital data in different domains. We do this by assigning virtual weight to objects, which physically affects the scale. Our go...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Moviemaps are spatialised movies, allowing the user to interactively travel through the film-space of a prerecorded sequence. The topic was introduced by M. Naimark and has been addressed in many interactive artworks. This sketch presents a different approach and new possibilities for the creation of moviemaps.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This web3d project explores how the concept of non-linear space -- that is space structured by relative units -- can be used in VR and architecture. It offers a dynamic view on Los Angeles' structure, radically different from usual architectural representations.
Conference Paper
Article
Full-text available
Abstract With over 170 million users, MySpace is the currently the most popular social networking site, reaching the status of a mass,medium,on its own. The range of users spans high school students to fan clubs, gourmet, games, and investor groups. We thus have many communities, each with

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