Transforming Human Data Into Lively Interactive Visuals

Led by Behalf Studio, the talk “An Unserious Visualisation of Human Data” on December 03 attracted numerous young people in the creative design industry. During the 60-minute practice talk, Behalf Studio shared their process of developing the personas in VFCD 2023 key visuals, and their series of design projects based on “unserious” data. 

We humans are like walking databases, encompassing data ranging from concrete specifics like age and heart rate to subjective aspects like behaviour and preferences. Our identities are shaped by both assigned details, like citizenship ID, and personal expressions that show our reactions in various situations. Human data is dynamic, marked by fluctuations and inconsistencies that define our individuality. As we often hear, data is the new oil. Our data has been extensively mined by organisations and corporations over the years. The advent of AI has only intensified this process.

Through the lens of a creative, Behalf Studio approaches human data with a focus on data visualisation, transforming this data into lively interactive visuals. Behalf explored “unserious” data – data that does not contain personal information such as age, gender, phone numbers, or email addresses of individuals, which are sensitive pieces of information that can be easily exploited for commercial purposes. 

Behalf Studio first made use of this “unserious” data in the project Typography as Landmark. Data from images posted on Instagram with the hashtags #chobenthanh and #benthanhmarket was encoded into abstract and layered artworks with creative effects representing real-time weather and time at the moment the photos were taken. The project received a positive response from many young people on social media during Covid-19.

For VFCD 2023 key visuals, Behalf created the personas with a set of existing geometric shapes, which were then combined using the results of a fun five-question quiz. Each participant responded to the questions, not necessarily with the correct answers, but to select the characteristics and features to assemble their very own persona. Afterwards, a device called Azure Kinect captured and recreated the movement of each person.

Behalf’s process of transforming human data into interactive visuals was divided into three major phases: Concept, Design and Coding. Each stage was carried out sequentially and was strongly interconnected, complementing each other. 

The initial stage of developing the concept was perhaps the most time-consuming and intensive phase for the team. It requires extensive reading, referencing and research with a vast amount of knowledge and information, which was then narrowed down, selected and condensed into 05 fun quiz questions. The responses become the basis for the mission of the subsequent phase: designing the components of the personas. 

Based on their research results in the concept stage, Behalf built a design set in which the answer to each question corresponds to a specific body part of the persona. At last, in the coding stage, these different components are assembled based on the participant’s response. By answering the quiz questions, the participant directly interacts to create their very own persona. And, most personas are unique unless two participants have identical sets of answers.

Behalf said that their team faced numerous challenges during the development of VFCD 2023 key visuals, such as their lack of knowledge in 3D designing and selecting questions and answers that were entertaining and not daunting. However, the team learned tremendously in a short period of time and received support as well as positive responses from VFCD organisers.

Ending the talk, Behalf Studio invited the audience to ask questions, discuss and experience the personas first-hand at the exhibition Mind & Machine./ 


Chii Nguyễn