Home > Uncategorized > web application for re-imag(in)ing timelines

web application for re-imag(in)ing timelines

The paper attached on “continuum,” a web application that can be implemented as a javascript widget embedded in a web page and fed with data from the developer/designers’ chosen source files, explores a possible solution to some of the difficulties inherent in visually representing complex spatial and temporal relationships, especially on a web platform.  The limitations of the web have been the source of much lamentation by many artists, designers, developers, scientists, and users in general and has led to many offline applications and digital art (as described by John Klima in an interview available on rhizome.org).  The continuum developers explore other developers’ attempts at representing time in new and more dynamic ways, as well as laying out the difficulties, both technical and philosophical, inherent in constructing these representations.

This introduction to their paper begins with the following:

Temporal events, while often discrete, also have interesting relationships within and across times: larger events are often collections of smaller more discrete events (bat- tles within wars; artists’ works within a form); events at one point also have correlations with events at other points (a play written in one period is related to its per- formance, or lack of performance, over a period of time). Most temporal visualisations, however, only represent discrete data points or single data types along a single timeline: this event started here and ended there; this work was published at this time; this tag was popular for this period. In order to represent richer, faceted attributes of temporal events, we present Continuum. Continuum enables hierarchical relationships in temporal data to be represented and explored; it enables relationships be- tween events across periods to be expressed, and in particular it enables user-determined control over the level of detail of any facet of interest so that the person using the system can determine a focus point, no matter the level of zoom over the temporal space.

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