Art & Code: An Analog Data-Driven Installation

My fellow ‘Hack Oregonian’ Adrienne Tilley and I wanted to build an analog data visualization inside the Hack Oregon headquarters to 1) learn more about our fellow, now 200+, other volunteers, 2) get volunteers involved in a fun and easy project and 3) spruce up the warehouse-like interior. 

Luckily for me, Adrienne already had experience building something that met all these goals – a string-powered data-driven installation. She found this amazing installation and we wanted to adapt the concept for Hack Oregon. The concept is to have a small set of question represented by a column of nails and each nail in the column represents the answer to the questions.

We held a workshop to will decide what data points we wanted to collect from volunteers and visitors and then we all build it, adding our own strings to get it started.

The questions we went with:

  • Why did you volunteer with Hack Oregon?
  • What skills do you hope to learn?
  • What's your current role with Hack Oregon?
  • Do you with this was your day job?

Some takeaways:

  • Hammer into a sturdy surface! If the nail wiggles at all in the wall, there will be trouble.
  • Use nails with fat heads! The string may slip off if you get too many strings on one nail.
  • Use at least 1.5 inch nails! More real estate for more strings.