Exploring Art, Exploring Data

I watched an interesting Ted Talk the other night. Artist and comedian Ursus Wehrli shared his vision of a more organized and tidier form of modern art. To create balance from chaos, he organized art to make sense out of it for himself and others. He accomplished this by stacking the parts up neatly, altering nothing but the original’s spatial arrangement of those elements.

By re-arranging data elements the spectator sees a new clarity. Granted, the re-arranged art no longer looks like the original, so its message comes across differently. We no longer see the face but the elemental shapes in a more structured format. I was amazed how a small change to the arrangement dramatically changes our view. We could refer to this as Art Intelligence. The new picture looks like a bar graph.

This is similar to data analysis. We separate the data elements and re-arrange them in a way that makes sense to us. Ursus Wehrli discovered that the green elements were primarily squares with one circle. This may not be important to you and me but this may not have been discovered if the art was analyzed strictly in its original form.

It is difficult to predict what questions will arise when end users start exploring data. Business intelligence tools make it easy for the analyst to remix and re-arrange data in new and different views. The results:

  • Provide a deeper understanding of the data
  • Give clarity to groups of data by separating out the data elements
  • Eliminate data elements that are not related to the data group
  • Change the view of the data to enlighten the end user

When the data looks like chaos, Business Intelligence can encourage discovery that deepens understanding, eliminates the noise and enlightens the enterprise.

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