Times Square is a busy environment, a heavily informed atmosphere, a liquid space if we follow japanese urban thinker Toyo Ito. On its South front, a sort of scattered signboard in a sort of continuous medium (environment) struggles to stand up among other fellow screens.
Different sets of panels attract people's attention. The challenge is to provide them with some order that would make them work as an ensemble. For that purpose, two strategies and three different (yet complimentary) areas are displayed. Basic data, facts, trends, are shockingly visualized, so conclusions are up to passers-by!
We believe it's not possible to reduce groundwater trends to only one indicator. The problem is too complex and the reasons for groundwater depletion are different. Our approach is therefore to combine a world-wide visualization of water mass changes with views zooming into different locations. In the world visualization it's possible to see that the fluctuations in water mass are a global issue while the local views help to give the problem a human scale.
Each time the 30 seconds motion graphic is displayed on the TS2 signs, a different area will be featured. People will be invited to interact with the sign by sending a sms including the choice of the location to be displayed.
On top of the sign, between the existing windows, several brief explanations slide from one side to the other. These will be text to catch the attention of the people passing by and to explain how to get more information on the issue.
A World map occupies the lower half of Sign 1. On it, water mass data provided for the entire World for the period 2002-2011 has been displayed, in order to come up with a suitable array of points that renders it more efficient perception-wise. These points vary according to the gains or loss of water, increasing their dimension and appearance and making the map a waving image. In orange, the featured region is highlighted and its trends shown in a bar graph above. This is the linking point between sets of signs.
These seven signs display local and more accurate information.
In signs 9, 8, 6 and 5, a loop of significant regions (where groundwater is a sensitive concern) are displayed in a slideshow. Maps of the regions, and some facts are shown on them.
Regions selected via sms are broadly analyzed in the vertical arrangement, starting with sign 7, where a map containing specific evidence and details initiates the sequence from bottom up that covers a broad range of information.
Sign 7 is followed upwards by sign 4, where striking pictures of how groundwater is managed, used or misused by different populations (either for basic needs or irresponsible politics) and the rewarding or controversial results of those actions are visible. Four different images are shown in 30-seconds loops.
Sign 3 finally shows an animation, scaling up the data from which the bar graphs come from. That is, showing the monthly groundwater gain and loss, represented in coordination with Sign 1 (where we can only see the resulting balance), showing therefore the same waving pulses.
As a somehow 'hidden' panel ensemble (with troublesome correlation to the rest of signs). This area works as a complementary display for the overall information. Here, awareness is focused on general facts and figures, more directly interpelation, by questioning, teasing or puzzling citizens.