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Make Data Work
Sept 29–Oct 1, 2015 • New York, NY

Virtual reality: From immersive visualization to data-driven narrative

Hugh McGrory (datavized)
5:25pm–6:05pm Wednesday, 09/30/2015
Average rating: **...
(2.89, 9 ratings)

Data is all science, no art. Think of a film that inspired or moved you. Now imagine the filmmaker decided that instead of making the film, they would present the material to you in the form of a graph or a chart. That’s where we are with data. Data collection and analysis needs scientists. Data visualization needs artists. The communication of insights from data needs storytellers. It’s all about mindset, perspective and point-of-view.

Virtual Reality headsets turn a smartphone into a fully immersive cinematic display. The technology is improving steadily while the costs are declining. A VR display allows a user to experience the world of data from the inside, haptics (or other inputs) enable fluid interaction and navigation, and the phenomenon of presence can be used to examine complex human experiences such as empathy.

If we want to unlock the full potential of data we need to welcome different perspectives. Innovation happens when things that are separate get mixed.

Photo of Hugh McGrory

Hugh McGrory


Hugh McGrory brings expertise in film production, art, and technology to the world of immersive media. He was a partner at Culture Shock, consulting for clients including The National Film Board of Canada. In 2011 Hugh brought the partners together to create The Andy Warhol Film Digitization Project, featuring over 500 films by Warhol, developed in collaboration with The Moving Picture Company and Technicolor and described in the New York Times as “the largest effort to digitize the work of a single artist in MoMA’s collection.”

Hugh grew up in Derry, Northern Ireland. He co-founded the Belfast-based studio in 2000 with an Ars Electronica-winning generative animation coder, was executive producer for the Northern Ireland Screen / UK Film Council ‘Deviate’ short film scheme, a teaching fellow at The Queen’s University of Belfast Film Studies Department, film acting tutor at The Gaiety School / National Theater School of Ireland, and was an award-winning director and producer of experimental films. He completed a Nano Imaging Residency with the CINEMA Microscopy Lab at Yale University School of Medicine in 2007.