Variations / Variantes is an interface to a database containing about 25,000 images, 80,000 GPS data points, and hourly weather data from 3 local stations. Data was collected over a 15-month period between January 2002 and March 2003. The images were captured once each minute while cycling using a digital camera using a time-lapse mode.
Variations / Variantes prompts audience members to explore ideas of place from the seat of a bicycle. Taking its cue from my experience as a year-round, all-weather cyclist, the interface provides ways of navigating through different dimensions that reflect experiences of place. In this piece place refers not only to position but also to temperature, wind, and speed. A cyclists' experience of place relates not only to location in space (position) but also to bicycle speed, wind speed, and temperature among others. While riding, one is in a certain place when traveling at 50 km/hr, riding in to a 30 km/hr headwind, or riding when the temperature is 10C.
The layout of the interface takes its cue from Photoshop's Variations dialog. This dialog allows users to explore an image manipulation space along axes of colour variation (red, yellow, green, and brightness). Variations / Variante is a more general application of navigation through a multi-dimensional dataspace. Axes of exploration are: position, wind speed, temperature, and bicycle speed. Audience members explore interrelationships between places by selecting a dimension to explore while other dimensions are held relatively constant. Travel through the dataspace melds together experiences that cross through day and night, road and off-road, solo and group riding, a variety of weather conditions, and all four seasons.
When an audience member clicks OK, the journey through the dataspace ends with a final enlarged image. Parallel to the cycling experience, the end is an anticlimax. It is the ecstasy of the journey one longs for.