Jer Thorp

Jer is a generative software artist and educator from Vancouver, Canada, currently living in New York. A former geneticist, his work explores the boundaries between science, mathematics, and art using custom-written computer programs.

Thorp is currently Data Artist-in-Residence at The New York Times, the first Artist-in-Residence at the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) of NYU, and a contributing editor for Wired UK. His award-winning software-based work has been exhibited internationally.

Session: New York, New York

In this presentation, Jer will dive deep into two large-scale projects he has worked on over the last year in New York City. First, he'll talk about Project Cascade, a real-time analytic tool built to examine how New York Times content is shared through Twitter. Second, he'll discuss his work designing a name arrangement algorithm for the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan. He'll walk through collaborative processes, admit to a series of spectacular failures and ultimately show how custom software tools can be made to solve extraordinary problems.

Panel: Auto/biography: Data, Identity and Narrative

Identity has long been intertwined with key fragments of information: social insurance and credit card numbers, a current address, a passport and driver’s license, etc. While diary keeping may seem quaint and antiquated, the computation that drives contemporary culture has engendered a new era of pervasive surveillance where almost every discrete act/transaction/waypoint is logged on a server somewhere. In this session we will don our optimist glasses and discuss how ubiquitous data is inspiring new approaches for articulating autobiography, personal trajectories and neighbourhood narratives. The federal government distills your essence down to a census form, and Citibank might think of you as a set of purchase patterns - how can we co-opt and critically engage these approaches through visualization and mapping? More importantly: what can we learn about ourselves?

Class: Data Viz 101 – Getting Started with Data Visualization

Jer and Wes will discuss the process of visualizing data. How to collect data, analyze it, and ultimately work with it to create visualizations, are the key points of focus in this class. This class is geared for anyone new to data visualization or those with experience who'd like to brush up on their skills. While no previous programming experience is required, to fully participate in the class, you should have Processing 1.5 or later installed. Download it at

Class: Data Viz 201 - Tips and Techniques in Visualizing Data

Jer, Wes and Moritz will discuss the process in visualizing data. They'll share some creative tips, techniques and tools they commonly use to visualize data. This workshop is for anyone interested in a more advanced creative and technical process of visualizing data. Any tools (i.e. Processing) or downloadable source content associated with the class will be posted here beforehand.