NEW YOARK - Augmenting Diversity

NEW YOARK is an experiential mobile app to explore the urban city vibe based on the mapping between Top 20 Foreign-born Population vs. Top 20 Most Spoken Languages in NYC (using 2011 dataset). It explores augmented reality as a live direct view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated visuals accompanied by real voices of New Yorkers.


My entire concept is based on the notion of New York as a melting pot, where people from all over the world came together and blend into the city and create their own community neighborhoods, for example Chinatown, Koreatown, Little italy, etc. So I did some research, and based on the American Community Survey in 2011, I created this data visualization that shows a mapping between the Foreign-born population vs the Most Spoken Languages in New York. As you can see here, JUST 51% or around almost 4 millions people speaks only English at home. And for example Spanish — it’s not only spoken by Mexican but also Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Colombia, and El Salvador.

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Having lived here in NY for almost a year, I realized that we’re always surrounded by tall buildings & beautiful skylines. But the underlining here is that: the ARCHITECTURE DOES NOT REPRESENT THE INHABITANTS OF THE CITY, those buildings doesn’t show the diversity of the city. I was inspired by this painting by a British artist named Nick Walker, who depicts the multicultural faces of NYC through colorful paint that seems like it’s melting from the top of the building.

From the data shown at previous chart, I created a color palette based on the flag colors on countries that speaks the same language, and these color palettes will be used as a visual guidelines in this whole project.


So here goes NEW YOARK, which is basically an AR application that highlights the diversity of New York by combining multi-sensory aspects such as colorful visuals that represents the city’s urban vibe, as well as accompanying audio from real New Yorkers from different background. The goal is for the users to be immersed in experiencing NY’s diversity.

The way it works is that you can double tap on each screen to advance to the next language, based on the Top 20 Most Spoken Language in NYC. The first screen by default shows English audio and all the possible color combination from the palette, and as you double tap it navigates through the next language, for example Spanish, then Chinese, Russian, etc.

Technology used: OpenFrameworks 0.8.4 for iOS, specifically Contour Tracking & Blob Detection - ofxOpenCV, Generative Mesh & Triangulation - ofxTriangle, GLSL Shader, Native Objetive-C for interface integration.


In addition, below is a video footage of NEW YOARK at #MajorMajorShow, a studio exhibition for Spring 2015 MFADT Parsons School of Design which falls the same day as Mother's Day (05/10/15). This includes a postcard installation where people can write their own message to their mom and at the same time, use the postcard wall to augment buildings using the app. Thanks to everyone who participate!

NEW YOARK showcased at   NYC Media Lab 2015  .

NEW YOARK showcased at NYC Media Lab 2015.

It gets pretty addictive for selfie-art too. 

It gets pretty addictive for selfie-art too.