Par g.cliquet, le 19 mai 2008

dataquarium is an experiment conducted in 2007 by two interaction design students as part of the datatainment project.

This study was centered on the “Campus” of L’École de design Nantes Atlantique, an intranet centralizing several online services, sustaining the cohesion of all our pedagogical activities: webmail, planning, phonebook, project follow-up, further teaching material, photo gallery… and a public instant messaging application, the “Mégaphone,” which is quite popular among our students. The Campus has now become absolutely indispensable and brings together the activities of over 700 students, teachers and coordinators. It is visited by an average number of 250 users a day.

The dataquarium installation was developed as an exhibition in the entrance hall of l’Ecole de design Nantes Atlantique, in the form of a fish tank (aquarium). This first experiment aims to help us visualize in real-time the incoming and outgoing data flow from our intranet (, and to provide a metaphorical virtual representation of its users. The environment (setting and flora) is dynamically generated according to daily stats relating to the number of users visiting the website of l’École de Design Nantes Atlantique (, the bandwidth used, incoming and outgoing e-mails. Users connected to the intranet move about in the shape of three different varieties of fish attributed to three different types of users: students are represented by butterfly fish, professors and coordinators by clown fish and… a hypothetical caretaker – the Managing Director of l’Ecole de design Nantes Atlantique (?!) – appears as a Henochius fish.

These short texts coming from the “Mégaphone” or from the text message area (as far as the on-line version is concerned) gradually crumble to pieces on which this virtual aquatic fauna then feeds.
The fish behave in a randomly autonomous way. Doted with a text message area, the online version enables users to send information so as to command their avatar to perform such or such action within the aquarium (speed, slow…).
Finally, thanks to a management-console-like interface, users are free to modify their personal data (e-mail, website Url) and to customize the default texture of their fish (bitmap format image). The “W” key is used to display/hide the name of the fish and the “Z” key enables users to shift the camera view angle and zoom on the fish.

Illustration of the dataquarium as installation and as website :
dataquarium as installationand website

Online version :
Dataquarium was made by Diane Faidy and Julien Dumail in collaboration with Gregoire Cliquet

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