What our Numbers Don’t Show: the Story of Data Misinterpretation What our Numbers Don’t Show: the Story of Data Misinterpretation What our Numbers Don’t Show: the Story of Data Misinterpretation









Illegal Animal Kept as PetsStreet Tree CensusToilets in Public Parks

Mathura Govindarajan Davíd Lockard

How can we make sure we are interpreting our data in ways that help us truly understand what’s going on in our city?


This installation uses data to tell a story about how we tell our stories.

An interactive, freestanding physical station, it humorously ‘misuses’ several NYC municipal datasets to illustrate ways in which data is commonly misinterpreted. By presenting the audience with a series of blatantly absurd deductions based on valid data, as well as an explanation of the methodological errors involved, it provides the audience with an introduction to key concepts of data analysis such as correlation vs. causation, bias, overfitting, and statistical anomalies. By employing tangible interaction, engaging humor and a clear, welcoming interface, we seek to encourage visitors to listen closely to how the stories we are told (and tell ourselves) about the city and the people in it are constructed - as well as the importance of maintaining a critical view toward these stories.

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Photo Credit: Samantha Hyatt





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Mathura Govindarajan

Mathura is currently a research fellow and creative technologist at the interactive telecommunication program at NYU. She has a bachelor's in electronics engineering from India where she worked in finance tech before moving to NY for her masters. Her current work includes multiple projects like 'India by Numbers', a visualization of India's colonial history and Peblio - a startup working on creating an online web platform for CS education. In her free time she loves to draw maps, have coffee and meet cats!



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Davíd Lockard

Davíd is a Jerusalem-born designer. His recent projects involve developing tools for the promotion of playful learning as a form of social practice. He has a background in media studies and art education, has worked for several Israeli human rights NGOs, in journalism, and in theatre. He is currently a research fellow and creative technologist at the interactive telecommunication program at NYU.