Visualizing Transgender Day of Remembrance by Gayta Science

This data visualization wreath depicts trans and gender-diverse lives lost in 2022, many due to anti-transgender violence. Each life lost is represented by a uniquely generated bald cypress leaf.

The project was created in partnership with the LGBTQ+ data science organization Gayta Science, using data compiled by Transgender Europe (TGEU) and UK Software Engineer Anna-Jayne Metcalfe.

This project questions prevailing theories methods of visualizing data about death, asking: can a data visualization simultaneously connect us to lives lost and our local ecology? Instead of using disembodied geometric forms, we take notes from our local ecology (bald cypress) and historic plant-human grief traditions (wreath making) to create a generative simulation.

The cultural and ecological specificity of our visualization also embraces queer and feminist knowledge practices. In particular, it demonstrates how this data is embodied. First, our simulated wreath, woven with generated cypress leaves, embraces the unique and precious quality of the lives represented by the data.

Second, unlike the placelessness of a geometric approach, our perspective is prominently embodied in our bald cypress wreath. This generative system reflects the ecological kin in our region and everyday lives. In the southern United States, bald cypress trees bear witness to the constant flow of both water and time, resonating with the spirit and resilience of the transgender community. Their massive root structures enable them to survive hurricanes and floods while protecting riverbanks from damage.