A Year Later, W+K Remembers David Bowie With Stunning Data-Driven Breakdown of ‘Space Oddity’

London shop's first window display of 2017

The great thing about an artist as prolific as David Bowie is that his work will continue to spawn new creations. He left us with a constellation of intersecting worlds we can live in and reinterpret for generations to come. 

Naturally, and perhaps because advertising also owes him a debt, creative people will want to do a lot of this spawning themselves.

For its first window display of 2017, Wieden + Kennedy London created "Space Oddity—a visual deconstruction," a data-driven tribute to Bowie's work marking the one-year anniversary of his death.

Conceived by designer Valentina D'Efilippo and researcher Miriam Quick, the resulting "Oddityviz" project takes musical data from the 1969 track "Space Oddity" and visualizes it in a set of 10 engraved records, paired with prints and projections that draw from the song's broken interstellar world. Each 12-inch disc deconstructs the song differently—by melody, harmony, lyrics, structure and underlying story. 

There's something familiar about the kind of love that drives you to dissect something down to its very atoms, the better to know it and to make it part of you. If you've ever been so obsessed with a piece of music that it hurt, this is as much a tribute to that feeling as it is to Bowie. 

Below is a visualization of waveforms from the eight original master tracks of "Space Oddity." To zoom in on different bits (including the key at the bottom), visit the site, where you can also buy it and its siblings in different formats. 

In execution, "Oddityviz" resembles a slickly produced "Dear Data," that creative effort by data pros Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec to quantify aspects of their lives, a week at a time, using postcards. 

Here's a close-up of another disc, which gives you a sense of the artistry involved, and some nice iconography shots: 

"Bowie was always looking ahead to integrate art and technology," says W+K producer Gen, who curated the project. "With this exhibit, we seek to not only commemorate a great artist but also take inspiration for our own artistic exploration of his work."

Here are all the discs, spread out to highlight their beauty in a self-consciously casual way:

The W+K window space also featured a moving image that promised to take viewers on an "immersive journey" through the track. 

The campaign ran from Jan. 10-23. As mentioned, you can purchase the records and art prints, with all proceeds going to charity. And if you're interested in social chatter about the exhibit or works, follow @Oddityviz on Twitter or scope its hashtag, #oddityviz.

Having sifted through the latter feed, we found the results as beautifully odd a tribute as "Space Oddity" could ask for in a data-driven age. Nearly all associated images share the project's muted black-and-white aesthetic.

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