Timespace is a visualization of a Dropbox folder reimagined as a place rather than just a list of files.

For a new Dropbox ad campaign Nexus Productions invited over 100 artists, researchers and designers to share their creative process. Variable contribution is about expressing "Creative Freedom" and creating "something new with code" and highlights the data driven process of the studio.

  • Dropbox
    2015 / London, UK


The initial idea to use Dropbox files themselves came from Variable's long term interest in the Quantified-Self movement of studying our own behaviors and the curiosity to see the shape of the data. Our Dropbox folder was scanned for different file types that were then sorted by how deeply in the folders structure they are placed.

Here is the list of all 6000 files visualized. We start with backup files (white and grey) followed by old neglected photos (red), lots of notes (tiny grey), portfolio and project documentation (lots of big red files), through a shared code project (long yellow section), pdf documents (red), couple of videos (blue) and so on.


The starting point for the visualization layout was a circle and a pink/blue color scheme - the base elements combining different process shots in the final film.

Circle is a shape that encloses an area, it surrounds you. It's also centered and like a pointer shows you a place to focus on. That led to the idea of being surrounded by the data at 360 degrees.

The pink and blue combination resemble the color of the sky just after the sunrise which dictated the mood of the Timespace and results in fresh, bright colors.

These two elements of shape and color led to the experiments with different layouts, sorting orders of the data and the final result.

The visualization was created using Variable ' s in house WebGL engine - PEX, and exported to video in  a,[object Object] Plask /a .


The final cut of the Creative Freedom film directed by Johnny Kelly featuring Timespace at 00:27. You can read more about the inspiration behind the film on the Dropbox blog and the Nexus website.