Making Information Beautiful

crit one

Infographic Showing Class crit work as a Social Network

I appreciate both the creative and critical work we were able to accomplish last Tuesday night. Please take time to review each other’s blogs and keep up-to-date with any and all updates. This responsibility is especially important if for any reason you can’t personally attend.

To the right, I thought I’d make available the same infographic I produced out of patterns made evident via your own critical surveys of each other’s work. As we discussed in class, a very clear preference for David’s and Ben’s work emerges if we organise each 390 student’s critical focus as a kind of vector leading or pointing to two other projects.

Now I know any one of us might feel inclined to interpret this image as an assessment or even evaluation of our individual work, making it clear that we all feel David’s and Ben’s respective projects in concrete or typographic poetics may somehow be more successful. But, in my humble opinion, that’s not the best way to understand this . Rather, we should keep in mind that all this diagram shows is how the works considered en masse or collectively can be interpreted as a kind of social network. Nothing can really be said about the works as objects in themselves.

In other words, what I hope to convey here is the importance of the network as its own structure or framework – and this is a quality that should extend to each of your own individual forays into infoaesthetics. The aesthetic “work” we produce is interesting not because it provides any essential or objective insight into any real event or entity. Angel, for example, produced a challenging visual comparison of the most common criminal acts perpetrated by Americans over the last two weeks. It may be tempting to interpret his graph as a comment on how a violent, physical assault compares currently to, let’s say, a robbery or car jacking. But we should refrain from heading down this path of reasoning. What’s valuable about Angel’s work is the new relationships it makes available to the eye concerning contemporary criminal activity. Angel shows us how one activity can acquire an entirely different significance when depicted graphically in relation to another activity. We see, in other words, both a new structure and a new kind of visual representation or transcriptive practice. The structure itself might be difficult to analyze, but we spent quite a bit of time talking about how the representation he ended up producing could be improved. Please continue to check each other’s works and provide more commentary in this vein. Each project should be reviewed and analyzed in terms of its visual and aesthetic effect. Any ideas why this effect is important culturally or socially? What do you think?

Also stay tuned for any updates I can provide about the Digital Creativity Lab in Cullimore. It’s my aim to get it up and running as soon as possible.

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