The past few years we’ve seen a surge on data visualization, from the proceedings of Edward Tufte to the masterful curation by the likes of Manuel Lima, blogs like Infoesthetics or tools like ManyEyes.
What was once an beautifying artifact to data crunchers has now gone mainstream, popularized by infographics on high traffics websites (Mashable and Jess3 you are to blame), a deluge of copy+paste graphics for the social age.
What’s perhaps more subtle but rather interesting, is the extension of this subset of visual narrative to the physical world, taking data visualization to more concrete forms of media, beyond the flat representation of digital images.
From the groundbreaking piece by Aaron Koblin for Radiohead, to the more recent work by Dentsu+Berg with iPad light painting, we witness the rise of ubiquitous infographics, were real surfaces become both data sets and data surfaces.
It’s time to acknowledge a future vision less screen-centric and more projection-centric (Microsoft shows a glimpse of it here), were each surface can both display data sources and act as data source.
If you find these examples still too digital, there’s a couple of more concrete ones:
The Handmade visualization toolkit by Jose Duarte
All rights reserved by jose.duarte
Keyboard Frequency Sculpture by Mike Knuepfler
(though just a study, just think of the interaction with Google Car)
A real world pie-chart stencil/maker by the new media artist Golan Levin
Real Ideal for Intel Labs
The Watermarks Project
If our allure with infographics extends to the physical world, brands and organizations creating concrete forms of data viz (or even augmented visualization) can easily explore our current fascination. One warning though: don’t mistake pretty graphics with lack of clarity and reasoning when interpreting data.
Cross-posted at The Trendwatch