The event certainly delivered on that promise. With a rapid-fire lineup of 32 speakers over two days, things skewed interestingly—but perhaps not surprisingly—towards the experimental. Or perhaps those are the presentations that made the biggest impact on me among several days of maps, network diagrams, dynamic charts and bubble diagrams.
On second thought, I should use the word “experiential” instead of “experimental.” It’s a term that came up many times as the presenters emphasized a need to engage with the audience in order to inform them. Cartogram wall sculptures as prompts for storytelling, generative sound sculptures, personalized place-based network jewelry, and sound from scribbles certainly engaged me. But I’m not sure how much they informed me. I can’t deny that these more abstract examples of data visualization do tell stories—as does art, poetry, dance, and music. Inspirational? Most definitely. But several steps away from data journalism, and outside of my world as the art director of information graphics at Scientific American. And yet these are the examples I’m compelled to share.
[Image credit: Andy Kirk, visualisingdata.com]