Curatorial Project

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Beautiful Information

link to the exhibition


Information visualization is something that existed before the internet. Bar graphs are a form of information visualization. So are pie charts. Information visualization simply defined is any means of displaying data in visual form so as to make it easy to understand and interpret.

The internet, however, provides artists with both a new challenge and a new set of resources in the field of information visualization. On the one hand, the information now available has grown tremendously in scope and complexity with the advent of the internet. But on the other hand, new media also provides artists and programmers with the tools to tackle this sudden wealth, and to develop tools for viewing and understanding the information in ways that are both simple and beautiful.

We are all now flooded with data from everything from blogs to news sites, from search engines to MySpace. But so immersed are we in this data, so complex is the web of information that we navigate, that it is difficult to step back and see the larger picture, to recognize and understand trends and patterns that emerge from the chaos. Thus the goal of the artists in this show is twofold: to create a practical tool for understanding an overwhelming amount of information, and to create also something that is aesthetically pleasing and entertaining to use.

Every one of these pieces is to some extent interactive. Each encourages the viewer to explore the information, to find patterns on their own and delve into their origins and into the connections between the separate pieces of data. All but one are also in real time, allowing the viewer to see the evolution of information, the ebb and flow of certain patterns. Each succeeds at transforming the unique internet experience of a flood of constantly increasing, constantly changing data into something easily grasped and beautiful.

The artists of these works combine science with aesthetics to produce works that represent the fast-paced and ever-changing world of information in ways that are simple, revealing, and sometimes surprising.

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