Tactical Technology Collective – Visualizing Information For Advocacy

Visualizing Information For Advocacy

Tactical Technology Collective, Book + stickers + postcards, ISBN 9789380765037, English, 170 pages, 2008, USA

In the world of ​​big data visualization, developing a “practical” handbook to carry out really effective campaigns it is certainly a daunting task. But when the authors are the members of the Tactical Technology Collective, an activist group engaged in information design projects with the aim of “turning information into action”, the possibility of success increases dramatically. The kit of stickers, posters and postcards attached to the book speaks volumes about the rich and accurate work of the international collective based in Berlin, which focuses on areas like security and privacy, investigative journalism, data, activism and technology. The introduction of the book starts with an infographic dating back to 1788 that represents the number, location, and space occupied by 292 slaves deported on the British ship Brookes. This picture was commissioned by the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade, and was released in 7000 copies. It was used as evidence presented to Parliament as part of the case for the abolition of slavery. The introductory pages take this example as a case study, resulting in a discussion of how a campaign can trigger curiosity, structured participation and meaningful action, through a detailed identification of the minimal requisite communicative elements and the efficacy of their interaction. The rest of the book continues with the same method of analysis and discovery: from the descriptions of successful cases to the definition of an abstract method. The second part focuses on how to calibrate the visual elements with the degree of participation that you want to trigger. The very rich collection of examples from around the world leaves the reader free to be inspired when exploring them, going through three levels of visual complexity. In the chapter “Get the idea” the focus is on how to find the right symbolic picture to engage the audience in a deeper analysis of the message. In the chapter “Get the picture” the book shows examples in which information is the object of the visualization itself. “Get the detail” is a section in which the reader is able to explore options for directly involving the audience, e.g. using large amounts of data, more complex technology and comprehensive interaction. All sections conclude with a summary and a sort of checklist on the disadvantages and difficulties of each type of choice. This book does not venture into the formulation of infodesign aesthetic theories, but it seeks to deepen a specific analysis. Effectiveness in communication is one of the advantages of this work, as well as its strong political focus on the relevance of the “facts” to bare, hypnotic verbal or visual mechanisms. The analytic methods of the book could potentially be useful tools for assessing the effectiveness of commercial communication that we suffer daily (the results speak for themselves). This book could also become a strategic compass in the interception of ideal targets and instruments in a communication campaign, for the small number of communicators who have chosen to not give up a solid ethical base, but to make it alive and active in many forms. Chiara Ciociola


Visualizing Information for Advocacy


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