R. Klanten, N. Bourquin, S. Ehmann, F. van Heerden – Data Flow, Visualising Information in Graphic Design

R. Klanten

Die Gestalten Verlag, ISBN 9783899552171, Germany, 2008, English
There was a clear need for a luscious book about the many, different, fascinating manifestations of what used to be called “data porn” (raw data visualized in beautiful ways), and this book seems to amply fill the void. Nowadays an infograph seems to be one of the myriad levels of an elusive reality and, when printed, it represents a perfect portrait of the potentially infinite complexity of the virtual. Moreover, the visual metaphors are meant to be universal, in the same way as being a son-of-the-global/net era, is similar to speaking the “bastard” English that unifies the interconnected world of communication as one. A book like this enters a relatively new territory (infograph aesthetics and culture), so its structure is a manifesto in itself. In fact its sections are: Datasphere (circle-based infographs), Datanets (revealing structures), Datascape (spatial representations), Datalogy (using different visual strategies at once), Datanoid (personal, “artistic” strategies, in a strict sense), Datablocks (using 3D histograms effectively). Here there’s much more than a mere representative collection of state-of-the-art visual abstractions. The science of social communication is experienced in multiple approaches, and the ability to synthesize an entire discourse in a limited, visually satisfying space, is an experience that can be fully appreciated here with attendant short comments. This work is like learning a new language – it confronts the reader with many new strategies that facilitate novel conceptions of the world. It aims to foster a critical awareness; one that may inspire the innovation of many more terrific ‘mediums’ like this.