In Marchall McLuhan's hallmark book, " Understanding the Media: The Extensions of Man, he suggests that
"... people tend to focus on the obvious, which is the content to provide us valuable information, but in the process, we largely miss the structural changes in our affairs that are introduced subtly, or over long periods of time."
In this session from the 2008 O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, Eric Rodenbeck, founder and creative director for Stamen Design, picks up where McLuhan left off and offers several examples where Stamen has ignored the obvious and attempted to find a home for data which is both cool and useful.
In what Rodenbeck claims as only the beginning, he foresees a future where information visualization will be both analysis and spectacle, subtly combining beauty with an unlimited ability to explore and play with data. Mimicking McLuhan, Rodenbeck also suggests that the process of visualization is embedded within culture and when dealing with massive amounts of data it becomes difficult to predict what conclusions are possible. For Rodenbeck, that means the visualization must allow, even encourage, people to "play" with data and hopefully draw their own conclusions.
Eric Rodenbeck is Stamen’s founder and creative director. He is a 10-year veteran of the interactive design field, and has spent this time working to extend the boundaries of online media and live information visualization.
Eric led the interactive storytelling and data-driven narrative effort at Quokka Sports, illustrated and designed at Wired and Wired Books, and was a co-founder of the design collective Umwow. He has lectured and spoken at Yale University, the University of Southern California, numerous O’Reilly technology conferences, Esther Dyson’s PC Forum, and South by Southwest, among others. Eric studied architecture at Cooper Union in New York City and received a B.A. in the History and Philosophy of Technology from The New School for Social Research.
Visulizations mentioned in session:
This free podcast is from our Emerging Technology Conference series.
Photo: Duncan Davidson