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BLOG ENTRY 7 information graphics

April 24, 2012

The most appealing concept behind information graphics is that they hold important information for the world, however they hide behind a guise of aesthetics.For example, lets view the below image:qeoloqi_map.jpg

http://infosthetics.com/archives/2012/03/everywhere_ive_been_mapping_3_years_worth_of_location_tracking.html

To the average person, this image may seem like just a unique art form. However, it is in fact, ” showing of the core services of this mobile platform for tracking and sharing location data” (Aaron Parecki, infosthetics, 2012). This therefore, is a great example of how visualisation techniques as a form of communication, not only act as a way of grabbing viewer attention, but also help us to engage deeper within the material.

As human beings, there is a select group among us that is able to sit for hours in front of a board of numbers or black and white words. Information graphics act as a tool to ‘beautify’ these numbers and words and as we dig deeper into this concept we can then acknowledge the graphics that form before us in our every day life. This includes, the images and sounds that we see and hear from our television screens, computer screens, mobile phones, Ipods and Ipads. If we were restricted from access to visual and auditory forms we would go crazy! Imagine if we had to view our favourite television show through reading its script or its book form. We would not watch it. In the readings, Carrie Gates agrees, “However, live video mixing performances certainly address a hunger for immersive and synaesthetic sensory experiences where aural and visual elements work together to create a whole that is something beyond the sum of the parts” (Gates, 2008). Gates then continues by briefly explaining the term, “synaesthetic experience” in relation to auditory and visual performances, which is written about in Ryan Stec’s article. “Connected to this is Michael Betancourt’s examination of the fine line between consumption and engagement on the part of audience members and how it relates to the problem of “wallpaper” visualizations vs. fine art practice.” (Gates, 2008).

This then extends to questioning ourselves on what the symbolic meanings are behind the graphic forms we see. I see this most often through advertisements. For example, the current American Express advertisement that currently shows regularly on television (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Prs9dx_kEmI). It is a continuous slide of rolling images that portray the abilities of American Express in a very interesting and engaging way. When I first saw this ad I was quite intrigued to think about what each of the images were about. The mental position that we come to when we see a graphic form is perhaps due to the image’s power to awaken our senses, or as Gates puts it, the “intense bombardment of the senses” (Gates, 2008). For information graphics to be able to flick the metaphorical switch in our minds, many would say that is somewhat a more successful tool of communication as opposed to mere black and white symbols on a page.

Of course, these information graphics may come in the simplest of forms or the most complex, for example the very interesting image of the French fries containing 200 calories in the readings. As people of the 20th century, we have all tried French fries and most of us are consumed with guilt afterwards. By showing a simple photo of an equivalent 200 calories amount of fries, this works better than to simply state it or write it. This graphic information mentally brings us back to that moment of guilt and that message sticks with us longer than simple words.

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