Lecture Series One
Completed: March–July, 2005
Making data meaningful—this phrase could describe what dozens of professions strive for: Wall Street systems designers, fine artists, advertising creatives, computer interface researchers, and many others. Occasionally something important happens in these practices: a data representation is created that reveals the subject’s nature with such clarity and grace that it both informs and moves the viewer. We both understand and care. This is the focus of Information Esthetics.
Information Esthetics, a recently formed not-for-profit organization, has put together a lecture series dedicated to helping this happen more often. World leaders in seven different aspects of sense-making have been invited to speak on topics from typography to visual perception, from charting to electro-mechanical engineering. The goal: to help expose the beauty experts see in their databases, better engaging their whole minds in interpretation; to help inspire art that’s not just decorated with data but makes the data readable, satisfying viewers’ minds as much as their eyes and hearts.
The format of the talks lets us explore more deeply than a typical panel or academic paper presentation. Each speaker will talk for a full hour, we’ll break for a half hour of fine spirits and snacks, then sit down again for an interview/chat led by series organizer and interaction designer W. Bradford Paley. The intent throughout is to delve into the implications these profound ideas have for human communication in general—but also to share some simple techniques that people can immediately put to use in their own projects.
The lectures took place Thursday evenings in the Chelsea Art Museum at 556 West 22nd street in Manhattan. They were free with the discounted $3 museum admission, and [did not, reallyed.] start promptly at 6:00 pm on these dates:
Robert Bringhurst, March 31 · Typography and layout
Judith Donath, April 21 · Social computing
Ted Selker, May 12 · Situated devices
Lisa Strausfeld, May 26 · Real-time charting
Bill Buxton, June 16 · Supporting creative analysis
Ron Rensink, June 30 · Visual perception
Tamara Munzner, July 14 · Large data sets
This lecture series is an Information Esthetics production, made possible by a project of Digital Image Design Incorporated. The talks are presented by Nina Colosi, producer/curator of The Project Room at Chelsea Art Museum, and are supported in part by the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University.
Generous volunteer efforts support Information Esthetics, including high-reliability Web site hosting by Michael Rosenthal and expert audio/video support by Peter Kennard. Please contact i.e. director W. Bradford Paley if you would like to volunteer, be put on the i.e. mailing list, or otherwise participate.
The Information Esthetics site was generously hosted at the time of this series by Walrus Internet.