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Tuesday, December 3 • 12:00pm - 12:15pm
Critical Visualization in a Museum Context

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Data visualisation as a critical practice involves the creation of objects, spaces and experiences which foster dialogue on important and timely topics. I have been running so-called ‘critical visualisation’ workshops at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London since 2010, and have recently brought the workshop to The China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Here we describe as a case study Data Manifestation, a critical visualisation project run by Karin von Ompteda and Kevin Walker of the Information Experience Design (IED) programme at the Royal College of Art and showcased at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London.

The brief tasked 23 RCA students to create meaningful connections between data and the citizens of London. The project was cross-disciplinary and collaborative in nature, involving students from IED, Architecture, Sculpture, Visual Communication and Printmaking, working in consultation with researchers from Imperial College London. The resulting ‘data manifestations’ explored and ultimately challenged traditional notions of ‘data visualisation.’ Data manifested as dripping honey, ringing bells, and robotic origami demonstrated fresh ways of communicating complex information that might be better termed ‘data experience.’ Furthermore, these projects offered a context within which museum visitors could engage with fundamental issues surrounding the ubiquitous role of data in our modern lives including privacy and monetisation. The work was exhibited in a hands-on showcase at the V&A’s Sackler Centre in May 2013, an event that was documented as a film, excerpts of which will be shown within our presentation at NODEM 2013. We gratefully acknowledge project funding provided by the Urban Prototyping Festival and the Sustainable Society Network+ at Imperial College London.


Karin von Ompteda

Karin von Ompteda is a biologist turned graphic designer turned doctoral researcher at the Royal College of Art in London. Her work uses data visualisation to explore design artifacts, bridge scientific and design knowledge, and stimulate new thinking about creative practice. Karin’s... Read More →

Tuesday December 3, 2013 12:00pm - 12:15pm PST
Stockholm City Museum, Auditorium Ryssgården, Slussen, Stockholm, Sweden

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