When Informative Art Isn’t
Making visualization more aesthetically pleasing is certainly an important goal. Another one is to make visualization a part of our everyday lives. Ambient information displays are a way of doing both, and they are often inspired by pieces of art. But what if the viewers think they are just looking at a picture, and don’t realize that it presents information to them?
Visualization Criticism – A New Way of Thinking about Visualization
The main means of communication in science is the (printed) journal article or conference paper, which only contains text and static images. This limits the way we can illustrate change, interaction, and dynamics. We do not have the appropriate language to effectively describe our work not only in terms of what it shows, but how and why it works. We also lack a means of talking about our own and others’ work in ways that critically reflect on what has been done. We need to learn from art criticism, where this is all possible.
She Blinded Me with Eye Candy
The winner of the 2006 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge (organized by Science and the National Science Foundation, NSF) shows “five well-known mathematical surfaces, rendered as glass objects in a highly realistic ‘Still Life.'” Using reflection, colored lighting, and otherwise unstructured sufaces makes for an image that does not convey the actual shapes particularly well. But it sure is pretty.