A New Era of Knowledge

Modern statistics began in the mid-19th century as a discipline capable of explaining different social, scientific, and economic phenomena. A need thus emerged for a language that would overcome the distance between the quantitative measurement of reality and our need to understand the world with narrative.

The practice of transforming figures into images to tell a story has a long tradition in science and design that spans from the figurative maps of the 19th century to today’s data visualisations. In the second half of the 20th century, artists from different spheres started to create an information aesthetic, in which data became an instrument for representation and subjective exploration. 

The ease in producing large volumes of information, thanks to the millions of sensors flooding the world, coupled with this new information aesthetic, has profoundly changed today’s fields of knowledge. Data science methodologies are opening up new paths in numerous disciplines creating specialised fields that are associated with new professional profiles.

The artworks on display vary from the earliest examples of data visualisation in the form of historical maps to contemporary art installations of real-time data. They showcase the depth and variety of data visualisation and how it is transforming the way we interact with and understand our world.

Aaron Koblin, Flight Patterns. Image Credit: ©GUNNAR KNECHTEL