This article originally appeared in the Spring 2022 print edition of Nightingale Magazine. Didn’t get a copy? Purchase one while supplies last!
Giorgia Lupi is an information designer at Pentagram, author, and public speaker whose work – including Dear Data, a data visualization collaboration with Stefanie Posavec – has been featured in museum collections.
Stefanie Posavec is a designer, artist, and author exploring experimental approaches to communicating data and information to all ages and audiences, and half of the Dear Data visualization collaboration.
1. You can invite any three people in the data visualization space, past or present, to a dinner party. Who would you invite and why?
- Stefanie, because she is the best, and the best companion for a dinner party.
- Charles Minard, because his work has influenced me more than anyone else.
- I would leave the third seat for a student or young practitioner who can bring fresh eyes to the dataviz table.
- Giorgia: I haven’t seen her in person for a couple of years now due to the pandemic, and it would be great to catch up in person!
- On Kawara, the Japanese conceptual artist (now deceased) who worked with data collection from his life as an artistic input. I often wish that my data-driven work felt as elegantly effortless as his.
- Again from the past, a Klikitat or Yakama (native people of northwestern America) woman to ask them about their time balls and how they work. A ‘time ball’ (ititamat) is a ball of knotted and beaded string that
visualises significant life events. This time ball was normally created by women and was such an important object they would be buried with it. Ever since I discovered this physical visualisation, I’ve wanted to know more but haven’t found much online, and I would like to better understand what they look like when unrolled and what they represent.
2. What’s one topic you would absolutely love to visualize but have never had the chance to?
Giorgia: Data about love and relationships (which I am actually working on right now, so let’s just say I didn’t have the chance to until very recently 🙂 )
Stefanie: I love how the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) is always carefully counting and measuring the country and its citizens, especially during these chaotic COVID/Brexit times. I often dream of being an artist-in-residence there, creating work from ONS data and also getting insights behind the scenes of how they work.
3. If you had to choose an entirely new career path, realistic or not, what would it be?
Giorgia: Contemporary dancer. It was what I was pursuing in my youth before deciding to get into design.
Stefanie: A small-scale artisanal ice cream maker! I spent a week on holiday by the UK seaside, and was disappointed by the unexciting ice cream and gelato flavours and I think I could do much better 🙂