Data as photomosaic

Oct 19, 2021 7:02 PM

According to David Hockney, "an image contained the amount of time that went into making it, so that when someone looked at one of his paintings, they began to inhabit the physical, bodily time of its being painted."

Despite his initial disdain for photography, Hockney later developed several different photo-mosaic techniques that captured "the experience of looking as it transpires across time".

Gregory in the Pool - David Hockney (1982)
Gregory in the Pool - David Hockney (1982)

Hockney used different formats to explore this idea. Hockney called Pearblossom Highway "a panoramic assault on Renaissance one-point perspective".

Pearblossom Highway, 11th-18th April 1986 - David Hockney (1986)
Pearblossom Highway, 11th-18th April 1986 - David Hockney (1986)

The fractal perspective of Pearblossom Highway is that of Hockney, but there's no reason that perspectives from multiple people couldn't be combined in this way.

I used to describe the excitement of interactive data visualization as the ability to tell a story at a glance, but also to unfold layers of meaning through interaction. At the moment, I'm less interested in the "summing up" in a way that is industrially legible (see "Seeing Like A State"), but more interested in accessible entrypoints to ideas that incorporate multiple perspectives.

In what ways could data systems and data communication be less like a photograph and up-turn this one-point perspective, incorporating intersectional perspectives?

This post is a draft-in-progress. If this sparked any thoughts or ideas, send me a quick message 💌