Week 3

Looking at this week’s readings the thing that stood out to me the most was the contrast in the presentation and purpose between the Cooper-Hewitt and the “I cannot make bricks without clay visualizations”. While they both have a somewhat similar purpose in that they were created to look at the change in color usage over the years, the presentation was widely contrasting. I think despite shortcomings in both, the Martin Bellander tumblr post was more successful in that he explained what he was producing. With the Cooper-Hewitt post I was left with a feeling of so what, it’s all fine and dandy to make a visualization, but if it doesn’t really say anything on its own you should probably go to some effort to explain it. I think perhaps the point might have been for viewers of the post to noitce trends on their own and come up with their own observations, but the visualizaton to me seems flawed in that nothing really jumps out to me as partcularly notable except perhaps the recurrence of brown and green in the 1940’s. With the Bellander visualization he stated an observation towards the trend of the growing use of blue and he presented several theories as to why that trend may have occurred. While the theories were produced through comments and thus cannot necessarily be relied upon, they show engagement with users on the visualizations. I think that visualizations can be great ways to look at data differently, like with the DH101 projects we did last quarter which includes the well made Tate project, but I feel like sometimes visualizations are made just to be made. With the Cooper-Hewitt viz I just feel like it doesn’t really say anything. Perhaps it could be used as a starting point to lead into more in depth research, but as it is I think data alone can’t necessarily be left unexplained. Though they might be made with the latest software and tech and they might look fancy, if a visualization isn’t being used to argue a point or act as evidence for the data they represent then they are merely decorative minutiae.