Saturday, November 05, 2011

"Every time you make a PowerPoint Edward Tufte kills a kitten"

I admire Edward Tufte's work on analytical design.
If I were the type of person who owned books his would be in my library.

About two weeks ago I was reviewing an award entry that included a chart.
I understood why the author laid out the information as he did.

I thought I could best it.

The author joked that there was no "besting" the current chart but he was open to alternatives.

In search of inspiration I borrowed and paged through "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information."  I sketched out a chart and was delighted when the author chose to use it.

Imagine my surprise a week later when I was out of town, meandering, looked up and saw a gallery sign that read "Edward Tufte."  I must have conjured him.  Imagine my delight when Tufte himself was in the gallery offering ad hoc tours of his sculptures.

Huh, sculptures?

Whaddya know?  Edward Tufte is a sculptor.

Initially I was surprised but sculpture makes perfect sense as an evolution of his work.
Plus, when you're Tufte you can kind of do whatever you want (he said so himself).

His work is mostly large scale and lives outdoors.  He's very keen on exploring the relationship between the piece, the space it occupies and how it changes (with things like light and weather).  He spoke about "ambulatory seeing."  That's a professor's way of saying "You can walk around the piece and experience it in different ways."

My favorite example of sculpture/environment is Magritte's Smile on display at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.  "Magritte's Smile" is a gigantic steel fish.  It hung in the museum courtyard enclosed by glass corridors.  The reflection of the fish looks like a fish in a fishbowl.

There was a better image of this on display at his gallery that really felt fish-tank-like.  Also, the people walking through the hallway looked like they were underwater with Magritte.  Google Images couldn't find it which has me wondering if it actually existed.

And here's snap of ET from my high tech camera

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