Art In Focus

When Information Design is A Work of Art

3,500 items from SFMOMA's collection are on view in a single screen thanks to ArtScope, created by Stamen Design. That means some mighty small thumbnails. Instead of diving down the wormhole of endless categorization, Stamen chose just to show the whole damn thing at a glance. Fortunately, a built-in microscope is included in the form of an interactive rollover viewer. Click to zoom, and bring the art work into view. It's a fascinating way to browse a collection of art, inviting serendipity into the equation, uncovering new works, and rediscovering old favorites.

The seemingly random organization is actually arranged by time, according to when the pieces where purchased by the museum. A keyword search lets viewers browse more systematically, searching for themes, styles, titles or individual artists. Built using Stamen's own Modest Maps, the interface enables mousing over a mosaic of tiled images, panning and zooming through a landscape made of artworks.


Danger! Danger! Information Graphics At Work

Let's be careful out there.

It's a dangerous world. At any moment you could be crushed by falling objects, fall off a cliff, be swept to your death, run over by a tank, or electrocuted by high voltage lines. The flickr group, Stick Figues in Peril documents our propensity to do stupid things, and the well-meaning attempts of information graphics to prevent us diving into shallow water, swimming in dangerous surf, erecting ladders directly below high voltage lines, and walking right to the edge of unstable overlooks. The human folly in all its glory is illustrated in seeming infinite detail, one information graphic after another. It's a rich and apparently growing field. To date more than 10,000 members have posted over 18,000 images.