Aaron Koblin’s New York Talk Exchange shows, in real time, the volume of telephone and Internet data flowing to other cities.

Dateline: Dullsville. This week the Tate Modern museum in London unveiled a Damien Hirst retrospective that’s about as fresh as one of its featured pieces: “A Thousand Years” is an actual rotting cow’s head. Why are we picking at these carcasses of creativity? We should instead be celebrating the really new and relevant: the rise of the data visualizers. Their medium is the one with momentum, the one genuinely changing how we think and feel. And it’s about to boom.

At companies and universities, and far beyond, the goal of data-driven digital artists is clear, not cynical: convey complex concepts quickly and crisply. They want to generate not Art-with-a-capital-A, necessarily, but understanding. They take stone-cold data—units of information—and turn them into something warmly communicative. Beautiful, too. So they become a pleasure for us to absorb.

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Holly Finn
Wall Street Journal

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