MFA Visual Narrative recently hosted Visualized: Climate, a kickoff event for the Visualized conference, which brought together over 30 leading social innovators from around the world for two days of talks and panel discussions on new ways to understand and interact with data.
At the SVA Theatre event, MFA Visual Narrative Chair Nathan Fox introduced the distinguished group of speakers, which included Eric Hackathron, data visualization program manager at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Andrew Hill, data scientist at CartoDB and Vizzuality; Gavin Schmidt, climate scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS); Marco Tedesco, professor of Earth and Atmospheric Science at CUNY; and Javier De La Torre, CEO and co-founder of CartoDB and Vizzuality.
The topics of the talks ranged from the increasing importance of data visualization (“Seeing is believing,” remarked Hill), to ways to turn audiences into collaborators that create and share visualized data, to the power of images over words, especially when it comes to understanding something like climate change.
After the individual talks, artist, composer and environmentalist Paul “DJ Spooky” Miller hosted a panel discussion with the speakers. “Data is not dead,” Miller said to lead off the conversation, “it’s the new palette of our era.” The group went on to discuss how the importance of “story” frames visualization. “People absorb information in an emotional way rather than a rational way,” said Schmidt. “The best way to drive out bad
information is to give people good information.”