Since 2016 I have worked as a Senior Associate at Petnica Science Center Design Programme. Petnica is a talent campus for high school students from Serbia and the Balkans, located between a forest, a lake, and a cave near the city of Valjevo. Yearly design programme in Petnica consists of several one- and two-week seminars, where 15-30 selected students learn about basics of design and other creative endeavours by making their own projects. Topics range from graphic, industrial, and interactive design to visual art, creative writing, creative coding, video and animation.
The idea behind physical data visualization workshops is the humanization of data-driven approaches to society and culture. Drawing ideas from S. Wright’ Dataethetics and G. Lupi’s Data Humanism, we inspired students to play with data in tangible ways. Projects included cardboard relief cartography, treemaps made as painted metal objects, self-adhesive scatterplots, nail-and-string chord diagrams, a research-driven animated video about search terms Petnica students make, and many more.
In his TED talk, artist L. DuBois said that by reducing people to numbers, dataviz can be anesthetizing. Instead of being an act of shallow data fetishism, we believe this is a way of developing a deeper human sensibility towards technology and statistics.
The best projects were presented at the Petnica exhbition of student design projects. In addition, Isidora Nikolić and me presented some of these projects during our talk at re:publika, MOMus, Thessaloniki, Greece. ■