Interview: Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg

May 13, 2010

Andrew interviews Fernanda and Martin about their new venture Flowing Media, visualization, and their amazing taste in adjectives. On the divide between art and science as it pertains to visualization:

The only divide that matters is between good work and bad. Contextualized questions like, “Does technique X help biologists investigate gene regulation?” or “Would installation Y be an inspirational addition to our museum exhibit on generative art?” are necessary and useful. More general debates about the role of art versus science are fun, but can also be distracting and block the flow of ideas.

In any case, arguing about labels isn’t effective because language has a life of its own. For instance, “social network” once meant a specific sociological model, but for most people today it means Facebook or MySpace. It may annoy sociologists, but that’s just how the language evolved. Now the word “visualization” is starting to become part of the popular lexicon. Who can say what it will mean in ten years?

That sounds about right. Read the full interview on infosthetics.

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