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Mediated Culture

Even armed with a technique designed to handle these new complexities, can any one designer manage it?

I don’t think so. For this reason, I hope to not only propose a design approach with the New Mediators, but also to advocate for new methods for communicating complexity that reach a level of dynamism comparable to the the complexities they are communicating. Again, progressive responses have been made towards this goal as well. The aggregate systems created by artist / designer Jonathan Harris embrace complexity by making the creators of it participants, although unwittingly. Harris pulls snippets of information off of social websites like blogs and dating services, takes them intentionally out of context, and aggregates them.

In Convergence Culture, Henry Jenkins lays out ways in which the roles of conventional media producers and consumers are breaking down, and how the media landscape continues to become more varied. The emerging middle ground of prosumers is where a project like the Crisis of Credit Visualized exists. While much of my research did come from traditional sources, newspapers, textbooks, experts, much of it came from intermediary producers: people taking information available from traditional sources (reuters, wall street journal, etc.), synthesizing it, adding something, and putting it out there—which is then synthesized with other information and added to, and so on. The result is a jungle of podcasts, blogs, radio shows, financial wikis, videos, presentations and debates. The NPR Planet Money and This American Life broadcasts are the most successful examples.

Much of the fuel for the Crisis of Credit came from feeding off of this porous and evolving area, where the available information has been handles several time but enhanced in the process. I then created a piece that filled a space that I thought was lacking in the existing journalism landscape: a holistic visual explanation of the credit crisis. It lives in a space between the documentary, the editorial, and the provocative info-graphic. Though not an existing category, I believe this space has much to offer journalism, and not just from a communication standpoint, but a process standpoint as well.

Creative Process »