Viewing data from a different universe: In conversation with Debbie Millman and Giorgia Lupi

DM: We were thinking about how we could broaden Rand’s reach to a younger generation of people that are really interested in information. We had a brainstorm to think about unique, experimental, unprecedented ways of looking at data through an art lens. DeeDee came up with the idea of creating a residency, a year-long commitment for Rand to support, that DeeDee and I would curate.
Going back to what Giorgia did with her visualisation on income ineqaulity which is, again, unprecedented. It’s an installation and that will live on forever in the real world, not just online. Now we’re looking into how to get that over to Rand because it is a sculptural installation that is both beautiful to look at and very challenging to accept in terms of how we treat other humans.
INT: It’s so great to get an insight into the minds of two creative geniuses in our industry! I’m so glad you brought up the Rand residency as I’d love to know more about that. Debbie, I was wondering if you could take us through how it came about and what you and DeeDee set out to achieve?
We wanted to invite designers and artists into the vast archives of Rand’s research, to look at topics that were particularly interesting to them because we wanted this to be a passion project for them as well. We started with a very short list of people that we would consider for the first year of quarterly presidencies and as I mentioned before, Giorgia was always number one at the top of the list. We didn’t ask anybody else until we heard back from Giorgia –
GL: I will second that it is harsh data to look at. It’s a massive task to physicalise data around income inequality and to capture the “what ifs” for so many people in the United States.
DM: I was really happy with that, it made me look good Giorgia so thank you [laughter]. We’re also committed to a good range of diversity. We didn’t want four white men. We’re committed to gender, race and class orientation diversity. In fact our next designers are launching today, Jonathan Key and Morcos Wael of Morcos Key. They’re creating the next three visualisations and today it is launching. So super excited about that!
GL: Which was in a minute, by the way!

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