Week Four: Projecting a New Perspective

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

At the top of this weeks lecture, we were told that infographics can be used in either a positive or negative way. The positive being that they can inform and alter perspectives and potentially create positive change. The negative being that they can manipulate or misuse data for personal or political change.

Of course, with politics, there's usually some kind of agenda involved. Within the lecture, we were shown how both Farage and Trump had misused data to incite a reaction that would work in their favour. The misuse of data and language used can create a panic in some people, and in turn, become vulnerable to making a truly well-informed decision. This isn't new and unfortunately happens all the time, and has happened for a long time.It reminded me of Plato's Cave allegory and how information can easily be manipulated through a particular lens dependant on what gain is desired and for what purpose.

Image: https://aretewines.typepad.com/.a/6a00e552235262883400e554eebfe38833-pi

Banu Cenetogluh

With the above in mind, data and information isn't always used as a tool for manipulation. Artist Banu Cenetogluh, and her work titled The List, explores issues surrounding migration with a more humanistic approach. By listing the names of refugees that have died in an attempt to reach Europe in the hope of a better life, numbers become people; men, woman, and children. The sheer size of the list is overwhelming and immediately grabs your attention.

Image: https://www.biennialfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/before.jpg

This shows that there are certain situations in which numbers aren't the right way of communicating a message or evoking certain emotions.

Charles Booth

Another example in which data has been used to alter perceptions and create change were shown through Charles Booth's Poverty maps. Booth transformed peoples perspectives through the clarity of his maps which clearly identified those living in poverty to the wealthy. Although controversial at the time, through making this information visible and public, over time it forced government to respond, directly intervening against poverty in the early 20th century and contributing to the creation of old age pensions and free school meals for the poorest children.

Image: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/192177109084582888/

W. E. B. Du Bois

In 1900 W. E. B. Du Bois was using infographics as a way of challenging white supremacy. I love the aesthetic of the charts and that they're done by hand! The imagery conveyed, the charts themselves create an image that is emphasised by the data and vice versa.

Image: https://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/w-e-b-du-bois-charting-black-lives-house-of-illustration-131119

Image: https://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/w-e-b-du-bois-charting-black-lives-house-of-illustration-131119

Workshop Challenge

For this week's challenge, I wanted to look at information surrounding plastic bags. I wanted to look at plastics as I'm constantly trying to cut plastics out of my lifestyle, although it's an ongoing battle which I feel it shouldn't with the vast amounts of information we receive (almost daily) on how plastic pollution is destroying our planet. I chose plastic bags as I wanted to look at one particular plastic as there are so many yet they often get put together as "plastics" when reading various statistics etc. I also feel plastic bags could easily be eradicated and permanently banned as I'm sure most people own numerous bags of various sizes to an extent that an overnight ban wouldn't cause too much disruption.

At first, I was amazed at how much was being done and what had been done in the fight against plastic bags. I hadn't realised that Bangladesh was one of the first countries to ban plastic bags. I instantly wanted to mark the positive that had been done on a map as I felt this was inspiring and uplifting.

Through further research, I found that there are five areas within our oceans where there are high numbers of plastic (and other waste) forming "islands" in size compared to Texas, due to various currents. The areas marked were similar to the ones I had marked out on my map, which was a weird coincidence!

Image: Ocean Trawl – Adventure Insider (wordpress.com)

After further deliberation, I felt that what I was creating wasn't much different from what had been done before. I also felt that I wanted to create something handmade. There was a lot of information on the internet and I found myself comparing the school that I teach in, in Taiwan, to schools back in the UK. I'm aware that most schools in the UK have interactive whiteboards and ipads for students, which make accessing the internet a relatively easy task, however, this isn't the case for many schools in Taiwan or many Eastern schools altogether.

I then looked into countries that were the worst polluters, in regards to plastic (I couldn't find any charts that were plastic bag specific) and the top countries were Eastern countries. This then made me question how/if there was much information/education on plastic waste and its detrimental effect on the environment within these countries?

Image: https://www.plasticethics.com/home/2019/3/17/the-countries-polluting-the-oceans-the-most-with-plastic-waste

This made me rethink my approach as perhaps were oversaturated in the West with plastic propaganda and perhaps attention should focus elsewhere on curbing our global plastic consumption. I also liked W. E. B. Du Bois's infographics and how they're almost like works of art, in the sense that visually they're exciting and draw your attention.

I began by screen printing an illustration of a plastic bag I had made. I began screen printing a lot, not really knowing where my idea was going at this stage.

I printed two colours so I could arrange them in accordance to information I was researching on the internet. I began arranging them in different ways, the one below is for the statistic, "Only 1 in 20 plastic bags are recycled."

The one above was created after learning that the average life span of a plastic bag is 1/4 of an hour. From the shop to home.

As a way of projecting a new perspective I liked the idea of printing the illustration of the plastic bag onto a canvas bag. I feel this is already very suggestive of the action we can take in the limitation of plastic bag consumption.

The two pieces in the photo are in response to information researched about plastic bags. Left: The average life span of a plastic bag is 12 minutes. Right: Only 1 in 12 plastic bags are recycled.

I like where this is going, however, Paul suggested adding typography and looking into Anthony Burrill which I think is a great idea. Paul mentioned being efficient with language in order to shock and attract an audience to engage. Be bold, not only with actions but type also.

Image: Win an exclusive Anthony Burrill poster | Information | The Guardian

Above is an example of Burrill's clear, concise message and efficient use of language.

Image: anthony burrill | designboom.com

I really like this example above. It's clearly created for an environmental purpose (like my challenge) using few words but the message is made really clear with how the type is laid out, colours used, and imagery conveyed.

Image: https://visual.ly/tag/hijab

Board game

The Box


flex.falmouth.ac.uk. (n.d.). Log in to canvas. [online] Available at: https://flex.falmouth.ac.uk/courses/691/pages/week-4-lecture-projecting-a-new-perspective?module_item_id=49374 [Accessed 22 Feb. 2021].

www.itsnicethat.com. (n.d.). Back in 1900, activist W. E. B. Du Bois was using infographics to challenge white supremacy. [online] Available at: https://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/w-e-b-du-bois-charting-black-lives-house-of-illustration-131119 [Accessed 22 Feb. 2021].

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