A New Design Project: InForms Empowering Observation and Thought

WOW magazine 215 - Sep. 21st, 2023

WOW is pleased to announce the launch of InForms, a design project that aims to take a look at social issues from multiple perspectives through the kind of visual design that is WOW’s specialty, bringing together observations and thoughts, dialogue and actions.

Going Beyond “Knowing” — The InForms Project to “Appreciate” Data
InForms is a brand new WOW initiative relating to data visualization. In contrast to “visualization for communicating information,” in which information is scraped and encoded to directly convey intentions, WOW presents “visualization for creation,” which is imbued with an appropriate level of abstraction and complexity.

In our expressive activities WOW has consistently focused attention on a dialogue between intellectual and sensual experiences. Art appreciation itself is an act that refines the senses, hones observation and imagination skills, and nurtures diverse perspectives. Through the “appreciation” of beautifully formed data, this project aims to create a series of viewing experiences that go beyond the simple act of “knowing” and instead encourage the viewer to take a deeper look at the world, using the power of thought and imagination to engage in a dialogue.
Unveiling data visualizations of “world rare metal production” and “world population transition” using two different methods
In this project WOW proposes two distinct data visualization methods. Instead of trying to understand facts from familiar expressions such as pie charts and bar graphs, we attempt to create experiences that provide new insights by expressing data as a new design.

Method 1: InfoTexture
Here we incorporate the “texture” that the data had in the real world into the data visualization element. This data visualization method still retains the basic function of data to convey distribution, change, and difference, while also incorporating qualitative information such as context, background, and real world materiality. This makes it possible to capture both quantitative and qualitative perspectives in a single form. As a first attempt we visualize “world rare metal production.”
InfoTexture - Vol.01 “Minor Metals Situation”
Method 2: InfoSculpture
Viewing data as “sculptural elements,” we transform shape manipulation in visualization—including selection of graph shapes and coordinate axes—into a purely “sculptural” process that eliminates intentions. This data visualization method aims to stimulate the creativity of the viewer and provide a multi-faceted perspective on a particular task, by expanding the ways in which data is viewed from a sculptural perspective. As a first attempt we visualize “world population transition.”
InfoSculpture - Vol.01 “World Population Transition”
Background to the InForms Project
This project traces its beginnings to a dialogue we had with a creator affiliated to a media organization. While a variety of social issues feature in the news on a daily basis, young people are becoming increasingly disengaged from news stories, which raises concerns about apathy and lack of thought. In search of ways to reach out to people who are not exposed to news on a daily basis, and to communicate information in a way that encourages deep thought and dialogue that will be beneficial for the future, we have shone a spotlight on WOW’s data visualization capabilities.

What is more, thanks to the spread of the internet and advances in IT, it is now possible for us to access vast and diverse big data. At the same time, improvements in PC and other machine specs have led to higher data processing capacity, enabling richer expression of data visualization.

Changing times and improvements in IT are what have given rise to InForms, which presents the three-dimensional, fascinating data visualization in which WOW so excels.
Looking ahead to future possibilities
Among the data that WOW visualizes are also types that could be output using a 3D printer. Rather than merely viewing data on a two-dimensional surface, being able to link thoughts to sensations by holding data in your hands as a three-dimensional object, like a sculptural work, holds the potential to further enhance the experience of viewing and appreciating data. On the InForms website we have published a study report about the possibilities that WOW sees for data visualization. Based also on the concept that the “appreciation experience” requires a certain degree of knowledge that serves as the basis for thinking, we have published articles interviewing experts on the “world rare metal production” and “world population transition.”

Looking ahead, WOW will use the expressions and technologies of InForms to engage in activities that generate spontaneity and diversity in the way we view the world around us, working in collaboration with various organizations from multiple fields, including the corporate sector, academia, administrative organizations, NPOs and NGOs.

InForms website

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