017  |  Data Sculptures



In this episode we talk about Data Sculptures, also known as Physical Visualization. We invite Pierre Dragicevic and Yvonne Jansen (from the Aviz Lab at INRIA in Paris) to talk about their experiments with physical bar charts and their fantastic collections of physical visualizations.

Pierre and Yvonne give several demos you can see on our recorded video. Make sure you don’t miss Pierre giving a real-time demo of Jacques Bertin’s reorderable matrix!

Episode Chapters

  • 00:00:00 Intro
  • 00:01:08 Topic: Data Sculptures with Yvonne Jansen and Pierre Dragicevic
  • 00:04:01 Studies on legibility of physical 3D data visualizations
  • 00:12:45 Pros and cons of rapid prototyping vs. subsurface engraving
  • 00:16:57 Broader perspective: How did Pierre and Yvonne get Pierre and Yvonne’s motivation, and general characterization of the field
  • 00:22:04 Their project collections at: http://www.aviz.fr/Research/PassivePhysicalVisualizations and http://www.aviz.fr/Research/ActivePhysicalVisualizations
  • 00:27:26 Bertin’s reorderable matrix
  • 00:35:00 Slow data
  • 00:37:30 Back to Bertin and physical manpulation of data
  • 00:39:04 Social aspects
  • 00:39:47 Future perspective
  • 00:41:21 Digital fabrication techniques
  • 00:49:45 Online services
  • 00:50:27 FabLabs
  • 00:54:17 Accessibility aspects
  • 00:55:33 Practical applications
  • 00:57:54 Shapeshifting displays and materials
  • 01:05:46 Early examples and the great books from W. Brinton
  • 01:09:20 Wrap up



  1. I am head of sculpture at Alfred University and you seem to be doing Interesting work but if you doing serious research you need to look at
    The work of scottish artist Paul Higham who pioneered computational data sculpture in the mid 1990s and lives in New York
    contact details Paulhigham@spacesampler.com

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