As an artist, a visual aid is entirely fundamental to my learning experience. Even further, there are many things I simply cannot fathom without the help of visual aids.
They’ve defined my educational career and have shaped my perception of countless topics.
Ergo, this TED talk, personally, rung very true. To me, certain concepts and processes are entirely incomprehensible without the relativism, colors, and proportions that McCandless describes. These things are fundamental to my learning, and, even still, they’re incredibly helpful to most everyone.
To this end, I entirely consider data visualizations as visual rhetoric.
The data’s organization, color scheme, and overall arrangement influence split-second decisions as to what we feel about a visualization. Stark contrasts in color or size can not only represent literal dichotomies, but also emotional ones. These subjectivities are the “visualization” of a “data visualization.” This is perceived as pathos.
The data itself, from a purely objective standpoint, is the definition of logos. The two are intimately one-in-the-same. Through hard facts and statistical observations does one understand the concept of the visualization. It is what is being visualized–the concrete being portrayed abstractly.
None of the above, however, matters in the least without credibility. This ethos is why the data is pertinent. If it isn’t from a credible source, it likely isn’t conveying an accurate visualization.
These aids act as memory palaces because they make visible the invisibilities of our world. Striking images, such as the flower McCandless repeatedly shows, become palaces for the data sets, statistics, and figures. They become the keys to elusive information–the houses of abstraction.
They are personifications of the modern torrent of media. They are faces to the faceless facts we’re fed each day. They allow us to relate to insubstantial, intangible ideas.
They help us to understand the complexities of an ever-changing world.