The Data Visualisation Foresight of Joy Division

November 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

Data visualisation is incredibly popular right now. The ability to elegantly disseminate information through clean user interfaces, infographics, gestures and iconography, to name a few, is fast changing the digital world. Visualized are a company exploring the evolution of communication at the intersection of big data, storytelling and design.

In 1979, Joy Division released their album Unknown Pleasures featuring iconic cover art from designer Peter Saville. The design is actually taken from an early form of data visualisation depicting the very first reading of a pulsar in 1967. When pulsars were first discovered, scientists were struck by the strict regularity of their emissions. It was conceivable that they were artificially created somewhere out in the cosmos. This sense of mystery and unknown is somehow conveyed in the simple artwork.

The folks at Visualized created a short film to document this iconic image showing the global cult surrounding it and an interview with Saville.

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