Blocking Your View: Data Visualization With Legos
Lego is the kids toy that just refuses to stay within the confines of playtime. Used in everything from letter pressing to animation (even explaining net neutrality), digital cameras and beyond, now its seemingly endless variety of uses has extended into the world of infographics.
Infographic artist Samuel Granados used these little blocks to create 3D cartograms, giving a typically 2D form extension into the physical world. As these migration cartograms for continental America hang freely in the exhibition space, one side of the map shows the number of emigrants and the other side the immigrants. The volume reflects the number of people migrating between the different countries and uses data from the Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty, with one piece of Lego equal to 10,000 people. The pieces were exhibited at Casa de América in Madrid, Spain in a show called Antifichus.
Mexico emigrants cartogram.
The use of Lego, while being a fun addition to the graphic, allows people to walk around the piece and get a perspective on the information being presented, with their differing colors allowing for easy distinction. It’s also an interesting analogue take on data visualization. Instead of the stunning generative imagery or glossy graphics often created by data designers, this project has a retro, blocky, 8-bit look, and rather than just being stereoscopic with the illusion of depth, it is actually 3D, a form of hybrid info sculpture.
Photos by Samuel Granados. Slideshow: 2nd and 3rd photo show immigration and emigration in America respectively.