The Musuem of Alternative History opened its inaugural exhibition on May 11th, 2013 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. A group artshow where participating artists received only one piece of guidance: make shit up.
PROCESS NOTES: For my contribution to the show, I wanted to make a set of infographics. You know the ones; pie charts, large numbers, graphs, comparative data, etc. The four images above are details of each.
Now, I have a love/hate relationship with infographics. Specifically, the time and place to do one. With their meteoric rise in this Internet age, everybody thinks they want one and that getting one isn't all that difficult. I mean, just look at how simple they make things? Nevermind all that research and mountains of data that most successful ones have behind it. So when asked to "make shit up," where the data could be entirely up to me, what better medium than a simple looking graphic of information. Minimal research necessary.
I've done some in the past for a variety of clients. A couple turned out pretty well. So for this, I took those joyful, beautiful shapes, arranged them in a super simple way, and added seemingly true information where it seemed most appropriate. This is harder to do than it sounds. My favorite conceptual conversation went like this: all things being equal, once a society devolves into madness, can they come back? What brings on madness faster, sudden blindness gripping the world or being brainwashed by a religious zealot? Is collapse the same if it's economic or environmental? Would there be such a thing as a madness pyramid?
Several years back, I did something similar for another artshow, this one focused on graphic activism. The time was late 2005 and the gig poster was the powerhouse medium of choice. Corporations in general were the target: ExxonMobil is the serpent fire from hell and we are those without sunscreen. And Fox News bites the heads off of birds so you can't talk back. Please, think about what you buy.
The topics this time were more random with the only link being things I was thinking about generally at the time. That movie where everyone goes blind and society collapses. Similar idea with the Road, the Walking Dead, Jared Diamond, etc. The way money drives everything and is #1 on the majority of people's lists. What the hell makes a great society anyway? If we ever get there, what would that look like? And soda, what the fuck? Soda is on my list and one of the things I despise most. But man, the branding for OK Soda was epic, wasn't it?
DESIGN NOTES: Remember, there's power in the information. So when someone spins up an infographic your way, be vigilant in your mental consumption. Beware of the cutification and over-simplification of serious topics. Stay alert and try not to be misled. And most of all, this is the Internet, let's all just keep scrolling.
Recently unearthed, this set of four seemingly unrelated infographic poster sheets offer broad commentary on both our past and our future.