Sapient Razorfish Debuts Live Databloom At EU Money Conference

Data visualization guru Mike Pell, who spoke a couple of years back at the DSrupted conference I ran in Toronto, talks about the difference between a visualization that is clearly beautiful, versus one that is beautifully clear.

The big interactive agency SapientRazorfish is showing a digital installation this week at the Money2020 payments and financial services conference in Amsterdam. It’s called the Open Futures Databloom. It is described this way: Imagine each data source as a seed, arranged with you at the centre… Our installation uses cutting edge technologies to bring to life the power of data for people, businesses and brands. 

I think it tilts much more to clearly beautiful than beautifully clear.

It looks beautiful, but without what amounts to a museum docent explaining things, would a viewer get anything out of it? I’m not sure how taking data about someone and visualizing that as a dandelion is much more than conference eye candy.

There’s got to be a happy medium, I think, between plain old data charts and numbers that give a user what he or she needs or wants to know, and data art. I think data can indeed just be visualized as art pieces, but the proposition with this sort of thing is that it is delivering insights.

If someone whipped up a visual that shows my connected life like this, my cascade of reactions would be, “Oh cool.” Followed by “That’s nice.” And wrapping up with “Ok, ummm, thanks.”

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 12 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Dave Haynes


12+ year-old blog & podcast about digital signage & related tech, written by consultant, analyst & BS filter Dave Haynes. DNA test - 90% Celt/10% Viking. 😏😜
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