Data visualizers are a different breed. We scope out cool charts for kicks and hold up people like Edward Tufte as our celebrities. Clear your plans and get your fame fix at Tufte’s third annual open house. On one Saturday only, visitors can view his 80 large scale landscape works that 234 acres on Hogpen Hill Farms in northwest Connecticut.
Works at the open house include a series called Continuous Silent Megaliths: Structures of Unknown Significance, hundreds of tons of native rock into towering sculptures. The “stone+air” works, created with the help of stone worker Dan Snow, are reminiscent of the land art movement that began in the ’60s.
But Tufte doesn’t mean for these works to be abstractions or to represent anything, unlike his Richard Feynman-inspired All Possible Photons, a gallery show at ET Modern in which he created abstracted versions of the physicist’s subatomic particle diagrams. While those pieces are metal curlicues that represent subatomic matter, the works on display at Hogpen Farms are more visceral, made of earth, air and stone.
Tufte writes: “I think of the pieces as being made from two materials, stone and air. Much of thinking about the works is devoted to seeing and reasoning about the airspaces generated by positioning the stone.” These pieces take advantage of the sprawling landscape for a gallery not circumscribed by walls.
The statistician, author and artist has gone a far way toward bridging a divide between data visualization and art (he thinks they can be one in the same). If you’re feeling adventurous the first Saturday in October, drive up 100 minutes from Manhattan to check out the land art. The place is big so bring your walking shoes.
Rani Molla has a digital media master’s degree from Columbia Journalism School. She’s a journalism reader, writer, photographer, videographer, data visualizer and general doer. Follow her on Twitter.