I came across this image of a gender histogram I produced in 2010 whilst completing my honours.
The idea behind the image (shown cropped) was to see if it was possible to show an entire overview of the collection split by gender. Works by male artists are above the black line down the middle, works by female artists are below the line. This visualisation work was displayed as a 3m long printed poster.
The big poster will make its first public appearance at Cultural Interfaces, a special one night only show at CraftACT on the 9th November.
Over the last few days everything has come together nicely and I’ve been able to produce this beautiful work below. It’s a visual representation of every imaged work, sorted by date of production, in the Prints and Printmaking collection. Click to enlarge.
This version is relatively small, and the data cuts off at 1980. The larger version has more data and bigger thumbnails, allowing you to explore part of the national collection up close and in impressive detail.
7 decades of Australian Printmaking in 300px.
I’m very pleased.
I’ve spent the last few weeks looking at and developing my understanding of the data. The grid below is important because it’d the first that uses data about the actual works produced. The boxes remained coloured by gender, but they are sized by the mount of works they have in the collection. In this example, Mike Parr has 230 works, therefore his box in the grid is 230 x 230px wide. You can still make out lots of 1 x 1 boxes at the top, these are artists that just have 1 work in the collection. The huge white box at the bottom is actually a number of boxes for different printmaking collectives, the key one being the Australian Print Workshop with over 3200 works.
Well interactive on my computer at least.
This grid presents all 8000 artists with valid birthdates, sorted by date and coloured by gender. The dates on the right signify the year the first artist in that row was born, between 1900 and 1990 these are at 10 year intervals. The spacing is determined by how many artists there are in that decade. When you hover the mouse over a box, you can see exactly who that artist is and when they were born.
I like this visualisation. We can immediately see that between 1800 and 1900 there were only a smattering of female artists. And while that number increases with each decade, it is between 1950 and 1960 that the females really take off. Towards the end of the 1970’s, there are a number of white boxes, to represent a company. Through the use of interactivity we can see exactly what these companies are: mostly printmaking workshops and schools.
There are still a few errors with the data. The first few artists in the top left corner all have their birth year set to ‘1’ which should have been picked up in the data cleanup process. Also some of the artists names have quotes around them when they shouldn’t.
I’m pleased with this, though it would have taken me a incredibly long time without Mitchell’s fantastic help.