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Student works help us grasp the abstract numbers of the pandemic

An Asisan woman wears a medical face mask sitting on a couch in a living room.

Image: In Concern fourth year Graphic Design student, Binhwa Cho explores the fear of infection. 

A showcase of work responding to the pandemic by Karin von Ompteda's Graphic Design 3 class

Assistant professor, Karin von Ompteda’s third year graphic design class worked last fall to create artworks that visualize the staggering statistics of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Von Ompteda notes, “the physical manifestation of data can help people to meaningfully connect with the COVID-19 pandemic.”  

Professor von Ompteda leverages her background in science and her design practice of data manifestation that is, the communication of quantitative information through objects, installations and sensory experiences, to support students’ to think creatively in her class.    
Four projects that emerged from her Graphic Design 3 course show how art objects have the capacity to communicate overwhelming numbers and experiences, connect people and articulate incomprehensible magnitudes of loss. 

Professor von Ompteda will present the students’ work along with a research paper at VISAP'21, part of IEEE VIS, an annual conference on scientific visualization, information visualization and visual analytics which takes place at the end of October. The VIS Arts Program (VISAP) is a forum where visualization researchers, designers and media artists come together to discuss the annual theme. This year the theme is  “dis/connected” which will be explored through a range of data-driven artworks and design projects including interactive data visualization, web-based experience design and 3D printed sculptures.

A Blinding Truth by 2021 Illustration graduate Michael Zhang examines COVID-19 case numbers in the United States. 
A student wearing a cardboard head piece artwork
Yellow Mask by fourth year Graphic Design student, Lynn Liangtakes on anti-East Asian discrimination. 

A student wears a yellow face mask decorated with phrases related to anti-Asian discrimination

Mourning Globe by 2021 Illustration graduate Minah Leetranslates global deaths into a contemplative object. A yarn ball is transformed into a globe in this artwork.