Infographic of the Day: An Apocalyptic Short Story, Told in Charts

Sumedicina is an experimental work of fiction that scraps words, and replaces them with infographics.


Our Infographics of the Day are all about how data and charts reveal stories in the broader world. So it’s only natural that charts could be used for fictional stories as well, and that’s the conceit of Sumedicina, a piece of experimental short fiction created by Jana Lange and Kim Asendorf.


The plot involves John, a scientist working for a nefarious biomedical company called Sumedicina. After developing a pandemic virus–as well as the cure, so the company can profit–his conscience overcomes him:

[John] decides to destroy the virus and quit with Sumedicina. John escapes and is pursued by the Secret Service of Sumedicina. He plans to go into hiding in Europe. On the airplane he meets the German lawyer Peter Müller and entrusts him his story. John disappears without a trace on the plane. Peter Müller publishes the data.

Here’s a couple of sample charts from the story. John’s increasing drug use to cope with stress, during his tenure at Sumedicina:


And a chart of his mental state, after he decides to flee the company:


You can check out the entire story on Jana’s Web site, or view the slides sequentially on Flickr.

For more Infographics of the Day, click here.

[Via DataVisualization]

About the author

Cliff is director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.