Data Cuisine is an on-again/off-again visualization culinary jam by cultural curator Susanne Jaschko and data viz extraordinaire Moritz Stefaner. The idea isn’t just to visualize data out of food–like a bar chart made out of elbow macaroni–but to create a culinary experience where taste, texture, and even smell convey their own data points.
Now they’re back, and armed with a team of student designers, the pair whipped up an entire platter of visualization hors d’oeuvres to serve at the recent Media in Cooperation and Transition Open Eye Awards, which celebrates the best journalistic works from MICT’s partners in Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia over the past two years.
“MiCT knew about our work on data cuisine and approached us to develop a custom flying buffet catering for their annual event,” Staefaner tells Co.Design. “As they work on supporting media developing projects in the Middle East, it was clear there would be lots of opportunity to work with interesting contents and develop unique dishes based on the cuisine from the different countries and issues of relevance.”
As you might imagine given the venue, the Data Cuisine visualizations that were served at the Open Eye Awards are heavily themed around visualizing media statistics in the Middle East. For example, there were Klaas Klenewinkle and Jess Smee’s Zuckerberg Pops, which covered white chocolate cake pops sesame seeds and sprinkles. Each pop represented a different country involved in the Arab Spring revolts, and the number of sprinkles on each pop correlated to how many people in each country were Facebook users.
There was also P2P (Potato to Public), a spud-based visualization designed by Anja Wollenberg and Maral Jekta, which conveys the number of employees in state media in Arab countries. The more state media employees a country has, the less cooked its corresponding potato appetizer is. In Iraq, 119 state media employees per 1 million inhabitants is visualized as a confit, where as Egypt’s 695 state media employees per 1 million inhabitants is practically a tater tot.
But not all dishes pertained exclusively to the Arab world. Majid Albunni, Christine Liehr, and Marketa Hulpachova also created the Dip ‘n’ Plug, a meatball visualization of the balance between mobile phone access vs. electricity access in Mali. And there was even a Slow Cuban Hummus that visualized a minute’s worth of Internet access in Cuba by translating its cost into the price of a corresponding number of black beans.
Stefaner and Jaschko’s Data Cuisine work always leaves us hungry for more, and this latest round of delicious visualizations is no exception. I know who I’ll be pressuring the Fast Company bigwigs to hire as caterers for the next Innovation by Design Awards.
Check out more Data Cuisine at the official Facebook Page here.