Ben Fry w/ Eugene Kuo, Chris Brown, Katy Harris: All Streets, 2008
Digital print, 4,7 x 3 meters
“All Streets” is a vision of the United States as represented only by its infrastructure of roads. The country that invented car culture is rendered quite clearly by drawing its 26 million streets. Focusing not on geographical features or political boundaries but only on routes of travel, the resulting map is revealing. Population-dense areas become complex fractal clusters that dominate the eastern parts of the country, while westwards the open landscapes of America’s heartland reveal blanker spots reflecting the harsh terrain.
Ben Fry is a pioneer of the new model of computational approaches to information visualization, applying design principles to revealing structures in huge sets of data. Fry does not consider himself an artist, but the emotional affect of his visualizations is undeniable. They represent a new form of augmented vision through which we might understand the complex data streams that increasingly dominate our digital lives.