Visualizing the World: from Observations, Information and Statistics to the Cartographic Image

Philippe Rekacewicz and Nepthys Zwer Österreichisches Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum

The focus days with Philippe Rekacewicz and Nepthys Zwer explored and experimented with selected methodologies in map-making and information design. Starting the day before new regulations rendered face-to face-interactions at the university impossible, the workshop was our first (unplanned) experience with online collaboration in times of Corona.

How to transform observations, information and statistics into visual representations? The aim of the focus week with Philippe Rekacewicz (geographer, cartographer and information designer) and Nepthys Zwer (Germanist, cultural scientist and Neurath expert) was to use the tools of graphical semiology as a way to reduce and simplify knowledge and information linked to a "degrowth economy" at various scales (urban as well as global). Various methods of visual representation from the domain of “Radical Cartography” and Otto Neurath's approach of Isotype were applied. The workshop started with a working session at the Österreichisches Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum, which was founded by Otto Neurath. In the evening, Philippe Rekacewicz and Nepthys Zwer gave a public talk on Otto Neurath and his role as a radical geographer. Shortly before the public talk began, we heard the news that due to the Corona virus, from the next day on, no face-to-face teaching would be possible at Austrian universities anymore. Nevertheless, although these first days of public restrictions turned out a bit hectic, we managed to relocate the workshop online. Students created visualizations of growth-related statistics like CO2 emissions, the number of cars in Vienna or the global wealth distribution, as well as personalized maps of Vienna. Coordination, communication and a detailed feedback were conducted through Owncloud folders, etherpads and e-mails.

Our first experience with online workshops during the Corona crisis turned out to be a success.

© Marlene Hübner

© Susanne Gutsche


Summer Semester 2020
Focus Week with Philippe Rekacewicz and Nepthys Zwer Cooperation partner: Österreichisches Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum