In the twentieth century, truth became statistical. Numbers and data provided a new way to understand such concepts as health, population, work, and territory, and a new language through which parties and states advanced their agendas. Technologies from typewriters and cash registers to radio, television, and stock tickers, assembled, organized, and communicated social and economic data, while methods of social surveying grouped people into “statistical communities.” In order to convey information about these statistical communities, graphic designers developed graphs and charts that represented the abstract and quantitative in visual form. They hoped that these graphic forms of information would offer an objective, scientific basis for the resolution of conflicts and the regulation of society. Visualizing the Information Age shows how the work of these designers provided a new medium for the conduct of social and political debate, even as it encoded the cultural prejudices and presumptions of the day.
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