Stefanie Posavec

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Stefanie Posavec is an independent information designer and data artist hailing from Denver, Colorado. Since graduating from Central St Martins in 2006 with an MA in Communication Design, Stefanie has made London her home, and turned her background in book design and text visualisation into a wide-ranging creative practice that has seen her exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York from 24 July – 7 November 2011, the Victoria and Albert Museum during June of last year, and speak at Eyeo Festival and Playful on 25 October 2013.

One of the most striking aspects of Stefanie’s work is her collision of the analogue and the digital. Central to her MA was Literary Organism, a visualisation of Jack Kerouac’s seminal twentieth century work On The Road. Restructuring and mapping the text with a highlighter, Stefanie tagged each paragraph and sentence on a given topic and noted its length. This raw data was then translated into a graphic representation based on the anatomy of a flower. The resulting piece constituted a unique and aesthetically pleasing engagement with the book that illuminated the text in a new way.

Literary-Organism-Poster-Lead Image: Writing Without Words: Literary Organism, a project that uses various graphic approaches to analyse the structure and themes of On the Road by Jack Kerouac.

Listing her influences as grammar, artist’s manifestos and rap lyrics, it is clear that language is central to Stefanie’s practice. In 2010, she applied her passion for the written word with her experience designing book covers for Penguin to create myFry, an app for iPhone that creatively visualised the recent autobiography of Stephen Fry. Her interest in the beauty of texts was also central to her selection for Memory Palace, the Sky Arts Ignition series at the V&A.

In Memory Palace, twenty graphic designers, illustrators and typographers were invited to contribute an original response to a new piece of post-apocalyptic fiction by Hari Kunzru. Using Google Earth, Stefanie measured the distance between capital cities. From this concrete data, she then visualised the disintegration of these figures, in line with Kunzru’s narrative, before turning the data into sprouting florets, representing nature’s rewilding of a post-apocalyptic London.

posavec_600 Image: The Withering and The Wilding, 2013

Similar processes were involved in (En)tangled Word Bank, a collaborative project between Stefanie and her brother-in-law Greg McInerny, which featured in the MoMA’s Talk to Me series in 2011. Taking the six editions of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species, Stefanie and Greg, an ecologist at Microsoft Research, located the various insertions and deletions Darwin made across the texts. These changes, additions and subtractions were then rendered in orange and green to create a series of six coloured wheels which showed which material survived each revision.

Stefanie 600_ Image: (En)tangled Word Bank.

Though not from a coding background, Stefanie has turned her attention to the growing field of information design, which is becoming ever more pertinent in our data-saturated age. This new focus has seen her complete a seven week residency as a data artist with Facebook in San Francisco. What promises to be an exciting and eventful year for Stefanie will start with her appearance at Alpha-ville EXCHANGE on 17 January, at Richmix in Shoreditch. Make sure you’re there to hear all about Stefanie’s sources of inspiration and the future of her unique and timely approach to data visualisation and information design.