InfoArcadia – an exhibition on information

Untill 22nd of April the Centre for Plastic Arts in The Hague, Stroom, shows the exhibition InfoArcadia. This exhibition deals with the different forms in which information can be represented, through graphics, schemes, charts and many other interfaces.
Information design, as a (graphic) discipline concerning the clear and understandable representation of flows of information, has become a specialism constantly gaining importance. InfoArcadia researches the various approaches this new discipline uses and explores the role of the computer and new media in relation to the ‘older’ (but in some cases far more efficient) forms of communication like the conversation or the book.

Exhibiting itself is one of the media which till recently were available next to the book, the map, the diagram, the lecture, the conversation and similar forms of communication. In the information age the flows of information we digest everyday have expanded largely. At the same time, the complexity of these flows of information has increased. The introduction of the computer and internet only gave rise to the growing amount and complexity. By now, it is impossible to distinguish the cause and the effect. – are the flows of information more complex because we have the means (media) to represent this complexity, or did these media originate from the necessity to master this complexity. In any case, the necessity to gain an insight in the flows of information by means of interfaces is more urgent than ever before. The exhibition in Stroom catalogues some directions in which the information design develops at ths moment.

The layout for this exhibition (by Maarten de Reus and Ronald van Tienhoven) in itself is a form of information design. The curators invited an international group of artist and experts in the field of communication, design, spatial planning and psychology to take part in the exhibition. Sixteen different forms to communicate information have been brought together in the exhibitionspace of Stroom. There are contributions like visuals and demos of computerprogrammes, mental maps, graphics, charts, diagrams and websites but also spoken texts and old-fashioned books. The spoken texts and the books are housed in two half transparent units, so the visitor can consume without being constantly distracted. The other items are placed in the exhibition space without a linear connection. By way of flyers the different parts get ‘hyperlinked’ to other demo’s and presentations. The visitor is encouraged to wander around in the information offered and to make his own story – like surfing the web.

Because the connections between the different contributions constitute the true value of this exhibition, metioning the specific contributions does not tell very much (although I have my favourites). InfoArcadia is an exhibition in which you can float around for a long time and finally get seduced to read a book, to edit in an interactive way your own, personal documentary, or to get immersed in a large website.

A lot of information on the exhibition and the exhibited projects is collected on the website of Stroom. Also a lot of links to other websites on this subject have been made. In spite of this, the best is to go and visit the exhibition. The switches between the various media cannot been made somewhere else.