Information design (ID) aspires to an objective representation of memory, to “induce the viewer to think about the substance rather than about methodology” (Tufte), its materiality invisible to its ideas, a way to find truth in a world of shadows. ID is a dialogue where the data has become active, used rather than read. Use and usability require an efficiency that simplifies complex ideas (Nielsen, Neurath) in an attempt to create a frictionless communication of content in a world where computers are invisibly embedded into the fabric of society, silently collecting and analysing data (Weiser, 1991).
With increased concerns over privacy should these processes be invisible and quiet? Could the design play with the complex ideas and its own materiality to create a discourse around the vitality of digital memory?
From grottoes to cathedrals the grotesque has celebrated invention and questioned authority with a fart and a wink. Loud, funny and playful the grotesque contrasts the muted simplicity of ID, it could throttle the efficient consumption of information and create time for the consumer to consider and distinguish between layers of data. In ID the grotesque could play with its materials and induce the viewer to think about the impact of the methodology.