Corcoran presents ‘Reading Time’ at COCA

Opening party for "Reading Time Across Words and Numbers: Visualization Projects" by Heather Corcoran at Millstone Gallery at COCA in St. Louis, Missouri on April 1, 2016.
“Reading Time Across Words and Numbers: Visualization Projects” by Heather Corcoran. The exhibition remains on view through May 21 at COCA, the Center of Creative Arts, 524 Trinity Ave.

In “Reading Time Across Words and Numbers: Visualization Projects,” now on view in COCA’s Millstone Gallery, Heather Corcoran, director of the College and Graduate School of Art in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, considers how the informational, the textual, and the visual can record the passing of time.

The exhibition is a mix of representations of time-based data lifted from sea and sky, and works based in literature, integrated with numerical data. There are timelines of literary history and visualizations of texts, including poems, historical and fictional excerpts, and short stories. Digital and letterpress examples are included.
One piece, “Six Conversations,” visualizes the complete texts of six short stories (including one by recent visiting writer Joy Williams) about female protagonists navigating their identities through dialogues with the people they encounter. Corcoran’s visualization plots the characters’ conversations and physical locations. The intent is to spur cross-disciplinary discussion between fiction and visualization — and to explore what happens when six complete texts are viewed on a single surface. 
 “Much of my work explores how visual design does a job, how it accomplishes real work in communicating, educating, even persuading,” Corcoran said. “The works in this exhibition have some of those functional elements in that they aspire to clarity, but ultimately, they search for a poetics of visual information. I am interested in the way that data visualization can sit between art as cultural artifact and design as functional tool.”


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