2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

The Tyranny of Edward Tufte

#sxsw #TufTyranny

1. Collect all the data.
2. Design all the data with integrity.
3. ???
4. Achieve universal knowledge and understanding.
When Edward Tufte tweets mockingly of the leaked NSA slides, he does so as the self-anointed king of presenting evidence. Empiricism’s head cheerleader, he has built an empire on telling everyone—lowly marketer to NASA bigwig—what Truth looks like.
And we eat it up.
But he has also perpetuated a culture where power is held by those with the data. As we shift our appreciation for discourse to those with the willingness and know-how to compress communication into bits and bytes of data-visualization and infographics, to what dangers do we open ourselves up? Do we move towards a future where we communicate solely via visualization, swap talking for looking, and seek to represent our own nuanced belief systems with universal iconography?



Gabriel Schaffzin

Researcher & Designer & Builder


Having used his degree from Babson College to work at organizations as small as his own start-up to multi-national corporations, Gabi returned to the academic world three years ago to earn his graduate degree at the Dynamic Media Institute at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design. Providing innovative solutions to problems has always been the primary driver for his work—and continues to be as he builds a research, design, and development firm, Skeptic, with some of his MassArt colleagues. 

During both the pursuit of his masters of fine arts and professional endeavors, he has been working to explore the ways in which dynamic media and the forces acting upon it shape our discourse. This is, most likely, fueled by his concurrent love for dystopian fiction and The West Wing. When he’s not reading one or watching the other, he’s probably yelling at the TV as he watches the latest Philadelphia sports meltdown, missing his mother’s home cooking, traveling with his wife, or running (for fun, not safety).

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