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Posts Tagged ‘BibliOdyssey

Victorian visualization…

Tableau De L’Histoire Universelle depuis la Creation jusqu’a ce jour

…a fold-out print depicting all of human history from the time of creation (4693 BC = Adam & Eve; the great flood = 3300 BC) up to the date of publication (1858 by Eug. Pick, Paris). Vignettes of historically significant people, places and buildings etc are arranged along the borders.

Earlier posts (e.g., here and here) will have tipped readers to your correspondent’s weakness for charts and visualizations.  A wonderful collection at Bibliodyssey reminds one that interesting infographics have a long and storied history… and that earlier examples can be a mesmerizingly beautiful as their successors…

Tinted drawing showing the comparative lengths of rivers and heights of mountains worldwide. The first text page in this volume has the legend for this sheet.

In: ‘General Atlas Of The World: Containing Upwards Of Seventy Maps…’ by Adam & Charles Black, Sidney Hall and William Hughes, 1854; published in Edinburgh by A & C Black.

See them all at Bibliodyssey’s “Victorian Infographics.”

And for readers who are also listeners to This American Life, may enjoy This American Infographic— a project of E. J. Fox to create a visualization for every episode of that extraordinary series; e.g., Episode 5:

As we chart our progress, we might pause to celebrate a different kind of visualization coup: it was on this date in 1944 that Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat— based on a story by John Steinbeck– premiered at the Astor Theater in New York.  Starring the divine Tallulah Bankhead (along with William Bendix and Walter Slezak), Lifeboat was remarkable for confining all action to the space of the small boat awash in the ocean…

one-sheet

and for including the director’s trademark cameo in a newspaper ad for weight loss that one of the characters reads.

source

As it happens, some of my best friends are crazy…

From BibliOdyssey:

Karl Hans Janke (1909-1988) graduated from high school and attended a technical college for a couple of years and studied dentistry although he didn’t complete the course. He was drafted into the German army in 1940 where he was hospitalised on a number of occasions because of behavioural problems and was eventually discharged from the service on medical grounds in 1943.

By the late 1940s Janke was found to be malnourished and exhibiting increasingly eccentric behaviour and, after a short prison sentence and hospital assessment, he was committed to a psychiatric institution in Wermsdorf, Saxony in 1950 with a diagnosis of chronic paranoid schizophrenia. He remained at this facility for the rest of his life.

The institutional staff either encouraged or tolerated the passion Janke showed for sketching technical designs: he had his own “office” in the hospital in which he produced four thousand drawings and constructed hundreds of models of his “inventions”. Apparently the boxes containing his works were stowed away at the hospital and forgotten after his death and weren’t rediscovered until 2000 when the imaginative artistry and sheer enormity of his output was finally recognised.

Janke was, in his own mind at least, a serious engineer, intent on helping mankind by devising all manner of rocket ship (especially), space vehicle, ferry, bike, propulsion mechanism and associated transport system. His drawings range from simple prototype sketches to incredibly detailed schematics reminiscent of technical manual designs. He was an energetic correspondent with the patent office and various technological and aerospace type agencies and departments, endeavouring – without much luck – to share his inventions with his scientific “peers”. Fearing theft of his intellectual property however, Janke was also assiduous in dating and signing his works with an accompanying statement declaring himself as the author and originator of each idea depicted.

Vacuum Freighter

See a selection of Janke’s remarkable drawings at BibliOdyssey; browse over 3,500 of his drawings at the archive at Deutsche Fotothek.

As we prepare to leave this world, we might celebrate the anniversary of the first full-length film based on a television series:  Rescue from Gilligan’s Island.  (Given how far the genre has come– witness Jackass 2, The Dukes of Hazzard, and on a loftier note, Star Trek— it’s hard to believe that this was only 31 years ago, in 1978.)

source: Clown-Ministry

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