Mat Van Den Art's Blog


Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

In certain parts of the world people are becoming increasingly vulnerable to everyday consumer decisions and actions of people thousands of miles away, caused by structural problems of globalized capitalism. It is necessary to understand, study and recognize suitable communication medium to overcome devastating economic, social and environmental implications of current socio-economic system. (more…)


Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

I am heartily thankful to my supervisor, Anne Douglas, whose encouragement, supervision and support during the concluding dissertation phase enabled me to develop deeper contextual understanding of the researched subject. I would especially like to acknowledge how Anne convincingly conveyed a spirit of adventure in regard to research and an excitement in regard to my further professional career.

I would like to thank professor Iain Irving for his direction, assistance, and guidance during past three semesters. Professor Iain Irving’s recommendations and suggestions have been invaluable for the project and my future research practice.

I also wish to thank Dr. Alexandra Kokoli, Dr. Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan for their teaching support and guidance.

Special thanks should be given to my student colleagues who helped me in many ways. Finally, words alone cannot express the thanks I owe to Eva Pavlickova, my mother, for her encouragement and assistance.


Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

CHAPTER 1: Origin, Purpose and Structure of the Study

1.1     Keynes vs Friedman – The struggle which changed the history

1.2     Predatory Capitalism Critique

1.3     Aims of Research

1.4    Objectives

1.5     Rationale

1.6     Structure of the study


CHAPTER 2: Communication of Capitalism through Advertising

2.1     Capitalism and Advertising

2.2    Problem Identification


CHAPTER 3: Many-to-many approach to Communication and Collaboration over Internet

3.1     Communication Revolution

3.2     Digital Communication

3.3     Social Networks / Collaboration

3.4     Internet for Peace


CHAPTER 4: Innovative Data Visualization Approaches to Communication.

4.1    Data Visualization

4.2     Case Study 1

4.3     Case Study 2


CHAPTER 5: Conclusion

5.1    Conclusion





1.1 Keynes vs Friedman – The struggle which changed the history

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

When economist John Maynard Keynes wrote in 1936 his most famous book – general theory of employment, interest and money, his ideas become the corner-stone of the pre and post-war period of modern capitalism respected by policy-makers in all major western countries. Keynes economic model promoted free capitalism within the boundaries of strict governmental oversight where government acted as a referee in the order to prevent another financial crisis as the one in 1929. (more…)

1.2 Predatory Capitalism Critique

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

We as human beings living in our own social context performing the everyday roles of citizens, travellers, buyers or workers have to understand our participatory roles in evolutionary processes forming the future of global social, environmental and economic landscape. As well as the past decisions on local or national level have been forming the everyday experience of our social landscape, our decisions will form the social context of life for the consecutive generations. (more…)

1.3 Aims of Research

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

The principal aim of this research is to study potential of modern visualization methods for raising awareness regarding global economic, environmental, political and other pressing issues.

The rationale develops from the necessity of producing effective communication platform to communicate increasingly complex global challenges emerging as a result of our socio-economic behavoiur. The intention is to analyze capability of Internet and social media to create advanced communication platform necessary for spreading awareness and generating social and consumer behaviour change based on well communicated understanding of our global responsibility.

1.4 Objectives

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of current communication approaches when dealing with the issues of Capitalism.


  • Analyse recent data/information visualization methods and their potential use in dealing with the issues of Capitalism.


  • Analyse Internet and social web possibilities for communication modern era issues.

1.5 Rationale

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

Simon Hutchins the director of “The Cove” once said: you are either activist or in-activist.8

In our everyday lives we often forget how an individual decision or action can change the whole world. We often forget the legacies of such people as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther or Joan of Arc which changed their era and even the course of history. (more…)

1.6 Structure of the Study

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

The study is divided into five chapters. Chapter one explains the rationale of the study and reveals the predatory face of capitalistic socio-economic system. Chapter two reviews current communication of capitalism through the use of advertising in mass-media. Further research evaluates past socio-economic implications brought forth by inventions of new methods of communication during human history. Study further attempts to identify the most equal and open communication platform current technology offers. Current problem with data perception, interpretation and distribution is discussed in chapter four. Two case studies provide supportive evidence of the lack of interpretative ability of current data visualization methods by attempting to develop alternative visualization interfaces.

2.1 Capitalism and Advertising

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

Modern consumption is dependent on an actualized aesthetic gratification derived from the possession of or dynamic ‘encounter’ with the commodity itself. This dependence makes the commodity susceptible to dialectical critique since the desire gratified through ‘false’ or manipulated satisfactions involves a substitution that can be deconstructed for its mass utopian content.10 (more…)

2.2 Problem Identification

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

Che Guevara wrote: The laws of capitalism, which are blind and are invisible to ordinary people, act upon the individual without he or she being aware of it. One sees only the vastness of a seemingly infinite horizon ahead. That is how it is painted by capitalist propagandists who purport to draw a lesson from the example of Rockefeller — whether or not it is true — about the possibilities of individual success. (more…)

3.1 Communication Revolution

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010


In his presentation Howard Rheingold relates the old story of human competition and survival of the fittest with economic, social and environmental challenges we as a global society face today. Howard Rheingold in the presentation based on his book SMART MOBS introduced the possible answer in the form of “coming world of collaboration, participatory media and collective action” (more…)

3.2 Digital Communication

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

When in 1833 the Parliament of the United Kingdom abolished slavery throughout most of the British Empire it meant the end to the 25 year long struggle in which two lobby groups fought mercilessly for the favourable result of their cause. Imagine what would happen if the modern communication technologies would have been available at the time. How faster the problem could have been shared and interpreted throughout the wide society ending the barbaric trade practices. (more…)

3.3 Social Networks / Collaboration

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

In early 1800s Ferdinant Tönies recognized two groups of social ties as Gemeinschaft – personal or Gesellschaft – formal social links. While Gemeinschaft/Communal social group existed on the principal of direct social ties of individuals sharing the same beliefs or values, Gesellschaft/Institutional social network coexisted on the basis of impersonal instrumentals social links. (more…)

3.4 Internet for Peace

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

The Internet is among a record 237 individuals and organisations nominated for 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. The Internet’s nomination has been championed by the Italian version of Wired magazine for helping advance “dialogue, debate and consensus”.36


Video 18 )


4.1 Data Visualization

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

Giambattista Vico argued, knowledge invention involves not only ingenuity and imagination, but recollection. Vico highlights by his presentation method (Scienza di ragionare) science of reasoning; that we do not need to search for new knowledge/information in new places but we can gain it by combining the information already available to us and interpreting it in appropriate innovative form better suited for current social context. (more…)

4.2 Case Study 1

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

When economist John Perkins in his book Hoodwinked talks about USA becoming the first banana republic without producing bananas, I was very sceptical about his comparison. However, Perkins expanded on his theory admitting the overall living standards of USA citizens to be higher of those living in the third world, however the comparison of the wealth distribution is shockingly similar. (more…)

4.3 Case Study 2

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

Video 24 )

Resolution of problem between data and our understanding of it requires innovative approach to message communication in order to spread public awareness. Jonathan Harris’s innovative approach to digital communication demonstrates potential of digital media to acquire and interpret information in innovative ways changing the way our mindset is exposed to incoming information, ultimately changing our perception and contextual understanding of the dataset. (more…)

5.1 Conclusion

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

Current economic system is not sustainable or even morally satisfying, multiplying the problems it set to eradicate. Our numbness and general failure to evaluate, interpret and communicate global challenges caused by constant hunger for growth putting too much strain on the most vulnerable, exploiting the poor and many for the benefit of few reminds me a little poem by pastor Martin Niemler reflecting on the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power.

“THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.


and by that time no one was left to speak up.” (more…)


Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010


Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

Appendix 1

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010


In my creative strive for finding visually pleasing forms of data/information visualization I was inspired by Barbara Hann and Christine Zimmermann’s seminar which was based around the data visualization issue and how these two Swiss graphic designers were able to engage with the challenge and find their own visual style. (more…)

Summary Statement

Posted in Uncategorized by matvandenart on August 10, 2010
MFA / MDes
Assessment statement Proforma – Semester

Name of student
Outline statement on work produced in semester
What is your research – questions/goals?
I would like to base my Master year project on the critique of Capitalism in Globalized society. Over the course of human evolution there was number of societal systems none of which was able to resolve 100% successfully pressing societal needs of particular era. We can see constant governmental pursuit for better managed and more just social and economic system. Small issues are constantly in the centre of the heated disputes while nobody tries to look at the bigger picture how the global society and international relations are managed. Capitalism as the economically centred system has many advantages for its participants, which enabled human society to overcome its national borders, and helped it to become globalized. Pursuit for economical benefits however has become one of the main driving forces of western societies in capitalistic monetary systems. Money became the centre of our lives around which everything else revolves. Complexity of the globalized financial systems however lives us blind to the results of our everyday domestic or economic actions to the destiny of other people elsewhere. By my the  project I would like to highlight these issues and interactively communicate and interpret them to my audience.
What were you trying to achieve in the semester?
I tried to research use of digital technologies, which would enable me to establish stronger communication between the work of art (result of my Master year) and the audience viewing the artwork. I have been trying to find the best possible combination of methods/techniques and technologies enabling me to interact successfully with the audience regardless of their physical location.
What did you do?
I have been researching interactive design work of contemporary digital designers Joshua Davis, Robert Hodgin and Paul Burke. Exploring the possibility outlined by video director James Frost in his concept video clip House of Card for Radioheads band where Frost explores transformation of one data source into different form which is then digitally projected to the human audience which is able to recognize and interpret the projection as the original data source. This approach to data visualization used by Frost as well as Hans Rosling in his GapMinder application explores human ability to recognize and process atypical/new information sources and interpret them into real-world understanding triggering possibility of new knowledge.  In my practical work I tried to link upper mentioned visualization principles with the mathematical representation of information data sources explored by Peter de Jong and Clifford in their Simple Attractors projects. I also carried further research into boids and various forms of random particle flocking behaviour outlined by Robert Hodgin in his Flocking project. My practical work combines upper-mentioned principles and theories based on which I attempt to criticise globalized capitalism as well as explore aesthetics in chaos.
What were the challenges?
The main challenge has been to take the design concept and interpret it into programming language of modern computer systems  while guaranteeing interactivity of the designed art-piece.
What is still outstanding and needs to be achieved?
Further interaction models to be enabled for current design taking it from advanced concept stage to the final interactive project.