doksiadis’s visualisation of post-war greece

Reading through yesterday’s paper (Kathimerini, Greek newspaper) I came across an article advertising the reissue of a book written in 1947 by Konstantinos Doksiadis, named “The sacrifices of Greece in the second world war”, accounting the losses in various fields of the Greek country and economy, measured in the aftermath of WWII. In this book Doksiadis uses data visualization techniques to draw the image of post-war Greece.

Copying from the article “Graphic design innovation and History”, the four-language book “was the result of a great effort that lasted from May 1941 up until the liberation of Greece (1944) conducted by architect and urban planner Konstantinos Doksiadis. Tables, diagrams and pictures show the effects that WWII and the Occupation of Greece had on the country, on its people, on its resources, on its infrastructure, etc.”

Apart from the obvious historical value of such an oeuvre, this book is also praised for Doksiadis’s innovative way of visualizing the findings of his survey.

Copying again from the article, “Assistant professor of New York School for Design, architect Ioanna Theocharopoulou, believes that since the book in question was to be addressed to an international audience, it was clear that Doksiadis and his partners were searching for ways to make their survey material reach out to as many people as possible. ‘We assume that they looked into the work of political economist and sociologist Otto Neurath (1882-1945)’ ”

Otto Neurath developed ISOTYPE (International System of TYpographic Picture Education) “a method of showing social, technological, biological and historical connections in pictorial form. It was first known as the Vienna Method of Pictorial Statistics.“ (Wikipedia.org) In the words of the architect Kostas Tsiampaos, “it is a graphic method of rendering information, a system of visualization of statistical data which helps the immediate comprehension and at the same time an easy way to make things memorable”.

Quoting Ioanna Theocharopoulou: “Doksiadis’s project does not reproduce the proposed symbols of Neurath. It is based on them, treating similar ideas in new ways. Much like the ISOTYPE diagrams of Neurath, the diagrams of Doksiadis’s book were not sketches of specific items. They rather express a general category of these specific items and artifacts. For exemple, in order to visualize the loss of agricultural production we come across sketches of one thematic category: cereal, legumes, tobacco, olive, fruit”

Below are some pictures drawn from the book.

Annual Agricultural Production

Annual Agricultural Production during the Occupation of Greece 1941-1944

Various Diagrams

1. Destroyed Ports, 2. Cargo ships and losses during the war (until April 1945), 3. Destroyed Forests in Athens

Cargo ships

Loss of cargo ships

Population Density

Population Density of Greece during the war. People are accumulated in areas where cultivation was possible.

Decrease of farm animals

Decrease of farm animals during the Occupation of Greece 1941-1944

Cultivation

Decrease in cultivation and average annual agricultural production


References

“Graphic design innovation and History”, Dimitris Rigopoulos, published on “Kathimerini”, Greek newspaper, on Saturday, 4th of January 2014

“Konstantinos A. Doksiadis – Texts, Sketches, Settlements”, Aleksandros-Andreas Kirtsis, IKAROS 2006

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotype_(picture_language)

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About Katerina

Katerina Skroumpelou is an architectural engineer, and currently a PhD candidate at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at National Technical University of Athens, Greece. She holds an MRes title on Advanced Spatial Analysis and Visualisation, that she acquired from the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis of UCL. Her research interests revolve around the concepts of the Internet of Things, the future of cities and the technological and social aspects that arise. Katerina is a front-end developer at Upstream. In the past, she worked as a web developer at the National Centre for Scientific Research "Demokritos". Before diving into web development, she studied Architectural Engineering and she holds an MRes title on Advanced Spatial Analysis and Visualisation, that she acquired from the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis of UCL. She also took a number of post-graduate courses at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering of NTUA. She is indigenous to the internet, and she loves web development. So much that she does not understand the distinction between work and life sometimes. Or so her friends say. She lives with her Maine Coon in Athens, Greece.

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