Visible Data searches possible models of structuring data in the ﬁeld of ﬁnancing culture, where there is usually a lower level of interest for information design and visualization. Data about culture is still not in the main focus of researches, where power relations are more sophisticated and therefore not so attractive or dramatic. Especially in Eastern Europe, ﬁnancing culture is still based mainly on governmental funding. For citizens, ﬁnancial public budget items and their interconnected relations are highly abstract. Sometimes, governments and municipalities intentionally preserve this complexity, as such, thus remaining known to a very small circle.
Visualizations were delivered after research and development by a group of international designers, artists and programmers. The cultural scene lacks a clear picture about what exactly is supported by decisionmakers, what amount is allocated and from what budget line. The Visible Data project improves the capacity of cultural organizations by giving the tools for efficient public policy monitoring and analysis. Visible Data is an action that highlights the issue of transparency of ﬁnancing culture combining social and data research with attractive tools of visual communication, such as data visualization graphics.
In the project, graphic designers, web designers, programmers, sociologists, cultural policy researches, artists and theorists collaborated together. The emphasis on the work with students was on their critical thinking and their approach to the matter of visualization, meaning that there should be awareness of how information visualization could be manipulated and misused.
Participants involved in the project develop various models of formal representations of data visualization. Formal elements included experiments combined with structured computer programming that is the backbone of graphical user interface. The key issue was to implement interdisciplinary and collaborative conditions in design practice, thus enabling design to act in wider social scope and without limitation to be service oriented activity mostly, as it often is the case. Design is becoming the subject of everyday social transformation; design scene is becoming aware of its social and political impact and it is slowly abandoning its supposed neutrality in dealing with the power it possesses.
The project compared six countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Serbia and Slovakia), their overall budgets and budgets for culture at the national, regional and municipal level. The publications also contains texts and interviews about cultural policies in participating countries and offer an insider view on local cultural policies and presented examples of good and bad practice in the ﬁeld of cultural policies that were developed during workshops.
Organization and production: OPEN DESIGN STUDIO, Institute for Flexible Cultures and Technologies – NAPON, Mediamatic, STGU, Momeline