Patternicity: Dreamy Diagrams and Lyrical Visualizations of the Eccentric Details of Daily Life in the City
An abstract love letter to the art of paying attention.
By Maria Popova
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” Annie Dillard memorably wrote. Out of the way we attend to the minutia of our days emerges the grand scheme of our lives and the grain of that attention renders the texture of our existence. But the great paradox of it all is that we are wired to miss the majority of what goes on around us.
Turkish industrial designer and School of Visual Arts graduate student Yasemin Uyar explores this paradox with equal parts playfulness and wholehearted curiosity in Patternicity — her part in the annual 100 Days Project initiative by Debbie Millman’s SVA Masters in Branding program, which tasks students with envisioning a creative operation, performing it for one hundred consecutive days, and documenting the ongoing process in a public medium.
Uyar sees her project as an act of “discovering patterns in overlooked noise through observation.” Each day, she turns to one such neglected aspect of her daily life in New York City — from the geography of smell to women’s hairstyles to the distribution of puddles on a rainy day to the correlation between the number of customers and the number of menu options at a pizza shop — and renders it in a lyrical, abstract visualization braiding observation, discovery, and storytelling. The resulting dreamy diagrams are less about giving information than about celebrating the very act of paying attention — that supreme conduit to aliveness.
Partway between the aesthetic splendor of Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec’s Dear Data and the marvelously eccentric data-point selections of Denis Wood’s Everything Sings, the project is a wonderful exercise in what Lynda Barry calls “being present and seeing what’s there.”
Follow Uyar’s project on Instagram and complement it with Lynda Barry’s field guide to keeping a visual diary, cognitive scientist Alexandra Horowitz on the art of noticing, and John Ruskin on how drawing trains you to see the world more clearly.
Published June 20, 2016