VDS Digest

A weekly roundup of the visual press.

A grid of abstract shapes by Wassily Kandinsky

[VDS Retro] 24 Charts Before 2024

By Mathieu Guglielmino, Dec 25 2023

This has been a rollercoaster of a year, to say the least.

I came back from Málaga, Spain, after one year abroad, and pursued my PhD thesis at ENS de Lyon, France, for a few months, until scientific disagreement with my advisors pushed me to go away from what amounted to psychological terrorism. However, I was lucky enough to attend EuroVis in Leipzig earlier this year and present some work about the visual edition of multivariate networks. This remains to this day one of my favorite memories of 2023!

In the end, I doubled my salary coming back to Paris, and I eventually could stop taking anxiety medication. It was about time I sorted the wheat from the chaff.

New job, new apartment, new friends, new partner. Then I turned thirty.

A grid of abstract shapes, the visual vocabulary of Wassily Kandisky Thirty, by Wassily Kandinsky (1937)

This time of turmoil has been intellectually stimulating. I’m a walker of many roads, and it feels like I may eventually arrive to Rome, this metaphorical Rome where science, design, and art will contribute to a better world. May I have the chance to be a part of it, with all the sound and fury necessary to break the unnecessary divisions that separate us from beauty. After all, as my (thank god ex-)advisor used to say with all the disdain he was capable of: Mathieu has the soul of an artist.

It gets easier, but you gotta do it everyday. That's the hard part. But it gets easier. (Bojack Horseman, Season 2 Ep 10)

This summer was not the first time I decided to start writing a newsletter, but it’s the first time I haven’t miss a single beat 5 months later, even after starting a time-consuming job. I knew if I wanted it to work I had to stick to a routine. Despite its initial lack of originality, tapping into the brisk tempo of news outlets proved to be a wise decision, and the habits of writing weekly allowed me to slowly drift away from commenting the work of other people and reflect on what I want my own work to be.

You might have noticed some of my thoughts are still nebulous when they reach the online public space, and that I may be writing about the same thing over and over again. I will continue doing so until I have found the exact words in the exact order to express the exact thing I’m trying to convey. Some Sundays I may go to bed at 4am and send a mail I’m most unhappy with. But I’ve never let this feeling of “my god this is crap” take over. I think I got better.

So, what’s next?

2024 is next, and I’ll be here. Will you?

VDS Retro—24 charts before 2024

This is my attempt to bring forward some interesting charts I’ve ran into from a year of war, global warming, another war, terrorist attacks, a migrant crisis, an opioid epidemics, generative AI, long Covid…

24. The Lineup for the First Republican Presidential Debate—The New-York Times

23. How an Aging Armada and Mystery Traders Keep Russian Oil Afloat—Bloomberg

By Demetrios Pogkas @pogkas

22. Hong Kong sweltered as world set heat record—SCMP

By Rocio Marquez, Davies Christian Surya, Marcelo Duhalde

21. US climate chief rails at Asian coal as geopolitical tensions shadow UN summit—The Financial Times

20. The Global Economy Enters an Era of Upheaval—Bloomberg

19. Feux de forêt : en Europe, 40 % de surfaces brûlées de plus que la moyenne récente, quatre fois plus en Grèce—Le Monde

By Pierre Breteau (Le Monde) (translation by Google Translate)

18. More Americans are getting news on TikTok, bucking the trend seen on most other social media sites—Pew Research

17. Can the World Make an Electric Car Battery Without China? —The New-York Times

16. Elon Musk’s Unmatched Power in the Stars—The New-York Times

Graphics by @scottreinhard

15. Brazil Is Embracing the Migrant Crisis That Everyone Else Wants to Avoid—Bloomberg

14. My Life With Long Covid—The New-York Times

by Giorgia Lupi (The New-York Times) The "year of pain" is the climax of the story, with a swarm of electric blue strokes.

13. Africanos e indígenas predominam nas linhagens maternas de DNA no Brasil—A Folha de São Paulo

by Diana Yukari

12. Humans Are Biased. Generative AI Is Even Worse—Bloomberg

By Leonardo Nicoletti and Dina Bass

11. Our data problems are getting harder to ignore—The Straits Times

BY Alex Lim and Stephanie Adeline Data transferred on this page

10. An Extremely Detailed Map of New York City Neighborhoods-The New-York Times

9. How Electricity Is Changing, Country by Country—The New-York Times

by Nadja Popovitch

8. The Invisible Epidemic—The Pudding

by Alvin Chang for The Pudding

7. World Energy Outlook 2023—IEA

6. Fast, cheap and deadly—Reuters

By Jackie Botts

5. The rise of anti-trans bills in the US-Reuters

By Minami Funakoshi and Disha Raychaudhuri

4. Los récords de calor que está batiendo esta década—El País

By Laura Navarro

3. Gaza reports more than 11,100 killed. That’s one out of every 200 people.—The Washington Post

By Ruby Mellen, Artur Galocha and Júlia Ledur

2. Israel-Gaza war explained—SCMP

by Rocío Marquez and Marcelo Duhalde

1. America needs clean electricity. These states show how to do it.—The Washington Post

By Harry Stevens

See you next year, Mathieu Guglielmino

VDS Digest

A weekly roundup of the visual press.