In the growing database of VisualComplexity, currently featuring 640 projects, there are only 7 examples that are not human-generated “subjective” representations of a system, but plain snapshots of Nature. These pictures although involving a human action - through a camera depiction - don’t result in a subsequent human analysis through any sort of knowledge map, which characterizes all the remaining projects on VC. The debate over the representation of a system being (or not) the system itself, can easily drift into an interesting philosophical discussion where Alfred Korzybski’s statement “The map is not the territory” is surely one of many points of view.
Regardless of whether you feel these depictions of Nature are maps in their own right, they are certainly as stimulating as many of the human produced graphs on VC. I’m constantly bewildered by the inspiration Nature provides us in the most apparently insignificant and ordinary element. These 7 examples, featuring either a neural network, a gelatinous porpita porpita, or an exposed human iris, provide great inspiration for anyone dealing with the visualization of complex networks.
In order of appearance (left-right, top-down):
- Neuronal Network
- Blue Brain Project
- Dissociated culture of rat hippocampal neurons
- Porpita porpita (Chondrophore)
- Toxic Nudibranchs