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Project Description:
The images shown here are from an etnographic study which resulted in an engaging visual outcome, not common in this type of analysis. As the authors of the study explain: "Much of modern society is defined by material goods. In that sense, people are defined through other people's eyes based on what they do and do not or cannot own. Whether people admit it or not, judgments are made about people based on what they look like and what they own. These judgments might, in some cases, create unspoken bonds but in most cases create barriers between people".

With the goal of representing the cultural similarities between random people, the authors asked 32 participants to list some of the products, and activities that they are involved with: what artists they listen to, what movies they watch, what television shows they watch, what websites they might visit, what brands and accessories they wear, what electronics they own, and where they have lived. After collecting all this information from each participant, they asked them to categorize those products and activities into preset subcultural categories: Bohemian, Casual, Cyber, Nerd, Emo, Gamer, Gangsta, Hardcore, Hippie, Trendy, Indie, F.O.B., Sporty, Preppy, Punk, Rocker, Raggae, Skater. The authors then came up with a taxonomy that allowed the data to be best visualized within the Many Eyes website.

What resulted from this exercise was a deeply complex image showing social trends and unknown bonds between people through those trends. Besides producing a general diagram of subcultures (shown here) based on the data collected from the people who make up those cultures, the authors also created a series of specific diagrams based on particular brands (e.g. Nike, Vans) or subcultural categories (e.g. Trendy, Casual). The general diagram employs an array of colors based on the above-mentioned categories.

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Manuel Lima |