The Role of Data in Culture
ARCADE is a Seattle-based non-profit that publishes a magazine bringing together voices from the design disciplines and the arts. Schema were the designers of the 33rd volume, and for the first issue Schema founder Christian Marc Schmidt was the feature editor, contributing the essay “Data Culture” on the impact of data in culture and the arts and showcasing work by artists using data in their practice, from Ben Rubin and Laura Kurgan to Ryoji Ikeda.
The design of the volume is based on the idea of the magazine as database. Each of the three issues uses red, green and blue, respectively, as the accent color. Furthermore, each issue features an index that programmatically identifies the most frequently used words and ranks them in order of times each word occurs in the text. In addition to a master list, the index runs through the entire issue in the page margins.
Our design for ARCADE is a response to the changing role of the magazine in a digital world. What does it mean to publish a printed magazine like ARCADE in the era of the iPad? The use of RGB as the color scheme for the volume—as well as the index—invites a comparison of print and digital that touches on issues of longevity, legitimacy, ownership, intimacy and linearity, and the extent to which these concepts are valued and changing in today’s culture.