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The actual piece is 4 feet wide and 2 feet tall; here we have a detail of one small section.Lombardi’s image lays bare the complexity of the story, making it accessible even to an audience with neither the inclination nor the mental capacity to understand such a mess.Black represents the essential elements of the story while the major lawsuits, criminal indictments or other legal actions taken against the parties are shown in red.
Hierarchical relationships, the flow of money and other key details are then indicated by a system of radiating arrows, broken lines and so forth.
Some of the drawings consist of two different layers of information — one denoted in black, the other, red.
Mark was telling him about a couple of banks that had closed in Texas, and the lawyer said, “Yeah, and because of that, these Savings and Loans closed in California.” And his friend proceeded to tell him how a series of byzantine corporate connections tied the various financial institutions together.
It was very convoluted, and so Mark made some notes — he obviously was predisposed to thinking about this sort of thing. do the crossword puzzle in their studios to help them clear their minds. The diagrams were more visually interesting than his paintings.
In 1994, he began to create drawings such as this one to depict the complex narratives he would uncover through his curiosity about anything from failed banks to corruption in government to organized crime.
Ben Fry Thesis
Gallerist Deven Golden describes how Lombardi began creating these works:[He was] talking to a friend of his, a lawyer, in California.I first became familiar with Mark Lombardi’s work in April 2000 while in the midst of finishing my master’s thesis at the MIT Media Lab.Lombardi began as a painter who was also deeply interested in research, with a natural bent toward reading and absorbing large amounts of information.Even in the years since first writing this essay in 2009, there has been a remarkable proliferation of books and exhibitions about his work.To provide some background, my own work is focused on visualization of complex data sets, whether the human genome, millions of words of text, or truly important things like showing which American baseball teams are over-paying for star players.In his artist statement for a show in the late ‘90s, Mark described his work as follows: In 1994 I began a series of drawings I refer to as “narrative structures.” Most were executed in graphite or pen and ink on paper. I call them “narrative structures” because each consists of a network of lines and notations which are meant to convey a story, typically about a recent event of interest to me, like the collapse of a large international bank, trading company, or investment house.One of my goals is to explore the interaction of political, social and economic forces in contemporary affairs.My purpose throughout is to interpret the material by juxtaposing and assembling the notations into a unified, coherent whole.In some cases I use a set of stacked, parallel lines to establish a time frame.Many of the reviews of Mark’s work frequently reference “conspiracy,” though this seems a disservice brought by articles like this one that prominently feature conspiracy in their titles or as a central theme.A conspiracy theory usually implies the work of a naïve crank with an agenda, and a subjectivity that seems thankfully absent from Mark’s work.