Explore/Explain is a new series of conversations I am recording with data visualisers about their work. The recordings will be published in both video and audio podcast format. I will be the presenter/chief interrogator and I’m delighted to be supported by Matt Knott as producer.
My primary interest in these conversations is to explore the design story behind a single project or series of related visualisations with the creator(s) of the work. I want to provide an opportunity for visualisers to explain their design process, to shine a light on the myriad little decisions that underpin their finished works and share insight into the hidden context that shaped their thinking.
Audiences will gain an appreciation of the what, the why and the how, learning more about the wrangling and the problems, the discoveries and the eureka moments, the pressures and frustrations, the things that were done and the things that were not done, as well as the successes and the failures.
The recordings will be captured and published in both video and audio format. I feel this topic demands a video-based treatment so viewers can see what is being described, but it should also co-exist as an audio-only output that can be practically consumable through podcast channels. Finding a style of conversation that enables the content to work in both formats will be my central challenge. I am working on the idea that the video versions will be a shorter, punchier version (25-35 mins) with the audio format offering scope for a slightly longer ‘directors cut’ version (maybe 40-55 mins), depending on the subject of the episode. I’m seeking to find a balance that offers sufficient space for necessary depth of discussion whilst simultaneously avoiding draining the attention spans of audiences tuning in.
Yesterday, I conducted a pilot recording with Maarten Lambrechts to test out the technicalities and process of recording, as well as practice the flow of a conversation. I was satisfied with how this test episode went (thank you especially to Maarten for this!) and it has convinced me to commit to making this potential thing a real thing. There is still work for me to do to establish the best-fit rhythm and tone, and for Matt to carve out a creative but efficient post-production process it is amazing how many new tasks emerge with this kind of work.
I am now embarking on scheduling further guests to build up a bank of recordings. I want to responsibly reflect a diverse cast of visualisers, showcasing a wide range of different types of visualisation developments. I want to showcase people you know, and people you don’t know. There is an interesting story behind every visualisation project, it will not always be about profiling Malofiej-best-in-show-winning pieces, so expect to see different shapes and sizes in the case studies being discussed.
My plan is to release the episodes through scheduled seasons, with each season comprising nine episodes plus a potential 10th ‘special’ episode possibly formed of a live in-person recording with a guest or guests, possibly in a studio environment. My current scheduling plan is to launch season one in April, with each episode released on the same day at the same time across consecutive weeks.
I will naturally share my progress on here and through my social channels, but you can also follow updates and developments via a new twitter feed @Explore_Explain.