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May 13, 2005 8:37 PM   Subscribe

Icaro Doria is a Brazilian artist who uses flags to make a point.
posted by mcsweetie (36 comments total)

 
saw this, like lots of stuff in the blue (cough), on boingboing. This one is very cool though.
posted by sdrawkcab at 8:45 PM on May 13, 2005


my bad! for the record, I don't go to boingboing.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:47 PM on May 13, 2005


nice (and apt) : >
posted by amberglow at 9:11 PM on May 13, 2005


Ohhhh snap! Did he just call us stupid?

Seriously, though, I dig this.
posted by StopMakingSense at 9:14 PM on May 13, 2005


Excellent.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:29 PM on May 13, 2005


I really liked the American flag, though I suspect that the "supported war in Iraq" and "don't know where Iraq is" sets are actually coterminous.
posted by pieisexactlythree at 9:57 PM on May 13, 2005


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= Artists who care more about silly political statements
than any other 'artistic' concern, so they can be popular with the hoipoloi.

o Aritsts who aren't just pseudo-agitprop hacks.
posted by HTuttle at 10:23 PM on May 13, 2005


and "Artist" is being pretty generous.
posted by TetrisKid at 10:34 PM on May 13, 2005


Great concept.

I'm really interested to know, though, if the overhwhelming majority of women in Somalia suffer genital mutilation. I mean, graphically, we're talking 95%+ That seems insanely high. If it's true, then I'm shocked, changed, and my third eye has been busted open by this artistic genius.

And... with the american flag... so the people in the "blue" area aren't for or against the war? How's that whole "for, against, don't know" breakdown supposed to work? Because I know for damn sure that the number of people with no opinion on the subject is a lot smaller, proportionatelly, than the blue region on our flag. And I'm positive that many many people for and against the war can't find the country on a map.

and "Artist" is being pretty generous.

No it's not. Well, sure, it is if you're one of those folks who insists that artist are people who can draw good. My personal definition of an artist is someone who can see things in a new way (often stuff that was staring you in the face already) and then get you to see things that way, too. That applies.
posted by scarabic at 10:48 PM on May 13, 2005


Well, sure, it is if you're one of those folks who insists that artist are people who can draw good

Yep, I'm one of those. Charts, graphs, Powerpoint presentations, and dopey flags are not art. They may be info-tainment, but not art.
posted by TetrisKid at 10:59 PM on May 13, 2005


scarabic, if you press the art too far, you're going to break it.

No wonder we can't have any nice things.

TetrisKid, are you saying that you know what art is, or that you just know it when you see it?
posted by cytherea at 11:07 PM on May 13, 2005


All communication is art. It's not FINE art, but hey.
The process is similar even if the techniques differ.

Reasonably clever, I thought.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:08 PM on May 13, 2005


I'm really interested to know, though, if the overhwhelming majority of women in Somalia suffer genital mutilation. I mean, graphically, we're talking 95%+
Bang on, scarabic. Which shows that Doria may not be a great painter (but have you seen his other works), but he's certainly a clever artist. This are, after all, just infographics for a (rather good) newsmagazine...
posted by Skeptic at 12:29 AM on May 14, 2005


Believe it or not, I know some people who, when you ask, "Do you know who Dick Cheney is?", say "Who?" and go back to their X-Box.
posted by Balisong at 12:47 AM on May 14, 2005


I love flags, and this is a great spin on their imagery. He's quite the provocateur. Cool link, mcsweetie.
posted by BoringPostcards at 12:57 AM on May 14, 2005


Actually... The art discussion doesn't really seem that pertinent.

It doesn't appear that Doria is making claims to be an artist at all. The information page says he works for the magazine Revista Grande Reportagem, "a Hard Journalism magazine, on the same line as the Times".
The idea was to bring across the concept that the magazine offers profound journalism about topics of real importance to the world of today.

This is how we thought of the concept Meet the World.

We started to research relevant, global, and current facts and, thus, came up with the idea to put new meanings to the colours of the flags. We used real data taken from the websites of Amnesty International and the UNO.
Anyway, I think this is excellent. I really appreciate effective creative presentations of statistical information... like the unexpected juxtaposition of items in Harper's Index, for example.
posted by taz at 1:19 AM on May 14, 2005


And... with the american flag... so the people in the "blue" area aren't for or against the war?

I think these are two independent statistics, graphically conflate--that is, the flag as a whole doesn't represent the entire population. Rather, the striped and starred areas each represent the entire population, broken down according to different critera. That's how I understood it, anyways.
posted by ori at 2:40 AM on May 14, 2005


...actually, I guess the striped area represents not the entire population, but the segment of the population that has a definite opinion.

But you're right, it is confusing--that the criteria for the separate graphs are on the same legend seems to imply you're one or the other. Properly speaking (if my interpretation is correct) there should be two legends: one for the white star/blue background, wherein the area of the white stars represents those people who know where Iraq is, and the blue background those who don't, and another legend for the striped area, wherein the area of the red stripes represent those in favor of the war, the area of the white stripes those against it.
posted by ori at 2:48 AM on May 14, 2005


I think the people who are analyzing the exact breakdown of the American flag are missing the point. It's not supposed to be an exact graph of who is who, but rather is suggesting that in America, there are three camps in terms of the Iraq war : those who support it, those who don't, and those who don't know where Iraq is. Sure you can argue that these aren't entirely accurate or that they should overlap, but that's an issue for a scientific study, not a piece of art. Grant the guy a little poetic license!

This is not meant to be taken absolutely literally. This individual feels like making a point by presenting traditional graphs which measure segments of the population in terms of flags to raise awareness of the issues themselves. I don't think that the artist seriously measured the portions of each flag and figured out exact percentages of who has malaria and who doesn't, but I think that the points made are interesting.

(I also can't help but put in "Have you got a flag? No flag, no country!")
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:21 AM on May 14, 2005


scarabic writes " I'm really interested to know, though, if the overhwhelming majority of women in Somalia suffer genital mutilation. I mean, graphically, we're talking 95%+ That seems insanely high. If it's true, then I'm shocked, changed, and my third eye has been busted open by this artistic genius. "

Skeptic writes "
"Bang on, scarabic. "


It's not as surprising when you consider the situation. Imagine a world where you are female and you cannot work to support yourself because society isn't set up that way. So, you are either supported by your family as a spinster, being a burden, or you get married. No one will marry you unless you are "cleansed" through genital mutilation. So, you get to pick: clitoris or food. It's a horrible practice, but won't be solved through outrage and banning it. A more practical solution would be to influence the society so that women can survive without marriage, so they don't need to make that choice, and then they can get married if they want to. There's a good journal article about this practice and how African immigrants to Canada deal with their new culture and old values here:

Vissandjee, B., Kantiebo, M., Levine, A. and N’Dejuru, R.2003. The Cultural Context of Gender Identity: Female Genital Excision and Infibulation. Health Care for Women International. 24: 115-124.

Many immigrant mothers from countries where this is common practice don't bother having their daughters "cleansed" when they come to Canada because they see that it's not necessary in this culture. Others send them back home for the operation, which is highly illegal.
posted by heatherann at 6:37 AM on May 14, 2005


Since this is an ad campaign for a Portuguese magazine called Grande Reportagem it seems a little silly to argue about weather it's art or not. It's commercial art.
posted by dabitch at 6:45 AM on May 14, 2005


Flags are great for making a point. Burning is often the best way.
posted by Decani at 7:38 AM on May 14, 2005


In any case, this is quite good. Thanks for sharing...
posted by .kobayashi. at 8:06 AM on May 14, 2005


Agreed. Good enough to win the One Show Gold on Wednesday. Complete winners listing (self link). One Show = pretty fancy-smancy advertising award I could kill to win.
posted by dabitch at 9:14 AM on May 14, 2005


I was expecting to see some kind of outrageous exaggeration attached to the US flag. What was there may be sad commentary but I don't think it's much of an exaggeration. I work for the international division of a very international US based corporation and I can almost guarantee that a number of my colleagues would have trouble finding Iraq on a map. Nice post
posted by Carbolic at 12:28 PM on May 14, 2005


I think the people who are analyzing the exact breakdown of the American flag are missing the point.

No, I get the point. I was merely suggesting that in far too many cases, ignorance about Iraq and willingness to attack it go hand-in-hand. I would not want to make any kind of argument about causality, but I consider it likely that if someone doesn't bother to educate him/herself on the whereabouts of a country we're going to war with, that person *might* be somewhat more willing to accept the ostensible rationale for that war without question.
posted by pieisexactlythree at 7:46 PM on May 14, 2005


97% of children in Burkina (Faso) die before reaching age 3? The true figures should have been terrifying enough (~20% total death rate of under five-year-olds). The whole thing is absolutely pointless if your facts are wrong, deliberately or not.
posted by ikalliom at 11:50 PM on May 14, 2005


Where does it read "97%" on the flag-campaign? Did I miss something?
posted by dabitch at 2:57 AM on May 15, 2005


Ok, counted the pixels, the proportion of yellow in the flag of Burkina Faso is about 2%, not 3%. That would be the "amount of children who reach maturity", regardless of how that is defined. And it's just a completely bogus statistic.

I understand that one cannot make scientifically accurate illustrations like this, and a certain amount of artistic freedom is acceptable. But the whole concept is undermined if it's supposed to be based on real data and there are glaring errors like this.
posted by ikalliom at 4:05 AM on May 15, 2005


Also, if I'm not mistaken, EU imports approximately 75% of its crude oil, not 97.5% like the flag would suggest.

And sadly, the flag of Somalia is pretty much correct.
posted by ikalliom at 4:32 AM on May 15, 2005


ikalliom, It's not art, it's an ad campaign. So it's goal isn't to get completly accurate illustration but to convey an idea about how little people know about the world - and they might know more if they read Grande Reportagem (The portuguese version of TIME magazine). So "artistic freedom" doesn't really apply here, if you see what I mean.
posted by dabitch at 4:51 AM on May 15, 2005


I think it's a nice idea, poorly executed. And unfortunately rather pointless in this manifestation. I can think of a few possibilities:
1) The colours of the flag reveal some startling statistics about a given country. Too bad some of the statistics are completely wrong.
2) The colours of the flag represent some made-up statistics. Why lie when there at least equally interesting truths available? Also, it's not nice to lie.
3) There is no direct correspondence between the flag and the chart legend. The creator says they used "real data". Where did it go?

dabitch, I'm assuming your interpretation is 3), more or less. In this case however, the intent to "put new meanings to the colours of the flags" fails, because there is no meaning. Basically, my gripe is that the same point would have been brought across perfectly well if he flags were also factual.
posted by ikalliom at 5:36 AM on May 15, 2005


No, my interpretation isn't 3. The "real data" he refers to is not exact percentages of Y, but the fact that Y happens in X country, which average joe may not know. However, if average joe read Grande Reportagem, then he might know this. The flags communicate that you learn more about the world if you read Grande Reportagem.
posted by dabitch at 5:45 AM on May 15, 2005


While I get your point, I simply cannot completely agree. In a weakest possible interpretation, the EU flag conveys the message that EU consumes more oil than it produces, hence the larger part of the flag is blue and the small stars are yellow. Any weaker explanation is completely void, because everyone should know that EU produces and consumes oil. So why does the small star in the flag of Burkina Faso have the meaning "children who reach maturity"?

The graphical formatting strongly suggests the "percentages"-interpretation for anyone who has seen a pie diagram. Somalia is much more powerful because here this interpretation is actually valid.
posted by ikalliom at 6:59 AM on May 15, 2005


There is suh a thing as overthinking an ad campaign you know. The basics are as follows: Country + issue + (ad) sender who talks about issues.
posted by dabitch at 8:05 AM on May 15, 2005


That would be exactly why it sucks, despite the original nice idea.
posted by ikalliom at 9:27 AM on May 15, 2005


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