Mass Data for Mass Consumption: Codices, Murals and Charts in Lázaro Cárdenas' Mexico (1934-1940)
Miguel Caballero-Vazquez, Collegiate Assistant Professor/Harper Fellow
This presentation will address the work of little-known Mexican intellectual Francisco Mujica (1899—1979), one of the first historians of the skyscraper and the first known designer of charts for mass consumption. Historians of data visualization have generally dated the origin of mass consumption of charts to business magazines produced after World War II. However, Mujica’s charts were created prior to that and their audience was broader. Specifically, we will focus on his charts for Lázaro Cárdenas’ Exposición objetiva del Plan Sexenal (1937—1939) and his strategies to provide wide access to the charts, including turning the Exposición objetiva into an itinerant exhibition that visited provincial and rural areas.
Besides this contribution, we will address two other issues: since his charts were always shown alongside murals, what similar and different visual rhetoric devices do charts and murals employ? Also, Mujica had established the origins of the skyscraper back in Pre-Columbian teocallis. The connection was even more explicit with charts, which can be thought of as a continuation of the visual thinking prevalent in Aztec, Mixtec, and Maya forms of writing. Why did Mujica circumvent such connection?
This event is hosted by the Center for Latin American Studies and is free and open to the public. Light lunch will be served. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.