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"Health, Money or Love" at Malofiej 23

Jaime Serra's special interactive installation for the top infographic event of the year

February 25, 2015

The countdown for the beginning of the 23rd edition of Malofiej Summit and Awards – the world’s top visual journalism event – continues, but our special coverage of this event has been on its way since last week. Besides this excellent article and infographic poster by our good friend Marco Vergotti (@vergotti), we had the pleasure to interview Javier Errea, the director of the Spanish chapter of the Society for News Design, and the main responsible for the international success of Malofiej.

In that interview, Javier mentioned, among other highlights of the Malofiej 23 programme, a data-art installation by no other than Jaime Serra. We reached out to Jaime, to know more about this installation, and he told us that it is, in fact, inspired by one of the pieces we featured back in January, in the special post about Serra’s body of work.

The piece in question is titled “Health, Money or Love”, one of Serra’s most recent projects, published last December. He described it to us, back when we featured his portfolio: “On my 50th birthday, I invited 50 friends for a celebration. They all received three small paper packets filled with confetti, each of a different color and meaning. At 2.30 h, the time at which, according to the Spanish Civil registry, I came into the world, guests could throw one of the packages confetti, chosen according to the wish they had for me. Twenty-nine (58%) people chose blue, seventeen (34%) red and three (6%) green. One of those present felt unable to decide, and didn’t throw any, other, for the same reason, decided to launch a handful (1%) of blue and one (1%) of red.”

This was the end result:

(image: Jaime Serra)
(image: Jaime Serra)

Now, Serra transposes the concept to create an interactive participatory installation for the School of Information Science and also for the 23rd Malofiej Summit. In a nutshell, the installation consists of a large collective container where everyone will be invited to participate by ‘making’ one of the three wishes. The visitors take a handful of confetti – of the corresponding color of the wish -, and throw them from the first floor into the container installed in the hall of University of Navarra’s School of Communication.

As he explained to us, “in this age of Big Data, all kinds of personal data are being collected about our lives and behaviors. Information that, many times, not even we know about ourselves. Data from and about people collected by modern technologies without human intermediaries or participation, and transforming this feat into something of value. This installation questions us about this possibility, and especially the futility, of quantifying what is truly human. And, at the same time, celebrates it, making it – with our conscious participation – into a game and a feast of color.”

Currently the Assistant Chief-Editor of the Barcelona-based newspaper La Vanguardia, Serra is one of the most important names in the contemporary infographic scene. He was elected by his peers as the most influential infographic designer in the last two decades, back in Malofiej20, and his contribution to the field of visual journalism has been praised all over the world. His weekly columns in La Vanguardia have challenged the boundaries between art and infographic design, and his work is often presented in art galleries. And don’t miss this exclusive interview he gave us, a couple of year ago.

The 23rd Malofiej World Summit and Awards will take between the 15th and the 20th March, in the Spanish city of Pamplona. Visit the official website for all the info and full programme, and follow @malofiej on Twitter for constant updates.

Written by Tiago Veloso

Tiago Veloso is the founder and editor of Visualoop and Visualoop Brasil . He is Portuguese, currently based in Bonito, Brazil.