On the occasion of the United Nations meetings in New York City this week (September 23 – September 27, 2013) a series of prints by the Dutch firm Catalogtree are humorously relevant. For this project, the principals, Joris Maltha and Daniel Gross, tracked down the raw data (who, where, when) concerning parking violations by United Nations diplomats, over the period from 1997-2007, and converted the data into a series of different mapping formats that they entitled “Flocking Diplomats,” or did they mean “Flogging” Diplomats?

For example, the sixth print in the series takes the statistics on the locations of the parking violations and plots them on a virtual map of Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn as well as the state of New Jersey.  The results show that the violations’ epicenter is where we would expect, around 42nd Street on the eastside, near the United Nations headquarters.  But they extend far beyond the reaches of the UN complex.  They are almost as heavy through the Upper East Side, a bit less dense on the West Side, but they also extend as far as the outer reaches of Queens and Brooklyn and even New Jersey!

Flocking Diplomats 5 focuses on the time the violation occurred.  The corresponding graphic image becomes a clock face, reduced in size and increased in number culminating in one large photographic image of a parking meter with time expired. The poster becomes a surrogate for lost time and unremitted revenue.

Joris Maltha and Daniel Gross met during their studies in Werkplaats Typografie in Arnhem, and founded Catalogtree in 2001.  They specialize in what is called “Information Graphics,” which takes statistics and re-invents them using graphs, charts and other methods of presenting information in new understandable ways that speak to the cultural, political, and economic issues of our daily lives.

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