The Final Design Artefact – Drought Devastation

This artefact is the final device made in fulfilment of the aims I had for this project, titled “Drought Devastation”. As a final, brief overview, I aimed to make a physical and visual data story that raised awareness for the importance of sustainability. In particular, I wanted to focus on the current Australian drought, and raise awareness for the drought, and get people to think about supporting rural outback communities through charity, or travelling outback to support these rural businesses in the flesh. This is what social sustainability is; attempting to change peoples’ opinions and behaviours in relation to a sustainability issue/problem. Therefore, getting people to understand what is happening in these outback communities, and convincing them to help these people, was paramount. The final artefact for this project is made up of two parts (the data visualisation, and visual story), that forms one whole when viewed (a visual data story). The first part is the physical data visualisation, which uses 3D bar graph columns to show the national rainfall averages in Australia for every month from January 2017 to August 2020. From November 2018 to August 2020, some columns have blue LEDs inside of them that light up in relation to the visual story video. This is the main connection between the data and the imagery; a connection which is so important in this project. The second part of this artefact is the visual story, which is made up of images and videos collected around outback Queensland, showcasing the devastating effect the drought has had on the outback landscape in the last 4 years. Overall, I believe I have created an artefact that allows the audience to see how low rainfall in the outback over the last 4 years has affected the land. Figure 1 shows the final project artefact staged at the honours class exhibition, with the appropriate exhibition didactic (project description, artist statement, and charities the audience can donate to) presented along with it. A video showing the final prototype being used, with the full visual story video playing, can be found below. Finally, a gallery showing all the images used in the visual story video can be found below as well. Special thanks to Jorja McDonnell, Gerry Grant, and Sophie Carroll, who all contributed photos that proved invaluable to the final artefact.

Figure 1: The final prototype/device staged at the honours class exhibition