June 11, 2010  |  Artists, Collection & Exhibitions, Tech
Analyzing Abramović

As is the case with most Web designers, producers, and graphic designers, I have an unhealthy attraction to infographics, whether it be the work of the Almighty Edward Tufte, the non-stop hit factory of The New York Times (here’s my all-time favorite), or the rich annual reports of Nicholas Feltron. There are also several works in MoMA’s collection that explore ways of displaying data, including Langlands & Bell’s Air Routes of the World (Day & Night) (2001), as well as many of the pieces from the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibition, as explained in this video by Paola Antonelli.

So you can imagine how excited I was when we received the photos of sitters from Marina Abramović’s The Artist Is Present performance and discovered that installation photographer Marco Anelli had been keeping an unofficial minutes-per-participant tally. On a long car ride I decided to compile these and chart out some of the basic information, as suggested by Jason Kottke. They’re nowhere near as beautiful as some of the above examples and the data represented is unofficial and not properly analyzed or fact-checked, but with those caveats, here’s something fun to peek at for a Friday afternoon. (Forgive me, Mr. Tufte, for breaking almost all of your rules.)

The Basics
The average number of sitters per day was twenty-one; the highest number of sitters on one day was sixty, and the minimum was one (Paco, naturally). The average number of minutes per sitter per day was twenty-one, with the maximum of 420. The unofficial total for the number of sitters was 1,545. (Click on any of the charts for a larger version. Blank spaces in the data represent Tuesdays, when the Museum was closed.)

Number of Sitters by Date
Sitters by date

Sitters by Duration and Date
For each date, individual sitters are represented by a colored vertical bar, and that bar’s length represents their sitting time. The first sitter of each day is at the bottom of the chart, and the last is at the top.
Sitters by duration and date

Count of Sitters by Duration
Number of minutes (horizontal) and number of sitters (vertical) (not including individual sitters of 207, 236, 292, 293, 386, 391, and 420 minutes)
Count of sitters by minute total

Comparison of Sitters versus Average Duration, by Date
Number of sitters versus average duration