Ebola Armoury

Project background
In early 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported cases of Ebola Virus Disease in Guinea. The identification of these first cases marked the beginning of the West Africa Ebola epidemic.
Project developed during my master studies.

In exploring ways to visualise the Ebola epidemic, we hypothesised that photos inspire a more emotive response, whereas charts give a cold statistical overview. The result is a visualization of the Ebola outbreak shown through the objects involved in the epidemic situation.

Project in collaboration with Jessica Whatmore.

Research, concept and design.

Ebola Armoury
This visualisation intent to explore and ultimately address the representational qualities of the visual information we received from the media concerning the Ebola epidemic.

Different means of visual representation, for example, graphs and photographs, cause different reactions based on their intrinsic nature, each having both limitations and benefits. We hypothesised that photos inspire a more emotive response, whereas graphs give a cold statistical overview.
After a period of intensive objective observation, we noticed that photographs are, in a different manner, as anonymous as the graphs. We observed that in a sample collection of pictures there is no reference to time, location or to the identity of the people - especially with doctors in a protective suit. But there is a recurrence of individual objects, scenes, settings.

The observation period led us to the idea that we could represent Ebola differently, through objects involved in the epidemic situation. We hypothesise that looking at the body of objects would enable a better sense of scale, time and amounts of the disease. An object is a means through which to relate the complexity of the information to a familiar form.

I collected the data from a telephone interview with Dr Fabrizio Pulvirenti, an Italian doctor working for Emergency in Sierra Leone who consequently contracted the Ebola virus → to the news coverage

Data from the Lakka Emergency Centre in Sierra Leone.
The sources from which we collected the visual material are mostly published by leading news media. We accepted that this material we had access to had already undergone a process of filtering and editing.