The Beautiful Numbers exhibit at the Thomas Erben Gallery in New York deals with long-term thinking.
Short-term media like Twitter and hourly news create an impression of a world out of control, with democracy in peril, ubiquitous conflicts, and an overall outlook of doom. But if we look at developments concerning the world from a long-term perspective - the only sense-making way - almost any aspect concerning humanity seems to get better.
Fewer people go hungry, fewer people die in wars and natural disasters, more people live in democracies - and live much longer lives - than ever before. 200 years ago 9 out of 10 people could neither read nor write, now it is just 1 out of 10.
Even if you look at pandemics from a point of view of 100 years, you will see that the Spanish Flu killed at least 45 million people, Aids/HIV about 30 million people. This of course does not mitigate the unbelievable 3 million humans (and counting) that lost their lives during Covid 19, but it does put the often-quoted view that we live in ‘unprecedented times’ into perspective.
The goal behind these visualizations is that viewers might want to place them into their living rooms, as reminders that the latest tweets are just tiny blips in an overall rather healthy environment. Doing that they retain functionality, which is why they are pieces of design, not art. You could call them propaganda for the living room.