The Weight of Lead-Based Paint by The New School: Parsons

The following submission is a data visualization thesis project. The project combines a physicalization and digital accompaniment aimed at bringing awareness to the remaining presence of lead paint in the US.

The US government banned lead-based paint for use on residential walls in 1978. So you might think this toxic substance is a thing of the past. Despite the hard fought fight by researchers educating the public about the harm of lead-lead based paint, children still wind up in the hospital with extremely high levels of lead poisoning. It's a simple fact that the US government has failed to protect residents from this detrimental environmental harm. Is it possible that the perceived distance from the problem of lead-based paint, places a veil of false confidence on the status of our walls? Could it be that this invisible substance lacks a convincing data story?

This leads me to ask, how can an everyday item like clothing be used to re-visualize the harm of lead paint exposure? My hope is that by using a garment and transcending the screen, I’m able to offer a multi sensory experience that will deepen our understanding of the life long effects of lead paint. Data physicalizations are not new, and the rapid digitalization of modern society makes physical representations exclusive to time and space. As a Data Visualization thesis project, The Weight Of Lead-Based Paint explores such limits and seeks to provide an alternate form of data visualization along with a web page for further exploration.