LeRoy Stevens complied “Favorite Recorded Scream” as more than a mix tape of throat-shredding howls from popular recordings. He spent six months finding 74 Manhattan record shops, soliciting their nominations and mapping their locations in the city. So it's more fully understood as a conceptual work that
traces his inspiration in “using the city as a sort of playground” to mid-20th century trickster movements like Fluxus and the Situationists. “Equal emphasis is placed on the process as well as the final product,” he said. In that sense the record stores themselves helped create the work and are also now functioning as its gallery.
Mapping the stores adds a dimension to the work because it honors them as a cultural repository and documents their precarious existence. Some of the stores have gone out of business since the project was completed.
And no, I don't have a favorite scream I can name. I tended unconsciously to filter them out. As a singer, I was trained not to abuse my vocal cords, so even as the front man in rock bands, I left the screams to others.
But one thing does make me scream — lame infographics.
On his packaging, Stevens straightforwardly listed the scream submissions by order received, showing title, artist and nominating shop, then mapped the location of the stores and also listed them alphabetically. That makes it relatively easy to interact with the layers of information.
Here's a case where designers put together a slick online graphic tied to a database, but actually succeeded in being less information friendly than the record cover and its inserted poster.
The site devotes most of its real estate to displaying a US map outlining the states — and then repeating 2/3rds of the map as fill in the lower corner. It's logical to use the map to select your state, but if you click on the state whose economic index you want to view, nothing happens. You have to find the state in the ranked list on the left and click there.
Then the state is highlighted and the data appear in the bar below. Too bad if you want to compare states beyond the ordinal rankings. The big map would be an obvious place to show the index colors, but you can only view one at a time.