Jessica Leigh Hester is a former senior associate editor at CityLab, covering environment and culture. Her work also appears in the New Yorker, The Atlantic, New York Times, Modern Farmer, Village Voice, Slate, BBC, NPR, and other outlets.
The Histography project charts the history of everything, ever.
The Histography project—created by Matan Stauber at Israel’s Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design—imagines what Wikipedia entries would look like on a single, constantly unfurling timeline. So far, the pointillist-inspired data viz barrels through 14 billion years.
Each dot corresponds to an event. Contemporaneous ones are stacked on top of one another. The chart is arranged like a sound wave: amplitude indicates that a year was loud, in terms of notable events around the globe. At first, circa the Big Bang, it’s a murmur. Around the time of the evolution of Neanderthals, the events are just blips, few and far between.
In contrast, the years around the 1920s were boisterous. They included Russia’s October Revolution, Boston’s police strike, the premiere of motion pictures with sound, and the development of insulin. The dots are piled high; it was a roaring, high-decibel era.
You can also view the events as a spiral. The wider, outer rings are full of chronicles. If you drill down to the bottom, the narrowest openings nod to the limits of recorded history. Still, the dates aren’t perfectly precise. For instance, the development of the telephone was one of many decades of trial and error, from concept to viable commercial product.
Toggle between thematic categories such as literature, construction, inventions, and wars to see how events in one region of the world coincided with developments elsewhere. Since Wikipedia is constantly updated, so is Histography. The events grabbing headlines today will pile on top of one another in an ever-growing tower.
H/t: Fast Co. Design