A Lexicon of Orientation

Data story-telling and visualisations, AI generated visuals and glossaries


‘A Lexicon of Orientation’ is a set of visual and linguistic vocabularies that articulate Timișoara’s economy and geography. Drawing on a commissioned report, ‘Economy in Timișoara: Territorial Distribution of the Economy in the Timișoara Metropolitan Area’, the lexicon identified five pivotal subjects: Industrialisation and Technological Level, Workers,Commuting and Internal Migration, Import and Export, Automotive and Related Industries, and Outsourcing and IT. 

These subjects have informed the creation of five glossaries, five data visualisations, and five AI-generated visuals. Through these distinct analytical, semantic, and visual representations, ‘A Lexicon of Orientation’ serves to connect shared concepts, index complex phenomena, and establish a semantic foundation for collaboration across information asymmetries between disciplines, industries, and audiences.

For the data visualisations, original data from the report was used to develop a detailed narrative for each main theme. This involved investigating distinct phenomena within the data, constructing precise timelines to trace the sequence of events, and unpacking the intricate relationships and linkages between various data points.

Although the glossary’s terms and their explanations are not exhaustive or definitive, they shed light on the nuances of evolving processes, temporal-spatial dynamics, standards, infrastructures, models, and their socio-economic consequences. These terms also served as the prompts for the animated films generated by AI using multimodal neural networks, Stable Diffusion Web UI and Gen-2. By transforming both text prompts and visual inputs into moving images, five fictional landscapes have been created. 

Within the Turn Signals — Design is not a Dashboard exhibition, ‘A Lexicon of Orientation’ serves to provide an interpretative narrative of the ‘Economy in Timișoara: Territorial Distribution of the Economy in the Timișoara Metropolitan Area’ report, which directly and indirectly informed each of the designers’ showcased works. Through the multiplicity of vocabularies, the lexicon refrains from offering an absolute representation of the report, re-emphasising that design and data are always subject to interpretation and application beyond mere market-based optimisation.


Co-edited with the assistance of OpenAI's ChatGPT

Martina Muzi

Assistant curator and AI generated visuals
Bianca Schick

Data story-telling and visualisations
Federico Santarini

AI generated visuals and editing
Alex Foradori

Data sources

Petrovici, Alexe, Bejinariu, 2023. ‘ Economy in Timișoara: Territorial Distribution of the Economy in the Timișoara Metropolitan Area’, 2023