Income Inequality in the US is Very Real, and This Sculpture From Giorgia Lupi Proves It

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While many designers come to the arts specifically because they reject math, analytics, and all things left-brained, some actually use statistics and numbers as the backbone of their artistic practice. Giorgia Lupi is one such designer.

Giorgia is a Pentagram Partner and information designer who has been collaborating with RAND Corporation as their inaugural Art + Data artist-in-residence for the last three months, and she just unveiled her third visualization within the program—a sculpture titled “Connecting the Dots on Income Equality.”

It’s Giorgia’s first sculptural data visualization, and it comes on the heels of her two previous works for the RAND Art + Data Residency, Internet of Bodies, and an infographic depiction of findings from a 2021 RAND report on mental health.

Her new sculpture is a three-dimensional installation representing the evolution of Americans’ income over the last 40 years that utilizes circular cutouts of found objects like personal checks, receipts, bank statements, and other documents, all in various colors, dangling from three layers of string within a 6-foot wooden frame. The large-scale sculpture also gets accompanied by a legend to indicate what each facet of the work represents.

Giorgia uses the principles of “data humanism” in her art, meaning she assesses data to uncover the human stories behind the numbers, debunking the prevalent notion that information is impersonal, inaccessible, and sterile. With ”Connecting the Dots on Income Equality,” Giorgia makes physical the statistics that portray the extreme inequities in the US economic system.

Lupi’s goal was to find a way to physically show the negative space between America’s richest folks whose wealth has increased exponentially—and even surpassed the growth rate of our economy—and the remaining 90% of Americans whose income has grown slower than our economy.

Giorgia’s finished product is compelling in numerous ways—visually, narratively, conceptually. She’s set the bar high for what can be achieved through the RAND Art + Data Residency, as a new artist will take her spot next quarter to try their hand at visually representing RAND’s public policy research.