I’ve been looking at this illustration for about an hour now. On one simple piece of paper, you can discover the six degrees of separation between Plato and Zadie Smith, J.J. Abrams and Isaac Newton,
and Voltaire and Moby.
It was created for the Debt issue of Longshot Magazine by Michelle Legro of Lapham’s Quarterly, Maria Popova of Brain Pickings, and illustrator Wendy MacNaughton. The illustration is meant to chart the “artistic, scientific, and philosophical debts through time.”
It’s a human algorithm that weaves together centuries of creative thought. Sort of mind-blowing, really. I only wish I had paid this close attention in history class! You can hear Legro, Popova and MacNaughton interviewed about the creation of the chart on Longshot Radio.
Copies of the chart are for sale on Etsy.