La Corba

Based on the institutionalised narrative of the pandemic, La corba (The curve) [La curva] describes the role and effect of graphics in the management of emergencies, a communicative resource that mainly benefits the administrative and bureaucratic perspective of the phenomenon, leaving aside a more comprehensive and complex vision.

La corba (The Curve) [La curva] is a 21-minute report that deals with the graphic governance of the COVID-19 pandemic in Catalonia, that is, the role of graphics in the construction of the state narrative of the current health crisis, the product of a scientistic narrative framework and a strictly hospital-oriented approach to the problem.

The report is structured into three sub-themes: the graphical curve as a representational model; the role of statistics in the construction of this model; and the role of mathematical prediction.

The aim of the piece is to offer a pluralistic view of the reasons and effects of the use of these resources by public administrations and the media in describing the pandemic and reflecting government actions aimed at managing the crisis.

The selection of interviewees was conducted with the intention of reflecting different viewpoints and disciplines, from technical statisticians to doctors, from designers to sociologists.

In the background, the report aims to understand the role of data and its graphic expressions in the public and political communication of disasters, in a historical era dominated by the idea of permanent emergency and urgency, which seriously strains the social contract between states and their citizens.

In this way, the authors of the report have sought to deploy tools for reflection that make it possible to better understand crisis communication and its effect on citizen participation in decision-making.

Academic framework

This project is part of the three-year research programme Actuar en la emergencia. La agencia del diseño durante (y después de) la COVID-19 (2021-23), co-produced by the Real Academia de España in Rome (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation) and GREDITS (Research Group on Design and Social Transformation, attached to BAU, Barcelona University Arts and Design Centre). Several Catalan and Italian universities are also taking part and more than 50 researchers are involved.

Technical datasheet

Directors: Jorge Luis Marzo and Fèlix Pérez-Hita

Filming and sound: Andrea Pérez-Hita

Production: Montse Pujol

With the participation of:

  • Montserrat Tort (and team), Head of Technical Secretariat of the Observatory of Cultural Data of Barcelona, Institute of Culture of Barcelona.
  • Albert Carles, graphic designer specialising in infographics, winner of a FAD award for informational design on the pandemic.
  • Lorena Elvira, Head of the Technical Office and of the TraçaCOVID programme of the Department of Education of the Regional Government of Catalonia.
  • Màrius Boada, Director of the Municipal Data Office of the Barcelona City Council.
  • Clara Prats, physicist and member of the Group on Computational Biology and Complex Systems (BIOCOM-SC), Polytechnical University of Catalonia.
  • Manel Medina, Head of the Primary Health Care Services Information System (SISAP) of the Catalan Ministry of Health.
  • Cristina Rovira, Deputy Director General of Production and Coordination of the Statistical Institute of Catalonia.
  • Israel Rodríguez Giralt, sociologist, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia).
  • Anna Llupià, doctor of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona.
Project data