Bob Horn’s work

Artist Statement

I see the visual world as a continuum from pure expression to clear, direct communication – from completely abstract painting and sculpture to entirely descriptive info-graphics and everything in between.  I note that both ends have elements of emotion and cognition because we are integrated human beings who always have aspects of both thinking and feeling in our ongoing human being-ness.  We cannot avoid emotion and cognition as always deeply intertwingled.

I tend to operate somewhere in the middle of this continuum, usually integrating visual and verbal elements, trying as much as possible to use words when they do the job best, and visual elements (images and diagrams) when they do the job best. Mostly I work with large-scale (5 x 15 foot) information murals.  Because most of them have a strong communicative purpose, the cognitive elements dominate.  But the expressive elements are always present, sometimes in the foreground, sometimes in a more ancillary role.

My work appears under a variety of names – visual language, the new cartography, information murals, info-graphics, knowledge mapping.

Synthesizer Statement

Often I am in the role of “synthesizer” of deeply complex subject matter content based on contributions of many different members of a decision-analysis or decision-making group or task force.  My ability to integrate these different points of view or even world views significantly helps my clients, who are very often large international task forces, NGOs, and governments with many disagreements. I think of the aim of my work as “Art + Science + Policy.”

Speech about My Art: The Representation of Meaning: Visual Information Design as a Practical and Fine Art
(A speech prepared for the InfoArcadia Exhibit, the Stroom Center for the Visual Arts, The Hague, The Netherlands, April 3, 2000) PDF

Commissions – on the Communication Side of the Continuum

  • Radioactive waste disposal – UK PDF
  • Global sustainability – WBCSD  PDF
  • NASA research management – USA  PDF
  • Policy Options for a Resource Efficient Economy (POLFREE) – EU
    • Vision  PDF
    • Scenario-1-Global Cooperation  PDF
    • Scenario-2-Europe Goes Ahead  PDF
    • Scenario-3-Civil Society Leads  PDF
    • Outcomes  PDF
    • Scenario Modeling  PDF

Climate change – Commissions, Exploration and Research – 2006 – 2011

  • Climate Pathways  2008 – 2009
    • Scenarios to 2050 PDF
    • Catastrophe Scenario to 2070 PDF
  • Metrics  –  2007 – 2008
    • Energy and Time PDF
    • Infrastructure and Cost PDF
  • Climate Urgency   – 2008 PDF
    •  Tipping Points Detail PDF
    •  The Remaining Headroom PDF
  • Why We Can’t Think Coherently About Climate Change  2011 PDF
  • UK Research Study -2006
    •  Climate Labyrinth PDF
    •  UK Energy Mix PDF
  • History of Divesting in Fossil Stocks  – 2015 PDF

Global sustainability – Commissions, Exploration and Research – 2010 – 2012

  • Dashboards of Global Sustainability -2012  PDF
  • Sustainability Dynamics
    • Drivers of sustainability – 2011  PDF
    • Barriers to Sustainability  PDF
    • Use of Oil in 20th Century – 2003  PDF
  • Vision 2050 – World Business Council for Sustainable Development – 2010
    • WBCSD Scenario to 2050  PDF
    • WBCSD – Measures of Success   JPG
  • Scenario – One Degree War Plan sketch  PDF

Mess Mapping

  • Suicide Prevention – National Health Service – Fife, Scotland – 2003
    • Task Force Findings – Suite of Mess Maps  PDF
    • Vortex of Mental Illness  PDF
    • Top Management’s View  PDF
    • Suicide Statistics  PDF
    • Mess Map of Local View  PDF
  • Long Term Care Integration – Alameda, California – 2001
    • Problems & Issues  PDF
    • The Funding Silos Phenomena  PDF
    • Plan for Improvement  PDF
  • Methodist Health Care Mess – 2004  PDF

Exploration and Research – both cognitive and expressive

  • Avian Flu – The First Year of the Not Quite the Worst Pandemic  PDF
  • History of Systems Science and Cybernetics  PDF
  • Info-murals for decision-makers on massive computer screens  PDF
  • China – 2007
    • History and Future  PDF
    • Politics  PDF
    • Economics   PDF
    • Foreign Affairs  PDF
    • Fears and Concerns  PDF
  • Can computers think? – Seven Giant Posters – order from
    • 1 – The Turing Debate  PDF
    • 2 – Can The Turing Test Determine Whether Computers Can Think?  PDF
    • 3 – Can Physical Symbol Systems Think?  PDF
    • 4 – Can Chinese Rooms Think?  PDF
    • 5 – Can Connectionist Networks Think? Can Computers Think In Images?  PDF
    • 6 – Do Computers Have To Be Conscious To Think?  PDF
    • 7 – Are Thinking Computers Mathematically Possible?  PDF
  • What we don’t know
    • Unknowns in Genetically Modified Plants – 2001  PDF
    • Unknowns about the Ecology of Oceans – 2003  PDF


  • The Little Book of Wicked Problems and Social Messes – DRAFT PDF
  • Visual Language:  Global Communication for the 21st Century BUY
  • How High Can It Fly? Examining the Evidence on Information Mapping’s Method of High-Performance Communication  Chapter 1  PDF    Chapter 2  PDF