The Washington Post
May 2, 2019
There’s a chance you may be connected to one of punk rock’s most influential groups.
Formed in 1987, pioneering D.C. band Fugazi built a sprawling network in the local music scene and beyond. D.C.-based graphic designer Carni Klirs can name at least 5,000 bands — including Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and even The Beatles — that have ties to the straight-edge punks of Fugazi. Klirs charts the band’s massive reach, and other impressive Fugazi stats, through his highly detailed data visualization piece “Action. Reaction. Action: Visualizing Fugazi,” which opened on April 13 at Mount Pleasant’s Lost Origins Gallery.
Klirs’ Fugazi obsession took hold nearly 17 years ago while he was in high school. At Fort Reno’s Summer Concert Series in 2002, he witnessed the band’s final show in the U.S.
“To see literally thousands of people from the city that I live in come see this one band, and know every word to their songs — it felt like a big, vibrant community,” Klirs says. “It showed me that punk can be its own world that doesn’t have to be this outlier thing.”
Visualizing Fugazi” came into fruition last fall as Klirs’ graduate thesis project for Maryland Institute College of Art, where he was studying information visualization. With frontman Ian MacKaye’s blessing, Klirs was able to mine data from the band’s Fugazi Live Series website, which lists every show the quartet played from 1987 through its last gig in 2002. (In total, Fugazi played over 1,000 concerts across five continents and in all 50 U.S. states.) Klirs used software tools such as Tableau and Photoshop to bring the data to life.