Flare is a visualization tool for the web, and utilizes Adobe's Flex SDK, an ActionScript 3 Compiler, and Flex Builder. Basically, it is an ActionScript library, and the applications run in the Adobe Flash Player.
It was developed by the University of California, Berkeley Visualization Lab, which contains a wealth of resources and information about the visualization lab's projects and presentations.
Additional information, including tutorials, source code, sample applications, API documentation, and a help forum can be found on the Flare website
An interactive visualization created with Flare.
Here are some cool links about data visualization, via Sebastian Misiurek, of the Crisis Fronts: Cognitive Infrastructures blog:
Sebastian also recommends the following papers (pdf):
Information Aesthetics in Information Visualization
Artistic Data Visualization: Beyond Visual Analytics
I especially like the description of the Crisis Fronts project:
"Crisis Fronts is the Degree Project studio and seminar run by Michael Chen and Jason Lee, with Gil Akos and Ronnie Parsons at Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture.
Crisis Fronts is an ongoing inquiry into contemporary global crises that suggest new demands and agendas for architecture, and the potential afforded by parametric and generative digital design tools to engage them."