Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sign in

White Flight: Complexity, Optics, and Visualization as Evasion

Speaker: Ted Byfield, Parsons the New School for Design, New School University. Moderator: Nick Seaver. Abstract: Information design and data visualization are often justified with appeals to heroic formulations like "massive flows of data." Yet when stripped of their data, they reveal a comically simplistic set of representational forms. These forms are almost invariably level, balanced in proportions, and measured; as such, they tacitly suggest that, however confusing or catastrophic the data may be, at least the enclosing framework is stable, rational, and manageable. In this regard, visualization can be seen less as a bold step forward to engage an informatic future than as so many emblems of a nostalgic attempt to distance and fence in "complexity" by means of naively simplistic forms. From the chronological diagrams that inspired William Playfair through the rampant experimentation with visualization today, much evidence suggests that the drive to create images of data involves an effort to create imaginary spaces into which observers can flee from anxieties about their cultural and historical position.

Comments (0)

It looks like no one has posted a comment yet. You can be the first!

You need to log in, in order to post comments.

Created
July 13, 2010 10:25
Category
Tags
License
All Rights Reserved (What is this?)
Additional Files


Viewed
6308 times

More from humanities + digital Visual Interpretations conference May 2010

The area told as a story. An inquiry into the relationship between verbal and map-based expressions of geographical information

The area told as a story. An inquir...

Added almost 6 years ago | 00:20:54 | 12865 views

Social/Image: A Visual Art/ists Wiki in Theory and Practice

Social/Image: A Visual Art/ists Wik...

Added almost 6 years ago | 00:11:05 | 13268 views

Scripting Writing and Reading in Jim Andrews's Digital Poems

Scripting Writing and Reading in Ji...

Added almost 6 years ago | 00:19:23 | 11399 views

Digitization of Cultural Heritage: Taiwan Experience (part 1 of 2)

Digitization of Cultural Heritage: ...

Added almost 6 years ago | 00:23:51 | 4604 views

Splendor, Destruction, and the Shift from Awe to Action in Environmental Documentary

Splendor, Destruction, and the Shif...

Added almost 6 years ago | 00:11:28 | 26712 views

The Process of Visualizing Data As A Mode of Inquiry

The Process of Visualizing Data As ...

Added almost 6 years ago | 00:07:31 | 8478 views