Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sign in | Create Account

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. If you don’t have an account yet, sign up now!

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


Viewed
5308 times

More from humanities + digital Visual Interpretations conference May 2010

Media Art as a Social Process - the Prix Ars Electronica Jury Sessions

Media Art as a Social Process - the...

Added almost 4 years ago | 00:19:07 | 8821 views

09.1: Possible Disappearance / Database Testimony

09.1: Possible Disappearance / Data...

Added almost 4 years ago | 00:10:34 | 8814 views

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

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

Added almost 4 years ago | 00:11:05 | 11801 views

neurographica

neurographica

Added almost 4 years ago | 00:07:55 | 6121 views

Visual argumentation: How Visual Rhetorical Figures Shape the Perception of Information

Visual argumentation: How Visual Rh...

Added almost 4 years ago | 00:20:03 | 7684 views

Closing panel part 2 of 3

Closing panel part 2 of 3

Added almost 4 years ago | 00:12:15 | 7824 views