[iDC] Theories of Information Visualization

Kazys Varnelis kazys at varnelis.net
Wed Jan 13 16:01:15 UTC 2010


I hate pointing at my own work in what is my first post to idc in a long time, but I'm at a loss to come up with anything else. See that as my personal failing at bibliography building.

Anyway, it's a very small stab, but in one section of my essay for Networked: A Networked Book About Networked Art ( http://varnelis.networkedbook.org/the-immediated-now-network-culture-and-the-poetics-of-reality/  ) I try to frame the question of infoviz by asking if infoviz is, by itself, a good thing. 

Making the invisible visible has become such an overused phrase that I wonder if the real questions we should be asking aren't about intent and outcome? 

I think that Alan's book on cool is key here. Do we employ infoviz in a particular case to use as a critical tool or do we employ it to be cool, as part of Culture Industry 2.0? Is infoviz really being used as a tool for understanding or is it something we do to provide eye candy for exhibitions, media, corporations, and university publicity programs? Yes, this could be asked about many forms of contemporary cultural production, but my sense is that the explosion of infoviz during the last few years foregrounds this issue and that we haven't been good at asking these questions lately. 


Kazys Varnelis
kv2157 at columbia.edu

Director, Network Architecture Lab

Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation
Columbia University
Studio-X Research Facility
180 Varick St
Suite 1610
New York, NY 10014

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