“The Anti-Sublime Idea in Data Art” by Lev Manovich

I found Manovich’s discussion on how data visualization allows us to experience data and old media in an entirely new way very interesting. When people think of data it’s usually associated with dry, dull and boring, confined to the realms of math and science (which are hardly boring but normally don’t have to best visual P.R. department). Now artists use visualization in oder to make data assessable to everyone.  It makes things understandable, within our reach, and gives us some power over the data. In addition, it allows us to experience the data in a whole new way, drawing connections and seeing patterns we may have never thought of or seen before.

When he talks about Meta-Media and how data can be mapped using software I though about how data now transcends media and is no longer confined to one particular form. I’ve come across this idea in other classes, how almost all analog technology now has some mirror on the web.

His discussion about how the choices with mapping are unlimited and therefore any specific mapping technique is arbitrary is interesting. I like his suggestion that the content and context of the data should somehow relate to the form of the mapping. It seems very doable in a lot of cases and I’d like to see examples of it.

Finally I really like his assertion that the goal should not just be to turn data into something beautiful because but to address the human aspect of data as well.

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