Web-based visualisations and the Internet as database

Visualisations abound in our everyday lives. Over the past decade, however, there has been an unprecedented rate of innovation in computational imaging and visualising techniques to render physical and non-physical data in visual form. The emergence of the Internet-as-database, with complex and massive quantities of data mined from online social and spatial processes given visual form, has gone hand-in-hand with these advances. We must ask, therefore, what specific changes accompany such a demotic technology, and whether, for instance, computerised imagery is poised to transform science and society as thoroughly as the printing press and engraving techniques changed image reproduction or Benjamin’s photographs altered art’s aura.

In this presentation, Tim Webmoor surveys the factors giving rise to web-based visualisations, the variety and quality of these tools for social research, and discusses the sourcing of data with an online infrastructure that ought to keep visualisations out of the black box.

View the presentation: Web-based visualization

presentation for Oxford Internet Institute and Oxford eSocial Science

Beyond the academy: research as exhibition

STS Research Fellow Noortje Marres took part in an event at Tate Britain in May titled, “Beyond the Academy: Research as Exhibition.”

Noortje MarresThe event brought together artists and researchers to look at new forms of research and collaboration with regards to the  curation of exhibitions. Attendees discussed questions such as:

  • Is the idea of the exhibition being distorted or creatively extended by new disciplinary practices and knowledge?
  • When does a researcher become a curator and what are the implications?
  • What kinds of new knowledge can the ‘research exhibition’ generate and what issues does this raise for practice?

The full-day of panel discussions and case studies concluded with a keynote by STS scholar Bruno Latour for which Marres served as a respondent. Latour discussed the process and issues raised by his co-curatorship with Peter Weibel of Making Things Public. Atmospheres of Democracy (2005) and Iconoclash (2002) exhibitions held at ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art.

View the full programme for the event

Download audio of the talk (starting at 94:00)