Dr. Simone Gumtau, School of Art & Design, recently presented design work for the Intelligent condition monitoring with Integrated Communications project (IConIC), which aimed to design a GUI (graphical user interface) to communicate sensor data monitoring ship engine performance.
The design concept is inspired by the theory of embodied metaphors and seeks to integrate a body perspective back into abstract data. The talk, entitled “Between Craft and Code – Exploring Affective Data Expression through Data Materialisation”, was part of the conference “The Politics and Culture of Data Visualisation” at the University of Sheffield on 10th October 2016.
The conference was one of the first congregations of people interested not just in the technical execution, but in critical reflection on the phenomenon of data visualisation, and to position it within a wider context of society and culture.
The humanities perspective is investigating data visualisation as a new medium that seeks to represent ‘truth’ – but, it could be argued, in reality is far from it.
Conference organisers Professor Helen Kennedy, Dr Annamaria Carusi and Dr Mark Taylor, Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield, have said, “More recently, critical perspectives have begun to emerge, which point to the ways in which visualisations can privilege certain viewpoints, perpetuate existing power relations or create new ones, and play a role in the generation and modification of knowledge, cognition, perceptions of objectivity and opaque forms of governance and control. These critiques exist alongside the apparently contradictory belief that data visualisations are a way of ‘doing good with data’, making data transparent and accessible and so enabling greater inclusion in data-driven conversations and societies.”
These issues and questions are now being explored and discussed in the School of Art and Design’s new MA in Data Visualisation Design, with a view of extending the practice in a critical context.
A full description and programme of abstracts available here.
IConIC work was also exhibited in the Eldon building last year, see here.