“eye>hand>body>: data visualisation and the body in new media works” presented by Waterson and Richards


Session Title:

  • Posthumanism II

Presentation Title:

  • eye>hand>body>: data visualisation and the body in new media works




  • Abstract

    This paper points to a theoretical framework of our interests in a developing taxonomy of data-mapped art objects, the appropriateness of embodied interfaces for data-mapped art, and our own practice led research (see our collaborative project subscape).

    The proliferation of digital data demand that artists engage with the aesthetics, forms and politics of data mapping. From molecular to stellar, from deeply personal to global, the growing scope of digital data has had a profound effect on ontology and subjectivity. Today we try to understand the complexity of socio-enviro-political systems through a proliferation of data, and its myriad forms of imprintedness (visualisation).

    From dynamic weather maps, to virtual heritage and epidemiology, from tracking polluted water to pattern recognition in complex crimes like corporate fraud, new strata of subjects and subjectivity emerge. We are enmeshed in a data economy that is more complex and generative than we could have imagined.

    This impactful phenomenon is further complicated by the cultural specificity of the forms, strategies and aesthetics of visualisation. New strata of subjects and subjectivity emerge, yet new mapping technologies do not necessarily interrogate, celebrate or account for the poetic and speculative affects of human consciousness and subjectivity in space. Access to data and complex visualisations does not necessarily make for a more culturally sensitive or comprehensive understanding of ‘deep space’, that combinative trope of physical place and social connectedness that we inhabit and that art seeks to access.

    The key questions posed by this paper are: How can artists account for and make sense of this proliferation of data to capitalise on ecological, computational and embodied forms to explore a range of strategies such as generative systems,
    patterns and poetics in creating an affective experience for the audience/viewer/participant? What do convergent spaces of biology and artifice offer the multi-layered conceptual apparatus that is the data-mapped art object? What new shifts of art and design forms, and modes of sensory experience, can alter the audiences’ experience and make ‘deep space’ of complex data mapping?

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