Polivis: Methods Towards an Augmented Citizenship


Session Title:

  • Performance (Papers)

Presentation Title:

  • Polivis: Methods Towards an Augmented Citizenship




  • This paper presents Polivis, an infoviz tool for comparing online news about politics. The objectiveof Polivis is to collate political personalities, newspaper sources, headlines, words and quotes with the aim of counteracting negative effects caused by deformations in the existing political information and encouraging citizens to adopt a critical distance towards this mediated information.According to Dominique Wolton, news about politics suffer from severe distortions such as: the lack of distance between the event and its analysis; the fascination by the crisis; a bias towards mediatic personalities; and a lack of context and sequence in information. In a society where much of the information is mediated, the perception that citizens have of the world is distorted by this media dynamic.Polivis, uses resources from Information Visualization, Natural Language Processing and Comparative Studies, allowing the user to establish and visualize their own relationships and comparisons. Empowered with this comparative tool they are able to produce a direct and independent analysis on the political sphere, to detect omissions, contradictions and recurrences.The starting point for this project was a software system that can be used to help structure and filter news information. It acquires information from live news feeds, extracts quotes and topics from Portuguese news and presents this information in a web‑based interface.This prototype results of an ongoing investigation in the PhD in Design, in the Universities of Aveiro and Porto, which is dedicated to the study of design tools for more active citizenship, conscious and concerned about political matters. The research analyzes the destabilizing elements in communication policy and the influences caused by the media, to the scrutiny of this information.This prototype counted with the support of SapoLabs (University of Porto) and the Digital Creativity Lab (Guimarães 2012 ‑ European Capital of Culture).