Class 9 (English 238 – Fall 2019)

Class Business

  • Enrollment
  • No office hours this Wed.
  • Questions about the mock grant research proposal assignment?
  • Presentations in Class 10 based on the narrative and the example dataset or experiments in your “mock grant proposal”
      • 7 minutes for each presenter (followed by 3 minutes Q&A)
      • Create slides for efficiency of presentation
      • We will share screens in Zoom (bring in your laptops in Class 9 for a rehearsal in sharing screens)
  • Zoom rehearsal
  • Course evaluation forms

“Visual Epistemology”

Johanna Drucker, “Graphesis: Visual Knowledge Production and Representation”

But critical understanding of visual knowledge production remains oddly underdeveloped. A glance at the philosophical assumptions on which epistemology is grounded show its logocentric and empiricist (statistical) biases. We need to challenge such assumptions to establish a critical frame for understanding visualization as a primary mode of knowledge production. (1)

Even before the existence of print technology, visual images served varied epistemological functions — from the representation of information in condensed, legible form, to the expression of complex states of mind and experience. (2)

Graphesis is defined as the field of knowledge production embodied in visual expressions. (3)

In this sense we can invoke the concept of a graphical imaginary, that realm of ideological and cultural knowledge that is produced through symbolic systems. (6)

Fleuron icon (small)

Alan Liu, excerpt from Friending the Past: The Sense of History in the Digital Age

Graphical knowledges, in other words, are full-scale knowledge systems whose epistemological, ontological, socio-political, and other dimensions compose one aspect of the overall episteme of their era, even if–as in the case of the spooky distinction between medieval visual and verbal depictions of madness that Foucault discerns in Madness and Civilization–that aspect may also make visible the contradictions inherent in any “total system.”

Fleuron icon (small)

Florian Kräutli, “Visualising Cultural Data: Exploring Digital Collections Through Timeline Visualisations”

It is worth noting . .. that the understanding of time as a quantity along with the affordance of quantities to be represented as space that Priestley describes, are a result of the conceptual shift in thinking advanced by Newton and Descartes; the “natural and easy” representation required a significant intellectual effort and decades of familiarisation. (55)


Byzantine icon of the Annunciation, 14th c., Ohrid

Byzantine icon of the Annunciation, 14th century (Ohrid)
(cf., Giotto, Vision of the Thrones, 1297-1299)

Fleuron icon (small)
Domenico Veneziano, The Annunciation, c. 1410-1461, Fitzwilliam Museum

Domenico Veneziano, The Annunciation, c. 1410-1461 (Fitzwilliam Museum)

Manicule Leon Battista Alberti, De Pictura (1435)
Manicule cf. Fra Angelico, The Annunciation, (1432-1435)
Manicule cf., Canaletto, Claude, Turner, Wright of Derby

Fleuron icon (small)
Joseph Priestley, A Chart of Biography (1765)

Joseph Priestley, A Chart of Biography (1765)

William Playfair, The Commercial and Political Atlas (1786)

William Playfair, from The Commercial and Political Atlas (1786)

Manicule cf., Florence Nightingale, Notes on Matters Affecting the Health, Efficiency, and Hospital Administration of the British Army (1858) (1)
Manicule c.f., E. B. Dubois, et al., Visualizations for the “Exhibit of American Negroes” at the Paris Exposition (1900) (1 | 2)
Manicule c.f., Stephen Few on business data visualization (1 | 2 ) (2000’s)

Fleuron icon (small)

Jan Tschichold, display poster for a publisher (1924)

Jan Tschichold, display poster for a publisher (1924)

Manicule cf., Printer’s proof for a poster (1888)
Manicule c.f., Tschichold, cover for Elementare Typographie insert (1925)
Manicule c.f., Tschichold, publicity leaflet for Die neue typographie (1928) — original printed black on yellow
Manicule c.f., Paul Rand, “The Grid System,” from The Designer’s Art (1985)

Fleuron icon (small)
Yanni Alexander Loukissas, The Life and Death of Data (Harvard Metalab, 2015)

Yanni Alexander Loukissas, The Life and Death of Data (Harvard Metalab, 2015)

Manicule cf., Matthew Jockers, Macroanalysis: Digital Methods and Literary History (2013)
Manicule c.f., Martin Dodge and Rob Kitchin, Atlas of Cyberspace (2008)
Manicule c.f., Louise Drulhe,  Critical Atlas of the Internet
Manicule c.f., Florian Kräutli’s playlist of digital timelines
Manicule c.f., Lisa Jevbratt, 1:1 (2)
Manicule c.f., George Legrady, Making Visible the Invisible (2005-2014)

Ut pictura poesis

Fleuron icon (small)
Visualization and the Trivium
(PowerPoint slides)