Thinking back to Khalid Albaih’s talk about social media activism Hanlon’s talk made me think about the saturation of information in todays society. Basically how we live in world where we hold super computers at our palm, are constantly involved in the production and exchange of information, and are surrounded by visual information-yet we do not know what to accept as objective or not. How did we get to this point? Surely the technological revolution and the dot com rush have ushered in our current era, but how have we gotten to the point where we accept most of this information in all of its messiness and without much evidence? Amongst this issue, why the insistence on visual data? Why is it that academic, scientist, peers, students, professors, etc use visual models as a means of expressing data?
Hanlon’s lecture at its core really expressed the ways that data in particular is a product of rhetorical, theoretical, and epistemological context. That is all data is a product of a particular historical moment and motive. Now what exactly is data? Data refers to information or knowledge that is represented. Represented that is by visual codes or other characters. Historically data arose from an empirical tradition that developed into an epistemological evolution in the ways that scientist and scriptural intellects did their arguments. Specifically the ways that intellectuals did their job around the 17th century began to rely more on more scientific studies that valued images and visualization.
So when did data become revolutionary? Hanlon argues that once the technological and epistemological methods of codifying data became big is when it constituted as revolutionary. That is once information around the world became datafied then all of the information and understanding of information became large and heavily codified. So if data has always been visual and it is now the main form, what does that mean for our future?
Dealing with a heavily datafied societal context, technology has allowed for a certain saturation in visual information. So what does this mean for our future? In this heavily datafied context when is there going to be a critical reflection on the ways we continue to visual declare our information? Because the implicit objectivity that is accompanied with visual representation asserts no need to undercover the complexities. However, is not there an importance in uncovering the complexities of our world? Surely we should not accept all information as it is handed to us. We must critically deconstruct and analyze the broad assertions accompanied with the saturation of data. We must not willingly look at websites such as Facebook and accept all of the supposed news or supposed scientific education that comes in images and graphs and pie charts.