April Guests

4 Apr

Scmuch-betterreen-Shot-2014-06-25-at-9.13.48-PMOn April 15, our faculty’s Graduate School hosts a masterclass by Catherine d’Ignazio (MIT) titled “Unmaking Maps and Making Things Talk,” which is open to VAMA students. From the announcement:

While the increase in computation storage and processing has led to an increasingly data-driven approach to making decisions and solving problems, there are still powerful informational asymmetries in who can access, analyze and operationalize data. Through projects and examples, this talk makes the case that “data visualization” is not the only nor possibly the preferred method for staging public conversations about complex issues. Rather, we may need to look to methods such as unmaking maps, contesting data, building community, and making things talk (making data discursive! spoken by a speaker with a situated position!) that are more embodied, messy and fluid.


This topic resonates rather nicely with the current seminar “Imagining the Image: Post-Visual Culture?“In this context, we have already had a film screening and talk with Zachary Formwalt, and on April 21 we will welcome artist Andreas Siekmann. Often working in collaboration with Alice Creischer, Siekmann has extensively researched and updated the “picture statistics” developed by Otto Neurath in collaboration with Gerd Arntz and other artists during the 1920s and 1930s. If Neurath had a modernist belief in the feasibility universal pictorial language, with his ISOTYPE system being his approach to “data visualization” avant la lettre, this is one point where Creischer and Siekmann’s appropriation can also be seen as a critique; by not necessarily privileging (and sometimes downright sabotaging) “instant legibility,” their Neurath-derived works become discursive triggers – particularly in the contexts of collaborative projects such as Ex Argentina, Potosi Principle or Harun Farocki and Antje Ehmann’s Labor in a Single Shot.

Images: Andreas Siekmann, from The Treuhand and the Invisible Hand (2005-2008); Harun Farocki surrounded by, and dressed in, pictograms designed by Creischer and Siekmann for Labour in a Single Shot (2011-20140


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