Review of Drucker, Graphesis

Originally posted on Ex Libris:

Review: Johanna Drucker, Graphesis: Visual Forms of Knowledge Production (metaLABprojects; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014).

Johanna Drucker’s Graphesis, at first glance, seems to be a straightforward history of data visualizations. The vast majority of the book is devoted to tracing the histories of various kinds of information visualization, such as tree graphs, maps, bar charts, and the like. Scores of illustrations accompany this discussion, making the book a fine introduction to the history of information visualization. Behind the historical aspect of the book, however, lies the assertion—actually Drucker’s main thesis—that humanists have fundamentally misunderstood what data is and what visualizations can represent.

The book opens with a foreword defining some of Drucker’s key terms (including graphesis, to which I will return shortly). The first three chapters (“Image, Interpretation, and Interface,” “Windows,” and “Interpreting Visualization :: Visualizing Interpretation”) set forth the history of the graphical forms that lie…

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The Travelling Scholar Always Returns to HSS

Originally posted on Helsinki Summer School Blog:

Giacomo Bottà is a xenophile who lives and teaches in France, Finland and Germany. Since 2008 he has been coordinating the Helsinki Summer School’s popular course on urban studies.

“I enjoy the atmosphere of the three weeks: it’s nice to work with such a big intercultural group and see the dynamics which are created, you can experiment a lot with group works and so on”, Giacomo explains. Furthermore, on a HSS course the teacher gets to know the students much better than on a regular course as the curriculum is very intensive: “The students are not wasting their time here, the course is about welfare so it is about egalitarianism, it’s about fair practices, about city making, housing and education. These are all cases that people can bring back to countries where such issues are not so obvious to all.”

Giacomo can come up with many good experiences he has…

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Investigating Covent Garden

Originally posted on Digital Tools: Sherlock Holmes's London:

For this project I chose to look closely at Covent Garden which is a district in London that is mentioned in The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. When Mr. Henry Baker approaches Holmes about the advertisement for the missing hat, he provides Holmes with valuable information for further investigation of the missing blue carbuncle that leads him to Covent Garden. Below is a screenshot of the area as seen on Victorian Google Maps:


After navigating all of the various digital archives to further research Covent Garden, I found the Charles Booth Online Archive and the British History archive to be particularly useful.   The other archives were either difficult to navigate or did not offer information that I found interesting enough to connect with the story. The Historical Eye archive failed to incorporate a type of search feature which would have been helpful in my research…

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Urbanism and Dictatorship, forthcoming in the series Bauwelt Fundamente

Originally posted on multipliciudades:

The website of Birkhäuser includes some early information about Urbanism and Dictatorship. A European Challenge, a forthcoming book in which I have participated. This is the volume n. 153 of the long-lasting and celebrated series Bauwelt Fundamente, which has recently embraced English language for some of its catalog. Urbanism and Dictatorhip is a monograph on the history of totalitarian urbanism edited by Max Welch Guerra, Harald Bodenschatz and Piero Sassi, including contributions and case studies by colleagues from Germany, Italy, Russia, Portugal and Spain. The book is a great opportunity to delve into an interesting and alternative genealogy of the connection of urban space and power in the twentieth century, offering illustrations of the common practices, intricacies and singularities of dictatorial urbanisms. The monograph is mainly composed of case studies focusing on particular policies or projects from the aforementioned countries, but it also includes theoretical pieces by Bodenschatz, Welch…

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Why read a long dead French Marxist to think about land struggles today?

Originally posted on Politics Reconsidered:

paul klee

By Stuart Elden and Adam David Morton

Henri Lefebvre was a French Marxist sociologist and philosopher, whose date of birth is disputed, but was probably 1901, and whose long life came to an end in 1991. He is principally known in English language discussions for his work on three related topics – everyday life, urban politics and the production of space. Lefebvre wrote widely, with several works of philosophy, including stinging critiques of existentialism and structuralism; a number of studies of Marx, Hegel and Nietzsche; books on French literary and philosophical figures such as Rabelais, Descartes, Musset and Pascal; alongside his major work De l’État, whose four volumes are partly summarised in the English collection State, Space, Worldand his wide ranging The Production of Space that has proved important in and beyond the discipline of geography. But Lefebvre also wrote extensively on rural politics and land questions. It…

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Sensing Cities: a series of broadcasts on Resonance FM

Originally posted on Sensing Cities:

Sensing Cities is a series of informal conversations / interviews with artists and writers around the theme of the city, its many layers and narratives. These conversations will be broadcast on Resonance FM.

The first circle of the interviews is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, May 15th at 1 pm to 1:30 pm and  will run until June 12th.

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