Early-Career Scholar Forum

Technologies of Seeing Visualization & Archives in Japan

Friday, 22 January 2021 | 12:15 - 13:00 (JST)
Zoom Meeting
  • Steven Braun Visiting Assistant Professor, College of Arts & Media Design, Northeastern University

In this presentation, I’ll discuss the relationship between data visualization and archives as “technologies of seeing”: both are technologies that make choices about what can or should be rendered visible in the eyes of others. In visualization, we make design choices about what data to collect, how to analyze them, and how to express them through visual encodings, and these choices determine whose voices or identities get privileged or displaced in public discourses. Likewise, in the creation of archives, choices must often be made about what to preserve, how to preserve, and how to make that which is preserved accessible over space and time. As such, both visualization and archives are practices of design that are tightly wrapped up in questions of seeing; each can offer lessons to one another about what it means to document and bear witness to the world around us, especially at a time when “crises of seeing” threaten our individual and collective well-being. This discussion will be explored through projects that interrogate the role of visualization and archives in the study of Japan, particularly as a country situated in a world in trauma, transition, and uncertainty.