Wow! I can’t believe I am writing my final blog post for the semester, where did the time go? and what have I learnt in the last twelve weeks? Archives, Publications, Assemblages, Data, Distribution, Aggregation… the list of the vast terminology can go on and on.
By far a key learning, and something which holds great importance and relevance to the course, has to be the following:
Data is a huge driving force behind today’s information society, and in turn, our society continues to expand, becoming evermore diverse and sophisticated. It can be said that data is very flexible, and it can be converted or manipulated to convey almost any message within any particular context.
So where does culture fit into all of this? According to Manovich, culture is data. To put this simply, data is an essential part of culture and culture brings together data, using it to inscribe meaning. Now if I haven’t lost you already, this is where its gets even better. Let’s introduce a few more terms to that list of terminology; infrastructural globalism, data friction and global data.
Paul N. Edwards’s A Vast Machine discusses these terms in depth, particularly in relation to climate change. I had to dive deep into his work to wrap my head around these new concepts. From my understanding, and in just a few words, infrastructural globalism is about building networks and systems that gather and understand data, data friction is about the collection of data and how perspectives on them can change over time and global data is the aggregation of information from all over the world via multiples sources. The ideas Edwards presents run parallel to the idea of archiving and the mass gathering of data, and I guess they also play off the ideas of distribution and aggregation of data. The more data is distributed and aggregated, the larger the potential for data friction to play it’s part, and undoubtedly a rise in data will result in a rise in the various perspectives to be kept.
But with all this data out there in the world, it really is true that a little bit of data can go a long way! And on that note, here is an interesting video showing us how far data really goes. To what use is data put to and how is it all manipulated and conveyed in our current context. Take a look for yourself!
Edwards, Paul N. (2010) ‘Introduction’ in A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming Cambridge, MA: MIT Press: xiii-xvii