Visualization and Manovich

Visualization for humans has been around for at least thousands of years, since the time cave paintings were created by men, women, and children. So it is not a new process at all. The challenge now, is to marry our version of it to the computer in a kind of wedded bliss.This was a rocky road at first, as computers were inadquete to hold all but the most simple forms of data. But the techinques we have come up with, including coding and libraries of multimedia, have develped the models and modes of understanding to new heights.

Manovich contends that another great technique is to save the data in which the order it was created, which shows the change in graphs over time. He calls it a "cultural time series". I conjecture that what he is trying to say is that knowing at what points of time data is created is as important as the data itself. By chronicalling the information and visualizing the history in a condensed format of images, it is possible to come up with data that might have otherwise been hidden and come up with different conclusions. The patterns that show themselves evident have 'media elements', which are normally seperated by time. Thus such mapping is useful for showing variation in the data over time. These are ways visualization can help people come up with solutions that need variables in an ever changing world.




I think Manovich's TimeLine is super interesting too. It's definitionally a visualization without reduction since all of the covers are there, but you can't zoom in on any of them. I'm trying to wrap my head around Manovich's apparent preference for quantitative over qualitative reduction. With qualitative reduction, "We throw away %99 of what is specific about each object to represent only %1- in the hope of revealing patterns across this %1 of objects’ characteristics" (Manovich 6). Both authors for this week were obviously concerned with the dangers of qualitative reduction. Even in the direct visualization of TimeLine, though, we lose most of what is specific to each cover in order to show this larger spectrum of color saturation. I do understand the political significance of actually representing each cover as it is--rather than with some graphical primitive--and I guess I ultimately stand with Manovich in thinking that there's no perfect way to visualize.