visualization and mediation

An artist and researcher form Latrobe University, Australia, Mary Rosengren illustrated a key issue in visualization as an act of mediation. in particular she focused on the relation between those images produced in the artists’ studio and those in the laboratory.
Barbara Maria Stafford once said that visualization is “a scientific enterprise or an aesthetic one” (Stafford, 2002, p.180). The viewers’ task is not univocal. It involves “not only the careful presentation of empirical observations” but also the “sensational recreation of the actual experience of witnessing them” (p.180).

Starting from the inevitability of creation of “pretty pictures,” Rosengren reflected on the way  visualizing technologies radically change the aesthetics of images, and on the way the resulting pictures convey different meanings and are produced with different goals in mind according to the context or the individual who constructs them. Artists have a chance to use these pictures to instigate new modes of seeing the objects portrayed, that is, not as classified objects, or merely aesthetics, but also as powerful educational tools and immersive sensory experiences.

 

 
this mode of thinking is a recurring one at this year’s Subtle Technologies: initiated by the lecture of Marco Mancuso, whose historical introduction to the representation of scientific phenomena and objects mentioned German biologist Ernst Haeckel’s  early luscious drawings of plants, homunculi and embryos, the issue concerning visualization and portraying of science and scientific data continued with the mentioned Rosengren, Fran Castillo  and others’ hypermediated augmented ecologies (AE), a reconstruction of the evolution and nonlinear behavior of synthetic substances and aquatic organisms, as well as by Riccardo Castagna and Valentina Margaria‘s “sonification”  of the proteins of viruses.

 

An image from Ernst Haeckel’s Kunst-Formen der Natur. The book, published in 1898 is available as aFlickr collection  or as a whole book download