A Criticism on Data Visualisation as an Epistemological System

Leiden Repository

A Criticism on Data Visualisation as an Epistemological System

Type: Master thesis
Title: A Criticism on Data Visualisation as an Epistemological System
Author: Peret, MartaPeret Pujol, Marta
Issue Date: 2016-08-31
Keywords: jevbratt
john simon
Abstract: We have created so many data in the last decades we are not able to process them all anymore, this is what is known as “Big Data.” And with this data boom it has also come the conviction that the more data we gather, the better insights we have. But, do wet? Can knowledge survive without philosophy's buttress? To facilitate making sense out of data we have invented techniques to understand them: to see patterns or correlations to gain new insights. And here is where data visualisation has come into play. Data visualisations are maps that help us navigate the data surge we live in. But should we take data visualisation as a proof of truth? If everything is data now, and these data are translated into a visualisation, we are distanced from “reality” by many levels of abstraction: from the given world to the database through the technological tool, from the database to the image through the software we need to create it. This poses two problems: we can just apprehend the world through technology and all we see is that which is quantifiable, translatable into a technological language. Do we as subjects have any agency in a world we cannot apprehend as it is? This thesis then departs from three hypothesis: Big Data has led to a deep epistemological problem precisely because of the unfettered data accumulation; a problem further intensified as a result of its frenzied visualisation; and this epistemological problem renders the subject powerless. Therefore, the question is: how can we call into question the all-pervasive data visualisation in order to re-empower the subject in the Information Age? To this end, I will first give a description of the main concepts this thesis is dealing with, I will then contend the hypothesis and, finally, I will propose an answer to the questions they lay and an example of action.
Supervisor: Zwijnenberg, R.
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: Arts and Culture (Master)
Specialisation: Arts of the Contemporary World
ECTS Credits: 20
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/42295

Files in this item

Description Size View
application/pdf Thesis Marta Peret.pdf 800.1Kb Under embargo

This item appears in the following Collection(s)