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Bias Detection Visualisation

Team Members

Anne Helmond, David Garcia, Kalina Dancheva, Charlotte Webb, Alessandro Brunetti, Nerea Calvillo


After a group discussion (documented in our collaborative notes) the visualization group worked on two different questions related to visual tactics of issue mapping.

On the one hand we were interested in the types of visualizations that are currently used to visualize and map issues. What can we add to these visualizations, how can we represent the dynamics of bias and partisanship? What is the visualization typology, the visualization structure that allows us to see and identify bias. Does it necessarily have to be two juxtaposed poles or can there be something in between. How can we enrich visualisations to see more granularity and the dynamics of the process? How can we render temporality? We may need multiple modes of visualization and therefor we focus on the importance of granularity because you might need a political reading, or a deep profile of people.

On the other hand we tried to work with the images in the ACTA dataset themselves where two questions arose. First, are there aesthetics of styles, aesthetics of activism and NGOness and how are those images composed? Second, how can we empirically address such questions with our data?

Zones of Instability

A workshop bringing together research and intervention using art/design as a catalyst. In Noortje’s introduction she spoke about the Terms that are shifting in their bias. This to point to Noortje’s earlier research about the public and its power lying in it fundemental un-tracability. A dangerous phantom that neverthless has agency. Partizans are by definition not a public. The way that issues catch fire remains unpredictable and possibly live issue tracking might give clues to the emergence of a public.

In the case of images, we think it might be better to tackle instablility at the level of style or aesthetic trope rather than at the image level. Activitst culture has evolved a ‘quick and dirty’ visual rhetoric, that has become a wider signifier for autheticity. Street cred + authenticity! As per Chevron, it is frequently appropriated by corporations, thus creating an unstable visual field. The politics of appropriation, in either direction, (Chevron/Yes Men, Bennetton/Aids activist) produces zones of undecidability. Re-purposing of concept of controversy to create a space of (visual) instability which becomes an invitation for discourse.

An aesthetics of instability offers up an entry point for action or intervention. Using aesthetics to create a zone of instability might offer activitists or other opinion formers an effective entry point into issues. This is how artistic tactics can bridge the activist and research communities who are focusing on issue networks, providing the issue networks can identify the zones of instability. Instability also occurs at the level of language: In Spansih ‘acta’ means ‘certificate’, this linguistic slippage/multi-stable meaning can distort results. we also asked which terms were used in both camps.

The Imagery of ACTA

Objective: Generate methods to determine issue agendas using images

Presentation slides

Topic revision: r4 - 04 Nov 2012 - 11:22:40 - AnneHelmond