Traceroutes in complex groupings |
What is a group? What does it consist of? Is it really there, or just a phenomenon produced by our analytical tools or our aisthetic and aesthetic senses? Looking for a path through networks this passage follows an aesthetical viewpoint deconstructing visualisations and metaphors of complexities. Network cultures share imaginations of networks. Such imaginations include the organization of networks, the development of clusters, metaphors of meshed paths, but also pictorial representations of networks. The unveiling of structures in scientific network analysis nowadays comes with the visualization of networks. Networks are depicted as rhizomatic aggregations, mounted on a two dimensional plain, sometimes simulating more dimensions and dynamics. Despite the lack of a consistent scientific network theory, a coherent trans-theoretical trend in network visualization can be observed. Even if underlying data and purposes are very divergent, images look similar. They are created from the same dispositives. Vertices and edges, vectors, lines, colors, shades, sometimes positioned in shapes of circles, triangles or squares. They are graph drawings, which are produced by similar optimization algorithms for topological problems within the constraints of digital information visualization. Images of networks are complex assemblages themselves. Despite the mathematical impossibility of a unique layout and therefore many possibilities of visualizing networks, most scientists stick to a common iconography with its basic shapes, that stems from traditions of astrometry, transport logistics, or chemistry, when using the “complexity telescope” (G. Nees). Such nearly “naturalized” diagrammatic shapes in-form the practice of network analysis. In the pioneering days of Social Network Analysis in the first half of the 20th century, before mathematicians got interested in real world graph problems, when “super-connectors” were called “stars”, and networks were drawn by hand, one can find basic assumptions, that are still at work in scientific network visualization today. Interaction diagrams, and later sociograms were originally developed for improvised theatre and psychodrama, before their application to social groups for intervention purposes. With this project we would like to show how powerful certain shapes and tropes are. We want to analyze the use of certain graphical metaphors and aesthetic traditions, that already come standardized in imaging techniques and therefore escape our attention. For a tangible examination of the ongoing “viscourses” (K. Knorr-Cetina) it helps to revert to pre-digital image processing to demonstrate how these symbolic forms - besides innovative algorithms or new media developments - affect our thinking of networks. We want to explicate why it is not only important to concentrate on data modeling, but also on data display if we think about New Network Theory. |
Traceroutes in komplexen Gruppierungen | Was bedeutet Gruppierung? Was beinhaltet eine solche? Existiert sie
oder ist sie nur ein Phänomen hervorgebracht durch unsere Werkzeuge der
Analyse oder unseren Wahrnehmungsapparat? In dieser Passage suchen wir nach einem Weg durch Netzwerke, doch folgen wir vorallem ästhetischen Kriterien in der Dekonstruktion von Bildern und Metaphern der Komplexität. |
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