Readings

Course reader

(1) Kate Crawford, Vladan Joler, Anatomy of an AI System (2018).

(2) James Glanz, “Power, Pollution and the Internet”, in The New York Times (2012).

(3) Peter Haff, Technology as a Geological Phenomenon (2013).

(4) Vincent Mosco, The Digital Sublime, Ch. 1: The Secret of Life (2004).

Required readings

(1) Blanchette, Jean-François, “A Material History of Bits”, in Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, vol. 62, no. 6, 2011, pp. 1024-1057.

(2) Chiasson, Trina, Gregory, Dyanna et al., DATA + DESIGN. A simple introduction to
preparing and visualizing information
, Infoactive, May 2015, online: https://orm-atlas2-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/pdf/13a07b19e01a397d8855c0463d52f454.pdf

(3) Crawford, Kate, Joler, Vladan, Anatomy of An AI System project, 2018, map: https://anatomyof.ai/img/ai-anatomy-map.pdf and an analysis/interview:
https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/9/17832124/ai-artificial-intelligence-supply-chain-anatomy-of-ai-kate-crawford-interview

(4) Drucker, Johanna, “Humanities Approaches to Graphical Display”, in Digital Humanities Quaterly, vol. 5 no. 1, 2011, online: http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/5/1/000091/000091.html

(5) Greenpeace, How Green Is Your Cloud?, report, April 2012, online: https://storage.googleapis.com/planet4-international-stateless/2012/04/e7c8ff21- howcleanisyourcloud.pdf

(6) Latour, Bruno, “Rematerializing Humanities Thanks to Digital Traces”, Digital Humanities 2014 symposium, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, July 7th-12th 2014. Online: https://youtu.be/4L2zRoKS0IA?t=2547

(7) Lupton, Ellen, Thinking with Type, A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, &
Students
, Princeton Architectural Press, 2010. Online preview:
http://thinkingwithtype.com/

(8) Mills, Mark, Big Data, Big Networks, Big Infrastructure, and Big Power. An Overview of The Electricity Used By The Global Digital Ecosystem, report, August 2013. Online:
https://www.tech-pundit.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Cloud_Begins_With_Coal.pdf

(9) Negroponte, Nicholas, Being Digital, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1995.

(10) Nuñez, David, “Soulful Computing”, Newsletter. Online:
https://buttondown.email/davidnunez/archive

(11) Tufte, Edward, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Cheshire (CT): Graphics Press, 2001.

Lectures

Slide decks (in pdf) available on our cloud here: https://cloud.dma.ucla.edu/index.php/f/114739 (or in Public > Lectures). High resolution and source files upon request.

(1) Thursday, October 1st 2020; Introductory Lecture.

(2) Tuesday, October 6th 2020; When the Physical/Digital Gap Grew Wider (2006-2010).

(3) Thursday, October 8th 2020; Lecture by Sharon Mustri, analyst, BloombergNEF

(4) Tuesday, October 13th 2020; Keynote lecture by Jean-François Blanchette, Associate Professor and Chair, Information Studies Department, UCLA

(5) Thursday, October 15th 2020; lecture by David Nuñez (Director of Technology & Digital Strategy, MIT Museum)

(6) Tuesday, October 22nd 2020; lecture by Yvonne Lee (Head of Collection Information and Digital Assets): Data Curation at LACMA

(7) Thursday, October 24th 2020; lecture by David Nuñez (Director of Technology & Digital Strategy, MIT Museum)

(8) Tuesday, October 27th 2020; lecture by Yvonne Lee (Head of Collection Information and Digital Assets): Data Curation at LACMA

(9) Thursday, October 29th 2020; Lecture by Johanna Drucker (Inaugural Martin and Bernard Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies in the Department of Information Studies, Joint Faculty at Design Media Art): Visualizing Catastrophe

(10) Tuesday, November 2nd 2020; We watched an artist talk Lauren McCarthy (Associate Professor, Design Media Arts, UCLA) recommended and recorded for Disrupt at the Fowler: https://vimeo.com/462010630 (3:16-26:30)

Resources

This is a page you should refer to for inspiration. I will continue to add resources as the quarter progresses.

• Accurat: an Italian data visualization, design, research, and innovation studio, see their Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/people/accurat/ and their website: https://www.accurat.it/

• AI Now Institute: an interdisciplinary research center (at NYU) dedicated to understanding the social implications of artificial intelligence, https://ainowinstitute.org/

• Atelier Cartographique: a research lab hosted at SciencePo (Paris) that produces lots of interesting visualizations and maps. See their portfolio here (in French only): https://www.sciencespo.fr/cartographie/portfolio/

• Anatomy of an AI: their essay is part of the course reader. In any case, it is worth exploring their work: https://anatomyof.ai/

• Chartable (a blog created by the Datawrapper team). a specific post about Edward Tufte’s books https://blog.datawrapper.de/bookclub-tufte-review/. They also maintain a Book Club under the following category: https://blog.datawrapper.de/category/thoughts-how-to-s/

• Database design and Aesthetics: a transdisciplinary class that was cross-listed in Information Studies, Design Media Arts and Statistics and taught in Spring 2007: https://pages.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/blanchette/274/2007/index.html

• Data Matter: a collection of research material gathered by OMA (Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Sander Manse, Massimo Tenan) and includes selected works by students participating in “ADS8. Data Matter: Digital Networks, Data Centers and Post-Human Institutions” led by Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli and Marina Otero Verzier with Kamil Dalkir at the Royal College of Arts in London. See below the attached PDF.

• Share Lab: https://labs.rs/en/ check out their fascinating collection of essays at the intersection of data visualizations, politics and sociology. They collaborated with Kate Crawford around The Anatomy of an AI project (i.e., https://anatomyof.ai/)

Artists

Refik Anadol

Barabási lab and WonderNet

Matthew Biederman

Rachel Binx

Daniel Canogar

Alex Fefegha

Ben Fry 

Ross Goodwin

Varsha Iyengar

LAb[au]

Giorgia Lupi

Mark Lombardi

Naho Matsuda

Maya Man

Lauren Lee McCarthy

Matan Mittwoch

Manfred Mohr

Julie Morel

Stefanie Posavec

Jessica Rajko

Casey Reas

Sarah Rosalena

Random International

Jacob Riddle

Anna Ridler

Karin Sander

Tools

Alongside our preferred design applications (i.e., InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop), we are going to tap into the following list of applications.

Mapping (online)

Mapping (locally, on your computer)

Diagrams, charts, tables (online)

Generative (locally, on your computer):

Anthropocene and Digitization

In the past 20 years, the world has been witnessing an explosion of data production of a rather dizzying magnitude.

If the “Great Acceleration” is indicative of the Anthropocene, this new epoch in which humans are the primary geological agents, the ongoing “digitization” that got us in the “Zettabyte Era” and that gained a tremendous momentum in the 2000s onwards is perhaps the most telling marker of our hypermodernity.

In fact, digitization is an accelerator of the acceleration: it has considerably reduced the distance between things near and far, while making pretty anything a click away, that is, readily available. Incidentally, the unbounded availability digitization promotes arguably contravenes ecological narratives that first and foremost hinge on sobriety.

The current avalanche of digital traces is what allows us to locate and produce meaning today. In other words, our day and age is the perfect time to have a conversation around the impact of digital technology on the environment.

As wayfarers of a landscape torn between technological hyper-description and ecological concerns, we will forge new research methodologies and create designs that demystify the purported immateriality of our digital systems.