Graphesis; Chapter Two

This extensive chapter looks at the history of specific types of graphs and charts can explain to us how they function and organize the data at hand. How we interpret the visuals and how visuals are interpreted. She begins by focusing on the historical origins on each type of visualization.

Timekeeping; It is based in the solar and lunar cycles and encouraged abstraction in mapping. The aim was to create a relation to the world. Hours were created out of habits because of recurring performance. However, it can be understood in both knowledge, humanistic and scientific.

Spacemaking; It is understood through the recognition of space around someone. It is based in navigation of abstracted shapes and then later forms. It pushed us to thinking about order, grouping, size, placement, proportion, that allowed us to be more analytical with later types of graphs and charts.

Administration & Record Keeping; It was used for highly organized graphical grid. Tabular forms with groupings were created for more administrative rolls. Later on, more graphical properties added a more systemic set of relations depending on color, order, arrangement. More importantly, we can clearly see the difference between fixed elements and interchangeable ones, timetable. The concept of cross-referencing made the basic table carry out more intersections. Tabular forms were still popularized even though other forms were proven to be more efficient to the point that Graph paper was produced. The concept of visualization depended on the process of plotting observational data and then analyzing the graph. There is more responsibility when designing the format of these bar graphs.

Trees of Knowledge; They are a fixed structure but spatial relations carry meaning by using hierarchy, distance, proximity etc... The concept of generation was the main focus in these types of graphs. While the image of the tree wasn’t the main symbol, it developed into pure lines. The notion of projection, relationships, leaps, and lineage is also expressed. Trees can be also morphed into networks where multiple starting points. It is a different type of branching nature that allows the different elements link to each other. There is a more special distribution amongst these elements.

Knowledge Generators; combinatorics calculation because they support both static and mobile organization. It is a combination of fixed values resulting in a generated value. The diagrammatic form can result multiple outcomes through different readings even though the variables are static. This form became popular with medieval cosmologists. They provide a performance of probable interpretations once the variables were graphed. This triggered a use of analytical geometry as a means of plotting information on axis to express behaviors. With both types of graphs there was the creation of tools. They were the answers to set theory, calculus, topology, network theory, vectors, and other fields. This advanced the mathematical reasoning and used to prove algorithms.

Dynamic Systems; It is generative to present a process rather than a product. Usually it’s an open ended, flux system that incorporate different knowledge generators. It is not meant to product an outcome to be repeated but to analyze events in a process. Because of that, it doesn’t lend into a specific graphical format. Usually used to show activities of the same element transforming over time. This developed with the emergence of meteorological observational instruments. Graphing intangible and invisible phenomena into a graphical language. However, a type of nonlinear data was difficult to map out without the use of motion graphics possible through digital computers.

Most visualization adopted by humanist were adopted from other disciplines. Through the translation, the concept of interpretation was blurred by creating a more subjective image. We need to create expressions that allow appropriate interpretations by preserving observer-independent reality. Visualizing interpretation can be divided into four basic levels; phenomenological experience, relations among humanities, representations of temporality and spatiality, and interpretation. For all four levels, it’s crucial to balance the humanistic knowledge and the graphical display.

In general, I believe that her approach in detailed analysis is incredibly solid and supported with historical reference. Her grouping helped me remember the different types of visualizations and how they differ in their function. However, the chapter ends suddenly without allowing room for a conversation. She presents her opinion without asking the need for humanistic visualization versus scientific visualization.