Reading 7

Perhaps it was my loose grasp of the underlying fundamentals of Romanticism but I found Manovich wanting to have his cake and to eat it too. In his attempt to distinguish data-visualization as anti-sublime from it's sublime romantic counterparts he isn't explicit enough in what aspect of romanticism belies data viz art. Taking his statement word for word:

'This promise makes data mapping into the exact opposite of the Romantic art concerned with the sublime. In contrast, data visualisation art is concerned with the anti-sublime. If Romantic artists thought of certain phenomena and effects as un-representable, as something which goes beyond the limits of human senses and reason, data visualisation artists target the exact opposite: to map such phenomena into a representation whose scale is comparable to the scales of human perception and cognition.'

I take issue with the idea that the romanticism movement did not in most part end up doing just what is claimed as anti-sublime. In attempting to evoke the terror of the sublime artists created albeit a cyclical evocation of emotion by enshrining visual pieces with the grandeur necessary to represent the intangible emotions that inspired the work. Thereby both attempting to evoke the mirage of the intangible through an artistic statement and using the intangible to evoke a tangible representation end at the same place with a representation of the intangible.

Kant's definition of the sublime:
"presentation of an indeterminate concept of reason"

would easily pertain to a representation of data. The stipulation being the data set is presented as a subject the audience can reason with.

Again as with Drucker I'm intrigued by the possibilities they propose and confounded by what exactly they have in mind for these subjective representations of objective data, if not the limitless visual choices available to represent it. Therein I do find the option of allowing or introducing and guiding each audience member to create, toy with and explore a data set is the true end goal. Wherein the manifestation of the data is a creation, a mirror of the person in control, choosing how to perceive it.