The Hermenutic Circle of Data Visualization

According to Don Ihde (1990, 80–97), hermeneutic relations are a specific kind of technologically mediated I-world relations in which the technology must be “read” and “interpreted” in order to access the world. More recently, Peter-Paul Verbeek (2010, 145) introduced the notion of composite relations, featuring a double intentionality performed by human and non-human actors. The aim of this article is to expand these two concepts by reflecting on data visualization. In particular, we will deal with a visualization called Affinity Map, which displays the scholars of EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) arranged according to a metric based on the collaboration. Two specificities characterize, for us, such configuration. 1) First, the subjectivization of what hermeneutics have called the “world of the text” because scholars are both readers and contributors. In other terms, hermeneutic relations are here technologically-mediated self-relations in a strong sense. 2) Second, the collectivization of the hermeneutic circle in each of its steps: subjects, data, designers, actualizations, visualizations, and readers. In this respect, the Affinity Map might be seen as a concrete encounter between postphenomenology, whose main focus is on the types of I-technology-world relations, and actor-network theory, which has always-already been concerned with collectives.

Presented at:
Human-Technology Relations, University of Twente, 11-13 July 2018

 Record created 2018-07-11, last modified 2019-06-19

Download fulltext

Rate this document:

Rate this document:
(Not yet reviewed)