Hello everybody, I am Alessandro, a first year PhD candidate in Italian Studies. I have a professional background as screenwriter and story editor in Italy (mainly in television). My research interests focus on the relation between politics and media (hegemony and identity) and on the development of transmedia storytelling not only as a way to  “translate” a story form a media to another but to expand the meaning of the story itself.

The readings for this week made me reflecting on the relationship between data and their visualization, or, in other words, between information and image. As a newcomer to “Visualization in the humanities” I was very surprised to discover how this topic is closely related to my professional experience. A script (for a movie or a television show) could in fact be considered as a sort of textual information (with its own code and patterns) that must be translated by the director and the cinematographer in a visual representation. The dialectic relationship between text and image is the most important one, both in terms of (inevitable) loss of information and (possible) gain of meaning.

In his writings Nathan Yau underlines the relevance of a specific image as the best tool to understand a specific data and the importance of “discovering the unexpected through pictures” (Yau, XVI). The idea of discovering new meaning through the process of translation between data and its visual representation is also considered by Barbara Stafford, who furthermore states that information cannot be separated by the way it is displayed (Stafford, 476). This raises questions about the possible independent nature of a visual representation in regard to the original textual or visual data. Can an image develop its own meaning as far as it retains the information of the data? Are there other limitations? Or, perhaps, there are not limitations at all if the visual representation is able to produce a new and valuable meaning?

I found the anlysis of three project presented in the readings as good starting point to further develop these questions:

  1. Cinema Redux (http://brendandawes.com/projects/cinemaredux) as a peculiar strategy of representation – projecting time into space
  2. Writing Without Words (http://www.itsbeenreal.co.uk/index.php) regarding the aesthetic value of a representation
  3. We Feel Fine (http://www.wefeelfine.org/index.html) regarding the use of a less analytical tool (emotion) in order to convey meaning.

I look forward to further develop these first thoughs and  to investigate possibilities and limits of the relationship between data and its visual representation developing a more complex version of the project “Sumedicina (http://kimasendorf.com/sumedicina/).