Accepted paper:

Resisting visualizations. A cross-species and cross-field comparative exploration - part 1


Ann Rudinow Saetnan (Norwegian Institute for Science & Technology)
Rocco Bellanova (University of Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

This is part 1 of a 2-part paper exploring the meanings of resistances on the part of potential objects and subjects of visualizations in bird-watching and in human surveillance. Part 1 focuses primarily on resistances on the part of objects of visualization.

Paper long abstract:

What does resisting visualization mean? Over the past few years, we have embarked in a cross-species and cross-field exploration of visual practices. We have focused on bird-watching and on digital surveillance, where humans, data and animals become the object of visualization. As one step in our journey, our attention now turns to resistances to visualization, be it on the part of the potential object of visualization or on the part of the might-otherwise-be visualizer. Given humans' tendency to rely on and to produce visual representations, and given the key positions of visualizations in both surveillance and bird-watching, why and how do those active in these fields sometimes resist producing visualizations? Here in part 1 we ask, from the point of view of those visualized, why and how do those targeted for visualization (sometimes successfully) resist being visualized? Working from a set of examples, we attempt to categorize motivations and techniques of resistance, and to draw implications of these for theories of surveillance and of digital media.

panel E04
Meeting the visual