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The Data Epic: Visualisation Practices for Narrating Life and Death at a Distance

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationData Visualization in Society
EditorsMartin Engebretsen, Helen Kennedy
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Chapter19
Pages313-328
ISBN (Electronic)9789048543137
ISBN (Print)9789463722902
DOIs
Published16 Apr 2020

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Abstract

This chapter proposes the notion of the ‘data epic’, which is examined through two works of ‘cinematic data visualization’: The Fallen of World War II and The Shadow Peace: The Nuclear Threat. These pieces mobilize an aesthetics of distance to narrate life and death at scale, in past and possible global conf licts. While previous studies of quantif ication emphasize the function of distance in relation to aspirations of objectivity, this chapter explores other narrative and affective capacities of distance in the context of ‘public data culture’. The data epic can thus enrich understanding of how data are rendered meaningful for various publics, as well as the entanglement of data aesthetics and data politics involved in visualization practices for picturing collective life.

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