#UCSIA16 Audiences and Messages: Visualisation

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Introduction

I have been reading Edmund Capon‘s story of his life’s adventures in art.

It is titled I Blame Duchamp.

In the Introduction, Edmund observes “the mind makes sorties which go beyond what we can achieve”.

Later he suggests:

Tracing the pattern of one’s own developing interest in art and the arts is, so far as I am concerned, fraught with the inconsistencies which I believe are so inscribed into the human psyche.

Both quotations resonate with my desire to explore the visualisation component of the open online course, Sport Informatics and Analytics.

Seeing the World Differently

This week two experiences helped me think about visualisation after reading Edmund.

The first was a Facebook status update from Tom Alder. Tom is visiting Europe and has been to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa. He wrote:

It wasn’t until arriving at the Louvre earlier on today that I realised just how big it is. Over the years I’ve often seen this painting in many different contexts but seeing in real life really was something 🙂

The second was a Tableau workshop organised by my colleague in Teaching and Learning at the University of Canberra, Emily Rutherford. Timothy Louie from Tableau facilitated the workshop.

The outcome of Emily’s energy in organising the workshop is that I have moved beyond my very limited understanding of Tableau Public. Timothy explored some of the functionality of Tableau in academic contexts.

Emily and Timothy have encouraged me to try out one of the sorties Edmund mentions to find my way “where even the sun cannot reach”. In doing so I an mindful of the remarkable work underway in sport. (I have been a long time admirer of Brian Prestige and his colleagues’ work at the Information Lab.)

I realise that I must explore the visualisation potential of R too as an open source platform for sharing insights.

This will give me an opportunity to lead and follow students as they engage with the visualisation of sport data. Thanks to Cathy O’Neil, I will be encouraging all students to reflect on how data are captured and presented. This will involve understanding the ways in which Tableau and R structure our gaze as viewers of visualisation.

Gaze

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Flickr has a large number of Creative Commons images of people viewing the Mona Lisa. I liked this one as it has no camera or phone in the frame. Five people are looking at the portrait.

In doing so they are extending their observational skills. In this case, it is stimulating their perceptions of one of the world’s most famous paintings.

It would be great if students using visualisation tools could attract others to attend in a similar way albeit with radically different content.

Photo Credits

Seeing the Mona Lisa (Tom Alder)

Best large on black (Will Wilson, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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