Calendar of Events

Spring 2016

Friday, April 22, 2016
Gloria Kim (C21 Provost Post-Doctoral Fellow)
Data Visualization image
The Raw and the Pre-Cooked: Processing Raw Data in Preemptive Data Visualization
3:30 pm Curtin 118

From the deep futures of climate change, to newly surfacing microbial threats, to the systems of global security: how do we make visible, graspable, and thus governable such emergent horizons of risk?

Data visualization has become a prevailing technique by which we attempt to render unknowable future risks into legibility. But what are the visual discourses that endow these speculative technologies with the status of evidence, knowledge, and truth? And how, through the mobilization of such discourses, do data visualizations of speculative futures relate to outcomes in the material world?

Gloria Kim’s talk examines data visualization technologies developed to predict and preempt possible future conduits of a global avian flu pandemic. Drawing insights from areas such as science and technology studies, visual culture, biospheric security, and digital media, she critiques one central premise—the presumption of “raw data”—that founds the making of data visualizations in this endeavor. In doing so, she uncovers how the myth of raw data is key to the making and remaking of a series of material injustices in global health governance.

Gloria Kim photo Gloria Chan-Sook Kim (PhD, Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester) was C21's Provost Post-Doctoral Fellow for 2014-15.

Her project while at C21—“Transmissions: Ambient Media and American Security in the Era of Emerging Infections”—honed in on how the invention of a new disease concept transformed both the visualization of disease and its forms of mediation.

Her project begins with a key transformation in visual representation and mediation that took place in 1989 when U.S. government scientists invented the concept of Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID). EID describes diseases hitherto unknown to humankind, or which have resurfaced after a period of eradication. And the EID concept fundamentally changed the practices of global public health: in addition to expanding the scale of biological governance (from state-bound to biospheric), a move from strategies of prevention (addressing present threats) to those of pre-emptive biopreparedness (acting on potential pandemics) came to dominate U.S. approaches to global health.

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