Professor Steve Woolgar introduces and discusses the main themes of the Visualisation in the Age of Computerisation conference, by reflecting on recent changes in visualisation media and considering some of the implications of these changes for research.
This paper introduces and discusses the main themes of the conference "Visualisation in the Age of Computerisation" (Said Business School, 25 March 2011). It reflects on changes in visualisation media in recent years and considers some of the implications of these changes for research. In particular, the paper discusses the 'lure of the visual' - our tendency to experience visual representation as more 'vivid', 'real', 'striking' than other media - and the consequences for our research. In what ways and to what extent can we resist being drawn in by the visual? How can we maintain analytic distance on the visual? What after all is 'cool' about visualisation?