Category Archives: Regulation and Control

You Gotta Have Sole

i am conor oleary

Image result for flyprint
(via TechCrunch)

In the last blog post I tried to give a sort of overview of the concept and the existing ideas around 3D-printing footwear.  So in this post I want to address how I’m travelling with the project, and do a bit of a deeper dive into the research and literature surrounding the topic.

How is the project coming along?

When I first laid out my ideas for the project I think I too heavily leaned on the process of me attempting to make a 3D-printed shoe sole, while neglecting the more interesting things like the existing technology and its implications for the future of footwear.

For me, learning how this technology can be made viable for wider implementation is the most interesting part.  I love all aspects of footwear, having worked in the industry at a retail and now corporate level.  So I can definitely appreciate the…

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Personal Branding Designs

As per usual with this subject, I’ve swapped topics from my original Utopia vs Dystopia in video games.

A lot of people have been giving presentations on branding, and why your online persona is so important, and my mind immediately jumped to ‘Then why does no one want to pay for personal branding if it’s so important.’

Let me give you a bit of background into what exactly I’m talking about. Graphic Design is this sort of non-job in the online market, despite design and aesthetic being such a prominent feature of marketing and companies in the present day. And yet, if you’re not a designer you’re probably not aware of how much of a struggle simply getting paid for the work you do is. Half the people asking for work to be done aren’t expecting to have to pay for this work, because there’s this really old and outdated stigma that “it’s just design”, which is infuriating in it’s own right.

Thanks to this desire for absolutely no one to pay for work they want done online, there’s been a rise in the commonality of the ‘design competition’ form of website. A brief summary of these websites are a marketplace, in which someone asks for a design, and multiple designers throw designs at them in the chance that they might get chosen and paid for their work, but in the process usually lose most of their rights to their work even if their design is not the ‘winner’ that the client picks and pays for.

It’s this sort of unhealthy competition that becomes detrimental to the design industry, because we start to sell ourselves short in the hope of receiving any sort of a paycheck. Websites like fiverr.com have people advertising their services for logo design, within 24 hours, for as little as $7. That’s a wage of less than 50c an hour.

Examples of competitive marketplace websites:

https://www.fiverr.com/

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 10.55.58 am

https://99designs.com.au/how-it-works (pictured above)

https://www.designcrowd.com.au/

 

The issue is that for a entrepreneur designer just starting out, with minimal contacts, your job pool is so minute that this sort of thing may be the most pay you can actually find. Similarly, the only way I built my existing contact list is by offering some smaller services for free at first, and through other friends who have existing contacts with e-sports and journalism businesses themselves, and pass along work if they see any. A good network is essential, if you don’t know people as a freelancer, it’s likely you won’t find work.

When looking for jobs outside of the online marketplace as a designer, however, you need to be able to present yourself immediately as a professional. What’s the easiest way to do that? With a personal brand of your own, in the hopes that they will see it, like it, and think ‘They could do something that looks this good for me.’ Personal branding is what you want a client or prospective employer to see before they even get to your CV/Resume. In some ways, it’s the first impression that determines how they view your application.

So while I want to focus on these issues, and why and how they’re a problem to designers, I also want to help myself for the future, so for my final project I’m going to give myself a personal brand. Unlike a few other people however, I’m focusing on the design aspect, not so much an online persona, but an actual physical personal brand that I can use for the future, while also giving those unfamiliar with the design industry an idea of what the field is like.

The final submission will either come in the form of a research report, with visual evidence, or some sort of a digital artefact, although I’d love to hear some feedback, suggestions or questions about this subject, even anything you think I should consider while doing this!

The politics and ideologies of data visualisation: A sociological perspective

Cybercultural Research Project: Second Progress Report

Since my first progress account I have renamed my topic, The politics and ideologies of data visualisation: A sociological perspective. The following is an updated outline that will guide the production of a research report or digital artefact.

Introductory Remarks

I will employ data visualisation to mean ‘the visual representation of statistical and other types of numeric and non‑numeric data through the use of static or interactive pictures and graphics.’  For now, I will define cyberculture simply and according to Mirriam Webster. I will also distinguish data from information in order to lay groundwork for the introduction of emergent critical perspectives associated with the politics and ideologies of data visualisation (abbrev. dataviz). For example, the ideological work that data visualisations do introduces dataviz conventions as functioning to produce a sense of ‘objectivity, transparency and facticity.’  In reality, graphics may be value-laden, ambiguous and fictitious (See also: Seeing Data 2016).  The introductory paragraphs will also note broad relevance of the topic, defining the concepts of information saturation (or overload), ‘data explosion’ and data science.

A sociologist in training, I will overview abstracts and biographies of a recent sociological conference to underscore the progress of Sociology in recent years, as these have been significant guides in my research. I will cite Healy and Moody’s view of Sociology as lagging in the use of visual tools.  This research will note the historical association of social work with the development and implementation of national policy circa the welfare state in 1946 to present. The Australian Commonwealth has exercised control over the direction of national social policy since the founding of the Commonwealth Research Bureau in 1944 (Morning Bulletin 1947). The privatization of social services will be raised as a related issue of concern in neoliberal contexts like Australia.

The four arguments introduced in my first progress report will be summarized for my audience and continue to guide topic development.

Research Body

Accordingly, I will exemplify how both past inventions and futuristic thinking have shaped the development of data visualisation technologies and practices. Examples of what science fiction has technologically foreseen will be provided in reference to a presentation by Jeffrey Heer titled A Brief History of Data Visualization.  This source will be coupled with a Milestones Tour to provide an overview of current DV trends and research areas. Augmented reality (AR) will be exemplified, envisioned in 1968 and famously employed in AR animation by Hans Rosling in recent years.

Of what was been culturally foreseen and is of relevance to the topic, I will cite Huff in his ‘prophetic’ reference to GH Wells in How to Lie with Statistics‘Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write.’ I will also quote Aldous Huxley’s utopiandystopian Brave New Word (1932), in which ‘liberties and individuality’ have been lost ‘in the name of universal stability’ (Shmoop 2016).  This will be an allusion to the implication of social work with national population and fiscal policy targeting ‘illegitimate‘ children during 20th century Australia.

In the second section of the report’s body I will exemplify how governments and bureaucracies have significant authority in the relationship between the user and the computer, aiming questions of cyberculture at the legitimacy of related structures of command.  The following related research into dataviz forms an amended outline of sources extending on my first progress report and is a work in progress:

A glossary of terms will accompany an introduction to an Australian case study detailed in my first progress report. Entries will underscore the prodigious influence of digitally enabled communication, networked computation and media technologies in proliferating issues of related concern, including population trends and curvessocial entropy (see also: Galtung in 1967), exponential growth and singularity.

This case study will critique a dominant discourse and related DV by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, positing national social policy in contemporary cyberspace arenas.  An alternative DV will provide a statistical estimate of an historically marginalised group. Statistical relativity will be discussed and feature David McCandless’ take on the topic.  This work will be emancipatory and state author biases.

Conclusion

The conclusion will summarise identified limits and affordances of our technology infused realities, including: data inadequacies, the need for increased scepticism of data and new hypotheses.

Politics and Ideologies of Data Visualisation

Introduction

The following progress report on my research into the politics and ideologies of data visualisation, begins with a brief overview of my academic, scholarly and industry-relevant research and includes concise summaries of arguments to be shared in related DICG335 projects.


I am a Bachelor of Arts undergraduate student, majoring in sociology and minoring in design.  Questions of politics and ideology, broad public policy positions and related agendas overlap and concern the agendas of social policy analysts.

My undergraduate training brings the academically relevant study of neoliberalism, population geography and statistics to bear on the progress of my current project.  Relevantly, since 2011 I have conducted independent research into the politics and ideology of data visualisation in examining the social issue known as forced adoption.  I have also undertaken independent historical research into 20th century Australian state welfare policies and practices. This background knowledge informs my current research and provides the interim results of an ongoing case study.  Significantly, I have also sourced the collaborative subject blog, Cybercultures, where  Dr. Christopher Moore recently introduced me to Accelerationism, theories of systems decay, entropy and more.

Resources that have guided the development of my topic thus far are hyperlinked in the following draft outline of my research report. Each of four headings below open with a related concise summary of related arguments to be shared in Assessments 2 & 3.  These summaries have been informed by DIGC335 course material suggests and are paraphrased as block quotes below. The following research has relevance not only to the industries of social work and child welfare but education and software development.

Data visualisation, history and cyberculture

I will argue that data visualisation technology looks to the past as much as it does to the future in thinking about cyberculture and the types of technological, corporate, political, social, and legal changes that have been represented in popular culture.

Politics and ideologies of data visualisation 

I will argue that governments and bureaucracies have significant authority in the relationship between the user and the computer, aiming questions of cyberculture at the legitimacy of related structures of command and control.

Case study: Towards a statistical and contextual analysis of forced adoption (unpublished and ongoing)

This emancipatory research was undertaken to examine the statistical grounds for viewing ‘forced adoption’ as a ‘product of the times‘ (see mores of society, predicated by legislation prohibiting their taboos).

It will be employed in the current research to exemplify how the politics and ideologies of data visualisation speak to the limits and affordances of our technology infused realities.

  • Significant findings:
    • Illegitimate children are a known targeted group (para 2:14, p.34, Senate Report).
    • Statistical analysis reveals trends at odds with what social scientists regarded as indicative of social mores in 1976 (see Kraus).
    • Forced adoptions peaked between 1953-4, contrary to hegemonic discourse.
    • Historical practices and policies consistently correlated with exponential trends in annual proportions of adoptions to ex-nuptial births.
    • Evidence of a  crisis between 1965-72 and an exponential increase in welfare payments to unmarried women aged 17 and over 1971-72.
    • Underpinning ideologies, such as  euthenics and eugenics (White Australia Policy), suggested systematisation or automation of social and political policies of illegitimate child removal.
    • National and state exponential decline in adoptions circa 1971-2 may be due to social entropy.

Imaginaries and Futures

Scholarly research will be employed to argue that the politics and ideologies of data visualisation speak to a broad range of issues and concerns which have arisen as a result of the proliferation of digitally-enabled communication, networked computation and media technologies and practices.

Header image:

Infinite Unknown, 2017, retrieved March 16, <http://www.infiniteunknown.net/tag/history/&gt;