SFB 1187 ›Medien der Kooperation‹ an der Universität Siegen
Werkstatt Medienpraxistheorie – “Reappropriating Visual Network Analysis” – Lecture with Mathieu Jacomy (Aalborg University)
Tuesday, 12 July 2022, 6 - 7:30 pm

Lecture: “Reappropriating Visual Network Analysis”

If the noema of big data visualization is “there is an order to that chaos”, then the study of digital traces calls to unveil the hidden structures of digitized society. Visual network analysis seems to promise such powers: complexity unfolding under your eyes! This begs two different kinds of questions. How does it work? But also: is this what we want to do?
Visual network analysis is already reappropriated in various places, like the teaching class and newsroom. As techniques circulate across fields and cultures, network practices change and get shaped in new ways. It is worth discussing different sides to this circulation. Some regrettable, like reusing network maps as marketing assets without containing their narrative powers, and some admirable, like reinventing the methodological commitments of algorithmic techniques inherited from distant fields. We will deconstruct what we see when we look at networks by exposing the gist of visual network analysis and questioning the notion of “community structure”, too often taken for granted. And finally, we will discuss the purpose and design of the apparatus we use to inquire into the complexity of digital traces.


Mathieu Jacomy is post-doc at the TANT Lab in Copenhagen, and previously was research engineer at the Sciences Po médialab in Paris. Jacomy tweets at @jacomyma


Herrengarten 3, AH-A 217/18