The pigeon in the haystack

Dietmar Offenhuber
“The pigeon in the haystack – design before and after the fact”

We generally think about reasoning as a process of pattern detection and inference, and pattern recognition is among the key technologies for the emerging paradigm of data intense science. But patterns can be misleading. According to the philosopher Alexander Riegler, pattern recognition is the last resort: under normal conditions, humans construct information rather than process patterns. In my talk, I will critique the view that sees visualization first of all as an analytic tool for patterns discovery, and contrast it with a different perspective that focuses on the roles of visualization and digital interfaces in constituting and shaping the underlying urban data sets.

About the speaker: Dietmar Offenhuber is Assistant Professor at Northeastern University in the departments of Art + Design and Public Policy. He holds a PhD in Urban Planning from MIT, and degrees from the MIT Media Lab and UT Vienna. Dietmar investigated formal and informal waste systems and has published books on the subjects of Urban Data, Accountability Technologies and Urban Informatics.