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The Digital Matters and Science Fiction
February 9 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Lisa Swanstrom – Associate Professor of English
The relationship between Science Fiction and digital culture is intimate—perhaps overly so, in that it is difficult not to think of computational technology as somehow in cahoots with its various guises in popular culture. While it’s sketchy to claim science fiction wields predictive force, it nevertheless does provide an excellent means by which to gauge popular sentiment about computational processes. In this presentation, I use selections from science fiction’s vast archive to do just this. Rather than focusing on computation tout court, however, I use sf to think through one of the most important subfields within Digital Humanities research: data visualization. By considering how sf imagines the “visual representation of information” and, vice versa, how data visualization approaches science fiction, I argue for a playful approach to data explication that moves beyond the usual maps, bars, charts, graphs, and trees.