Derrick de Kerckhove

Derrick de Kerckhove: Computer-Assisted Visualisation between Reality and Fiction.

Images of electrical lighting in the whole world are objective and yet also fictions because they depend upon correlating at least eight hours of satellite photography and are never all present simultaneously. Common time-based photography of accelerated events such as the growth of plants or filmic slow-motion of sport performances have accustomed us not to doubt the reality of their occurrence. A different but related way of representing events globally through precise statistical analyses and projections allow us to trust sites as Poodwaddle’s World Clock regarding the frequency ratios of various recurring rhythms such as births and deaths or rates of constructions of housing or fabrications of cars, armaments and beer bottles. Artists, such as Maurice Benayoun or Christophe Bruno have taken advantage of this new way of interpreting verifiable data to ground their representations of social and natural events to create arresting interactive pieces. I want to use theirs and other examples to explore new patterns of visualisation that seem to both underline the truth of the representation as well as distance us from their actuality.


Derrick de Kerckhove: He is Professor in the Department of French at the University of Toronto, Canada. He was the Director of the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology from 1983 until 2008.

In January 2007, he returned to Italy for the project and Fellowship “Rientro dei cervelli”, in the Faculty of Sociology at the University of Naples Federico II where he teaches “Sociologia della cultura digitale” and “Marketing e nuovi media”. He is research supervisor for the PhD Planetary Collegium M-node directed by Francesco Monico. For over ten years he worked with Marshall McLuhan as translator, assistant and co-author. His research focusses on artistic developments, which combine art, technology and emerging forms of media communication.

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