For some reason I would like to consider the entire notion of my existence and those around me as more than a social body simply consisting of a collection of bodies and events which consist of a series of relays between different bodies. (Murphie 2013) Not only does the use of the word bodies spark a notion of morbidity but I would also like to think that my life is a little more meaningful and less mechanical. Yet when I think about the world in which we are increasingly entering into, one of keyboard communication and tiny visualisations of our current facial expression, the idea of the social body not being as human as I’d imagined doesn’t seem to far off.

With our increasing reliance on data to structure our lives and give us a sense of self, the public becomes a kind of shifting data in itself, representing an imagined community with nevertheless a real effect. One’s RSS feed says a lot more about them than would an old fashion shake of the hand. The metadata in which we choose to incorporate into our lives becomes the way in which we frame our world and structures the nature of the ‘relays’ between our bodies. We in ourselves are becoming less human and more bodies relying on technology to live.

However, data in its raw form is of no use to most of us who simply see the Internet through Google and peoples lives through Facebook timelines. No, despite our apparent technological literacy, we need something to decipher this metadata for us and it’s not until we see such information in visual form that we will understand its full meaning.

Visualisations are an aggregator of information that concerns the social body and therefore engages us in a much more complex world through much simpler means. (Murphie 2013) For example Climate Change is an issue of extreme social concern yet one which is difficult to demonstrate in an air-conditioned lecture theatre. Visualisations can make the invisible visible and in this case are crucial in influencing how the social body will behave and what they will become.(Murphie 2013)

Seems a lot nastier than a bunch of big numbers and scientific words:

But I’m probably only going to pay attention when cute animals get involved:


Murphie, A 2013,Real-time/modulated publication/publicslecture notes distributed in ARTS2090: Publics and Publishing at The University of New South Wales, accessed on May 13 2013, < >


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