Glossary 3/20

Imagination: Nick Sousanis discusses imagination as a crucial to “unflattening” our perspectives. He claims, “[i]magination lets us exceed our inevitably limited point of view to find perspectives not in existence or dimensions not yet accessible” (Sousanis 88). When referring to the function of imagination, he continues, “[i]t is the imagination, Etienne Pelaprat and Michael Cole assert, that fills in the gaps and links fragments to create stable and single images that make it possible for us to think and to act” (Sousanis 90). Hence, imagination allows us to understand life from the perspectives of others.

Understanding: Regarding understanding, Sousanis explores it as the creation of meaning through the process of making connections between ideas, concepts, items, etc. Sousanis states, “[u]nderstanding, like seeing, is grasping this always in relation to that. Even as we hold and stitch distinct viewpoints together, the space between them doesn’t collapse—it’s not a process of closing, of being finished. Rather, each new engagement generates another vantage point from which to continue the process again” (150). This notion further expands and evolves the role of understanding. [MAP]

Glossary Entries – 2/13

Information graphics: Most broadly, Drucker defines information graphics as “visualizations based on abstractions of statistical data” because, despite the final graphic form, information graphics originate from quantitative data sets (7). She further argues that these graphics are always interpretative since there is no innate correlation between visual form and graphic expression (7). [NW]
Graphical user interface (GUI): Drucker defines a graphical user interface as “the dominant feature of screens in all shapes and sizes” (8). These interfaces allow us to interact with information graphics of all sorts. Interface design shapes the way we construct knowledge, as well as our everyday behavior. [NW]

Glossary 2/6

Affordances: Wysocki actually makes a point of not defining affordances so statically (as she (foot)notes), but writes “ Such images can appear to be moments pulled out of sequential time because we can apparently see what is in the image all at once, given the angles of vision afforded by our human eyes and, importantly, given the particularly designed compositions of many such objects” (48). This gets at the capacity of this visual mode, but keeps the term located within the communication context instead of within the mode as a whole. Wysocki acknowledges that affordances have been discussed as fixed properties, but also that this is a slippery term. She writes, “I have tried with purpose in this paper to use terms like ‘constraint’ and even ‘convention’ that (I hope) are less fixed in our language practices, to hold onto the messiness of how we live with things that both resist and work with us and to hold on…” (60). [TP]

Social Practices/Contexts: Wysocki discusses how the constraints or affordances of visual compositions are located within their social or historical contexts. “[T]o ask after the constraints as we teach or compose can help us understand how material choices in producing communications articulate to social practices we may not otherwise wish to reproduce” (56). She connects the choices made within teaching and composing contexts to these broader social environments that are then reproduced within those contexts. [TP]