Bratton and Jeremijenko cover quite a numerous amount of topics in this conversation styled text. One of the topics focuses on criticizing some aspects of information visualization and how the so widespread beautiful ‘data smogs’ have not so good outcomes or consequences, as they have are entailing the “spectacularization of information “: information that, in fact, distances people from their abilities and responsibility to act upon their environments. Further on, they talk about how the data of these kind of projects is collected (in relation to her Jeremijenko‘s project How Stuff is Made), which I totally agree.
I have to say tough, that regardless of the relevance of the topics they discuss, I found some aspects of the text quite superficial and unjustified. When they for instance criticize the spectacularization of information I feel they just leave their opinion there without a sound series of examples to get a little bit deeper into the matter. I think “The Environmental Health Clinic” and other initiatives they describe are relevant enough by their own without the need to criticize other practices (specially when I didn’t find consistent examples in the text). Of course the ideas of co-production of knowledge, one-to-one talk, participation, or locality that they present, pose interesting directions to work on.
One of the main points they make, in my view, is the idea of locality as a necessary ingredient for people to get involved. I think its pretty clear that the “natural” selfishness of human beings make it quite difficult for us to act upon something, unless we see a clear connection to our daily lives. In relation to this idea (and also to complement the great image posted by JD), I would like to post Eliasson’s project Green River, which places the attention on the very matter that surrounds us, as a way to increase our awareness in our environment (in a visually striking manner).