Collaborative Cave Drawings

VA Shiva introduces Systems Visualization at MIT Hyperstudio Conference.

VA Shiva presents “Collaborative Cave Drawings of Social Interactions: Simple Visualizations of Complex Phenomena” at MIT Hyperstudio Conference

Integrative Systems of Communication

VA Shiva introduces Systems Visualization at MIT Hyperstudio Conference

Many phenomena of global concern, such as climate change, health and nutrition, and globalization, are complex systems with numerous interrelated components. In the modern world of rapid information delivery and sound bites, how can the public understand the complexity and interrelationships of these systems? This workshop explores an experimental collaborative effort to use multiple visualization methods to communicate such complexity. The workshop emerged out of an ongoing cooperative effort by two MIT faculty lecturers, VA Shiva Ayyadurai and Andrea Frank. Ayyadurai has an extensive background in systems theory and scientific visualization, and Frank is an accomplished artist whose work has focused on investigating the history, memory, and psychology of social issues. Both investigators, out of a desire to find novel and simple methods for communicating complex systems of social phenomena, began exploring various visual models.

The workshop began by analyzing a multidimensional visual representation of a specific phenomenon of modern existence. The methods of visual representation were an amalgam of systems modeling, psychological process drawings, and scientific visualization of complex multiparameter data. There are many challenges in visually representing such social phenomena. The presenters shared the challenges they encountered in representing one of the themes explored, which involved the overlap of capital flow and indoctrination relative to health care and media systems. Attendees were then given an opportunity to explore a similar social phenomenon and develop their own visual representations. An interactive session encouraged the attendees to share their challenges.