School of Art, Media, and Technology

MS Data Visualization Lecture | Dietmar Offenhuber | 11/3

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Dietmar Offenhuber: Sticky Data and Superstitious Patterns: Visualization beyond Cognitivism

University Center, Room UL105, 63 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 @ 6pm


MS Data Visualization presents a lecture by Dietmar Offenhuber – Sticky Data and Superstitious Patterns: Visualization beyond Cognitivism.

Visualization is often exclusively treated as an affair between the eye and the mind, based on the idea that perceiving and thinking are forms of computation.

But visual languages play a much larger role in mediating our interactions, facilitating, and constraining our awareness of the systems we are embedded in. Dietmar Offenhuber’s work deals with the roles of visual representations for understanding and governing urban infrastructures. Using examples from remote sensing, waste systems, street lighting and others, I will discuss critical issues of working with data in the context of socio-technical systems.


Dietmar Offenhuber is Assistant Professor at Northeastern University in the departments of Art + Design and Public Policy, where he heads the Information Design and Visualization graduate program. He holds a PhD in Urban Planning from MIT, a MS in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Lab, and a Dipl. Ing. in Architecture from the Technical University Vienna. Dietmar was Key Researcher at the Austrian Ludwig Boltzmann Institute and the Ars Electronica Futurelab and professor in the Interface Culture program of the Art University Linz, Austria.

His research field could be described as Accountability Design – focusing on the relationship between visual representations and urban governance. Dietmar led a number of research projects investigating formal and informal waste systems and has published books on the subjects of Urban Data, Accountability Technologies and Urban Informatics. His PhD dissertation received the Outstanding Dissertation Award 2014 from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, his research received the Best Paper Award 2012 from the Journal of the American Planning Association.

In his artistic practice, Dietmar frequently collaborates with the sound artist Markus Decker and composers Sam Auinger and Hannes Strobl under the name “stadtmusik”. His artistic work has been exhibited internationally in venues including the Centre Pompidou, Sundance and the Hong Kong International Film Festival, ZKM Karlsruhe, Secession Vienna, the Seoul International Media Art Biennale. His awards include the first prize in the NSF Visualization Challenge, the Jury Award at the Melbourne International Animation Festival, the Art Directors Club Silver Award, a Special Mention at the 12th International Media Art Biennale, and Honorary Mentions from File Festival, Ars Electronica and Transmediale, Berlin.

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