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Beautiful Data


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Prologue. Speculating on Sense 1
Introduction. Dreams for Our Perceptual Present 9
1. Archiving. Temporality, Storage, and Interactivity in Cybernetics 39
2. Visualizing. Design, Communicative Objectivity, and the Interface 79
3. Rationalizing. Cognition, Time, and Logic in the Social and Behavioral Sciences 145
4. Governing. Designing Information and Reconfiguring Population circa 1959 199
Conclusion 239
Epilogue 251
Notes 271
Bibliography 307
Index 327

About the Author

Orit Halpern is Assistant Professor of History at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College.


"Beautiful Data is a wonderful book, deeply engaging and full of compelling insights. Reading across fields, disciplines, borders, and issues, Orit Halpern chronicles the emergence of a new way of thinking about the world for the digital moment. It is crucial reading for anyone interested in the new directions in which the humanities, the arts, and education are moving." "From the title to the last page, Orit Halpern experiments with a heady mix of memory, speculation, and the physical world. Beautiful Data starts with the early days of cybernetics, back when the nascent discipline was undisciplined, roaming through the world, as much about architecture and design as it was about mathematics, physics and the functioning of the brain and body. Halpern then pushes on that openness, exploring design in the work of Kepes and Corbusier, up on through the vast new Korean smart-city Songdo will yield, always returning to the control of data as it restructures our archival past and sketches our possible futures. An ambitious book, Beautiful Data is like a light pipe, pumping an ever-changing flow of new ideas about data and feedback in sudden and productive combination."

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