Making THINGS Visible

Forms of expression and content regarding visualization are increasingly popular within today’s visual society. Meanings of visualization have the possibility to be manipulated; therefore, a visual can act as a semiotic, symbolising a meaning relative to a situation or experience, idea or concept. A single visual can be diversified across different experiences, environments and contexts. This allows us to ask what is the relation between information and forms of content, expression and the social?

Increased exposure develops likeliness towards a certain stimuli. This is a statement that has been analysed and critiqued in psychological research through a great number of psychologist, including Zajonc who in the 1960s found exposing familiar stimuli demonstrated positive ratings among subjects. The theory has been imbedded by many to increase exposure under the conscious awareness level allowing for greater likeliness towards a product, and yes it has been used in Australian media before. The video below shows how the ARIA Awards used subliminal advertising as a technique to “reinforce” the partner’s sponsorship.

Perception, whether subconscious or conscious, is fundamental to how we form relationships with everything around us. In my opinion the relationship between information, forms of content and expression and the social, is perception. But if the visualization can be manipulated to impact us without knowing, the social implications it will have on society will be vast and some might say we will become mind-controlled zombies where they “deceive us with an illusion”. Thus the simplest visualization can shift and shape us all through the way it is communicated and published, but if subliminal exposure can shift our favour of something, will this deprive our individuality and judgements or things.

“The dashed line in use” shows how the use of a dashed line is manipulated to an environment or experience. It is my opinion that our conscious awareness and perception identify and link this visualization to its category. The information of visualization can be interpreted individually, meaning each person can have his or her own idea on what visualization means. In another sense communities and the social obtain a simple and shared interpretation of what visualization signifies.

In the dashed line article its highlighted the dashed line is used for different things and it is our communal interpretation, influenced by external factors associating its meaning. This allows a visualization as such to become easily identifiable, making the invisible become visible. Thus they have become something of a rule to how we conform to social standards, contributing to the organised implementation of visuals.

But does this conformity take away from our individuality? Referring back to perception, I would say no, purely because a visualization does not have to be looked at from a single angle, there may be a dominant angle taken however the individual still has the ability to consciously interpret the visualization as what they want.

Visualisations occur everywhere. Everyday there are new Facebook pages hosting different memes. A meme to me is a picture with some large simple writing accompanied by a humorous picture that makes you laugh. This is my individual interpretation of a meme. This is also highlighted in the article “how does 200 calories look like?” The article shows different plates of food, each containing 200 calories. However, without this information portrayed aesthetically appealing, interpretation would be vastly different of what does 200 calories look like.   One can also and yet although I am a single individual I would still say this is the common perception of what a meme is.  Looking at it from another angle I could also say memes are pictures designed to humiliate and make fun of political and social occurrences or characters. This shows how we are able to look at things in different ways.

A high number of people learn through visualization, personally I think people today are increasingly becoming more visual in their design, through their interaction with their environments, e.g., Facebook and Instagram. With these increasing social networks occurring and their significance through out the world innovation such as the Google Glass may offer a new contribution to the visual world allowing things that were previously invisible visible. However, if everything we see is interpreted or perceived, in real time do we really see or is it our mind that constructs our reality?

[online] Arnell, Timo (2006) ‘the dashed line in use’,

[online] Debord, Guy (n.d.) Unity and Division Within Appearances’, The Society of the Spectacle [read parts 54-61]

[online]  information graphic.