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Graphesis

Graphesis

Visual Forms of Knowledge Production

Johanna Drucker

ISBN 9780674724938

Publication date: 07/07/2014

In our current screen-saturated culture, we take in more information through visual means than at any point in history. The computers and smart phones that constantly flood us with images do more than simply convey information. They structure our relationship to information through graphical formats. Learning to interpret how visual forms not only present but produce knowledge, says Johanna Drucker, has become an essential contemporary skill.

Graphesis provides a descriptive critical language for the analysis of graphical knowledge. In an interdisciplinary study fusing digital humanities with media studies and graphic design history, Drucker outlines the principles by which visual formats organize meaningful content. Among the most significant of these formats is the graphical user interface (GUI)—the dominant feature of the screens of nearly all consumer electronic devices. Because so much of our personal and professional lives is mediated through visual interfaces, it is important to start thinking critically about how they shape knowledge, our behavior, and even our identity.

Information graphics bear tell-tale signs of the disciplines in which they originated: statistics, business, and the empirical sciences. Drucker makes the case for studying visuality from a humanistic perspective, exploring how graphic languages can serve fields where qualitative judgments take priority over quantitative statements of fact. Graphesis offers a new epistemology of the ways we process information, embracing the full potential of visual forms and formats of knowledge production.

Praise

  • The pages of Graphesis teem with color reproductions of 5,000 years’ worth of various modes of visually rendered knowledge—showing how they have emerged and developed over time, growing familiar but also defining or reinforcing ways to apprehend information… I suspect Graphesis may prove to be an important book.

    —Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed

Author

  • Johanna Drucker is Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Book Details

  • 216 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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