A daily existence within multiple and vast networks is now the norm. There continue to be, however, periodic moments of newness when these networks reveal ways of perceiving or knowing the world not previously considered. During a major event, for example, a social network like Twitter may produce a form of alternate map – a provisional reality of relational entities that co-exist with the other — geographical — reality. These are experiences that emerge from informal systems (or, rather, somewhat formal systems with informal participation.)
On the other extreme are highly controlled technologies developed with the specific purpose of recording the world a particular way. These are often produced for scientific or military or large commercial ventures. The term Big Science emerged in the 1970s to characterize these often billion-dollar-plus projects. With affordable technology (but also simply the transformed perceptual frameworks brought about by our everyday uses of these technologies) the prospect of devising (and, again, simply of conceiving) deliberate systems for large-scale recording becomes, for the first time, both realistic and potentially relevant for everyone. Citizen mapping. Small Science.
For the Macroscope inquiry students will be conceiving of and creating an informal (read: “inexpensive”) system for the capture of highly specific data at a relatively large and/or distributed scale. A “system” can be comprised of people or devices or…
Includes a visit to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to meet with Mars Rover drivers, data analysts, and data visualization scientists.