Response 1/ Lu, Tai Hung

In the reading, Critical Visualization by Hall, Peter, it divide visualization into three views, technology, science, and art. On the technology level, it focus on finding the best solution for problems. On the science level, it is based on the human perception as principals to present information. On the art level, it can be served as a crucial balance to science and technology.

In the reading of Adversarial Design, It separate design into two views, science and liberal art. In the science view, it focus on using science approach to make precise and effective design. On the other hand, in the liberal art view, the design is based on humanities. “According to Buchanan, he is interested in casting design as a contemporary form of rhetoric, its concern being the communication of belief and the incitement to action through argument.”( Disalvo, 2015, P15) I think the idea by Buchanan is similar to Adversarial Design. The main concept of the adversarial design is Agonism, a condition of disagreement and confrontation. Also, by understanding the politics and political design, we can have a better understanding of adversarial design. According to the reading, design for politics is more like giving solutions to the problem while design for political is not just finding the solution but to reveal questions, prompt debate, and challenges conditions.

In the two readings, it reveals a debate of “what is design?” This is a question that every single designers or design major students will ask themselves in their mind and I think the answer will be all correct. I think the connection between these two readings is it emphasize that art plays an important role in design. And, regardless which views you think about design, it will lead us back to the original purpose of design, which I think is the main reason toreveal questions, prompt debate, and challenges conditions. According to the reading of Critical Visualization, “the data itself is not neutral; it is collected for a reason and processed and presented for specific purpose.”(Hall,2008, p130) Thus, we need to always question the design. This let me recall the example in the class, the subway map. We just want to travel from point A to point B. What is the meaning of subway to make a turn? And the other example, a world map that shows the level of population, carbon dioxide emission, military spending, and human poverty by expanding the territory on the map.

I find some interesting and famous examples on the Internet. “The Florence Nightingale‘s famous visualization from 1855, It shows the mortality rate of soldiers and the primary proportion of deaths to be from preventable diseases. It persuaded the British government to improve its health care conditions.” Another example is the hunger map. It visualizes the data worldwide of huger and try to draw viewers’ attention to care or participate in this issue. In my opinion, many visualization is medium to affect people’s thought and decision. It is not only to make a clear and beautiful design but also to inspire new ideas, prompt debate, or open a new perspective.



1.C. Disalvo. Adversarial Design. The MIT Press (2012), p: 1 – 26
2.H. Peter. Critical Visualization.