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Playful Visualizations at WorkWorking Visualizations at Play

Page history last edited by Meaghan Skahan 8 years, 4 months ago

Ludic Analytics:

Playful Visualizations at Work/Working Visualizations at Play

Team Members: Claire Ihlendorf, Elizabeth Shayne, and Meaghan Skahan


Our Project Blog


"Ludic Analytics: Playful Visualizations at Work/Working Visualizations at Play" challenges the boundaries between the ludic and the useful in visualizations of various literary works.  Each of our group members is interested in the use of visualizations to explore a text; however, we are at different stages of our studies and have different visions of how we would like to use (if at all) these visualizations in our research and future teaching experiences.  The “play” aspect is what draws us to some of these text analysis tools, but can they be hermeneutic aids as well?  What separates an interpretive representation from a visualization used for interpretation? Where is the boundary between art and analysis, and can we challenge this boundary by creating new types of visualizations? Are our visualizations important in terms of how they allow their creators to more closely approach the texts, or can we create visuals that engage with an audience as well? What type of audience is best served by what type of visualization?

In our attempt to address these questions, we explored several different kinds of visualizations that provided us with the opportunity to take our respective texts and approach them in a new way. Meaghan created an Excel deformance of her text, as well as a Pixelmator collage, both of which examine questions of organization within David Foster Wallace’s novel The Pale King, as well as the critical processes involved in reading, analyzing, and creating art out of a “found” text. Liz looked at different methods for visualizing character and character interactions in George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda, including a social network graph that maps the conversational structure of the novel, an illustration of a character and her emotions in Photoshop, and some experimental graphs that use text analysis tools to display differences in word usages between the novel’s two main characters. Claire has built on her previous deformances of the novel, La tumba, by José Agustín, to further examine new perspectives in the novel.  She has taken particular interest in visualizations that express the relationships between the characters, dialog graphing, and a mapping of the locations in the novel, and the movement between them. 

In order to facilitate collaboration as well as disseminate our thoughts and investigations to a wider audience, we created the blog Ludic Analytics. The blog has served us throughout as both a platform for discussion and a home for our research. It is itself a ludic approach towards scholarship and one that perfectly embodies our own playfully serious investigations of how we can look anew at literature. Below are links to the descriptions of our individual projects:


Meaghan's Project Details

Claire's Project Details

Liz's Project Details


Bibliographical Sources Relevant to our Research:

Meaghan's Bibliography

Claire's Bibliography

Liz's Bibliography

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