Johanna DruckerGraphesis: Visual Forms of Knowledge Production

Harvard University Press, 2014

by Carla Nappi on December 11, 2014

Johanna Drucker

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Johanna Drucker's marvelous new book gives us a language with which to talk about visual epistemology. Graphesis: Visual Forms of Knowledge Production (Harvard University Press, 2014) simultaneously introduces the nature and function of information graphics, awakens readers to the visual interfaces prevalent in our daily work, and considers how paying careful attention to visual interpretation can serve a broader humanistic agenda. Drucker urges us to think of graphic forms of knowledge not as mere presentation, but as interpretation, as "arguments made in graphical form." Here, images are not necessarily fixed displays of information: Drucker suggests a way to think about images as producers of knowledge. Once we understand and approach a graphic display as a generative technology, it opens up some fascinating ways of imagining the future of the book, of reading, and of composition. As a thoughtfully and beautifully produced volume, Graphesis also challenges our visual and material expectations for a book-as-object in its form as well as its argument. This will be a fascinating and compelling read for anyone working in/on/with visual forms of knowledge production in the humanities (digital and otherwise) or the history of the book. It is an excellent and productive book to think with, to create with, and to teach with.

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