Mat Van Den Art's Blog

5.1 Conclusion

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

Current economic system is not sustainable or even morally satisfying, multiplying the problems it set to eradicate. Our numbness and general failure to evaluate, interpret and communicate global challenges caused by constant hunger for growth putting too much strain on the most vulnerable, exploiting the poor and many for the benefit of few reminds me a little poem by pastor Martin Niemler reflecting on the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power.

“THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.


and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

In the truly global world of present time where fall of mortgage market in one country can trigger the world wide recession and where recklessness of few financial institutions can cause wars and social disasters in the countries half the world away we have to understand the significance of upper-mentioned poem. It is our moral duty to structure our lives around minimising the ecologic, social and environmental damage our human existence naturally entails.

One-to-many model of communication broadcasted by mass-media is no more suitable to help us comprehend our consumer behaviour and its global implications.

Increasing reliance of post-modern mass media upon an orientation toward its own economic growth through irresponsible use of advertising minimizes the space for consumer education or sperading of awareness. Advertising reliance on the interpretive ‘communicative competence’ of its addressees creates a medium of confusion rather than truth, resolution and education. Mass-media economically driven behaviour increases potential for cultural commodification while media avoid their own responsibility for broadcasted content.

Failure to effectively communicate consumerism in post-modernistic media culture urged me to analyse population perception of Internet and social media and it’s potential to create a more responsible platform to affect general attitude toward consumer decisions.

Internet as the medium of freedom and equality prevails where other modern media have failed, enabling its participants two-way communication instead of passive submission to the broadcasted information. Internet ensures by its nature, freedom of speech and expression giving individual people the power to reflect and react to the information broadcasted by this medium. In this many-to-many era, every desktop is now a printing press a broadcasting station, a community or a marketplace helping us to realize our true rights and duties as citizens of Earth.

Modern visualization technoloiges as described in Hans Rosling and Jonathan Harris’s case studies encourage us to realize the wide public can become visualcommunicators who have a great opportunity and responsibility to contribute to resolution of global era challenges.

Modern era enabled us to use latest technological advancements providing us with the capacity to communicate instantaneously across frontiers right across the world. Internet created truly equal environment where we can no more hide behind our past preconception giving us the capacity to organize, take collective action and together respond to global challenges which we can no more resolve on the national level.

It is necessary for general public to be given an opportunity to compare various socio-economic dimensions of our consumer actions helping us to generate better understanding of their implications, associated issues and the extent of their complexity.

Hans Rosling in his research identifies current communication problem as the problem between dataset and human mindset. Rosling’s GapMinder application tries to bridge the information vacuum between the graphical representation of certain datasets and the context within which the data is acquired and interpreted.

Resolution of problem between data and our understanding of it requires innovative approach to message communication in order to convince the public to change their lifestyle. Jonathan Harris’s digital communication projects demonstrate potential of digital media to acquire and interpret information in innovative ways changing the way our mindset is exposed to incoming information, ultimately changing our perception and contextual understanding of the dataset.

Graphical simplification of visualized dataset based on colour, size, placement and motion of the analysed context enables audience to create an emotional relationships to to subject of visualization. Visualized information ultimately presents a comprehensive contemporary portrait of the global contextual landscape in which it appears, exploring the ups and downs of information context in all its color, chaos, and candor. This approach to data visualization provides an opportunity to base our emphatic enquiry around the search of particular product we are considering to purchase. Wisdom of crowds notion which Harris’s work explores should be able to better aid our consumer behavior under condition, our mindset is presented easily understandable dataset. Such visualization method highlights the potential of digital networks to collect and interpret data in the order to form new awareness and shape consumer behavoiur.

Gordon Brown once said: I believe there is a moral sense and a global ethic that commands attention from people of every religion and every faith, and people of no faith. But I think what’s new is that we now have the capacity to communicate instantaneously across frontiers right across the world. We now have the capacity to find common ground with people we will never meet but who we will meet through the Internet and through all the modern means of communication, that we now have the capacity to organize and take collective action together to deal with the problem or an injustice that we want to deal with, and I believe that this makes this a unique age in human history. 51

It is us, who have to embrace technologies available to us and use them according to our best ability and belief. Internet and emerging social network technologies provide us with the most open and equal communication platform ever available to human kind. This platform can teach it can illuminate and yes it can even inspire but it can do so only to the extend the humans are determined to use it towards those ends, otherwise it is merely the wires and lights and the box.



51) Gordon Brown. Wiring a web for global good. [podcast on the Internet]. TED; 2009 Jul [cited 2010 July 25]. Available from:


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  1. Content « Mat Van Den Art's Blog said, on August 11, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    […] 5.1    Conclusion […]

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