I'm not sure if Geert had read Manovich's article on the sublime and data. Brett's essay sent me to it because I wanted to clarify for myself what Manovich (and Brett) had in mind when they were talking about the sublime. Manivoch is contrasting Romantic aritsts, who aimed beyond the senses, aimed at the sublime, to data artists who seek to create beauty by making mapping data to a form that the senses can grasp. But he is concerned, like Geert I belive, that such art leaves out the human dimension, leaves out subjectivity. Manivoich concludes his essay with a personal plea which is very affecting and worth repeating:
"For me, the real challenge of data art is not about how to map some abstract and impersonal data into something meaningful and beautiful - economists, graphic designers, and scientists are already doing this quite well. The . . .more important challenge is how to represent the personal subjective experience of a person living in a data society.. . .How [can] new media. . . represent the ambiguity, the otherness, the multi-dimensionality of our experience. . ? In short, rather than trying hard to pursue the anti-sublime ideal, data visualization artists should also not forget that art has the unique license to portray human subjectivity."
Geert Dekkers wrote:
> To conclude somewhat hastily -- I do think data and information are
> important pieces of the puzzle, but I think that any good work of art
> recreates a complete and full world, a reflection of our world, and
> in doing so fundamentally grasps the interdependance between our
> bodies, our language and culture. This is at least what I am trying
> to do.