Yanni Alexander Loukissas, Georgia Tech;
Krystelle Denis, Harvard University

Denver 2015: STS Infrastructures

In collections of scientific and cultural history that are too big to see, data act as virtual handles for rare and delicate artifacts from the past. At the Arnold Arboretum, a long-lived collection of trees, vines and shrubs managed by Harvard University, landscapes from around the world and across time are stitched together with data. These data, however, are worthy subjects of study themselves. Created in varied social and technological eras, they register the organizational structures and values of their time. Through a combination of data visualization and interviews with Arboretum staff, this interactive project illuminates what data can teach us about their own social and material histories, as well as how to study collections digitally.