VAR SUPPLEMENTS: Jonathan Westin on Uncertainty in Historical Visualizations
Questions for classroom discussion:
1. When thinking of the past, for instance Medieval Times or Antiquity, what images form in your mind and how do you differ between the different time periods? Are there certain elements you “include” in your mental image that gives you cues?
2. How does the visualization work of SIF (Studio InkLink Firenze) compare to previous efforts to visualize ancient Rome and other past societies? What are the dominant trends in archeological visualization today?
3. The article describes how an illustration is created through a series of steps that bring shape and form to an initial idea. Is any one step more important than another, and who is the most influential actant in this chain of procedures?
4. The article concludes that it is better to speculate than to only reconstruct what is certain. What dangers lies in both of these approaches respectively, and what are the advantages?
5. How do you think the insights and concepts of Actor-Network Theory can benefit visual anthropologists in their work?
6. One of the most controversial elements of an ANT perspective is the endowing of objects and other nun-human elements with agency, that is, interpreting them as actants within a larger actor-network. What does such a move do to anthropological theory? How does it complicate or clarify the interpretative work of anthropologists?
7. Is it time for an ANT analysis of the field of anthropology itself? Have we escaped the interrogative lens of STS work for too long?