One Sinister Hurricane: Simondon and Collaborative Visualization

Keith Woodward, JP Jones, Linda Vigdor, Sallie Marston, Harriet Hawkins, Dixon Deborah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article offers a theory and methodology for understanding and interpreting collaborations that involve visualization technologies. The collaboration discussed here is technically a geovisualization—an immersive, digital “fulldome” film of Hurricane Katrina developed by the Advanced Visualization Laboratory (AVL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, produced in collaboration with atmospheric scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado. The project, which brought together AVL's programmers, visualization experts, and artists with NCAR's scientists, required the integration of diverse disciplinary perspectives. In the language of such collaborations, the term renaissance team was coined to capture the collective expertise necessary to produce modern, high-end visualizations of large data sets. In this article, we deploy Simondon's concepts of technical objects and collective individuation to analyze the development of AVL's Katrina simulation. One extended sequence of team member collaboration suggests that technical objects also be treated as “collaborators,” for they have the capacity to transform such collectives through the unique problems they present.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-511
Number of pages16
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Apr 2015

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