Monstrous hybridity of social information technologies: Through the lens of photorealism and non-photorealism in archaeological visualization

The entanglement of social information technologies and their users unfolds as a problem if 'wrong' users enmesh with 'wrong' technologies. A long-standing debate on the merits of photorealism versus non-photorealism in archaeological visualization provides an educating example of such a 'problematic' or in Haraway's words, monstrous social information technology. This article shows how a closer look at the perceived monstrosities of social information technologies can help us understand how people conceptualize information, technologies, and other people and their role in information interactions as they unfold as part of information work. It shows how a lifelike photorealistic visualization together with its spectator forms a cyborg, which is a monstrous runaway 'object' when it drives with its own cultural force a programme that contradicts with other programmes considered important. The parallels in the critiques of archaeological visualizations and other informational cyborgs in information research -- including search engines, information systems and services -- suggest usefulness of a monstrous perspective in the analysis of social information technologies in general.
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The Information Society
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