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Editorial

Kévin Donnot
Élise Gay
Anthony Masure

Our second issue deals with the fundamentals of notion of indexation, sorting and representation of digital data. The ability to stock and translate information into discreet entities is a fundamental characteristic of the computer. The capacity to save mathematical operations to memory as well as compute them are consequently at the heart of the Turing machine, conceived and created during the Second World War. The computer as a principle upon which to base the organization of the world appears in the very long history of memory media (i.e. Michel Foucault’s hypomnemata): writings, maps, indexes, websites, journals, databases, online archives, blockchains, etc., all of which constitute so many attempts at inscribing the complexity of the real.

As opposed to print media, digital allows for the differentiated display of the same bit of information thanks to the dissociation between data and its format. This new paradigm of conception requires that graphic designers rethink their ways of working. It is no longer enough to merely conceive of forms for stable supports (with a format known in advance), but rather, above all, to manage the production process of the transformation of the visible (using a myriad of consultation formats). The interfaces, these modes of access to data, constitute so many layers of programming that enable them to render the noise of machines intelligible. In many cases, however, they cover one opacity with another. So what can be done to ensure that human beings will always be capable of finding their way through a world that they have, to a great degree, fashioned?

Translating more or less significant data into signifying elements (that is to say information) implies their selection and reduction in order to render them intelligible. This is why “Thinking, Classifying, Displaying” indicates less the need for an order of labor than the requirement of a necessary critical perspective regarding our technical environments. From the standpoint of graphic designers, these choices imply a capacity to translate the real into sensible signifiers, which can never be totally anticipated due to the margin of uncertainty intrinsic to digital media. Here, we propose to unravel this long chain of inscriptions, storage and programmed oversights.