Just in Time: defining historical chronographics by Stephen Boyd Davis, Emma Bevan and Aleksei Kudikov is historical in two respects, both concerned with visual representations of past time.
The paper’s first purpose is to enquire how visual representations of historical time can be used to bring out patterns in a museum collection. A case study is presented of the visualisation of data with sufficient subtlety to be useful to historians and curators. Such a visual analytics approach raises questions about the proper representation of time and of objects and events within it. It is argued that such chronographics can support both an externalised, objectivising point of view from ‘outside’ time and one which is immersive and gives a sense of the historic moment. These modes are set in their own historical context through original historical research, highlighting the shift to an Enlightenment view of time as a uniform container for events. This in turn prompts new ways of thinking about chronological visualisation, in particular the separation of the ‘ideal’ image of time from contingent, temporary rendered views.
A prototype of HiT can be seen here. Special features of the timeline include that it represents uncertainty – no date is marked as a point, as though it were of infinite precision, but as a line – and that multiple searches can be combined. The prototype uses a subset of the collection housed at MoDA, the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture. We are very grateful to Zoe Hendon, Senior Curator of the museum, and to System Simulation Limited for their help and support.
To see thumbnails of the items in the collection, choose Images On/Off at the top left of the display.
Use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to scroll through the timeline.