DEFINING INFORMATION THROUGH
INTERPRETATION OF MY ISQUARE
As I translated the images that conjured in my mind for “information” onto my iSquare, I suddenly realised how broad and all-encompassing “information” can be. Moreover, how closely I associate information with my conceptions of technology and empirical facts. From the order of image-construction, I observed how I prioritize accessing information through the internet and wireless-technology as to paper sources, even if it included multimedia content, as a secondary method. The vision of the global connect was instantaneous, suggesting that I see information as weighted force of connection. Following that was the addition of a newspaper, consisting of text, images, and animated/moving images, revealing my emphasis on seeing news as information whereas the construction of the book near the bottom seemed less prioritised with less clarity in its purpose.
On the periphery of the central focal area, a number of symbols also suggest additional ways I attempted to define information. There are two profiles with a WiFi icon linking the two heads across the globe. The wide angle of the arcs references a rainbow, suggesting an upbeat attitude towards information. The bottom is stacked hierarchically with symbols, comprising a binary code, a cloud symbol, a information logo (often seen on maps), and a row of biological features symbolising how humans identify sensory information. This suggests while I recognise information can appear in digital and physical forms, the basic process to intake information is dependent on our biological abilities and limitations. The text on the back of my iSquare is very limited with only individual words to help clarify some of my drawn icons; thus, less significant in this case. From a self-conducted session of the iSquare protocol, I unveiled my perception of both a hierarchy of physical forms and the subsequent significances and meanings of “information.”
The title is really misleading, maybe I shouldn’t be using possessive pronouns because who can really own information? Can information really be mine? Or is it a global, yet invisible collection of things we’ve learned that we simply access without ownership? This collection of things is ever-growing and ever-changing, but if it isn’t mine, how can I possibly know what it is? I think I might be getting meta but in all honesty, the task of trying to define information only succeeds in limiting the field and its encompassing value! Perhaps this is why the research of iSquares was developed- it is difficult albeit, not impossible, to describe information in words, but would an artistic medium open up a new meaning behind information? Would a visual conveyance be easier to grasp?
However, when placed in the shoes of having to visually represent information and generate my own iSquare, I was at a loss of … perception. My mind was a blank slate. But slowly, ideas began to form and I realized, that at that particular instant, I was using information to decide on what to draw. In a broader sense, I began to view information as a tool that helps us to make decisions. Information is almost always generated with a purpose. This purpose is what defines information, as information is essentially formless or meaningless unless and until it is acted upon. Thus, I saw the value of information through its decision-defining abilities.
Another quality I found about information is its relation to nature. This implies physical nature, human nature, or even natural phenomenon. Information stems from something natural, an occurrence in the natural world, and hence, when drawing my iSquare, I decided to draw a fork in a naturistic trail. This symbolizes the concepts of decision-making, as well as the notion that information is rooted from nature. With these initial perspectives of information, I look forward to delving into iSquare research and beginning a self-reflective journey as to what information is to me, as well as what information means to world.
INFORMATION AND SYDNEY
The iSquare Research Project’s asks participants a simple question – “what is information?”. In the week I have been a junior fellow on the team, I have come to understand that the deceptive simplicity of the question hides an incredibly complex web of different answers.
I was first drawn to the project by the sense of provocative confusion that I felt when I read through the history of the project. As someone who enjoys a challenge, I found myself motivated to take part because of the project’s open-ended nature – it is dynamic and relies on interpretation in a way that linear and causally-oriented research projects are not. I was, and continue to be, completely fascinated by the seemingly endless different understandings of the word ‘information’, a concept that we use constantly without a definitive definition.
On our first day of the program, each of the junior fellows were given our own iSquare in which to answer the question “what is information?”. My drawing ended up being quite indicative of how I tend to function cognitively, and I had no awareness of it. The word ‘information’ immediately made me think of the word in connection with people, specifically in how we parse out understandings of our physical and mental environments by gaining knowledge. Therefore, I decided to draw the outline of a human head, with a crudely-drawn brain inside of it. Outside of the head, I drew a dark cloud. On the brain I wrote “things I know”, referring to the brain as the place in which people store information. On the cloud I wrote “things I don’t know … but could”, referencing knowledge that exists outside of an individual. The latter part of this sentence is intended to illustrate information as something that can exist both externally and internally of people, but that it is able to move freely between these two states. Overall, I found that I depicted ‘information’ as intrinsic to cognition and something that can be gained and lost.