seeing_what

The relationship between design interventions and the environment in which they are performed more and more are seen as complex. When acting within complex systems two kind of awkwardness could emerge: the knowledge-gap, the erroneous representation of the reality, and the problem solving-gap, the distance between the problem to be faced and the tools provided to solve them.

The opening of enormous databases and the possibility offered by new tools to access the heterogeneous flows of data and information emerging from the Internet could be seen as an innovative mode also to observe and represent social complex systems. The cartography of controversies, the applied version of the Actor-Network Theory (ANT), is one of the examples of this new way of exploring and understanding these new information and knowledge domains. The cartography of controversies also aims at overcoming some of the limits of the traditional description of social issues by exploiting the potentialities of the information visualization and of the information design. In this framework visual models and diagrammatic devices are assumed as useful tools to describe the different position assumed by the actors of controversy.

Diagrams are here considered as operating devices able to describe and unveil the nested and latent connections of a system.
A real case has been choose to develop and test the capability of diagrammatic models to observe and describe controversies and to show the point of view of the actors involved in it: the remote control of dangerous materials transportation in road.
The research is strongly related to the development of the Turtle Project: a series of visual tools and diagrammatic devices able to explore controversies. It could be defined as an observation environment of the discursive knowledge flowing through the Internet, offering the possibility to make profit both from quantitative and qualitative research methods.