With each new revolution in information technology, new forms of representation have emerged to communicate our hard-won knowledge. Looking historically (and selectively) the advent of writing, cartography, the printing press, radio and television, and most recently, the rise of computationally based and digital technologies – each set of innovations heralded a major shift in the representations of information and knowledge available to us. That said, purely textual media have resided at the privileged center of the knowledge production and communication culture for many centuries.
Digital technologies now afford us an ever-broadening array of artifacts, both material and virtual, to express complex ideas for which traditional text is an insufficient medium. So much of our new knowledge defies linearity, logocentrism, or other constraints imposed by the structural nature of the monograph, the journal article, and the conference paper. Still, if as is often remarked, “publication is the coin of the realm”, we are presented with a grand opportunity to evolve our consideration of public-ation, or making things public, rather than continuing with a inertial set of print artifacts as the centralizing definition. This is not, of course, to say that we should dispense with text entirely. Rather, an active research program on emerging forms of knowledge expression seeks to place text in a context among a broad portfolio of expressive forms with equal legitimacy – code, platforms, applications, visualizations, sonifications, animations, mixed media, interactive and dynamic environments and interfaces, and many others yet to be discovered.
The Emerging Configurations of Knowledge track in the EVOKE Lab and Studio experiments with novel forms of technological expression and media. For example, our explorations into representing Derrida’s archival theory through a Facebook-inspired interface in the Feverbook Project, or turning EVOKE Lab activity and presence into musical compositions through the Music4Labs system are just the beginning. As alternative expressions of knowledge become more pervasive, achieve legitimacy within the evolving canon of scholarly work, and develop familiar classifications, systems of recognition and reward, and standardized formats, they move toward entry and assemblage into Knowledge Infrastructures.