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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Shawn Steiner at 12:31PM

Blog posting written by Shawn Steiner, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts '13, FLEFF Intern, Elkridge, MD

Imagine that before you leave for work your roommate says that he/she is going to make soup for dinner. You get excited wondering what kind and mentally prepare yourself for the meal. But, when you arrive at home you find a series of bowls on the counter. One has broth, one has chicken, one has noodles, etc…

That’s not soup. That’s data.

Now, because you are starving you elect to just compile the ingredients yourself. Now you are looking at a nice, steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup. That’s information.

Evan Meaney and Amy Szczepanski with their project Null_Sets took on the idea of data versus information. What is what? And is it really?

So, if we look at this analogy of data and information and look at Null_Sets we can make some comparisons. 

The project takes the text as data and converts it into a jpeg image file. Simple enough concept. The text must be data and the image is the information.

Wait. The original text is a book. Isn’t that information? It takes words and creates meaning with them. It seems to be both.

Now, the jpeg image must still be information, right?

But what if you could re-process the image and convert it back into the original text document? Wouldn’t that make it data?

It seems that data and information are very difficult terms to use properly. It also seems very situational.

But, another question is what is the original data?

Is it the 26 letters that make up the alphabet? So wouldn’t everything written be a derivative of that data. So everything isn’t quite as original as we thought.

Is everything a copy? Is everything data? Is everything information? 

What do you think?

Stay tuned for Part 2, written by fellow blogger Erica Moriarty.

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