Orkan Telhan

Andrew W. Mellon Penn Faculty Fellow in the Humanities

20142015 Forum on Color

Orkan Telhan

Assistant Professor of Fine Arts- Emerging Design Practices

Orkan Telhan is Assistant Professor of Fine Arts - Emerging Design Practices at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Design. He is an interdisciplinary artist, designer and researcher whose investigations focus on the design of interrogative objects, interfaces, and media, engaging with critical issues in social, cultural, and environmental responsibility. He holds a PhD in Design and Computation from MIT's Department of Architecture. He was part of the Sociable Media Group at the MIT Media Laboratory and the Mobile Experience Lab at the MIT Design Laboratory. He studied Media Arts at the State University of New York at Buffalo and theories of media and representation, visual studies and Graphic Design at Bilkent University, Ankara. Telhan's individual and collaborative work has been exhibited in venues including the 13th Istanbul Biennial, 1st Istanbul Design Biennial, Ars Electronica, ISEA, LABoral, Archilab, Architectural Association, the Architectural League of New York, MIT Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York.

Indexical Visualization: Meaning with Color

Most common visualization techniques are either symbolic; meaning they operate through an arbitrary visual language based on convention (e.g., maps, bar charts, glyphs, isotypes) or iconic; meaning the representation bears a direct visual resemblance with an object or a phenomenon (e.g., illustrations, assembly diagrams). Peirce’s semiology describes a third category of signs: the index. The index is a visible trace that is caused by the phenomenon in question. Indexical visualization deserves a vital place in today’s contemporary visualization, visual communication, and rhetoric. I will develop a series of showcases to discuss the properties of indexicality through the language and materiality of color. In addition, I will theorize indexical visualization as a framework that can inform the design process of today’s visual epistemologies that rely on the material organization of the sign and the conditions that encapsulate its meaning within physical and biochemical embodiment of designed matter.