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Objectivity Reborn


A while back I wrote about objectivity being officially dead. It raised some bleak questions about what happens when the authenticity of video and images can't be verified. 

This week I wanted to take an opposing view and look at what forms objectivity can take in an age of post truth. One interesting perspective comes from Professor Fred Ritchin, Dean of the International Centre of Photography. He argues it's no coincidence the digitisation of media coincided with the discovery of DNA code. As we discovered we are code based animals our perception of the world became rooted in code. 

Unlike analog signals, which are continuous, digital signals are divided up into discrete bits allowing us to construct, deconstruct and reconstruct our perspectives. Just think of how an event can be interpreted and re interpreted online to have any variety of meanings. Digital signals facilitate multiple ways of looking at things because code can be interpreted in an infinite number of ways. What this means for objectivity is, rather than being something passed down from on high as an analogous constant it is now something open to multiple interpretations. 

We are in an age where the myriad of perspectives offer a new kind of truth. Instead of being dictated, objectivity now requires triangulation. This gives all perspectivesvalidity because the more multiplicitous the viewpoints of an event, object or subject the more truthful it feels. With the explosion of recording devices, channels, feeds and platforms everyone can join the conversation and play a part in defining our reality.

You can listen to Fred Ritchin explaining this viewpoint in more detail to Benjamen Walker in his excellent podcast The Theory of Everything. These ideas have also inspired our latest product, The Content Cloud which is a method of providing multiple perspectives of something and then leveraging social channels to disseminate them. Click below to find out more.