My short article Visualizing Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics (open access PDF) was just published in the lasted issue of ACM Interactions.
Data is important to make environmental problems visible. This paper analyzes the role of photography and public exhibitions for addressing industrial disaster caused by the Taiwanese company Formosa Plastics. We argue that digital archives can be used to share visual material more effectively across highly polluted communities.
Formosa Plastics has a damning record of explosions, pollution, and intimidation of its critics, with plans to expand in East Asia and the United States. Studying how activists use creative visualizations helps understand the dynamics of local civic data capacity and what kind of infrastructure is needed moving forward.
The article builds on my ethnographic research and archival work in Taiwan. I hope it can make Formosa’s global impact visible and get researchers interested in the role of civic environmental data.