Within the last weeks different approaches to DH have been presented to us, many of them based in outstanding research projects of respected academy professors and investigators. Many of us (I think) are developing ideas for our final project, with a certain doubt if we will manage to mature our projects through this DH research tools, we might be asking if they are suited for our own research or event if we could truly understand how to use a data visualization program or hack a kinect device without even knowing how to code.
William Turkel has made a good point in approaching technologies through direct acts, “Just because the separation between thinking and making is longstanding and well-entrenched doesn’t make it a good idea. At various times in the past, humanists have been deeply involved in making stuff: Archimedes, the Banu Musa brothers, da Vinci, Vaucanson, the Lunar Men, Bauhaus, W. Grey Walter, Gordon Mumma. The list could easily be multiplied into every time and place, but the main point is that getting your hands dirty might be worthwhile, even if you’re not da Vinci.”1 from a personal point of view, I tend to see that the first step to clarify how or when certain DH method could be used we must “play” with it.
Physical computing provides a tangible example of getting right into the work, like making a laptop produce a sound based in the variation of human heath with the help of a thermal sensor plugged into a PC/MAC (Example from the workshop). Someone could think that this exercise lacks of concept, but in fact it can be the first step to approaching to a particular DH research technic or tool.