Monadic exploration is a new approach to interacting with relational information spaces that challenges the distinction between the whole and its parts. Building on the work of sociologists Gabriel Tarde and Bruno Latour we turn to the concept of the monad as a useful lens on online communities and collections that expands the possibility for creating meaning in their navigation. While existing interfaces tend to emphasize either the structure of the whole or details of a part, monadic exploration brings these opposing perspectives closer together in continuous movements between partially overlapping points of view. The resulting visualization reflects a given node’s relative position within a network using radial displacements and visual folding.
We engaged in an iterative design process together with the makers of Beautiful Trouble, a highly cross-referenced book on creative forms of activism.