I’ve just come across a very nice passage from Michael Tournier’s 1967 novel, Friday; or, The Other Island (a retelling of the Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe), which seems to capture perfectly the desire of big data projects and I thought worth sharing:
“I demand, I insist, that everything around me shall henceforth be measured, tested, certified, mathematical, and rational. One of my tasks must be to make a full survey of the island, its
distances and its contours, and incorporate all these details in an accurate surveyor’s map. I should like every plant to be labeled, every bird to be ringed, every animal to be branded. I
shall not be content until this opaque and impenetrable place, filled with secret ferments and malignant stirrings, has been transformed into a calculated design, visible and intelligible to
its very depths!”
I discovered it in Anne Galloway and Matthew Ward’s piece: Locative Media as Socialising and Spatialising Practices: Learning from Archaeology.