By Jason Lipshin on December 5, 2012
As is often the case with DH conferences, this year’s Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science was something of a grab bag. Featuring a hodge podge of panels on everything from network analysis and data visualization, to locative media and alternate reality games, the conference certainly lived up to the ethos of inclusiveness often characterized as DH’s “big tent.” And yet, despite the diversity of research questions being addressed, I also think that the conference had a great sense of coherence, with a lot of scholars operating in the tradition of humanities computing. Coming out of disciplines such as classics, English, and history, many of the scholars at DHCS were interested in mining large corpuses of data, visualizing such data, and analyzing the results to ask new kinds of research questions.
Although I found many of the projects interesting, two presentations stood out as particularly relevant to the kind of work being done at Hyperstudio. On the first morning of the conference, Diane Cline from the University of Cincinnati presented a fascinating project working firmly within the humanities computing vein. Drawing on her dual background as a classicist and an intelligence analyst for the NSA, she attempted to apply the insights of network analysis and graph theory to study what she called “the social network of Alexander the Great.” Using the NodeXL program created by Ben Schneiderman (of “Direct Manipulation” fame) from the University of Maryland, Cline color-coded each edge within her network to indicate the type of relationship, whether it be family, officer, courtier, enemy, ally, or peer. Affording a kind of macro scale view which is alien to the classicist’s typical tool set, Cline argued that she was able to see “the bridges, brokers, and hubs” which were central to Alexander’s relationships, contributing a new understanding of her topic that would have been unavailable to her without the tool.
This emphasis on network analysis was also echoed in Hoyt Long’s fascinating presentation on modern Japanese poetry. While many DH projects have thought about citation as a way to quantitatively measure networks of influence, Long’s presentation instead focused on less explicit metrics of influence like poetic style and content. Although these elements are less quantifiable, and thus must be coded by an expert researcher rather than automated by a machine, visualizing these influences helped Long to arrive at new insights about the relationships between different schools of aesthetic thought within Japan, as well as to discern which nodes and clusters were most central. As was the case with so many of the panel discussions that day, he ended his presentation with an advocation for visualization tools as part of the humanistic scholarly process, rather than as a means to simply generate “evidence” as part of a research product.
Overall, I believe DHCS was a successful conference, in that it was able to balance the impulse towards creative (and often, chaotic) interdisciplinary collaboration with a sense of common goals and directions for the future of this particular niche within the digital humanities. Importantly, it also proved to be a great space for meeting and exchanging ideas with researchers who are working on similar issues – I, for one, met many faculty and graduate students located on the east coast, and even some in the greater Boston area, who I believe have many overlaps with Hyperstudio’s research goals. Since Hyperstudio is constantly looking to strengthen its connections with other DH researchers outside of MIT, DHCS proved to be a wonderful space for both getting our ideas out there and for learning from others producing innovative projects in the field.
*All photos are from Peter Leonard.
By Katie Edgerton on November 15, 2012
On Monday, November 19, HyperStudio’s Research Assistants Jia Zhang and Jason Lipshin will be presenting a collaboratively authored paper about HyperStudio’s ongoing Comédie-Française Registers Project (CFRP) at the Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science. Joint authors are: MIT Professor Jeffrey Ravel, HyperStudio’s Executive Director Kurt Fendt, Jia Zhang and Jason Lipshin.
The paper entitled “Visualizing centuries: Deep insights into cultural production before the French Revolution,” centers on the challenges of visualizing historical data. For several years, the HyperStudio team has been working with Professor Ravel in MIT’s History Department and the Comédie-Française in Paris to digitize paper registers containing more than a century of box office sales. This wealth of information – covering over 113 seasons – is a vital resource for theater and literature scholars as well as humanists interested in the political, social, and cultural history of France and the Western world.
The Comédie-Française Registers Project addresses two main audiences. The first is French theatre historians, to whom the project will provide greater disciplinary knowledge by giving them digital access to rare archival materials and offering innovative research tools that allow them to detect patterns in cultural production and consumption in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The second audience is digital humanists. Through the Comédie-Française Registers Project, HyperStudio is developing innovative methodologies that enable macro and micro-level analysis. Many of these methodologies turn on the development of tools for data visualization that can enlighten both the research process as well as the outcome.
These new kinds of data visualizations will enable scholars to address questions beyond the scope of traditional humanistic research methods. For example, what do sales records and repertory trends tell us about changing patterns of author, play, and genre popularity in the years leading up to the French revolution? Integrated research tools such as faceted browsers allow for complex and fine-grained filtering of all data and enable their analysis in novel combinations.
The Comédie-Française Registers Project team will tackle these issues on Monday’s visualization Panel, beginning at 11:15 am in Ida Noyes Hall at the University of Chicago.
For more information, please visit the Comédie-Française Registers Project website.
By Ayse Gursoy on October 10, 2011
Hear ye, hear ye!
Join us for “Fluid Texts and Critical Archives: Textual Studies in the (Digital) Humanities” on Friday Oct. 14th, 1:00 – 2:45 pm., in E51-095. This session – free and open to the public – will be introduced by Wyn Kelley (MIT), followed by a presentation of recent work by HyperStudio – Digital Humanities at MIT and will conclude with a panel discussion with John Bryant (Hofstra University), Amy Earhart (Texas A&M University), Kurt Fendt (MIT), Laura Mandell (Miami University of Ohio), and Martha Nell Smith (University of Maryland). This session is part of the three-day Melville Electronic Library Camp (MEL Camp) at MIT.
This session will focus on the concept of “fluid texts”, introduced by John Bryant in his 2002 book, The Fluid Text. Looking at works as “fluid texts” calls attention to the processes that go into the construction of a text, and how these processes are often interactions between a writer and an editor, an editor and an audience, a writer and an audience, and so on. What tools does the digital age give us to study texts as fluid texts, and to capture the dynamism of these texts?
The sketches are part of Jia Zhang’s work on textual visualization and reader interaction as a HyperStudio Research Assistant. “They have 2 main objectives, the first is to map interactions recorded on Frankenstein as students/readers/scholars annotate and explore the text to build thicker layers of context around it. The second goal is to be able to express the text as a whole, an object, relating it back to its book format. The end result of this exercise being to design a navigation which will allow people of different levels of expertise to gather around a particular text and to move with ease between the text itself on many scales and different types of supplemental materials.” Jia Zhang is a Graduate Student in Comparative Media Studies (CMS) at MIT.
By Kurt Fendt on October 6, 2011
Check out the premiere of Augmented Harvard by our friends “down the road” at Harvard’s metaLAB. It’s a mystery tour across the Harvard campus, full of curatorial experiments, ranging from an archive of ephemeral Cold War films to a mysterious hanging aluminum tube to a collection of participatory stickers that guide journeys across the campus. Full details can be found here. Have fun!
humanities + digital Conversations: “Listening Faster”, April 22, 1:00 pm, room E14-633 (new Media Lab)
By Kurt Fendt on April 18, 2011
Please join us for the inaugural event of the new series "humanities + digital conversations", jointly organized by MIT's HyperStudio and metaLAB (at) Harvard.
April 22, 2011, 1:00 – 2:30 pm, room E14-633 (New Media Lab building, MIT, 75 Amherst Street, Cambridge)
Computers have altered so many aspects of musician's lives, from digital performance, to electronic composition, to how we acquire and share new music, but only recently have they had the potential to transform how we study and analyze music. Michael Scott Cuthbert (MIT) and Matthias Röder (Harvard) introduce the new world of Digital Musicology by showing the techniques and tools that allow scholars to "listen faster": to examine and analyze large repertories of pieces in the time that a human musicologist could only look at and hear a single work. Through computational analysis, clustering techniques, visualization tools, and data-mining of musical works, the landscape of our understanding of music is being shaken and new ground created for the wired music scholar.
View Event Poster (PDF)
Photo credit: photobucket
By Kurt Fendt on April 7, 2011
Please join us for our upcoming StudioTalk by Prof. Eric Klopfer and Scot Osterweil on "Learning Through Play".
Play has no agenda. Children play for their own reasons, and even though their play can exhibit fierce determination, persistence, and a will to mastery, it does so only in the service of goals that children set for themselves. Even as we celebrate the learning that occurs in children’s play, and specifically in digital games, we must acknowledge that such learning looks dramatically different from the world of school. Though starkly different on the face of it, we nevertheless believe the ecologies of play and school can be successfully integrated, something we have witnessed through our own experience as educators and game designers. We will examine these issues through concrete examples of existing best practices, and speculative designs currently under development at MIT’s Education Arcade, and elsewhere.
Lunch will be served. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also mark your calendar for our next HyperStudio Talk jointly organized with Harvard's metaLAB on April 22, 1:00 pm:
Prof. Michael Cuthbert (MIT) and Matthias Röder (Harvard) on "Listening Faster – How Digital Humanities is Transforming Music Scholarship"
Image © Andrew Lapara
By Anna van Someren on February 2, 2011
The Humanities Center at Harvard is hosting Digital Humanities 2.0: Emerging Paradigms in the Arts and Humanities, a conversation moderated by John Palfrey with the following media theorists and scholars:
- Anne Burdick, chair of the Media Design Program at Art Center College of Design and Design Editor of Electronic Book Review
- Johanna Drucker, Martin and Bernard Breslauer Professor in the Department of Information Studies at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA, and author of SpecLab: Digital Aesthetics and Projects in Speculative Computing, (University of Chicago Press, 2009)
- Peter Lunenfeld, professor in the Design | Media Arts department at UCLA, whose books include The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine (MIT, 2011) and Snap to Grid: A User’s Guide to Digital Arts, Media, and Cultures (MIT, 2000)
- Todd Presner, professor of Germanic Languages, Comparative Literature, and Jewish Studies at the University of California Los Angeles, and founder and director of HyperCities, a collaborative, digital mapping platform that explores the layered histories of city spaces
- Jeffrey Schnapp, founder of the Stanford Humanities Lab, prolific author, Berkman Center Fellow, and currently launching a new open source virtual world entitled Sirikata.
Thompson Room, Barker Center 110, 12 Quincy Street Cambridge. The event is free and open to the public, with limited seating.
By Kurt Fendt on January 26, 2011
Please join us for an all day Digital Humanities Workshop with Brett Bobley, Director of the Office of Digital Humanities (ODH), National Endowment for the Humanities, jointly held on January 27, 2011 at MIT and Harvard University.
Here’s the program for both MIT and Harvard:
10:00 to 11:45 (Spofford Room: Room 1-236, Building 1, Second Floor)
Talk by Brett Bobley, Chief Information Officer and Director, NEH Office of Digital Humanities
“Emerging Trends in the Digital Humanities & the NEH Funding Landscape”
Abstract: Brett Bobley will talk about emerging trends in the digital humanities in the context of NEH-funded projects. He will cover a wide variety of projects that cover numerous disciplines and technological methods. He will also talk a bit about projects that study the impact of technology on scholarship and the academy.
2:30 – 5:00 Three Part Digital Humanities Grant Workshop, Barker Center Room 133
1. MIT Faculty Presentations:
Prof. Jeff Ravel, History: The Comédie-Française Registers Project
Prof. Fox Harrell, Writing/Comparative Media Studies/Computer Science: Gesture, Rhetoric, and Digital Storytelling
Prof. Jim Buzzard, Head of Literature: The Serial Experience Project
Wyn Kelley, Senior Lecturer in Literature: Melville Remix and the Melville Electronic Library
2. Harvard Faculty Presentations:
Prof. Peter K. Bol, East Asian Languages and Civilizations
Ben Lewis: World Map
Prof. Afsaneh Najmabadi, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
3. Brett Bobley (NEH):
Abstract: Brett Bobley, Director of the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities, will highlight funding opportunities at the NEH for digital projects. He will also discuss and highlight some recently funded projects in a variety of humanities disciplines. He will provide examples of successful grant proposals and discuss grant writing strategies for digital humanities projects.
By Anna van Someren on November 1, 2010
HyperStudio participated in the MIT-Haiti “Best Practices for Reconstruction: Technology-enhanced and Open Education in Haitian Universities” Symposium (October 21-22), which brought Haitian University professors together with MIT faculty, staff and technologists to discuss rebuilding Haiti’s educational infrastructure. Based on HyperStudio’s experience in developing educational projects for language and culture, Executive Director Kurt Fendt shared a presentation describing an approach which would engage Haitian students in building identity awareness, linguistic, cultural, and global skills. Given the linguistic situation in Haiti – 90% of Haitians are native speakers of Kreyòl for whom French, as the official language in education, is inaccessible – these skills would be developed through two core educational components: documenting heritage by working closely with planned oral history projects in Haiti and strengthening cultural awareness by developing cross-cultural curricula and integrating them in a variety of university courses.
Links of interest:
Read MIT News article “Build Back Better” on the Haiti Symposium.
Photo credit: Jeff Merriman.
By mcelish on August 23, 2010
We wanted to let you know that all the talks and presentations from our spring Visual Interpretations conference are now available to watch online!
Check out the keynotes on MITWorld:
Johanna Drucker (UCLA): Humanistic Approaches to the Graphical Expression of Interpretation
Lev Manovich (UC San Diego): How to Read 1,000,000 Manga Pages: Visualizing Patterns in Games, Comics, Art, Cinema, Animation, TV, and Print Media
Ben Shneiderman (University of Maryland): Visual Overviews for Cultural Heritage: Interactive Exploration for Scholars in the Humanities, Arts, and Beyond
Martin Wattenberg (Many Eyes/IBM): Numbers, Words and Colors
In addition, all the other conference sessions were documented and you can browse videos of these sessions on TechTV.