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How to See 1 Billion Images?

November 29, 2017 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Today people around the world create, share and interact with billions of new digital artifacts every day. We need new methods for seeing culture at its new scale and velocity. Since 2008 our Cultural Analytics Lab (lab.culturalanalytics.info) has been addressing this challenge. We combine data visualization, design, machine learning, and statistics with concepts from humanities, social sciences, and media studies.

I will show selected recent projects that address different research questions:
– How do our cities look on Instagram? Analysis of 7.5 million Instagram photos shared in Manhattan together with Census demographics data (Inequaligram)
– How can we navigate a “data city”? Interactive installation representing Broadway street in NYC using 30 million images & data points (On Broadway)
– What can we learn about history of visual culture by using computational and data visualization methods? Analysis of 20,000 photos in MoMA Photography collection.

I will also discuss some of the larger theoretical questions that drive our research:
– How can we “observe” giant cultural universes of both user-generated and professional media content created today, without reducing them to
averages, outliers, or pre-existing categories?
– How can work with large cultural data help us question our stereotypes and assumptions about cultures?
– What would “science of culture” that use computation and big data look like, and what will be its limitations?
Dr. Lev Manovich is one the leading theorists of digital culture worldwide, and a pioneer in application of data science for analysis of contemporary culture. Manovich is the author and editor of ten books including Instagram and Contemporary Image, Data Drift, Software Takes Command, Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database and The Language of New Media which was described as “the most suggestive and broad ranging media history since Marshall McLuhan.” He was included in the list of “25 People Shaping the Future of Design” in 2013 and the list of “50 Most Interesting People Building the Future” in 2014. Manovich is a Professor of Computer Science at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and a Director of the Cultural Analytics Lab. The lab created projects for MoMA (NYC), New York Public Library, Google and other clients.
Computer Science & Graduate Center Digital Initiatives Visualization Seminar


November 29, 2017
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


Room 9207 @ The GC
365 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10016
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