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Made this visualization today:


It was done in Voyant today, which takes a text (or many texts but I could not get one up into it today) and takes the words that appear the most often and makes a visualization of it. Like that. This was taken from Anne Derbes' article "Siena and the Levant in the Later Dugento," from Gesta 28 (1989): 190-204.

A lot of data data data data data talk today. And my data? Four little measly images I've sucked off the internet.



Reading about data mining and thought about the work of one person tracking the history of particular words or phrases over time. This was by tracking words and by putting in A HUMONGOUS bunch of texts into a database.

Could the same be done with images? But how would the images actually be "read"? I guess you would have to be careful with your metadata - really descriptive perhaps? So, for this image:


I would have to very carefully (and not sure how to do it) put in words about the fact that the Virgin holds Christ's left foot with her right hand - and note that

lot-5 (2)-1

in this work she touches the child's right foot with her left hand (but in a different arrangement altogether).

Would this be what it would take to 'read' the frequency of poses in paintings like the history of particular features (words or phrases) in a specific period's poetry?

This is a question about quantitative data. I think in general most art historians (at least this one) does very little thinking about quantitative anything. But maybe it could be very helpful for this project? I hope to learn more about this tomorrow and work to apply it.

Tuscany Map

We ended our first week of Digital Humanities for Art History Summer Camp (as many of us are calling it) with a day devoted to mapping and the idea of tracking data on maps. Unfortunately, it was a frustrating day for me. I could not get MapWarp to work (though it was a very odd and strange coincidence that about an hour or so before we started working with it a former colleague, Andy Horbal, wrote to me to tell me about the tool!). I was not very successful with "The Google" mapping hands-on session (can't even find the map I made now) and I had similar problems with the StoryMap (I think I did not note my pings or something). THEN, I could not get my Geolocation plug-in up on my Omeka site. I was not a happy DH Camper.

Sharon, wise Guru DH Instructor and Summer Camp Director that she is, told us all to try to do something else for the weekend and NOT do DH. I listened to her advice (went to see Return of the Planet of the Apes and it was good!). Also went home for the weekend - went on a run. Cleared my head.

I returned to DH Central Hotel for week 2, which starts tomorrow and decided to see if I could get that #$%^& plug=in to load. I DID IT! On my own with notes from the session on Friday.  Feeling pretty good about that.

And...starting to wonder about the the tool (even though I finally got it up there...though I guess other plug-ins and themes and other stuff will go up so it was more the process of doing it that mattered).

Originally I had thought about actually mapping Byzantine influence on Italo-Byzantine painting in the 13th century in Tuscany (see map above; gee Tuscany is big). But I'm not sure that in all cases we know where the panel paintings originated, thus making it difficult to actually "map." I am also concerned about the research as my preliminary reading of the state of the field indicates not a lot is known - specifically - about the movement of people in and out of Byzantium. We know that there was movement. And a boat-load of Byzantine art was plundered from Constantinople in the fourth crusade. But  before I decide on a mapping tool, I will have to think about the field some more, what it is I want to accomplish, and what tools will best make it all happen. That said, learning new digital tools and what you CAN do with them can and often does open new pathways of disciplinary inquiry. My first step is to input the images - I need to find them and load them and make some collections. I think I'm sticking with Omeka (at least for now). And then we'll see where I go from there.

I'm not ruling Mapping out; I just want to think about it a bit more before I bite off that big data issue.