Kate Sherren

Landscapes - People - Global change

Tag: big data

The rise of visual culture at a glance

Data artist Josh Begley is doing some amazing things with open data, geocoding and archives that speak to the nature of our times. New collaborator Mike Smit today shared with me Begley’s video of every New York Times front page since 1952. The limits of publication technology are writ here, as well as our increasing appetite for photographs to tell stories. Visualize, in parallel, how the smartphone has exploded the visibility of events, newsworthy and otherwise, using built-in image and video as well as apps for sharing them. This video based on conventional media is just the tip of an increasingly bottom-heavy iceberg.

Uncharted

Aiden and Michel's (2013) book reveals how big data can help us understand how culture has changed.

Aiden and Michel’s (2013) book reveals how big data can help us understand how culture has changed.

I pulled this book, Uncharted (2013), by Erez Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel, out of a bargain bin at Chapters a few weeks ago, and it is another example of serendipity. These Harvard PhDs collaborated with Google’s book digitization project to develop the Google Ngram tool. They liken their project to a tool to a microscope or telescope, which were tools that brought new dimensions to view for scientists. Their culture-scope is able to track uses of terms or phrases over time within Google Books’ enormous and growing database of digitized literature. They coined the term ‘culturomics‘, which is too awkward to stick, but the value is clear. Watch the holistic idea of ‘landscape’ overtake the aesthetically driven ‘scenery’ around the turn of the last century (below). Lots of food for thought in a world of Big Data.

Google Ngram View of landscape versus scenery in English text corpus, 1800 to 2000.

Google Ngram View of landscape versus scenery in English text corpus, 1800 to 2000.

© 2017 Kate Sherren

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑