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Archive for the Tag 'digital humanities'

MoMA’s “Inventing Abstraction” Website and Exhibition

MoMA recently opened a new exhibition, Inventing Abstraction, 1910–1925, and this ground-breaking survey is accompanied by an equally ground-breaking website. The exhibition takes a multidisciplinary look at the development of abstraction and as such:

The exhibition brings together many of the most influential works in abstraction’s early history and covers a wide range of artistic production, including paintings, drawings, books, sculptures, films, photographs, sound poems, atonal music, and non-narrative dance, to draw a cross-media portrait of these watershed years.

In the October, ARTnews reported that the Leah Dickerman, curator of the exhibition, was collaborating with Paul Ingram of Columbia University’s business school because he specializes in social network analysis. Dickerman wanted to visually display connections and friendships among the artists and creators involved in the genesis of abstraction, and she and her team, along with their business school partners, began mapping connections in an Excel spreadsheet. The project then turned into a dynamic network of artists and other creative types connected by vectors. They liken the project to a Facebook or LinkedIn network for the abstract vanguard.

inventingabstractiondiagram

In the ARTnews article, Paul Ingram “explains that the quality of ‘between-ness’ in the network—being on multiple paths between others—is associated with creativity. According to this measure, he says, Kandinsky is the most central figure in MoMA’s history of abstraction.” The interactive chart highlights key players in red, and for each artist represented on the chart, more information about their role, interests, and works is provided.

And as an aside, the ARTnews article mentions several other charts or family trees that had been created to document relationships (either sincerely or snarkily) in modern art movements—be sure to check out the very famous Barr’s Chart! These genealogical charts differ greatly from the social vectors described in the new MoMA chart, but provided the initial inspiration for the website’s diagram. Another “genealogical” example comes from the Irving Penn Archives, housed at the Art Institute of Chicago: Penn drew an a family tree, titled “An Immodest Claim to Artistic Roots,” in which he lists several of the artists included in MoMA’s Inventing Abstraction exhibition including Fernand Léger, El Lissitzky, and Man Ray. You can view his tree here.

The VRC will be adding images from the exhibition to our LUNA collection soon!

Via ARTnews

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The Medici Archive Project

The Medici Archive Project has recently launched its BIA Digital Platform which allows users to search and view digitized material from the Medici Archive, which is housed in the Archivio di Stato di Firenze. In addition to viewing archival documents, users can enter transcriptions, provide feedback, exchange comments, and participate in digital humanities projects. From the project’s website:

The Medici Granducal Archival Collection (Mediceo del Principato)–among the most exhaustive and complete court archives of early modern Europe–is one of the most frequently consulted collections at the Archivio di Stato di Firenze. Over the past fifteen years, the Medici Archive Project has been using computing technologies to facilitate scholarly research on this collection. With BIA’s launch, the Medici Archive Project will double its online text content and it will inaugurate a new digital imaging function by putting online 120,000 digitized documents—a number that will continue to grow. Additionally, BIA will enable community sourcing with new applications for online manuscript transcription and its online forums for scholarly discussion. Scholars anywhere in the world will now transcribe, edit, and comment on archival material in the database, collaborating in real time and making use of the forums to share expertise and knowledge.

The Medici Archive was established in 1569, and the material, which consists primarily of letters, takes up nearly 1 mile of shelf space. In order to search the BIA digital platform, you must register for a free account. After registering for a free account, you also can save documents and search terms pertaining to your research.

For more information, visit the Medici Archive Project or explore the collection’s highlights pertaining to topics such as Women Artists and Women Patrons of the Arts or Cabinet of Curiosities.

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The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls

The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls

The Google Cultural Institute and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem collaborated to bring five complete Dead Sea Scrolls online. The new digital library (released Tuesday, December 18), allows users to study and discover the the most ancient biblical manuscripts on earth:

The website gives searchable, fast-loading, high-resolution images of the scrolls, as well as short explanatory videos and background information on the texts and their history. The scroll text is also discoverable via web search. If you search for a phrase from the scrolls, a link to that text within the scroll may surface in your search results. For example, try searching on Google for [And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb Dead Sea Scroll].

The Great Isiah Scroll

English translations of the manuscripts are also available. The Google Cultural Institute is also responsible for the Art Project as well as other digital humanities projects, including Versailles 3D and La France en relief. For the Dead Sea Scrolls project, they used imaging technology originally developed for NASA. The scrolls weren’t discovered until 1947, and they had been in the Qumran caves for two thousand years. ArtDaily reports:

The parchment and papyrus scrolls contain Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic script, and include several of the earliest-known texts from the Bible, including the oldest surviving copy of the Ten Commandments. The oldest of the documents dates to the third century BC and the most recent to about 70 AD, when Roman troops destroyed the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The artefacts are housed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where the larger pieces are shown at the dimly lit Shrine of the Book on a rotational basis in order to minimise damage from exposure. When not on show, they are kept in a dark, climate-controlled storeroom in conditions similar to those in the Qumran caves, where the humidity, temperature and darkness preserved the scrolls for two millennia.

For more information, visit the Digital Dead Sea Scrolls.

Via artdaily.org

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The Book of Kells for iPad

The Book of Kells was released as an iPad app last Friday, November 16. The app contains all 680 surviving pages of the manuscript as well as other special features and content. It is intended to replace previous electronic reproductions of the manuscript which had been released on DVD-ROM and CD-ROM.

The app features the entire manuscript in high resolution, with 21 pages viewable at up to 6 times their actual size and categories of decorative themes that users can browse through including letters, animals, and other symbols.

You can also stop by the VRC anytime to check out the “eBook of Kells” app! Best of all, the app can be projected from the iPad for use in classrooms and presentations.

For more information, view the Book of Kells website or the iTunes app store.

[Images: The Book of Kells, folio 7v and 8r, and an image group of initial letters for the letter "A".]

 

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Local/Global: Mapping Nineteenth-Century London’s Art Market

The online art journal Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide recently featured a new digital humanities research project that focuses on London’s art market from 1850–1914. The researchers aim to document the rise and spread of commercial galleries across the city by aggregating data from a variety of sources including galleries, exhibition societies, artists’ addresses, and retail spaces. The data was then added to a map of Victorian London—users can turn data on or off depending on their research, including moving chronologically through time.

Pamela Fletcher and Anne Helmreich describe the project and offer their own conclusions based on their research in Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide, and the London Gallery Market website with their maps and data is freely available.

Via Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide and London Gallery Market

Image: Pamela Fletcher and David Israel, London Gallery Project, 2007, revised 2012.

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A Handsome Atlas

 

Interested in information visualization and/or 19th Century American culture?  Explore “A Handsome Atlas,” a recent project by the Brooklyn Brainery, which displays reproductions of the Statistical Atlases of the United States of America from 1870, 1880, and 1890. Although these maps, charts, and graphs were created more than a hundred years ago, they are surprisingly modern in their display of information.

While the images are all available online through the Library of Congress and a long list on the US Census website, A Handsome Atlas provides a much more elegant interface image viewer that allows for easily viewing the contents of each atlas and zooming in on individual plates. Users have the options to filter by countless subjects pertaining to life in the US—including liquor, lumber, and Lutherans among many others—or to filter by specific categories of visualization devices, including pie charts, radar charts, and treemaps.

Users also have the option to view each plate on the Library of Congress website and to freely download image files in high, medium, or low resolution.

Additionally, the 1880 and 1890 Statistical Atlases were undertaken by Henry Gannett, largely considered to be the father of American mapmaking. The David Rumsey Map Collection contains more than 170 government-sponsored maps, charts, and geological surveys by Gannett. Click here to view.

Via Information Aesthetics

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Art.sy: a New Online Art Discovery Tool

The New York Times wrote yesterday of a new start-up called Art.sy, which is digitizing works of fine art to catalog in its database, called the “Art Genome Project”. Their service is similar to Pandora, which mapped a “music genome” in order to encourage user discovery of new songs, or Netflix, which uses algorithms to predict and suggest films and movies a user might like.

Art.sy already has 20,000 images in their database, is partnering with galleries, museums, and other cultural institutions to increase their catalog. In addition to traditional subject, genre, and period/movement based descriptions, Art.sy’s team is also tagging works with categories that their system will use “to make connections that are seemingly from different worlds.” These categories include ideas such as “focus on the social margins,” or “personal histories,” and “private spaces.” The system will also search for images that are most similar in terms of composition and color, providing yet another way to access different images.

For more information, see Art.sy’s blog or visit the Art.sy website, where you can request a login or browse the beta site.

Via New York Times

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The Rembrandt Database

Screenshot from The Rembrandt Database

For years Rembrandt’s paintings have been the subject of many exhibitions and publications and a specific focus of technical research, which has produced an extensive and wide-ranging body of information and documentation. This material is preserved in various museums, research institutes, archives and laboratories around the world. The documentation is generally difficult to access, still unavailable in digital form, and not yet organized as a coherent and interrelated body of material.

The Rembrandt Database is a sustainable repository of existing information and documentation that is made available in a technologically advanced way. This service does not aim to replace the study of original objects or consultation among colleagues, but rather to speed up and facilitate research.

For more information and to explore the database, view the website.

 

 

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Tate’s Gallery of Lost Art

"Erased" section of the Gallery of Lost Art

The Gallery of Lost Art is an online exhibition that tells the stories of artworks that have disappeared. Destroyed, stolen, discarded, rejected, erased, ephemeral—some of the most significant artworks of the last 100 years have been lost and can no longer be seen.

This virtual year-long exhibition explores the sometimes extraordinary and sometimes banal circumstances behind the loss of major works of art. Archival images, films, interviews, blogs and essays are laid out for visitors to examine, relating to the loss of works by over 40 artists across the twentieth century, including such figures as Marcel Duchamp, Joan Miro, Willem de Kooning, Rachel Whiteread and Tracey Emin.

Jennifer Mundy, curator of The Gallery of Lost Art, says: “Art history tends to be the history of what has survived. But loss has shaped our sense of art’s history in ways that we are often not aware of. Museums normally tell stories through the objects they have in their collections. But this exhibition focuses on significant works that cannot be seen.”

 

The virtual exhibition launched on July 2, 2012, and will be available online for only one year before it too is “lost.” A new artwork will be added each week for 6 months.

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3D Reconstruction of Vermeer

An interdisciplinary team in Dresden has visualized Vermeer’s painting Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window in 3D. The project makes use of X-ray and microscopic examinations of the painting, computational reconstructions of 2D space depicted in the painting, 3D animations, scale and lifesize models, costume and makeup reconstructions, and more.

The reconstruction has been used to analyze various aspects of the painting and related works by the artist, including the construction of perspective and atmosphere in his paintings, the use of technical and visual aids, and Vermeer’s work and living environment.

For more information, see the project website.

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