The Aesthetics of Information
Feb. 6- 20, 2014
A Selection of Contributions and Exhibits
A small sampling of some of the contributions and exhibits. Video and audio contributions are linked below: a playful array of visualizations, translations, interpretations and manipulations of information.
by Gabriel Cira
Received Piece: Photograph
If every grain of a photograph wouldn’t not occlude every other that it’s not, then, without definition, every other as defined by the not, not the “not,” wouldn’t matter if it didn’t, which it wouldn’t.
"A Taxonomy of Transitions"
by Bill Rankin
Format: Digital Image
How would we understand cities differently if we rejected the idea of neighborhoods as coherent, homogeneous areas with well-defined boundaries? This map offers an alternative to the typical depiction of cartographic statistics: instead of shading large areas using solid colors, here Census data is represented with thousands of tiny dots. These dots reveal a wide variety of spatial transitions and give a more nuanced understanding of urban segregation. Some transitions are indeed quite sharp – shockingly so! – but others are much more blurry. There are also large gaps and areas of genuine diversity. By drawing the city in a new way, can we change the city in new ways, too?
"Visualizing External Contacts in the World of Homer"
by Joanna Smith
Received Piece: Homer's Iliad and Odyssey
These two word clouds compare external contacts in Homer’s Iliad (top) and Odyssey (bottom). Shown are countries, cities, and personal names in geographically situated places outside the world inhabited by the epics’ protagonists. The original Greek words with no spelling changes appear alphabetically and horizontally, clustering terms clearly such as those related to Egypt, most frequently cited as Αἰγύπτῳ. Some colors reference key descriptors, such as golden Aphrodite (Ἀφροδίτη), Phoenician (Φοίνικες) purple, and the greenish tinge of weathered copper from Cyprus (Κύπρον). The Iliad’s limited external contacts and focus on personalities contrasts with the Odyssey’s greater frequency of distant places.
"Measuring Untimely Style"
by Emily Vailiauskas
Received Object: “Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul” (Text)
Stylometric analysis aims to date a text based on unusual diction that it shares with other texts in an author's corpus. This method tells us which words tend to appear early or late in an author's career, but it doesn't tell us whether these words were timely or untimely in relation to a larger literary culture. My work on Shakespeare deals with outmodedness, so I used the Google Ngram Viewer to determine how a sonnet that addresses this theme uses fashionable and unfashionable diction.
Symposium and Exhibition Program
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6, AT 5 PM: SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE
An opening reception (featuring an exhibit of experiments in the aesthetics of information; see below) will be held in the School of Architecture. All are welcome.
- One: the pool. Submit an object (broadly-defined: a text, an image, a piece of music or sound file, an artifact), something you are interested in, maybe working on. Another participant will take that object as his or her own, mining it for information, and deciding how that information might be represented most effectively, charismatically, beautifully, etc. By submitting an object, you incur the obligation to perform an information-extraction of your own on the object of another. (We will arrange a marketplace of sorts, to organize this exchange.)
- Two: the bathtub. In the second model, you choose the object, you render it as information, and you represent that information in a new form. Less chancy than option one, but also less chancy. (It does have the advantage of allowing you to experiment on work you might well want to continue; a good choice if you want to try making something for yourself that you might just use later on.)
We have prepared a page of digital resources for the use of participants, including a great plenty of tools for the extraction and representation of data. (Thanks to Ben Johnston of the Humanities Resource Center.) Please explore and experiment.