Friday, April 13, 2018 : Wells Library Hazelbaker Hall
The 2018 IDAH Spring Symposium showcased innovative digital-methods research and creations by Indiana University Bloomington faculty and students affiliated with the Institute for Digital Arts & Humanities. The program featured:
lightning talks and a poster session by IDAH HASTAC Scholars and graduate students pursuing an official Digital Arts & Humanities degree specialization through IDAH or Information & Library Science: Collin Bjork (English), Mary Borgo (English), Katie Chapman (Musicology), Isabel Echandi (History), Kate Mullen (Ethnomusicology), Mia Partlow (Information & Library Science), Daniel Story (History), Jen Watkins (History), Olivia Wikle (Information & Library Science), Yingqi Puffy Zhao (Art), Ewa Zegler-Poleska (Information & Library Science)
longer-format presentations by IDAH Faculty Fellows: Judah M. Cohen (Musicology), Stephanie DeBoer (Media), Arlene J. Díaz (History) and Caleb Weintraub (Art)
9:15 am - 10:30 am Lightning Talks & Poster Session sponsored by the College Arts & Humanities Institute
10:30 am - 10:45 am Break
10:45 am - 12:15 pm Presentations by IDAH Faculty Fellows
12:15 pm - 1:30 pm Lunch
1:00 pm -1:30 pm Spotlight Presentation
1:30 pm Conclusions / Exhibitions
Registration for this event closed on 9 April 2018.
Abstracts & Recordings
Mapping social discontent: Neoliberalism and citizen activism in Costa Rica: 1980-2002 by Isabel Alvarez Echandi
My dissertation focuses on the rise of judicialization of politics and neoliberalism in Costa Rica between 1980 and 2002. I examine how the high volumes of legal complaintsfiled by workers in the 1990s were part of an incursion of neoliberal rationality to Costa Rica’s political life. I plan to turn to digital history methods such as corpus linguistics and mapping to cross-examine the text and language present in the legal complaints and to reconstruct spatially social and political dissatisfaction. Turning to methodological tools from Linguistics and Geography, my research brings novel ways in which we study social discontent and citizenry action. On the one hand, corpus (text) linguistics will help me pinpoint more easily, and at a faster the frequency and rate some words appear in the complaints’ text (corpus) in all the legal cases. By identifying the rate or frequency in which certain words appear, I am interested in finding whether gender, age, and the plaintiff’s hometown could speak of how certain social groups went to the court more than others. On the other hand, mapping tools will help tie social, economic and/or political discontent to space.
Kanye West and Posthuman Methods for DH by Collin Bjork
Posthumanism—a heterogeneous and nascent set of theoretical frameworks—de-centers “the human” by also accounting for the role of nonhuman actants (e.g. objects, organisms, assemblages, and technologies) in traditional humanities scholarship. Such a critical stance also challenges the humanities’ methodological reliance onlanguage, hermeneutics,andepistemology, all concepts that privilege the role of human subjects. Although posthumanism has yet to develop a coherent methodology, one of its central tenets involves looking less at individual entities and more at thedynamicrelationships between those entities. My own research, for example, demonstrates how Kanye West’sdigitalethos(or rhetorical character) does not arise solely from West’s own agency, his critics’ praise, or his detractors’ memes. Rather, West’s character continually emerges from the ongoingrelationsbetween these and other entities. To foreground this radical relationality, I leverage a computer program that mines a multimodal database of content about West’s character and randomly displays two or three of these items at a time. As a posthuman strategy for data visualization, this method of random juxtaposition a) foregrounds interactions between these phenomena, b) resists humanistic interpretation of the data, and c) acknowledges this research project’s own contribution to West’s character.
A Multimethod Approach to A Million Pictures Project Data by Mary Borgo
This project explores data gathered by A Million Pictures Project, a European digitization initiative devoted to preserving pre-cinema projectors, slides, and textual records. As a popular form of entertainment, magic lantern shows featured a wide range of projected images accompanied by spoken narration or music. Eyewitness accounts of these events found a global readership through newspapers and magazines that circulated internationally. To gain a deeper understanding of periodical literature described these events, I used topic modeling and mapping to identify shared vocabulary and narrative techniques. Of the 2,000 records that I studied, the majority of these focused on events given by temperance societies, evangelistic organizations, and Sunday Schools. Topic modeling shows that textual records tended to emphasize the content and context of these events instead of describing the audience’s reaction. Mapping these topics reveals the pervasiveness of religious and temperance lantern shows in late-Victorian Britain.
Digital Approaches to Troubadour Song: the Troubadour Melodies Database by Katie Chapman
The Troubadour Melodies Database is a Drupal-platform site that includes information about and transcriptions of the extant troubadour melodies as they are found in manuscripts from the thirteenth-fourteenth century. The melodies are encoded using alpha-numeric strings designed for the font Volpiano. The site gives basic information on the manuscripts and troubadours themselves as well as tables of concordances and totals of melodies by troubadour, manuscript, genre, and catalog number. In addition to gathering the melodies and information about the corpus in one place, the database also has a search tool based on Jan Koláček’s original Melody Search Tool, designed for his own chant database, which allows users to search the melodies in the database at their beginnings, anywhere, or endings. Further, having the melodies encoded has allowed for analysis and comparison of the melodies in terms of their characteristics using tools like AntConc to generate concordances, find collocates, etc. The Melody Analysis Tool, an extension of the original Melody Search Tool’s PHP script, generates intervallic profiles of the melodies and a set of reference characteristics for each melody. The database will also house maps and network graphs representing the transmission of the repertoire and relationships within the tradition.
Digital Humanities and the Monograph “Companion Website”: Adapting and Visualizing Data from Documentary Research by Judah M. Cohen and Adah Hetko
This presentation highlights the considerations and challenges involved in creating a digital humanities project from research originally conducted for a historical monograph. Thanks to an IDAH fellowship, the presenters sought to expand Cohen’s project on 19th century American synagogue music (to be published in book form in early 2019), into a broader, more immersive, and interactive multimedia space. We will discuss how, through consultation with IDAH staff, we settled on the project’s first steps; selected and prepared biographical and geographical data for the mapping part of the project; and gained insight into the complexity of working with 19th century musical sources. A significant part of the presentation will include preliminary data visualizations developed in the Carto mapping system, which allow us to discuss emergent patterns and formulate new questions—including previously unseen geographical groupings of historical figures and the movements of figures over individual lifetimes. We will conclude with a summary of future plans for this project, and a reflection on the role of digital humanities in adapting and expanding the monograph’s conventional historical narratives.
Screen Ecology Project: Media Art, Campus Space, and the Inhabited Digital Archive
This presentation introduces the terms and imperatives of the Screen Ecology Project, as it is being formed in my research, teaching, and with support from IDAH. Sitting at the interface of digital humanities, critical practice, and public and screen art, the Project addresses the increasingly screened media ecologies of the (here IU) university campus, and considers how its public screens might become sites for not simply public address but also public contact, dialogue, and encounter. The Project is constituted in two arenas. First is a critical analysis of the already existing formations of both everyday and event-based screen spaces on campus – the dispositif of campus screens as they are formed in the relations between screens, campus inhabitants, and the spaces that surround them. Second is a collaborative platform for critical, technological, and artistic practitioners on campus to come together to form projects that transform the predominantly information-driven operations of campus screens. The general aim of these projects is to, as Scott McQuire has phrased for the media city, “open up spaces in which new practices of communication and experiences of [campus] inhabitation might emerge.” I here speculate on a first (in formation) project that inquires into how campus screens might become a locus for campus inhabitants to encounter its substantial digital moving image archives collectively, critically, and in public. This project not only asks how IU’s moving image archives might be reinvigorated through processes of digital transfer – displayed in and accessed from an information-driven screen – but also explores how IU’s (site specific) moving image archive might be creatively expressed to newly animate public spaces and experiences on campus.
The Case of the Spanish-Cuban-American War: Using Digital Humanities Methods to Make the Invisible Visible by Arlene J. Díaz
It has been assumed that US involvement in the Spanish-Cuban-American war began in 1898 as “an accident, a conflict into which the United States unwittingly stumbled, with wholly unforeseen and unanticipated outcomes” (Pérez, Jr., War of 1898, 112). As a result, most studies not only start in1898, but neglect the covert role that spies, private capital, newspapers, and government agents played in this conflict prior to that year. This presentation shows the usefulness of digital humanities methods in identifying and understanding some of the invisible mechanisms employed by the United States in this war. Corpus linguistics techniques were invaluable in examining texts produced by Sylvester Scovel, a spy war-correspondent for the United States; these texts were later also submitted to a semiotic analysis, with eye opening results. Examining these texts exposed how strategic distortions and myths about the war were constructed to manufacture public consent for American foreign policy on, and intervention in, Cuba. Such findings question the ways in which a war can be waged invisibly, through the strategic use of writings, drawings, and photographs, which, frequently, can make disappear the people and the facts that had been visible. When these texts and images later become part of the historical archive, they contribute, if used uncritically, as happened in this case, to perpetuating the narrative of the conqueror while silencing the conquered. The use of digital humanities methods was instrumental in producing new knowledge to a historiography previously considered a “done deal.”
Old Dog, New Tricks: A Digital Composer’s Journey to Screendance and Motion Graphics by Jeffrey Hass
Jeffrey Hass, director of the IU Center for Electronic and Computer Music, has been a long-time composer of both acoustic and computer music. Beginning in 2006, his collaboration with dance and visual enhancement of his music inspired him to create at first 2D, then 3D motion graphics backgrounds for the dance as well. Most recently, Hass has begun creating dance works with partner choreographers (such as IDAH Fellow Elizabeth Shea) designed entirely for the screen. Using 3D motion graphics technologies, the dancers, recorded on green screen stages, are placed into fantastical environments to create a hybrid works of original computer music, video and dance.
Hass will present his latest screendance workCapsule(2017), with ballet choreography by Jacobs School Professor Michael Vernon and ballerina Ryan McCreary. Capsulewas commissioned by the Jacobs School of Music in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the IU School of Music. He will also include short examples of previous works and explain how they led to his current creative interests, includingThe Nature of Human, a 2008 collaboration between Hass, Shea and scenographer Rob Shakespeare, which served as Hass’s IDAH Fellowship project.
Archives Speaking for Themselves: Modeling Discourse in Traditional and Community Cultural Archives by Kate Mullen
Archives charged with preserving, curating, and stewarding cultural heritage are often acknowledged for their placement in large traditional institutional settings such as governmental agencies, universities, and museums. In the last decade, with the advent of accessible digital repositories and accompanying notions of archival democratization, archival scholarship has shifted toward the study of a more participatory heritage that invites content originators and localized communities to participate in documentation and preservation processes. However, precise definitions of participatory and community archives are elusive in scholarship due to the diverse nature of archival purposes. To distinguish between community and traditional archival discourses, I examine discursive definition from the point of view of the institution itself. I use public-facing discourses from individual archives, including mission statements and “about” pages from distinct institution and organization websites, to identify differences between larger institutions and community-based cultural heritage archives in the United Kingdom and the United States. Part of an ongoing project, this analysis utilizes text analysis and topic modeling to identify key characteristics in discourse and compare them to oft-used scholarly conceptions of archives and their purposes. This poster summarizes initial results from the project and highlights the potential of digital humanities capabilities in archival studies.
Louisville’s Butchertown: Slaughterhouses and Neighborhood Identity by Mia Partlow
Louisville’s Butchertown neighborhood is a mixed residential, industrial, and commercial area that from the nineteenth through early twentieth centuries was dominated by animal industries such as stock yards, slaughterhouses, soap factories, and tanneries. In 1892 there were more than 50 such businesses in Butchertown, which sits on less than one square mile of land. Today, there are three sites of animal industry in the neighborhood, including a large slaughterhouse. This poster presents research on how the presence and subsequent decline of a dominant neighborhood industry inflects discourses around the neighborhood’s identity and development. Using a combination of digital mapping and topic modeling methods enabled the discovery of spatialized discourse, revealing the ways in which capital is enacted and produced within the context of the neighborhood's form. The digital map marks the sites of these industries as well as the changes to those sites over time, from 1892 to 2018. Topic models created using newspaper articles and archival sources related to Butchertown uncover discourses surrounding the community and neighborhood development. Comparing the topic models to the map demonstrates that as Butchertown’s core industry declined, residents deployed discourses that would further push these industries out of the area, such as environmental and historic preservation discourses.
Mapping Barnum, Bailey, and Cody: American Entertainment in the Global Nineteenth Century by Daniel Story
Circuses and traveling shows were a staple of nineteenth-century American society, but just how American were they? This project uses digital mapping together with archival research to investigate the geographic reach, business networks, and cultural significance of three iconic American shows: Cooper, Bailey, and Company’s Great International; the Barnum and Bailey Circus; and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. Mapping their routes from the 1870s to the 1910s reveals how thoroughly they were embedded in global entertainment circuits—Cooper and Bailey travelled to Australia, New Zealand, India, and a handful of South American countries in the late 1870s; Buffalo Bill visited Europe between 1887 and 1892 and again from 1903 to 1906; and Barnum and Bailey toured Europe from 1898 to 1902. Furthermore, in 1899, James Bailey relocated the headquarters of his circus to England, establishing the publically traded company Barnum and Bailey, Limited. By contrast, none of these shows travelled consistently to the west coast of the United States until 1907. Analysis of these entertainment geographies helps us rethink standard narratives of national integration in the U.S. in the second half of the nineteenth century and recasts institutions traditionally understood as quintessentially American in a transnational and global light.
The Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook: Digitally Mapping Faith and Food in Medieval Spain by Jen Watkins
My research examines the overlap between trade and religion in medieval Iberia. Traducción española de un manuscrito anónimo del siglo XIII sobre la cocina hispano-magribi, an anonymous culinary guide initially compiled in the 13th century, is distinct from other European cookbooks of the same period. It hails from al-Andalus, a region of Spain that, at the time, was under Islamic rule and the site of an unusual degree of intermingling between its Christian, Jewish, and Muslim citizens. Treating the book as a microhistorical object, I have employed text mining, in order to trace the trajectories of specific spices and ingredients from their countries of origin to their ultimate role in each of the faith communities of al-Andalus. I have similarly examined other contemporary culinary guides from both Christian Spain and France, as a point of comparison. To better understand the impact of certain foodstuffs on the social and religious fabric of medieval Spain, I ultimately plan to create a layered digital map that simultaneously traces trade routes and contrasts them against the spatial territories of the different faith communities.
Pixels and Paintstrokes
Artistic value in the discipline of painting may be determined based on the characteristics of originality, touch, preciousness, uniqueness, novelty, relevance, and coherence of vision. This presentation explores a tandem exhibit /survey that seeks to determine the degree to which the perception of artistic value in painting is affected by whether or not a work has been conceived via traditional or technological/mediated means.
The research aims to uncover underlying attitudes and predispositions related to technology, creativity, and views about intangible qualities inherent in works of art. The presentation highlights the collaborative nature of the project and the harnessing of diverse resources made available through the IDAH.
The Musical Worlds of Ann Radcliffe by Olivia Wikle
British gothic novelist Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823) included rich descriptions of sonic and musical occurrences throughout her narratives in order to enhance the emotional experiences of both her characters and readers. Though little is known of Radcliffe’s personal life, her biographers consistently note that she enjoyed music and frequented concerts and theatre performances in London during the time she was writing her novels. I seek to gain a deeper understanding of the performances that Radcliffe may have heard and to speculate how these performances influenced the strong presence of sound and music in her novels. To accomplish these goals, I am using a story map to visualize the locations and programs of London concerts in 1791 in tandem with text analysis and topic modeling of Radcliffe’s novels that further explores her use of sound and music as a narrative technique.
Mapping Muller: Scholarly and Social Connections of a Scientist and Public Intellectual by Ewa Zegler-Poleska
This digital project aims to present the contribution of Hermann J. Muller (1890-1967),a genetics pioneer,Nobel Prize laureate (1946), and IUB professor (1945-1964) to scientific and societal debates of the atomic age concerning genetic effects of radiation. The relationship between his research and the fields of biology and genetics will be explored with the use of bibliometric databases. Investigating Muller’s public role is more challenging – fortunately, IU Lilly Library is endowed with collection of materials from Muller’s professional and personal life. Thus, his correspondence can serve as a source for analyzing connections with other contemporary intellectuals. Moreover, Muller’s decades-long career spanning Germany, the Soviet Union, and the United States can be mapped chronologically andgeographicallywith the use of secondary sources and GIS tools. Ideally, the results will be integrated into an online exhibition of selected digitized materials, encouraging broader study of the collection, presenting Muller’s scholarship as an example of science in society, and allowing the public to explore his legacy situated in the broader context.
This body of work consists of twenty 3D printed, fabricated, and enameled sculptural rings inspired by microscopic structures of living forms. The idea that how creatures are perceived by human eyes could be entirely different from the imagery revealed by a microscope makes me ponder whether I am able to capture the reality of anything merely through visual observation. I am intrigued and inspired by the process of merging multiple mediums, which enables me to express my various identities, and helps me visualize the growth of a newborn from an ambiguous seed to a matured form. My work communicates the juxtaposition of 3D printed components and enameled components. The hand-drawing process assists me in modeling three-dimensional objects using Rhinoceros, a 3D modeling software that can build up volumetric forms through assigned points, lines, and surfaces. I fabricate the enameled objects through the process of preparing and finely finishing all metal parts, sifting vitreous enamel of various colors onto the metal surface, firing multiple layers of vitreous enamel in the kiln until achieving expected surface texture, and patinating the metal. The completed enameled components are combined with the 3D printed components through sewing, tension fitting, riveting, or applying creatively designed mechanisms.