RENEW 2013

The 5th International Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology

Riga / October 8 – 11, 2013


Renew 2013

Prof. Erkki Huhtamo

University of California, Los Angeles

"...Hey you, get off of my cloud" Media Archaeology as Topos Study

Time:Tuesday, October 8 at 18.00

Venue:Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Strelnieku str. 4a

There are many ways of doing media archaeology. This lecture will offer a closer look at one of them: topos study. Topoi are formulas and “frozen” expressions that are recycled within cultural processes. They appear, disappear and appear again across centuries, and are used to give expression for different ideas in different contexts. The lecture will explain how topos study can increase our understanding of both contemporary media culture and its history. Several examples will be analyzed. Michelangelo will meet the Rolling Stones will meet iCloud.

BIOGRAPHY: Erkki Huhtamo is a pioneering media archaeologist. He works as Professor of Media History and Theory at the University of California Los Angeles, Department of Design Media Arts. He has a Ph.D. in cultural history. His most recent book is Illusions in Motion: Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles (The MIT Press, 2013).

Renew 2013

Prof. Lev Manovich

The Graduate Center, The City University of New York

Looking at one million images: How visualization of big cultural data helps us to question our cultural categories

Time:Friday, October 11 at 19.00

Venue:Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Strelnieku str. 4a

The explosive growth of cultural content on the web including social media since 2004 and the digitization efforts by museums, libraries, and other institutions make possible a new paradigm for the study of both contemporary and historical media. Rather than only focusing on isolated artifacts, we can use computational data analysis and visualization techniques to study the patterns in massive cultural data sets.

Many interesting projects that follow on this idea have already been carried out by people in computer scientists, digital humanities, and artistic visualization field. But many important questions still remain. For example, how can we do explore massive visual collections of user-generated content containing billions of images? What new theoretical concepts do we need to deal with scale of born-digital culture? How do we use data mining of massive cultural data sets to question our cultural assumptions and biases, and “unlearn” what we know?

In my talk I will address these questions using examples from my Software Studies Lab ( established in 2007. I will briefly present the techniques we developed for exploratory analysis of massive visual collections, and show examples of our projects including analysis of 1 million pages from Manga books, 1 million user-generated artworks (from, and 2.3 million Instagram photos. I will also discuss how computational analysis and visualization of big cultural data sets leads us to question traditional discrete categories used for cultural categorization such as “style” and “period.”

BIOGRAPHY: Lev Manovich is the author of Software Takes Command (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013), Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database (The MIT Press, 2005), and The Language of New Media (The MIT Press, 2001) which is described as “the most suggestive and broad ranging media history since Marshall McLuhan.” Manovich is a Professor at The Graduate Center, CUNY and a Director of the Software Studies Initiative at CUNY and California Institute for Telecommunication and Information (Calit2).

Renew programme

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RIXC Centre of New Media Art

Maskavas street 10, Riga, LV-1050, Latvia
Ph. +371 67228478, +371 26546776 (Rasa Smite)

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