How to Compare One Million Images? Visualizing Patterns in User-Generated Content, Art, Games, Comics, Cinema, Web, and Print

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Lev Manovich
Professor at The Graduate Center, CUNYand a Director of the Software Studies Initiative at CUNY and California Institute for Telecommunication and Information (Calit2)

How do we navigate massive visual collections of user-generated content consisting of billions of images?  What new theoretical concepts do we need to deal with the scale of born-digital culture? How do we use data mining of massive cultural data sets to question our cultural assumptions and biases? The Software Studies Initiative (softwarestudies.com) was established at the University of California, San Diego in 2007 to begin working on these questions. 

Lev Manovich will briefly present the techniques they developed for exploratory analysis of massive visual collections. This presentation will be illustrated with examples of their research, including analysis of  2.3 million Instagram photos, 1 million pages from manga books, and 1 million user-created artworks (from http://www.deviantart.com/ ). Manovich 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.”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 d”scribed as “the most suggestive and broad ranging media history since Marshall McLuhan.”

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