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Project Launch: Sandcastle

October 30, 2020

Wired! Lab core member Edward Triplett & collaborator Philip Stern have launched their new project Sandcastle with support from an NEH Digital Humanities Advancement Grant as well as Bass Connections. Sandcastle aims to

enable researchers to visualize non-cartesian, premodern images of places in a comparative environment that resembles the gestural, malleable one used by medieval and early modern cartographers and artists.

The project team are using visual annotation and procedural modeling to create a workflow with existing tools that can be applied not only to their own case studies but also to future research. A major aspect of the project will be documenting and publishing the workflow for other scholars’ use. Learn more.


Projects

Book of Fortresses

Sandcastle


News & Events

NEH Awards DH Advancement Grant to Triplett and Stern

Alumni Lectures: Thought Forms & Fictive Funerary Landscapes

October 16, 2020

Two Wired! Lab alumni are presenting their research virtually in the coming month. Timothy Shea (PhD in Art History, Duke) is a long tim collaborator on the Digital Athens project. Emily Leon (MA in Digital Art History, Duke) conducted her research under the supervision of Paul Jaskot.

Timothy Shea, Duke University and UNC at Chapel Hill

“Fictive Funerary Landscapes? Mourning Scenes on Athenian Funerary Vessels in Context”

October 20, 2020, 6:30 PM EDT

Register to attend here: https://go.unc.edu/Md4p8

Two Athenian funerary vases side by side.

Image courtesy of UNC Art Department.

Zoom link will be emailed to registrants 24 hours in advance of the lecture.

A group of Athenian funerary vases known as white-ground lekythoi serves as the most evocative visual evidence of ancient Greek funerary culture. These vases with their vibrant polychrome decoration often depict scenes of women mourning beside the grave marked with an elaborate tombstone. However, the production of these vessels (460-420 BCE) coincides with a period of time in Athens from which very few stone funerary monuments survive in the archaeological record. This discrepancy between the ubiquity of monuments on the vases and their stone counterparts’ scarcity archaeologically has led scholars to debate the nature of these mourning scenes on lekythoi and the role of tombstones within them. Were the scenes meant to evoke nostalgia for the elite funerary culture of the previous generation? Or were they aspirational, depicting the types of commemoration that were no longer socially acceptable or legally permissible? In this talk, Tim Shea engages with this long-running debate by utilizing digital mapping software to analyze the find locations of the few funerary monuments that survive from this period in relation to the excavated remains of pottery workshops where these vessels were likely produced. He also tracks the distribution of vessels across burial deposits in Athens and the wider Mediterranean to consider the effect of market forces on the production of these vessels. We encourage anyone interested in implementing GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and digital mapping techniques into their research or teaching to attend.

Tim Shea received his Ph.D. in Art History from Duke University in 2018. He has taught at Florida State University and Dartmouth College, where he was the lead instructor on their Foreign Study Program in Greece. This spring he will be taking up a position as Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he will be teaching Greek archaeology and ancient sculpture.  His current book project, Death and Diplomacy: Citizens and Immigrants in Archaic and Classical Athenian Cemeteries, investigates the ways in which immigrant communities expressed their identity through the funerary landscape of ancient Athens. He is also currently working on a collaborative research project publishing the portrait sculpture from the Athenian Agora.

UNC Art Department: http://art.unc.edu

Contact: Christoph Brachmann, cbrachma[at]email[dot]unc[dot]edu

 

Emily Leon, Independent Scholar

“Between the Physical & Psychical: Esoteric Representations of Nature in the Work of Hilma af Klint”

November 19, 2020, 7:00 PM EST

Three gray and orange zig zag stripes on a dark background. The number 31 in the bottom left corner.

Image courtesy of Sacred Bones Records.

Watch on @sacredbones Instagram Live: https://www.instagram.com/sacredbones/channel/

Scholars often focus on Swedish artist Hilma af Klint’s abstract images within the standard narrative of European modernism which can overlook their deep relationship to her interest in the scientific and esoteric. This talk addresses af Klint’s specific research into plants as a project in the scientific exploration of esotericism rather than as a “mere” continuation of other avant garde trends. In order to articulate the ways in which she draws on natural elements to represent the domain of unrepresentable form, this paper explores the multivalent elements present in her Tree of Knowledge series and sketches from her Flowers, Mosses and Lichens notebook. She no doubt believed in the entrancing power of nature, precisely because her notion of nature included a holistic understanding of the existence of matter in both biological and cosmological form. Her analytical method allows the image to act as a didactic model of expression that engages with nature and the world in new ways. Thus, af Klint’s non-representational approach to documenting her engagement with and unified experience of the natural world suggests the need for a deeper understanding of how spirituality and science interacted with one another during the first two decades of the twentieth century. Probing her relationship to science, spirituality, and visual art will help us think more critically about the broader aesthetic and social implications of her work.


Projects

Digital Athens

Virtual Tour of the Nasher’s Cultures of the Sea

September 1, 2020

Working with Mark Olson and the Art of the Americas team, the Nasher Museum of Art has launched its first virtual tour of its Cultures of the Sea: Art of the Ancient Americas exhibition. Visitors can travel through the gallery, zoom in on ancient ceramics, textiles and carvings–and listen to the audio tour by student co-curators from Duke’s Class of 2020.

 

View of the virtual tour. Green hot spots mark information and different viewpoints.

Each object comes with a range of media, including interactive 3D models, scan images, and contextual information.


Projects

Art of the Americas Interactive

The Medieval Kingdom of Sicily is on Instagram!


This summer, the Medieval Kingdom of Sicily Image Database team has been as busy as ever. In addition to continuing to add content, research assistants Emma Keaton, Brenden Li, and Julia Nasco have led the launch of a new Instagram account where they’re sharing the latest additions to the database and a little bit about their work on the project. Follow along:


Caroline Bruzelius head and shoulders portrait.

Caroline Bruzelius Elected to the American Philosophical Society

May 21, 2020

John Taormina

Caroline A. Bruzelius, Anne Murnick Cogan Professor Emerita of Art and Art History and inaugural director of the Wired! Lab for Digital Art History and Visual Culture, has been elected a Member of the prestigious American Philosophical Society. Thirty-four Members were elected this year, including others in the humanities such as Elizabeth Alexander, President, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Marin Alsop, Music Director, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Lonnie Bunch III, Secretary, Smithsonian Institution; Carla Hayden, Librarian, Library of Congress; David W. Oxtoby, President, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and André Watts, Pianist and Distinguished Professor of Music, Indiana University.

The American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States, was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purpose of “promoting useful knowledge.” The Society sustains its mission in four principal ways. It honors and engages distinguished scientists, humanists, social scientists, and leaders in civic and cultural affairs through elected membership and opportunities for interdisciplinary, intellectual fellowship, particularly in the semi-annual Meetings in Philadelphia. It supports research and discovery through grants and fellowships, lectures, publications, prizes, exhibitions, and public education. It serves scholars through a research library of some 13 million manuscripts and other collections internationally recognized for their enduring scholarly value.

The American Philosophical Society’s current activities reflect the founder’s spirit of inquiry, provide a forum for the free exchange of ideas, and convey the conviction of its members that intellectual inquiry and critical thought are inherently in the public interest.

Early Members included George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Marshall.  In the nineteenth century, John James Audubon, Robert Fulton, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, and Louis Pasteur were among those elected.  Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, and George Marshall hint at the scientific, humanistic, and public accomplishments of 20th-century Members.  The first woman was elected in 1789 – the Russian Princess Dashkova, president of the Imperial Academy of Sciences of St. Petersburg. 

Today the Society has 1,051 elected Members, 852 resident Members and 169 international Members from more than two dozen foreign countries. Only 5,715 Members have been elected since 1743. Since 1900, more than 260 Members have received the Nobel Prize. 

(Digital) Art History at CAA 2020

February 12, 2020 — February 15, 2020
Chicago, IL

Here are a few of the Duke- and digital art history-related presentations happening this week at the College Art Association’s annual conference:

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

What is Lurking Underneath Notre Dame’s Roof? Visual Heritage and VR Ethics in the Digital Age

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM | Hilton Chicago – Lower Level – Salon C – Yellow Table

Host: Vasile Prejmerean


Hands-On to Eyes-On: From Material Collections to Digital Exhibitions

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM | Hilton Chicago – 3rd Floor – Wilford C

Visual Resources Association (VRA)

Chair: Bridget Madden – University of Chicago

Presentations:


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Advanced Topics in Digital Art History: 3D (Geo)Spatial Networks

8:30 AM – 10:00 AM | Hilton Chicago – 8th Floor – Lake Ontario

Chair: Victoria E. Szabo – Duke University

Discussant: Edward Triplett – Duke University

Presentations:


Beyond the Algorithm: Art Historians, Librarians, and Archivists in Collaboration on Digital Humanities Initiatives

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM | Hilton Chicago – 8th Floor – Lake Ontario

Art Libraries Society of North America

Chairs: Maggie Joe Mustard – The New Museum of Contemporary Art

Amye McCarther – New Museum

Presentations:


Creating Digital Humanities Projects in Art and Art History

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Hilton Chicago – Lower Level – Salon C-8

Workshop Leader: Anthony F. Mangieri – Salve Regina University, Newport, RI

Anthony F. Mangieri is Associate Professor of Art History and Coordinator of the Women’s Studies program at Salve Regina University in Newport, RI. He holds a Ph.D. in Art History from Emory University. Mangieri is the author of Virgin Sacrifice in Classical Art: Women, Agency, and the Trojan War (Routledge).

Workshop Details: This workshop offers participants a “road map” of how to create their own digital humanities projects. Topics to be covered include conceptualizing, implementing, and maintaining digital projects, and the tools to create them. Group activities provide opportunities for brainstorming and idea building that will help participants conceptualize their own projects.


From Knowledge to Data in Art History

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM | Hilton Chicago – Lower Level – Salon C-7

Workshop Leaders: Nancy A. Um – Binghamton University

Nancy Um is Professor of Art History at Binghamton University.

Stephen Whiteman – The Courtauld Institute of Art

Stephen Whiteman is Senior Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art.

Lauren Cesiro

Workshop Details:

In this workshop, we will discuss the process of understanding art historical research materials as data, working with the software Tableau. It is aimed at art history faculty and graduate students who do not possess experience working with humanities datasets, but wish to visualize or map aspects of their research.

This workshop is a hands-on session. All participants should bring their laptops, fully charged. Please download software and documents before arriving at the session. Information about software downloads, equipment, and other workshop preparation can be found here: http://nancyum.com/caa-2020-workshop-from-knowledge-to-data-in-art-history/


Lost in Translation: Early Modern Global Art History and the Digital Humanities

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM | Hilton Chicago – 3rd Floor – Wilford C

Digital Art History Society

Chairs: Meredith J. Gill – University of Maryland

Paul B. Jaskot – Duke University

Presentations:


Friday, February 14, 2020

Undergraduate Research and Mentoring Undergraduate Research in Art and Art History – Poster Presentations

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM | Hilton Chicago – Lower Level – Lower Level Lobby

Chair: Alexa K. Sand – Utah State University

Presentations:


Undergraduate Research and Mentoring Undergraduate Research in Art and Art History – Poster Presentations(Part 2)

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM | Hilton Chicago – Lower Level – Lower Level Lobby

Chair: Alexa K. Sand – Utah State University

Presentations:


Lines of Flight, Lines of Sight: Nadia Kaabi-Linke’s Flying Carpets

Hilton Chicago – Lower Level – Lower Level Lobby

Presenter: Jess Chen – Duke University

Session: Undergraduate Research and Mentoring Undergraduate Research in Art and Art History – Poster Presentations(Part 2)


Mapping Social and Spatial Encounters in Eighteenth-Century Venice

Hilton Chicago – 3rd Floor – Wilford C

Presenter: Noah Scott Michaud – Wired! Lab

Session: Undergraduate Research and Mentoring Undergraduate Research in Art and Art History – Poster Presentations(Part 2)


Political History of Prisons: The Architecture of People in Raleigh’s Central Penitentiary

Hilton Chicago – Lower Level – Lower Level Lobby

Presenter: Paloma J Rodney – Duke’s Wired! Lab

Session: Undergraduate Research and Mentoring Undergraduate Research in Art and Art History – Poster Presentations


A Self-Defined Sex Being: Self Portraiture as Black Feminist Fantasy for the Purpose of Black Feminist Liberation

Hilton Chicago – Lower Level – Lower Level Lobby

Presenter: Ashleigh Cheryl Elizabeth Smith – Duke University

Session: Undergraduate Research and Mentoring Undergraduate Research in Art and Art History – Poster Presentations


Saturday, February 15, 2020

Digital Art History and the Getty Vocabularies

9:30 AM – 10:30 AM | Hilton Chicago – Lower Level – Salon C-8

Digital Art History Society

Workshop Leaders: Anne L. Helmreich – Getty Research Institute

Anne Helmreich is Associate Director for Digital Initiatives in the Getty Research Institute and is engaged with the intersection of art history and the digital humanities.

Patricia A. Harpring – Getty Research Institute

Patricia Harpring is Managing Editor for the Getty Vocabularies, expert in standards and documenting art and architecture for research and discovery.

Workshop Details: Today, art historians have unprecedented access to digitized resources and approaches. Working in this arena requires structured and standardized data, making the Getty Vocabularies essential resources. In this workshop, learn more about the Getty Vocabularies, how they can advance scholarship, and how to use the new OpenRefine Vocabulary Reconciliation Service.

Additional digital art history events are listed on the International Journal of Digital Art History blog.

Art of the Americas Exhibit Opening in Nasher Museum

February 1, 2020 — May 31, 2020
Nasher Museum of Art

The Nasher Museum of Art will be showcasing Cultures of the Sea: Art of the Ancient Americas from February 1 to May 31, 2020 in the Incubator Gallery.

For ancient cultures on the Central and South American coasts, the ocean was both a source of livelihood and a way of life: It provided food, precious materials and divine inspiration in regions with often-severe environmental conditions. Cultures of the Sea: Art of the Ancient Americas brings together diverse artworks from 100 BCE to 1550 CE that illustrate how the ocean shaped the cultural legacies of these civilizations. This exhibition features ceramics, textiles and carvings, many on view for the first time, from the Nasher Museum’s permanent collection. More information can be found about this collection on the Nasher Museum’s website.

Additionally, there will be a Gallery Talk about the collection on February 6 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Nasher Museum. This will be followed by a reception.

Cultures of the Sea will also be available for spotlight tours on February 16 from 2-3 p.m. Spotlight Tours come free with admission and allow visitors to enjoy art at a slower pace. During these tours, a gallery guide will lead a 30-45 minute discussion on just one piece of art.

Regular guided tours are offered twice weekly, Thursdays at 6 PM (free) and Sundays at 2 PM (free with admission). Tours last approximately one hour.

NEH Awards DH Advancement Grant to Triplett and Stern


Durham, N.C.

Andrea Brucculeri

Co-directors Edward Triplett and Philip Stern received a $99,339 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) last Tuesday. The grant will be used to advance their project, “The Sandcastle Workflow: A Malleable System for Visualizing Pre-Modern Maps and Views.”

The NEH announced $30.9 million to support 188 humanities projects and an additional $48 million for community programs at state councils. Triplett’s project was one of 14 projects to receive a digital humanities advancement grant.

Triplett says the decision to apply for the NEH Office of Digital Humanities (ODH) grant originally grew out of his and Stern’s mutual interests in premodern maps and views, and in experimenting with new ways of analyzing them. The Sandcastle Workflow emerged through Triplett’s Wired Lab project which has been mapping and modeling fortresses and landscapes that appear in a 16th-century Portuguese volume of drawings known as the “Livro das Fortalezas” (or Book of Fortresses). The purpose of the NEH funding is to refine the methods begun in the Book of Fortresses project and make them available to other scholars studying similar images that cannot be georeferenced on top of a modern map.

Triplett and Stern agree that most mapping tools are strict and logical, and don’t account for the ambiguity and messiness of humanities’ resources. Triplett says this is why he and Stern decided to use the Book of Fortresses project to “streamline the process of deconstructing and reassembling these place-based images in a more malleable environment – one where the ‘control’ in our experiment was not a modern basemap.” This is where the title “Sandcastle Workflow” name came from — the unbridled malleability of sand, as well as Triplett’s research on medieval and early modern castles

“I have been working on archaeological reconstruction, HGIS, and other 3D geospatial projects for a long time, and I have wanted to head a project like this since I was in graduate school, so this is a very exciting time for me,” Triplett said. “I know Phil shares that excitement as well.” 

Stern is Gilhuly Family professor in the History Department. He is currently working on projects related to the British Empire. 

Triplett is a Lecturing Fellow in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies. In 2015 he joined the Wired! Lab for Digital Art History as a CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow and has been teaching courses in GIS mapping for historical subjects the design of Medieval castles, monasteries and cathedrals.

“I have had a team of 4-5 students, some of whom graduated last year, working on Fridays at the lab over the last two and a half years, and we have really done a lot with the time and money at our disposal,” Triplett said. Current student researchers working with Triplett include Daniel Castro, Cyan DeVeaux, Hillman Han, and Audrey Magnuson.

While the Sandcastle Workflow will focus more strictly on the arguments and spatial practices embedded in premodern maps and views, the Book of Fortresses project will continue to also gather dense 3D of the fortresses in its original source. With the help of Tim Senior, independent scholar and long-time Wired! Lab affiliate, and former student Stone Mathers, Triplett has spent parts of the summer in 2018 and 2019 traveling in Portugal and gathering this data through a process called photogrammetry.

“Thanks to financial assistance from the Digital Humanities Initiative at Duke headed by my colleague Victoria Szabo, we purchased a small drone with a mounted camera that we flew over the castles last June and July and ended up with some fantastic 3D data that has helped us compare the drawings in the Book of Fortresses to the architectural remains of the sites,” Triplett said. This data will be added into the Unity3D game engine as a way of pushing the Sandcastle Workflow forward, and a “point-cloud” version of the data can be seen on the project website at www.bookoffortresses.org.

“The Sandcastle Workflow is the methodology we are pushing forward with help from the NEH, but there is an even larger related effort to put these methods into practice right away,” Triplett said. “We also recently received funding from Bass Connections that has allowed us to create a project-based course around this subject next year, and we are currently recruiting for a summer Data+ team to help build a dataset from additional maps and views that will feed into the Bass Connections project.”


Projects

Book of Fortresses

Wired! team at the NGA Datathon


Christine Liu

Last month, a team from the Wired! lab represented Duke University at the National Gallery of Art’s Datathon. The Gallery’s full permanent collection data was released to six teams of researchers from institutions. The Datathon coincided with other major efforts by the Gallery to make its collection more widely available to the public. The Gallery is in the process of donating 53,000 images of works of art to Wikimedia Commons. Questions from curators, conservators, and researchers guided analysis of the released data, and teams were encouraged to pursue whichever avenues of inquiry they found most compelling. The study culminated in a two-day Datathon during which teams finalized their visualizations and presented their findings on Friday, October 25, 2019.

The Wired! team consisted of Hannah Jacobs, Paul Jaskot, Christine Liu, Mark Olson, Victoria Szabo, Edward Triplett, and Augustus Wendell. Their presentation titled, “Down the Spatial Rabbit Hole of Ambiguous Data and Art Historical Questions at the National Gallery of Art” looked toward deciphering spatial narratives of the NGA’s Widener Collection, looking at works with saints in the collection, and relationships between the gallery and art history as a whole. The entire presentation is available online, the Wired! team’s presentation begins at the 1:07:00 mark.

Student Spotlight: Kerry Rork’s Summer at the Nixon Library

October 11, 2019

Christine Liu

Kerry Rork is a sophomore majoring in History and Political Science, and minoring in Philosophy. Over the summer she interned at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda, California. Here she shares how her work with the Dictionary of Art Historians helped prepared her for working with archives and the work she did at the library.

Over the summer, I interned at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in the National Archives division. My position was primarily to digitize approximately 2,000 pages of recently declassified textual materials from POW/MIA files. These files were then added to the library site, within Drupal content management, for scholars to explore. After reading through these documents, I created a series scope and content note to make the files more accessible, which was then published to the website. I also worked in archival maintenance and assisted archivists to pull boxes for researchers within the stack areas.

When applying for the internship, I included my position with Dictionary of Art Historians. I discussed that I had developed analytical skills in formulating and compiling documents and archival information. I also described how much of my work would be applicable to an archival department aiming to further construct their research database. For the dictionary, I work on building a scholarly source for historians by piecing together the lives of art historians – particularly women of the 19th and 20th centuries – through everything from newspaper clippings to dissertations

Ultimately, it was working with the Wired! Lab and Dictionary of Art Historians that made me stand out in the applicant pool and eventually get the position. Throughout the summer, much of my research drew upon the skills from Dictionary of Art Historians – from examining archival documents to writing my research on POW/MIA files. It was this work at the Wired! Lab that best prepared me for working on archives and research at the Nixon library.

Image Credit: Kerry Rork


Projects

Dictionary of Art Historians


News & Events

A New Site for the Dictionary of Art Historians