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Using Computer Vision, Data Visualization, and Artificial Intelligence to Explore Global Photography

6:00 - 9:00 pm
An abstract digital art piece featuring pixellated colors in a splatter formation.
Image Courtesy of Lev Manovich

MFA Photography, Video and Related Media presents a workshop given by Lev Manovich on the way technology expands the possibilities of photography. RSVP here.

How can we explore patterns in massive amounts of user-generated visual media such as the billions of images and video on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, VK and WeChat? How can we use computer vision, machine learning and artificial intelligence methods to understand trends in content and aesthetics of photography around the world? When we augment our normal vision with computer vision in order to "see" global visual culture at scale, what do we gain and what do we lose? How can computational methods help us to see differently familiar cultural histories?

This workshop will explore such questions using examples of many projects created in Cultural Analytics Lab directed by Lev Manovich, including recent work for New York Public Library, The Museum of Modern Art and Google. The projects discussed include analysis of 2.3 million Instagram images from 13 global cities, an installation exploring Broadway in New York City using 30 million data points and images, exploration of 1 million artworks from the deviantart.com network for "user-generated art," and analysis of image sharing on Twitter using 270 million images shared worldwide over three years. The selected projects by other researchers, designers and artists will be also discussed. As part of the workshop, Manovich will demonstrate computational and visualization techniques used to create such projects including open source software created in Cultural Analytics Lab, and other software such as IBM Watson, Clarafai API and R programming environment.

Dr. Lev Manovich is one the leading theorists of digital culture worldwide, and a pioneer in application of data science for analysis of contemporary culture. Manovich is the author and editor of 13 books including AI Aesthetics (forthcoming 2018), Theories of Software Culture, Instagram and the Contemporary Image, Data Drift, Software Takes Command, Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database, and The Language of New Media which was described as "the most suggestive and broad ranging media history since Marshall McLuhan." He was included in the list of 25 People Shaping the Future of Design in 2013 and the list of 50 Most Interesting People Building the Future in 2014. Manovich is a Professor of Computer Science at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and a Director of the Cultural Analytics Lab that pioneered analysis of visual culture using computational methods. The lab created projects for Museum of Modern Art (NYC), New York Public Library, Google and other clients.

Free and open to the public