Visual Media Workshop

The VMW is
a lab/
workspace/
creative zone/
vertext/
forum/
platform/
initiative/
experiment

that

sits at the intersection between/
falls between established disciplines of/
crosses the fields of

art history and information studies/
humanistic inquiry and technology/
established humanistic and new data-driven approaches

(Alex Oliver, April 2014)

VMW

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    Urchin Report on Medart

    I’ve spent the past month analyzing an Urchin Report on the usage of Medart. Google Urchin was Google Analytics predecessor. I was using Urchin 7 which is the newest version, but it was released back in 2010, so there haven’t been any recent updates to it. I was warned that not every aspect of the software would work, and I found that to be true. There were no visitor data, but there were data on how many visits and hits there were to the site. Data on visit length did not appear consistently and neither did total bytes used. I was excited to find that Urchin had recorded bot activity, which gave me a more accurate depiction of site usage. We are more interested in use by real people, so I extracted bot hits from total hits to see how many real people used the site. However, Urchin states that it identifies bots by looking for “bot-like” activity which means there could be some inaccuracies. Therefore, while this data is helpful and shows some trends, it is possible that the information isn’t exact.

    I only had access to usage data from the past 18 months. 18 months initially consisted of Sept. 2015 to Feb. 2017, but since it is now March I have lost access to the Sept. 2015 data. Luckily, I had already recorded everything I needed from Sept. 2015 before the data disappeared. It appears that Urchin can only store 18 months of data at a time.

    Since I worked on this mostly in February, I’m going to focus this post on data from Sept. 2015 to Feb. 2017. When looking at total and average visits to medart, it looks like there is a slight low in the summer months and a spike beginning in Oct. 2016. However, when we look only at hits and take out the bots, it is clear that there is a consistent usage increase September to October with a peak in November for both 2015 and 2016. There is a slight dip in December but the lows are definitely in the summer months (June, July, August). This shows that activity by real people follows a pattern dictated by the academic calendar. The spike in visits that began in Oct. 2016 is likely a result of increased bot activity which has continued to the present, not because of increased use by real people.

    To reiterate, Urchin may not have accurately filtered out all the bots. One way we decided to combat any possibility of misinformation was by looking at hits to the glossary page. There’s no reason for bots to be overly interested in the glossary page, but it would be something people would use. We decided that by focusing on the glossary we might get a better idea of how many real people use medart. I found that the glossary page appeared as one of medart’s top 5 most visited content for the past 18 months. The glossary had 9,074 visits and was the third most visited page. In comparison, the home page had the most visits at 89,012. The vast difference in these numbers indicates that a large portion of home page visits could be bots. 9,074 visits are much closer to what we would expect from 18 months of usage. For each time period, Urchin would only give me information on the top 5 pages in medart. I went through month by month to see if the glossary was always in the top 5 content. The glossary didn’t show up in the top 5 content at all until September, 2016. It is possible that the glossary rose in popularity as a result of the Sustaining Medart team’s visit to Kalamazoo in May, 2016.

    Medart’s top 5 content consistently included the home page and the main menu pages for France and England, but interestingly enough, medart’s page on the Tower of London also appeared consistently. In fact, this page was the fifth most visited page overall for the past year and a half. The Tower of London page got 7,096 visits, and users spent an average of 6 minutes and 12 seconds on it. This is compared to the glossary which saw 3 minutes of average time spent. Of all the top 5 content, users spent the most time per visit with the Tower of London page. This activity did not sound like bot activity, so why were so many users spending so much time on this page? I dug a little deeper and found that the Tower of London was in the top 5 all 18 months except during July, August, and September of 2016 with a low in Dec. 2015 and a peak in March, 2016. This very nearly mimics the academic calendar, so it could be something used for classes. I wanted to know how people were finding this page so I googled “Tower of London Medieval Timeline” and looked under google images. An image from the Tower of London page was one of the first to come up. I found that someone had posted a link to this page on Pinterest. After some more searching I found two more images from medart saved to Pinterest. It’s exciting to see medart integrated into social media, and to see the effect it can have on site usage. It was good that I was able to get some insight on how actual people found medart. According to the Urchin Report, everyone who used medart got there by typing in the URL. This is extremely unlikely which is why I did some actual searching to get this information.

    I did a similar search to find out how people were getting to the glossary. I googled “medieval glossary” and medart’s glossary was the ninth result. I checked through the other results to see if any linked to medart but didn’t find anything. People certainly can get to the glossary this way, but I think it’s more likely that usage increased because of the presentation at Kalamazoo in May.

    Overall, the Urchin Reports presented us with a lot of really helpful information. We got further validation that medart usage revolves around the academic calendar, and we were able to look more closely at bot activity on the site. The Urchin Report also led me to discover other ways people have linked to medart, such as through Pinterest.

    Categories: 
    • Sustaining MedArt
    • Graduate Work
    • VMW
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    Decomposing Race

    Political correctness has been pushed to propagate the idea of distance between the political elite to the working class and distract people from the larger, more substantial issues at hand. One of the most relevant issues, racism, has been skirted around despite its continual relevancy to the problems of modern society. Racism has always existed, and continues to exist. Its presence, impact, and definition have changed, but are still visible. During my time transcribing Bertillon cards from the Ohio State Reformatory and Penitentiary, I have found trends between complexion and crime as well as racial undertones and early usages of political correctness.

    Historically, Black people have been underprivileged and marginalized. They were granted only second-class citizenship, if at all. This influence was clear in the transcription data that Ashley Cipcic, my research partner, and I have collected. In the prisoner records--the cards we catalogue into the Decomposing Bodies online dataset, Omeka--Laborer, the most menial job, was also the most common job. It appeared 96 times in our (growing) dataset of 642. People with dark, brown, chocolate, or mulatto complexions held 60 of those 96 positions. Medium complexions held another 27 of the 96 positions. The presence of race as a determining factor of socioeconomic status was significant. From birth, Black people’s occupational limits were predetermined.

    Black people’s “tendencies” to commit crimes, too, may have been predetermined. It is interesting to note the demographics of Ohio in 1900. At the time, only 97,000 people of the total population of 4,158,000 (2.3%) were Black. Nevertheless, 40.6% of the prisoners we archived were of complexions that carry racially charged language; of our compiled list of 642 prisoners, 261 were labeled as dark, chocolate, brown, or mulatto. Though it is not necessarily true that police purposefully sought out Black people to arrest, or that Black people may have had a propensity to commit felonies due to their exposure to crime, poverty segregation, and inhumane treatment, there is a notable correlation between complexion and entering prison. Efforts to treat people fairly were, however, somewhat present. It should be noted that some White people were labeled dark as well. Furthermore, 199 prisoners (this excludes those that were specified as medium brown, dark, etc.) were ambiguously labeled as “medium.”

    The fact that “medium” could have been attributed to any person also speaks to the slowly encroaching idea of political correctness and unbiased treatment of people--not insofar that it would be defined as such, but that America of the 1900s began its attempt to enforce equal rights and treatment. The Civil Rights Movement did not even begin to form until Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), but the idea that all peoples deserved respect may have started to develop.

    The irony of this situation (other than the categorization of the descent of all Black people as “Negro,” regardless that they were most likely born in America like their white “American” counterparts) is that the historical mistreatment of Black people in America has created a situation in which people are never truly equal. Equality does not exist now, nor has it ever. The effects of racism in America still linger.

    I do not claim to have found anything that directs us to the beginning of inequality or answers our problems (in regards to race and prison), or to have better defined the proper usage of political correctness. I do, however, think that the trends that Ashley Cipcic and I have stumbled upon may lead to the beginnings of the answer to why the prison system in America is prejudiced.

     

    All state demographic data was from http://blackdemographics.com/states/ohio/ which collected census data.

    Categories: 
    • Decomposing Bodies
    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW
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    Introduction and Goals

    Hi!

    My name is Laxmisupriya Avadhanula and I am a part of the FE-R working with Dr. Drew Armstrong and Lily Brewer.  The project is to categorize the archaeologists in the quarries they had visited in France in 1678 and then documenting their tour into Itinera. While I have arrived to this project a bit late, I am hoping to be able to use my French minor and Neuroscience major for making connections. I am hoping to be analyze how visuals patterns are easier to understand by the brain and make connections when it is in a 3-D model compared to words or a 2-D model. At the same time, I am hoping to answer how their travels influenced different archaeologists. While this is a different field for me, I am hoping to understand how the Arts and Science are codependent.

    Categories: 
    • Itinera
    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW
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    Introduction and Goals

    Hello,

    My name is Victoria Johngrass, and I am a freshman working in accordance with the Office of First Experience in Research with Dr. Drew Armstrong and Lily Brewer. As I joined the project late, there will be a lot of catching up to do, but I am eager to contribute to this. With my intended major of biology, the project of categorizing the archaeologists in quarries in France in 1678 and documenting their “tour” into Itinera is a bit out of my comfort zone, but I am interested to see what direction it takes me in. Thankfully, my other intended major of French will assist in reading and comprehending the documents provided.

    This project is extremely out of the box for me, but I intend to relate it to my scientific discipline. To do this, I will analyze patterns and process, and I will try to look at the linearity of the travellers routes. How are different architects connected? When and where do their paths cross? How did their travels evolve and what did they influence? These are the questions I hope my research with this project will answer, and I hope this project will also provide to me a greater understanding of the digital humanities and their importance in today’s society.

    What I hope to get out of my experience in this lab is an understanding of the research process, gathering and inputting data, as well as forming connections. While this is a pretty general idea of what takes place in a research lab, I feel as though it can also be applied to what I wish to do with my own research in the field of Biology. I also hope this project helps me to grow as a student and expand my horizons, as I have already looked into a few Art History courses since meeting Drew and Lily.

    I will keep this blog updated with my findings and progress throughout the semester.

    Au revoir

    Victoria

    Categories: 
    • Itinera
    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW
    • The reverse side (without mugshot) of a Bertillon card
    • The cover of the book "Punishment and Inequality in America" by Bruce Western
    • A screenshot of the tags currently in use in the Decomposing Bodies Omeka site
    The reverse side (without mugshot) of a Bertillon card

    The reverse side (without mugshot) of a Bertillon card

     

    Updates to Decomposing Bodies

    This term is seeing some big changes for Decomposing Bodies— some that will be apparent from the outside, and some that will only affect those of us working behind the scenes. The Decomposing Bodies project has been a part of the VMW since the winter of 2013, and has gone through several phases over the years. This term, myself, along with two First Experience in Research (FER) students, as well as the support of the entire staff of the VMW, we are rolling out the next phase in Decomposing Bodies— what it is, how it’s organized, and who it’s for.

     

    Tags

    Creating a dataset of the text written on the Bertillon cards in the images that make up DB is the process of transcription, which is work that is shared between everyone working in the VMW. We use the content management system (CMS) Omeka, which is a project of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, at George Mason University. A part of the transcription system involves the use of tags, which allow users to indicate how much of a card has been transcribed, and whether there are any anomalies with the card. This makes review by the Project Manager much easier, and keeps track of our progress on the transcriptions. Beginning in January, we transferred to a new system of tags, which document similar aspects of the transcription process, but in more explicit terms. For example, the tag “pass1a” has become “Front,” indicating that all the fields on the front of a particular card have been transcribed. Not all of the tags translate so cleanly from one system to another, which is why before implementing the new system, I created what is known in the info management world as a “crosswalk”: a document outlining the items in the new tag schema, and their relationships to the old system. Future researchers using the DB dataset will likely never encounter these tags, or be affected by this change, but it marks a shift in how the ongoing work on this project is handled.

     

    Website

    However, not all the planned work on Decomposing Bodies will be behind the scenes. After the Data (after)Lives exhibition last fall, we’ve been working with Sam Nosenzo, an undergraduate Computer Engineering major here at Pitt, to create interactive visualizations of the faces from the Bertillon cards. This project is an extension of Sam’s piece with Alison Langmead and Aaron Henderson for Data (after)Lives, 7,105 Faces, in Order, and asks the viewer to confront the humanity of the people documented by the Bertillon cards. This interactive tool, as well as a static video version, will be a part of the public-facing Decomposing Bodies website, which is in the process of getting a major overhaul this term.

    Besides integrating Sam’s work, I have also been working on creating a comprehensive timeline of the past three and a half years of work on Decomposing Bodies, which will documented on the DB website. Along with this timeline, there are myriad resources related to Bertillonage, criminality, prison reform, surveillance practices, and facial recognition technologies that the research team has collected over the years. This bibliography, as well as some discussion of its influence on our own work with DB, will also be available on the updated website. These updates are expected to be live by the end of the Spring term. Keep an eye out here for the official launch date!

     

    FERs

    As I mentioned in the introduction to this post, Decomposing Bodies has two FER students this term: Joe Jang and Ashley Cipcic. They have been assisting with transcriptions of Bertillon cards, as well as developing a research project related to the content of the cards they’re looking at. They will both be writing blog posts documenting their work this semester. Ashley’s blog posts are at http://www.constellations.pitt.edu/blogs/ashley-cipcic, and Joe’s are at http://www.constellations.pitt.edu/blogs/joe-jang.

     

    Prison Reform and Bertillonage

    Finally, in thinking about not only creating the DB dataset, but also engaging with the objects and concepts that the dataset documents, I am beginning exploratory research into the role of Bertillonage in the prison reform movements happening across the United States, but especially in the midwest, at the turn of the 20th century. The implementation of Bertillonage in the Ohio State Reformatory and the Ohio Penitentiary— and across the US in general— is an interesting permutation of Bertillon’s original system, which was intended for use in the police force, in order to identify recidivist criminals at the point of arrest, rather than as a form of documentation for individuals as they move into the penal system. The conflation, or at least shortening of distance, between policing and prisons in the United States during this time has powerful repercussions for how crime, punishment, and surveillance are treated in contemporary discourse. You can see my ongoing reading list for this project at: https://www.zotero.org/shackney19/items/collectionKey/2QXCC52E  

    Categories: 
    • Decomposing Bodies
    • Graduate Work
    • VMW
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    Connections with Medart's Past

    I recently finished the finding aid for PITT_EDU–medart. PITT_EDU–medart is a folder containing the earliest version of medart. It was the primary directory for medart until they created VRCOLL out of a need for more storage space. However, instead of moving the contents of PITT_EDU–medart onto VRCOLL, they continued to maintain it. PITT_EDU–medart served as the nucleus of medart in that the contents of VRCOLL often linked back to material in PITT_EDU–medart. Some of what’s on PITT_EDU–medart is no longer active on the medart site or in some cases never was. In this way PITT_EDU–medart is very much like a time capsule of medart’s history.

    PITT_EDU–medart includes relics of medart’s past such as course materials from Alison Stones’ “Introduction of Medieval Art and Architecture” classes. We know from interviewing Alison and by reading her work that medart was intended as a classroom tool. The course materials are further evidence of this. Assignment outlines, images to be used in assignments, and quizzes on vocabulary are some examples of course materials found on PITT_EDU–medart.

    There is also evidence of experimentation in PITT_EDU–medart. I found a version of the search feature that I hadn’t seen before. This further emphasizes that they considered a search feature but must have determined it wouldn’t work for medart since it was never made live on the site. The wording on the search feature (can be seen in the above image) indicates doubt on the part of its creator in regard to its functionality. It’s possible that it wasn’t that they didn’t think a search feature would work for medart, but rather couldn’t get the search feature to workv period.

    Another interesting discovery while creating the PITT_EDU–medart finding aid was consistency in the inaccuracy of France’s alphabetical categories. Instead of a long list of sites in France, they are organized into sections such as A-C or D-K etc. However, when exploring the file trees I noticed that A-C or D-K was not always an accurate title for a particular section. For example, D-K has starts with Chadenac and ends with Montmouillon, L-Z starts with Lacharite and ends with Metz, N-R starts with Montmouillon and ends with Rouen. It was interesting to see these inaccuracies reflected in the hard drive. On the current medart website the sites are organized into the correct sections.

    Creating this finding aid has given me the opportunity to evaluate the differences and connections between the VRCOLL and PITT_EDU–medart directories as well as with projects I worked on earlier this year.

    Categories: 
    • Sustaining MedArt
    • Graduate Work
    • VMW
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    More to Analyze: Color, Contrast, and Composition?

    Since deciding on the Hudson River Valley School of art, a dataset that is both consistent in theme but varying in compositions and use of art characteristics (e.g. color, contrast), I have been exploring more analyses. If the dataset is varied enough, I believe it makes sense to consider multiple characteristics, rather than just one. 

    As far as color and contrast goes, I will be going ahead with the Photoshop Histogram Analysis. In my previous blog posts, I have detailed how it provides information on the Red, Green, and Blue channels of the image. I will look at varying levels of these channels throughout the artworks (using mean, range, etc.), and at the end of the survey, ask the subject which of the three colors they prefer the most. Here, results will look at a possible correlation between color preference and artwork preference. For contrast, many current measures of contrast focus on comparing the darkest and brighest points of an image and focus on extremes. Because I want a measure of average contrast throughout the work, RMS (Root mean square) contrast seems to be the most relevant, as it looks at the average values of pixels in comparison to the mean. In addition, I could also compare the representation of the colors channels with one another to look at a measure of color contrast.

    While I have mentioned both color and contrast before, the primary new characteristic that I am considering is subject composition. As aforementioned, these Hudson River Valley School artworks are similar in theme; they depict mountains and vegetation, bodies of water, and the sky. These three to four components are consistent throughout most of these works. However, while the presence of these components is consistent throughout these artworks, the usage and representation of them may not be consistent, and seem to be varied. There are several aspects to consider here, including area ratio, continuity, and dividing or border lines. For area ratio, we can do a simple comparison of how much of the painting is water versus how much of the painting is sky. Compositional differences here could surely affect one's perception of these artworks (but we must consider and ask whether the subject simply prefers one over another, e.g. sky over mountains). We can also look at the continuity of these areas; is there one connected region, multiple regions, or is one region fragmented by another component? For example, there may be two small ponds (bodies of water) in a work, or a large mountain in the middle of the artwork may divide the sky into two areas. To look at the areas, I can just use Photoshop to measure the area taken up by each component. Alternatively, I could use a grid system and look at the representation around each point to suggest a specific probability of representation. This would also allow me to specify and analyze in which quadrant of the painting certain components are most common. Lastly, we can also look at the line that divides or borders two of these regions. For example, the line that divides the sky and bodies of water is very typically the horizon line. The vertical position of this line in relation to the painting's height can be noted, and may signify how much vegetation/water versus sky/mountains is depicted (another question: is there actually a relationship here?). However, we also have lines that divide the mountains/vegatation and the bodies of water. These lines are likely not horizonal and straight like the horizon line, and may have a non-zero slope or be irregular. However, by looking at the general slope and horizontal and vertical position of this line, in addition to the other area-related charactertistics, we can better find significant and relevant compositional differences between these artworks of similar theme.

     

    Categories: 
    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW
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    Itinera's Best Practices

    In the Fall semester of 2016, I started training potential Itinera contributors outside the post of project manager. These individuals included Eleanor Harvey, senior curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Fracesca Torello, professor of architecture at Carnegie Mellon, S. E. Hackney, fellow Visual Media Workshop project manager, and Lindsay Decker, VMW graduate assistant. Through their feedback and questions during the trainings, I was able to refine my Spring semester project, which is to develop a Scalar site dedicated to outlining the best practices for Itinera. My vision for this project is to provide a platform for scholars interested in the mission of Itinera to be able to view and appreciate its networked complexity and readily envision themselves contributing to that complexity with their own objects and processes of inquiry.
     

    Scalar
    Currently, the content manager I am looking into is Scalar, an open-sourced authoring and publishing platform developed by the University of Southern California. Their mission is to enable their authors to assemble various media with text to create and structure easily navigatable, long-form and essay-length pages. From Itinera's point of view, the benefit of organizing information in this digital format is creating a business-card-like deliverable that, when given to interested parties, demonstrates the networked and relational complexity–while still, I hope, the do-ability–of working with Itinera through Collective Access, the University of Pittsburgh's web-based cataloging tool. (Collective Access is used to catalog the digital images for both the University Art Gallery and Decomposing Bodies project here at the University of Pittsburgh.)
     

    Itinera's Best Practices
    In using Scalar, I am building an online manual that: one, walks the user through the process of data input, both in text-based and video/screen capture directions; two, outlines common issues that arise when the historical record is translated into structural hierarchies in flattened input forms; and three, answers to frequently asked questions. I am certain to include the workflow, diligently put together by Jen Donnelly and Meredith North before me. Also, my growing list of chapters include: Source Authorities, Highlighting Narrative and Historical Tone, Location Specificity, Object Metadata, Supporting Agents Input, and a template for Users' Logging and Reflections. The aim of these chapters is to highlight issues that have emerged for the art historians working on Itinera that concern the nuances of the historical narrative that are lost in the metadata.

    For example, "Highlighting Narrative:"
    Tour Case Study:

    AG16051001_mn, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu:

    This is a factual overview of Montagu’s Turkish tour:
    With her husband and ambassador Edward Wortley Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu set out to Turkey from Westminster, England by way of the Netherlands, Austria, and Serbia from August of 1716 to November 1718.

    This is historical context suggesting the motivations behind the tour:
    At that time, Turkey was at war with the Venetian Republic, whereby Mr. Montagu was assigned to mediate on behalf of England an agreement with Austria, in the attempt to prevent Austria from engaging with the Spanish power in the Mediterranean.

    This is my interpretation of the historical account, preserving the voice of the original historical record:
    During this time, Lady Montagu entertained at court while studying Arabic and reading Arabic poetry. Toward the end of their tour, her husband inevitably failed at establishing a truce with Austria, his position was usurped by a competitor, and he failed to ascend to a political post of any import, resulting in a general, bitter demeanor. Shortly after they separated. Lady Montagu turned her sights to Italy for almost the rest of her life, keeping up with her studies and correspondence with her stately and artistic friends abroad. She died in 1962, reviled and adored across Europe and the Near East.

    In short, my intention is to create an editable and mutable document that demonstrates the complexity of historical and social histories for Itinerant posterity.

    Categories: 
    • Environment
    • Mobility/Exchange
    • Itinera
    • Graduate Work
    • VMW
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    A Finding Aid for Medart: Delving into the Depths

    To start the semester, I finished a finding aid I had started last semester. The finding aid was for VRCOLL-medart,one of the versions of medart we have stored on a hard drive. VRCOLL-medart is that largest of the three versions of medart, and the finding aid, as it is now, is 16 pages long. I set up the finding aid by listing the main folders and then recording either a summary of its contents or a detailed account. A lot of the finding aid had to be done on a case by case basis, because there really was no steady consistency to the organization of VRCOLL-medart. Some folders were titled after a monument and everything in the folder was used for medart’s webpage on that monument. Other folders might be named “Business Cards” and contain a to-do list for a grad student, instructions on how to create an image retrieval link, a file that can’t be opened named “History-of-medart,” and not a single reference to business cards. In cases like that I had to list everything that was in the folder because there would be no way to summarize it other than “miscellaneous files,” in which case half the folders in VRCOLL-medart would be labeled as such. The lack of consistency certainly contributed to the length of the finding aid. The reason for the disorganization of VRCOLL-medart might be simply because it was used for so long and by so many different people. Collaborative efforts by many graduate students with different organization strategies are probably the greatest reason for the inconsistencies. Another is the sheer size of VRCOLL-medart, which consists of 116 GB, far larger than any other version of medart we have. VRCOLL-medart is larger, because it also houses images and information for the Chartres website which was a separate project run by some of the same people. One aspect of VRCOLL-medart I found particularly interesting were the folders dedicated to specific countries. The medart website has images only of France and England, but VRCOLL-medart has folders for the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, and Spain. At first, I thought these folders only contained images from these countries and that medart never had the time or funding to make webpages for them and put them up in medart. But interestingly enough there are multiple html webpages for each country including homepages for all of them except the Czech Republic. So the question is why did they not add the webpages and images to medart if they had already created them? All in all taking the time to thoroughly sweep VRCOLL-medart has provided us with quite a bit of useful information. There was email correspondence saved in VRCOLL-medart concerning requests to use medart images, questions about medart, and conversations between medart’s creators. I also found a presentation two of the graduate students who worked on medart gave at a conference that gives us insight on their thoughts on medart and how it was intended to be used. There were also usage stats and a great deal of other information in VRCOLL-medart that will be useful to our understanding of medart’s history. I’m interested to discover more about medart from the other two versions of it we have.

    Categories: 
    • Sustaining MedArt
    • Graduate Work
    • VMW
  •  

    Considering Artistic Movements to Focus On & A Prelude to Photoshop Pixel Histogram Analysis, Part 2

    In my last blog post, I mentioned possible artistic movements to use for my dataset. I have chosen works from the Hudson River Valley School of Art. I will be pulling images from reputable museum websites and making sure all images are of similar resolution and size. These artworks are similar in overall style, which should eliminate any bias toward certain artistic styles, but do vary in characteristics like color usage (sometimes dependent on the time of day that the work is portraying). Due to this apparent difference in color usage, the Photoshop Histograms will be useful as they show color distribution using the RGB scale, and it will be interesting to see if people prefer works that have more, for example, blues than reds.

    Concerning the histograms that were shown in my last blog post, I would like to take some time to explain them. They are graphical representations of the pixel values within an image. For each histogram, the x-axis represents some value from 0 to 255 that corresponds to a brightness intensity (left to right is black to white). The y-axis shows the representation of that pixel value in the image (how much there is). Concerning the between the RGB channel and the individual Red, Green, and Blue channels, the RGB channel seems to sum the histograms for the individual channels. For the individual channels, the y-axis is similar to the RGB channel but the x-axis is a gradient from black to the saturated color (left to right). As far as analyzing contrast, the histograms themselves will not be enough. Qualitatively, looking at a the histograms and seeing that there a multiple peaks that are far apart on the x-axis is a logical sign of contrast within the work. However, quantitatively, programming will have to be used. This aspect of the project will be further investigated during winter break and the beginning of the Spring Semester.

    Finally, I am excited to say that I will be doing this project under the support of the Brackenridge Fellowship next semester. I would like to thank Dr. Alison Langmead, Lily Brewer, and Dr. Douglas Ruff for all their help in preparing my application, as well as Dr. Peter Koehler and others in the Honors College for accepting my project.

    Categories: 
    • Undergraduate Work
    • VMW

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