Great article from Aperture Magazine!
Watching the World
Can the billions of images uploaded to digital platforms be put to work? Lev Manovich discusses the emerging field of social-media visualization.
Last summer the Museum of Modern Art in New York asked the Software Studies Initiative, a program I started in 2007, to explore how visualization could be used as a research tool, for possible methods of presenting their photography collection in a novel way. We received access to approximately twenty thousand digitized photographs, which we then combined, using our software, into a single high-resolution image. This allowed us to view all the images at once, scrolling from those dating from the dawn of the medium to the present, spanning countries, genres, techniques, and photographers’ diverse sensibilities. Practically every iconic photograph was included—images I had seen reproduced repeatedly. My ability to easily zoom in on each image and study its details, or zoom out to see it in its totality, was almost a religious experience.