Victorian Eyes Victorian Eyes

“Victorian Eyes” is a traveling art exhibition that examines nineteenth-century British literature from literary, statistical, and artistic vantages. With the modern deluge of media and information, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer amounts of data available. With “Victorian Eyes,” we aim to inspire both specialists within our fields and nonspecialists to think about how the intersections of literature, statistics, and art can help us “see,” analyze, and explain large amounts of data. While our fields may seem like an eclectic grouping, all deal in varying modes with perspective, which is the unifying theme this exhibition is designed to explore. One intriguing literary and statistical finding (based on word frequencies, words lengths, unique words, etc.) functions as the muse for each art piece in our exhibition. Each art piece also features a QR code that links to a page on the exhibit’s website where more detailed information about the literary, statistical, and artistic perspectives about the results can be found.

In addition to the exhibition, we held an afternoon seminar and reception in partnership with the Humanities Research Bridge. The seminar, Data in the Humanities Plus Art (later renamed Digital Humanities Plus Art or DH+A) , questioned how art can contribute to the analysis of humanities data. The controversy surrounding the digital humanities involves fear of taking the “human” out of humanities. Can the combination of literature, statistics, and art alleviate these concerns and make the approaches to and value in computational methods more accessible? Or, is this line of inquiry the equivalent of parlor tricks and little more? Can computational approaches give texts an opportunity to speak to us with a clearer voice than we have ever heard, which art can then (re-)translate or make accessible to a wider audience? The event generated a lively discussion among a diverse audience of science and humanities scholars and the public at large. If you were unable to join us, the recording of the DH+A event can be viewed on our website.

Lullaby Project, Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall“The Lullaby Project, part of Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections program, creates musical experiences for women facing pregnancy in their teenage years or while homeless or incarcerated. The project invites participants to work with professional artists to write a personal lullaby for their babies, strengthening the bond between parent and child. Now extending across the country, the Lullaby Project enables partner organizations to support families in their own communities.

This project is part of Musical Connections, which offers concerts, creative projects, and long-term residencies across veterans, healthcare, and adult and juvenile settings.”

Read a recent New York Times article on the project here.

I’m a data consultant on the project.

Digital Humanities Research Network (DHRN)

dhacompressedFunded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Borghesi Endowment, and University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for the Humanities and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, DHRN aims to fulfill the campus need for a centralized digital humanities community by meeting regularly and establishing a shared workspace. In our meetings, we focus on the processes involved in digitizing and visualizing different types of humanities objects turned data (including printed books, manuscripts, historical records, art, music, films). In addition to opening up new research questions, our group provides an opportunity for a sustained conversation about the computational and analytical aspects of the digital humanities. Our group considers the current theories underlying digital methodologies and also discusses, brainstorms, and workshops specific projects at various stages.

2014-2015 theme, Going Public: Topics included public digital humanities and the role of technologies in public scholarship

2015-2016 theme, Sustaining Digital Humanities: Considers how UW-Madison can foster a long-term DH community

DHRN organized UW-Madison’s second annual Digital Humanities Plus Art: Going Public (DH+A) symposium and is responsible for maintaining the @UWDigHum account.

Victorian Serialization Project
Figure 6

What happens when we think about Victorian novels in terms of their installment length rather than by chapter or volume? The objective of this study is to use Docuscope, a text-tagging tool developed at Carnegie Mellon University, to detect, describe, and reread the signal of seriality in Victorian texts. Through the assistance of digital tools, we identify and analyze previously under-examined rhetorical shifts in serial novels, such as how setting and character distinctions separate Charles Dickens’s weekly and monthly installments, how temporal certainty is reflected in George Eliot’s serialized and non-serialized novels, and the degree of references to the materiality of language that distinguish Dickens’s and Eliot’s serials from the latter’s non-serialized novels. A juxtaposition of computer and human-generated analyses demonstrates algorithmic criticism’s potential to reveal new areas of investigation. The full write-up of our results can be found in Victorian Review 38.2 (Fall 2012): 43-68.

Visualizing English Print Project serendip

Funded by an Andrew W. Mellon grant, “Visualizing English Print” (VEP) is a joint venture between literary scholars and computer scientists to create tools for studying humanities data at increasing scales—we are currently working with a corpus of a few thousand early modern texts. In addition to thinking about large-scale textual developments, we are also interested in how seemingly low-level patterns (such as word usage) can affect high-level patterns (such as genre). Here are two of the tagging and visualization tools VEP has released: Ubiqu+Ity and Serendip.

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