At the beginning of the session, participants voiced a variety of interests in art / design’s relationship with the digital humanities including (but not limited to):
- sound design
- writing systems for deaf people
- digital media + video
- translating sound + music, visual essays in digital format
- platforms for interrelated artforms
- writing about / through sound
- the artist / designer’s potential sensibility / use of play in DH projects
- potential for impredictability through the arts for digital research / scholarship
- public humanities
- identifying as an artist within the humanist context
- how do we think of the artist as part of the process?
- critical cartography and art’s removal from cartography
- how the medium constructs meaning
- preservation of digital artwork
With such a wide range of ideas, interests and questions, our conversation meandered in several directions. Here are my notes, including a few tweets made during the session, cleaned up and organized by several different threads / themes (not necessarily sequential):
Incorporating Visual Design
- “I’d like to make it pretty” but don’t have access to artists / designers
- Standardization vs Customization of DH tools: by democratizing the tools, do we lose possibilities for visual engagement and/or benefit from accessibility?
- The iterative process of digital art-making assumes an audience’s fluency with symbol systems: how can this fluency be activated in DH projects?
- How can artists / designers be brought into collaborative DH teams from the ground floor - rather than brought in later on as “prettifiers”?
- The designer’s perpetual question: “is this thing communicating what it’s supposed to?” (@jadrian)
- How do we communicate powerfully without text? Data visualization is a language in and of itself. (@quiquivix)
- Artists with technical backgrounds are helpful in bridging the gap, Technological constraints need to be acknowledged
- What kinds of skills do artists / designers bring to digital humanities projects? Different way of looking at the humanities?
- The archive is/as performance
- The artist as informant: can artists/designers bring new perspectives to the way DH projects collect / curate content?
- Digital Humanities vs Digital Media: is this the same thing from different perspectives?
- Archiving the ephemeral
Process vs. product
- What sort of intervention would be made if we showed the messiness of process rather than only the final polished end product? (@quiquivix)
- How do we encourage scholars to embrace process where traditional academic disciplines favor / recognize the final product as scholarship.
- Archiving Providence (community art project?): mind maps - preserving the mind maps as silk screens that can be printed (process as the product)
- Process provides transparency into the “mystery” of the art-making process: a difference in the view of process between old / new media?
- Process can chronicle both progress + “failure” (not a bad thing)
- Is the creative process fetishized?
- “One reason we struggle with insecurity: we compare our behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.” -Steven Furtick (@grvsmth)
- Black poet Sonia Sanchez often shows her process of writing in terms of failure. Provides real inspiration. (@quiquiviz)
Critical Cartography + the Arts
- Critical Cartography questions the popular belief of maps as objective objects
- How can art / design be reintegrated into cartography?
- Does criticism melt away when we are “wowed” by beautiful visuals?
Consultants for Digital Humanities
- Funding is always an issue
- Consultant fees are not always possible with scholarly projects
- When artists / digital media specialists are not associated w/ institutions, how can they collaborate on DH projects?
- Anke Finger’s Vilém Flusser project at UConn: looking for artists to help with curating visualizations
- personal websites should include meta tags related to digital humanities for web searches
Tools / Links / Examples
- DHCommons.org is a great resource for connecting people to potential collaborators, including artists / designers
- Voicethread.com is an interactive multimedia sharing and commentary platform. (@grvsmth)
- The Mystery of Picasso (@grvsmth)
- “If the Impressionists had been Dentists,” by Woody Allen (@grvsmth)
Thank you to all of the participants in this session. I hope you found it as useful and inciteful as I did.