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How to Compare One Million Images? Visualizing Patterns in Art, Games, Comics, Cinema, Web, Print and User-Generated Content

How do we navigate massive visual collections of user-generated content consisting from billions of images? What new theoretical concepts do we need to deal with the new scale of born-digital culture? How do we use data mining of massive cultural data sets to question our cultural assumptions and biases?

In 2007 Manovich established Software Studies Initiative at the University of California, San Diego to begin working on these questions. He will briefly present the techniques we developed for exploratory analysis of massive visual collections. This presentation will be illustrated with the examples of our research including analysis of 1 million pages from Manga books, and 1 million artworks from deviantArt (online community for user-created art). He will also discuss how computational analysis and visualization of big cultural data sets leads us toquestion traditional discrete categories used for cultural categorization such as "style" and "period."


Lev Manovich is a world-renowned innovator in digital humanities and theorist of digital culture and media art. Manovich’s global reputation in digital humanities stems from the tremendous impact of his 2001 book, The Language of New Media, which has been translated into eight languages. Manovich’s innovative leadership in digital humanities is also playing a key role in the development of a new field of software studies—the study of how software shapes contemporary societies. Manovich’s research focuses on cultural analytics using computational and visualization techniques to analyze massive cultural data sets and flows. The techniques developed in his lab can be used in digital humanities, art history, cinema studies, game studies, media studies, ethnography, exhibition design, and other fields.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.