My oral presentation “Datafying and visualising digital community imaginaries - An experimental approach” in the conference “Data-stories: New Media Aesthetics and Rhetorics for Critical Digital Ethnography”, the 1st Greek confestival (conference & festival). Click here to view the slides of the presentation. CC-BY 4.0

Data-stories was an intriguing experience, organised by the Laboratory of Social Anthropology of the Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology, University of Thessaly in Volos, Greece.

data-stories mariana ziku

The poster of the confestival, designed by Oneleg Rollerboy from Oblique Orbit

The presentation reviewed cultural and creative projects of data analysis and visualisation that attempt to understand the way digital communities interact and how their supporting infrastructures function. It is concerned with the contemporary web practice of massive participation in user-based micro-content platforms and p2p services in which contingent, vast flows of data are being exchanged in real-time.

The presentation focused on the collective aesthetic and narrative manifestations within these ecologies, from a computational art theoretical/curatorial point of view. In particular, it inquired new modes of digital curatorial practices as community-based curation and reflected on narrative concepts as micro-culture or micro-genre and techniques that bring to light the shared imaginaries of digital communities.

Even though efforts proliferate for modelling professional databases where cultural-related content is carefully organized for optimal use, an exponential growth rate of bulk data is happening outside of such repositories. This condition lets a diverse ground of cultural practices and processes to emerge, where more complex agencies as digital collectivity and machine computation develop new modes of curation, cultural exchange and narratives.

In view of this “wild frontier” of digital information, cultural creation models can be studied that open up our understanding for the synthesis and function of grassroots aesthetics and narratives as well as our awareness on the digital interfaces of human-machine interaction. How do collective cultural practices function in decentralised web spaces? How do aesthetic and narrative patterns evolve through open massive participation, when there are no top-down theorization models? What are the sensibilities of immersing in user-generated collective micro-worlds?

data-stories mariana ziku

“MUBI Cinephile rates & reviews” - An interactive scatterplot created with the use of the t-SNE (algorithm)