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TRAVERSING
NETWORKS OF
COMPLEXITY
FROM DATABASE ARTWORKS TO
CONTEMPORARY NETWORKED PUBLICATIONS
Digital Abstraction | Jacobs University Bremen | 08.05.2015
Florian Wiencek Amanda Starling Gould
Jacobs University Bremen Duke University
IN HOWFAR
IS DIGITAL
ABSTRACT?
DIGITALITY AS ABSTRACTION
Photo as human-perceivable image
Same photo as computer-interpretable code => encoded in jpg format
the photo consist of computable binary
code on the machine level
MULTIPLE LEVELS OF ABSTRACTION
DIGITALITY AS ABSTRACTION
image displayed on a computer screen, using the
software Preview on MacOS X 10.9; the window is
resizable
Histoimages by Fanny Chevalier. Source: http://www.aviz.fr/histomages
The software and interface determines how the user can interact with media data.
MULTIPLE LEVELS OF ABSTRACTION
Screenshot of the V2_ Knowledge Base
LEV MANOVICH
“ABSTRACTION & COMPLEXITY” (2007)
The new image of our increasingly complex world is “the dynamic
networks of relations, oscillating between order and disorder –
always vulnerable, ready to change with a single click of the
user” (Manovich, 2007, p. 352)
NETWORK SOCIETY (CASTELLS)
COMMUNICATION NETWORK IS CENTRAL FOR THE SOCIETY
Submarine Cable Map
http://www.submarinecablemap.com
Submarine Cable
THE IDEA OF THE NETWORK
IS CENTRAL!
Network:
A system of relations or
connections between
nodes.
It is an open structure
that can develop further
through adding or
deleting nodes.
IDEA OF THE NETWORK
EXAMPLE INTERNET / WEB
Internet: Network of Hardware
Source:ccicreations.com
Source:webdoc.sub.gwdg.de
Web 1.0: Network of Documents
Web 2.0: Network of Data
CourtesyofNeilCummings.
Source:flickr.com
Web 3.0: Network of Semantics /
Locations / Things
Source:netzspannung.org
NETWORK(ED) ECOLOGY
Networks build up an ecology. They overlap, flow into other networks.
There is interaction between different nodes the networks or between
networks. No element in a network and no network is an island.
A network ecology is also an ecology formed and shaped through
networks (physical or other) and networked thinking.
Image:CaliforniaAcademyofSciences
Screenshotofhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?
feature=player_embedded&v=-bE-Pydad7U
WHAT DOES ALL OF
THIS MEAN FOR
PUBLICATIONS?
PUBLICATION IS PART OF A
NETWORK(ED) ECOLOGY…
Image:CaliforniaAcademyofSciences
Screenshotofhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?
feature=player_embedded&v=-bE-Pydad7U
… and is itself a INFORMATION / DATA NETWORK
N_E
Image:http://www.darpa.mil/uploadedImages/Content/NewsEvents/
Releases/2014/Memex%20Time%20Magazine.jpg
HYPERMEDIA SYSTEMS –
NETWORKED PUBLICATIONS
Memex – Vannevar Bush –1945
XANADU – Ted Nelson – 1960 (ongoing)
Image:http://xanadu.com/XanaduSpace/btf_files/fwDemoOrigins-panorama2.png
World Wide Web – Tim Ber
World Wide Web – Tim Berners-Lee – 1989/90
http://www.w3.org/History/1994/WWW/Journals/CACM/screensnap2_24c.gif
DATABASE: META-NARRATIVE OR
CULTURAL FORM
•  the database is the underlying principle and structure of most new
media objects (Paul 2007, 99)
•  databased projects at meta-narrative – a narrative about a dataset
•  arranging information available in a database allows to trace
its subtexts, tease out potential stories told within a given
data-set
•  datasets can serve as means to learn something about a
dataset itself, a topic or points of views it represents through
the emerging meta-narratives about a culture and available
subtexts within the database
•  BUT: Lev Manovich: database as cultural form does not have logic
of a narrative but of a collection
•  “database represents the world as list of items that it refuses
to order” (Manovich 1999/2010, 68)
•  a narrative creates a cause-effect trajectory of seemingly
unordered items or events.
Image: Fernand Deligny
As a case study, the Networked Ecologies project puts our interrogations
into artistic/critical practice as we are thinking "through, with and
alongside" (Hayles, 2012, p.1) the theoretical and scholarly implications
of layered digital abstraction, complex dynamic networks, and
scholarly rigor as they are applied to innovative digital publication.
NETWORK ECOLOGIES
NETWORK ECOLOGIES: THE PROJECT
The project began with two main guiding questions:
1.  How can we create a rigorous digital scholarly publication?
2.  How can the curation and design of a digital publication be a tool
for discovery and critical (re)thinking?
Image: Fernand Deligny
NETWORK ECOLOGIES: THE PROJECT
1. Networ(ed) Ecologies Blog
2. In-Person Symposium
The project first needed content
3. Call for Submissions
4. Network Ecologies Art Exhibit
...and we have a lot of content, in myriad formats
Here is a linear accounting of our content and this is only a fraction of it.
NETWORK ECOLOGIES: THE PROJECT
Essay
Comment
Symposium Video
Timestamped
Tweets
Image Documentation
Slides / Charts of presentation
Keywords
...and that content, when its relations are mapped, looks like this:
…and this is just one essay.
NETWORK ECOLOGIES: THE PROJECT
NETWORK ECOLOGIES:
THE PUBLICATION FINAL PRODUCT
The Network Ecologies Digital Scalar Publication
will be unveiled in its beta stage Fall 2015.
http://scalar.usc.edu
SCHOLARLY DIGITAL PUBLICATION
Scholarly digital publication brings together the complex acts of
archiving, curation, editorializing, and design. In the Network
Ecologies Project we are doing all four:
1.  Archiving both digital and non-digital content
2.  Curating (qua networking) multiple transmedia forms from
multiple authors from multiple disciplines...into a coherent whole
3.  Editorial: As digital editor, I am not only choosing the content and
how it will work together but am working closely with my design
partner (Florian) to think content WITH design.
4.  Digital Design work: As design editors, we are designing (qua
authoring) the pages, the connections, and the navigational
paths that a reader will take through that content. We are
authoring the reading experience.
We are also creating (& facilitating & capturing) Complex
Dynamic Networks
1.  between content and design
2.  between authors and collaborators
3.  between scholarly & professional disciplines
4.  between media forms
5.  between scholarly publication and innovative design
6.  between (Scalar) paths and pages
SCHOLARLY DIGITAL PUBLICATION
SCHOLARLY (PUBLICATION)
IMPLICATIONS OF LAYERED DIGITAL
ABSTRACTION
We recognize the acts associated with scholarly digital publishing -
archiving, curation, digital design, and editorializing - to be both
abstractions & concretizations.
Individual elements are first abstracted from their contexts to be
concretized and combined into a complex network with a shared
structure.
SUMMARY
A digital publication contains several layers of abstraction
1.  digitality itself => everything becomes information /
computable data
2.  a publication becomes an information network and a
database but also networkED (part of a larger network)
3.  a digital publication is abstracting and concretizing – or
in other terms de- and re-contextualizing – information
nodes of its content (like a database)
4.  the publication follows rather the logic of a collection
than one coherent narrative
QUESTIONS?
YOU WANT TO FOLLOW UP?
GET IN CONTACT!
Florian Wiencek
Email: florian.wiencek@googlemail.com
Twitter: @austrianflow
www: www.florianwiencek.com
Amanda Starling Gould
Email: amanda.gould@duke.edu
Twitter: @stargould
www: http://amandastarlinggould.wordpress.com

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Traversing Networks of Complexity

  • 1. TRAVERSING NETWORKS OF COMPLEXITY FROM DATABASE ARTWORKS TO CONTEMPORARY NETWORKED PUBLICATIONS Digital Abstraction | Jacobs University Bremen | 08.05.2015 Florian Wiencek Amanda Starling Gould Jacobs University Bremen Duke University
  • 3. DIGITALITY AS ABSTRACTION Photo as human-perceivable image Same photo as computer-interpretable code => encoded in jpg format the photo consist of computable binary code on the machine level MULTIPLE LEVELS OF ABSTRACTION
  • 4. DIGITALITY AS ABSTRACTION image displayed on a computer screen, using the software Preview on MacOS X 10.9; the window is resizable Histoimages by Fanny Chevalier. Source: http://www.aviz.fr/histomages The software and interface determines how the user can interact with media data. MULTIPLE LEVELS OF ABSTRACTION
  • 5. Screenshot of the V2_ Knowledge Base LEV MANOVICH “ABSTRACTION & COMPLEXITY” (2007) The new image of our increasingly complex world is “the dynamic networks of relations, oscillating between order and disorder – always vulnerable, ready to change with a single click of the user” (Manovich, 2007, p. 352)
  • 6. NETWORK SOCIETY (CASTELLS) COMMUNICATION NETWORK IS CENTRAL FOR THE SOCIETY Submarine Cable Map http://www.submarinecablemap.com Submarine Cable
  • 7. THE IDEA OF THE NETWORK IS CENTRAL! Network: A system of relations or connections between nodes. It is an open structure that can develop further through adding or deleting nodes.
  • 8. IDEA OF THE NETWORK EXAMPLE INTERNET / WEB Internet: Network of Hardware Source:ccicreations.com Source:webdoc.sub.gwdg.de Web 1.0: Network of Documents Web 2.0: Network of Data CourtesyofNeilCummings. Source:flickr.com Web 3.0: Network of Semantics / Locations / Things Source:netzspannung.org
  • 9. NETWORK(ED) ECOLOGY Networks build up an ecology. They overlap, flow into other networks. There is interaction between different nodes the networks or between networks. No element in a network and no network is an island. A network ecology is also an ecology formed and shaped through networks (physical or other) and networked thinking. Image:CaliforniaAcademyofSciences Screenshotofhttps://www.youtube.com/watch? feature=player_embedded&v=-bE-Pydad7U
  • 10. WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN FOR PUBLICATIONS?
  • 11. PUBLICATION IS PART OF A NETWORK(ED) ECOLOGY… Image:CaliforniaAcademyofSciences Screenshotofhttps://www.youtube.com/watch? feature=player_embedded&v=-bE-Pydad7U … and is itself a INFORMATION / DATA NETWORK N_E
  • 12. Image:http://www.darpa.mil/uploadedImages/Content/NewsEvents/ Releases/2014/Memex%20Time%20Magazine.jpg HYPERMEDIA SYSTEMS – NETWORKED PUBLICATIONS Memex – Vannevar Bush –1945 XANADU – Ted Nelson – 1960 (ongoing) Image:http://xanadu.com/XanaduSpace/btf_files/fwDemoOrigins-panorama2.png World Wide Web – Tim Ber World Wide Web – Tim Berners-Lee – 1989/90 http://www.w3.org/History/1994/WWW/Journals/CACM/screensnap2_24c.gif
  • 13. DATABASE: META-NARRATIVE OR CULTURAL FORM •  the database is the underlying principle and structure of most new media objects (Paul 2007, 99) •  databased projects at meta-narrative – a narrative about a dataset •  arranging information available in a database allows to trace its subtexts, tease out potential stories told within a given data-set •  datasets can serve as means to learn something about a dataset itself, a topic or points of views it represents through the emerging meta-narratives about a culture and available subtexts within the database •  BUT: Lev Manovich: database as cultural form does not have logic of a narrative but of a collection •  “database represents the world as list of items that it refuses to order” (Manovich 1999/2010, 68) •  a narrative creates a cause-effect trajectory of seemingly unordered items or events.
  • 14. Image: Fernand Deligny As a case study, the Networked Ecologies project puts our interrogations into artistic/critical practice as we are thinking "through, with and alongside" (Hayles, 2012, p.1) the theoretical and scholarly implications of layered digital abstraction, complex dynamic networks, and scholarly rigor as they are applied to innovative digital publication. NETWORK ECOLOGIES
  • 15. NETWORK ECOLOGIES: THE PROJECT The project began with two main guiding questions: 1.  How can we create a rigorous digital scholarly publication? 2.  How can the curation and design of a digital publication be a tool for discovery and critical (re)thinking? Image: Fernand Deligny
  • 16.
  • 17. NETWORK ECOLOGIES: THE PROJECT 1. Networ(ed) Ecologies Blog 2. In-Person Symposium The project first needed content 3. Call for Submissions 4. Network Ecologies Art Exhibit
  • 18. ...and we have a lot of content, in myriad formats Here is a linear accounting of our content and this is only a fraction of it. NETWORK ECOLOGIES: THE PROJECT Essay Comment Symposium Video Timestamped Tweets Image Documentation Slides / Charts of presentation Keywords
  • 19. ...and that content, when its relations are mapped, looks like this: …and this is just one essay. NETWORK ECOLOGIES: THE PROJECT
  • 20. NETWORK ECOLOGIES: THE PUBLICATION FINAL PRODUCT The Network Ecologies Digital Scalar Publication will be unveiled in its beta stage Fall 2015. http://scalar.usc.edu
  • 21. SCHOLARLY DIGITAL PUBLICATION Scholarly digital publication brings together the complex acts of archiving, curation, editorializing, and design. In the Network Ecologies Project we are doing all four: 1.  Archiving both digital and non-digital content 2.  Curating (qua networking) multiple transmedia forms from multiple authors from multiple disciplines...into a coherent whole 3.  Editorial: As digital editor, I am not only choosing the content and how it will work together but am working closely with my design partner (Florian) to think content WITH design. 4.  Digital Design work: As design editors, we are designing (qua authoring) the pages, the connections, and the navigational paths that a reader will take through that content. We are authoring the reading experience.
  • 22. We are also creating (& facilitating & capturing) Complex Dynamic Networks 1.  between content and design 2.  between authors and collaborators 3.  between scholarly & professional disciplines 4.  between media forms 5.  between scholarly publication and innovative design 6.  between (Scalar) paths and pages SCHOLARLY DIGITAL PUBLICATION
  • 23. SCHOLARLY (PUBLICATION) IMPLICATIONS OF LAYERED DIGITAL ABSTRACTION We recognize the acts associated with scholarly digital publishing - archiving, curation, digital design, and editorializing - to be both abstractions & concretizations. Individual elements are first abstracted from their contexts to be concretized and combined into a complex network with a shared structure.
  • 24. SUMMARY A digital publication contains several layers of abstraction 1.  digitality itself => everything becomes information / computable data 2.  a publication becomes an information network and a database but also networkED (part of a larger network) 3.  a digital publication is abstracting and concretizing – or in other terms de- and re-contextualizing – information nodes of its content (like a database) 4.  the publication follows rather the logic of a collection than one coherent narrative
  • 25. QUESTIONS? YOU WANT TO FOLLOW UP? GET IN CONTACT! Florian Wiencek Email: florian.wiencek@googlemail.com Twitter: @austrianflow www: www.florianwiencek.com Amanda Starling Gould Email: amanda.gould@duke.edu Twitter: @stargould www: http://amandastarlinggould.wordpress.com