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Digital Visual Studies


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Workshop at the Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History

23 November 2021, 09:30 - 12:45 CET. Modality: hybrid

Lecture open to the public, by Dario Rodighiero, Tuesday 23.10.2021, 9:30-10.30

and research workshop Tuesday Tuesday 23.10.2021 10:45-12:45


With the advent of digitization, not only do we have the promise of increased access to a wealth of art and architectural historical collections, but we face the challenge of integrating these and also make this access comprehensive, functional, and capable. The modern digital scholar ought to reflect not simply on the tools and their integration, but on the relevant ways of capturing content and the very modalities to navigate it. 

The Center for Digital Visual Studies organizes this workshop at the Bibliotheca Hertziana with the aim of engaging in a conversation with art historians on the possibility to create new browsing tools for digital collections and their utility for research. How do we shape a corpus now and how could it be shaped in the  future with new technological tools? What could be the new points of interest of the digitized material beyond traditional metadata? What kind of new research questions could this foster? and, more fundamentally, what can these digitized collections bring to art historical research? Moreover, in this workshop, we will also discuss the stakes of browsing through digitized collections with the aid of the body, the role of embodied forms of knowledge, and the challenges of such as in capturing and navigating through rich and problematic art-historical concepts like ‘similarity’ or ‘style’.

In order to introduce this discussion, we will host Dr. Dario Rodighiero, who will present two ongoing projects, for Harvard Art Museum and Porto University: a data visualization presenting more than 200,000 artworks by similarity is made interactive through a body-gesture interface for museum’s visitors; the second, concerns a small digital collection of Porto University: an innovative interface is designed to annotate and explore a collection of Middle Ages’ data visualizations. Both projects are open source, and work with the recent standard for image interoperability IIIF. This presentation will be public and an open discussion will follow. After a break, a private session will continue with interventions from the research fellows of the Center for Digital Visual Studies fellows and members of the Bibliotheca Hertziana.


Open doors: 9:30 - 10:30

  • Dario Rodighiero -  Navigating and Annotating Art Historical Collections - 30 mins

  • Discussion - 30 mins (respondent Alessandro Adamou BHMPI)

  • Pause - 15 mins

Closed doors: 10:45 - 12:45

  • Valentine Bernasconi and Darío Negueruela, DVS - GAB Browsing Art through Gestures - 10 mins

  • Valentine Bernasconi, DVS  - GAB Browsing through Time - 10 mins

  • Eva Cetinic, DVS - Navigational mechanisms: Similarity and Beyond - 10 mins

  • Svenja Lange - Multimodal Complexity In The Case of Digitized Collections of Early Modern Emblems - 10 mins

  • Maarten Wijntjes, TU Delft - Between annotation and appreciation: examples of picture and human centred perception research -10 mins

  • Tristan Weddigen, BHMPI - The Visual Discourse of Art: The Dresden Picture Gallery in the 18th Century

  • Discussion 30 mins

ArchML Visions - Leveraging Computational Methods for the Study of Architecture and the City in Historical, Present and Future Contexts

Workshop at the Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History

24 November 2021, 15:00 -18:30 CET - hybrid

The irruption of Machine Learning has changed the stakes in regards to architectural and urban research. Both the quantitative lens and the content agnostic flexibility these methods provide has caused a shift in attention towards the possibility of circumventing direct formulas by a supercharged probabilistic approach to urban phenomena.

Currently, we witness the rapid development and implementation of disruptive paradigms like IoT, and Smart City, which need large inputs of data coming from a new and pervasive form of data gathering: sensing. Either based on camera feeds from self-driving cars or drones, point cloud scans or digitized records, these forms of data constitute important keystones in the deployment of a new machine cognition of the city and will shape our present and future cities in pervasive ways. What does that mean to other types of information about heritage, experience or valuation? The image of the architectural and urban environment these large quantitative datasets bear is limited, not only due to the type of photographic images they contain, the framing they inherit, and the scenery they depict, but also by the limited ideas about which relevant objects should be segmented and annotated, and which categories are applied. The lack of incorporation of decanted epistemologies from the humanities and certain social sciences in the data, either explicitly modeled or implicit in the design of the datasets used, constitutes not only a challenge but a veritable urgency.

At the same time, there is a wealth of material in the collections on the history of art and architecture in many relevant research Institutions, which, like in the case of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Art - Bibliotheca Hertziana, are in the process of being digitized. This development, happening in parallel to the constant development of annotation and segmentation tools, ought to help us address the manufacturing of relevant datasets for architectural and urban research that capture relevant information and data, which are, for the time being, alarmingly scarce. Again, while certain attempts have been made in the form of architectural historical datasets, these are insufficient due largely to the different pace of development between technological innovation and the methods of the humanities.
Equally important is the realization that the city as an object and subject of study that has a history and a projection, and which guarantees a continuity and a heterogeneity which can help ground some of the problems in a broader context, and therefore facilitate an interdisciplinary reflection.

How can we leverage computational methods to address this continuum? And How can we devise and cross-fertilize comprehensive and innovative research methodologies that consider the city as an object of a longue durée without sacrificing the capabilities of both researchers and machines to attune to the significant fine grain specificities of different periods and focus of study? Can the city as an object of study be conducive for establishing a much needed interdisciplinary dialogue?

Participants: Frederick Chando Kim, doctoral researcher EPFL, Johanes Mikhael EPFL; Lucía Jalón Oyarzun postdoctoral researcher DVS; Shin Koseki, UNESCO Chair Professor in Urban Landscape, Université de Montréal; Myriam Guillemette, researcher Université de Montréal; Miryam Parent, Université de Montréal; Alejandro Cantera, researcher INSPIDE-World Bank, Valentine Bernasconi, doctoral researcher DVS; Eva Cetinić postdoctoral researcher DVS, and Jason Armitage, doctoral researcher DVS. The event will be closed to the public.

Information session online May 12th / 12:30-13:15 CET

Join us on May 12th 12:30 – 01:15 pm CET for an information session on our #digitalhumanities 3-year PhD and 3-months postdoc fellowships at @dvstudies @UZH_en in collaboration with @comp_sci_durham and @BiblHertz @maxplanckpress

Link to zoom session:

NEW CALL for for Applications: DVS-Imagegraph Postdoc Summer Fellowships 2021

We offer very attractive 3-month postdoctoral positions during summer 2021 to help us develop  Check the Call details:Postdoctoral Fellowships

Apply here: (

"What's next for Art History and Cultural Analytics: Features, Dimensions, Networks" Lecture/Research Seminar by H. Klinke

Next Wednesday April 21st, at 10:15-11:30, Dr. Harald Klinke will give a lecture on What’s next for Art History and Cultural Analytics, focusing on Features, Dimensions, Networks as part of a broader reflection on the impact of digital technologies for the production, archiving and retrieval of images bear for the both established and emergent visual disciplines. The lecture is public. In the afternoon, Dr. Klinke will conduct an internal research seminar with our fellows at DVS.
> Follow the public lecture in zoom in this link
Networks by Harald Klinke

Abstract: The digital transformation is changing the way we conduct research in art history and visual studies. At the same time, digital technology has become ubiquitous in contemporary culture. Now we need to review past developments and the challenges ahead. In this Research Seminar, we will discuss: What steps do we need to take in research, teaching and dissemination? How can we better understand a cultural history with the help of algorithms? Why is the current pandemic situation the best opportunity to dare bold steps onto new grounds?

Harald Klinke is currently teaching Digital Art History at the LMU Munich, Germany. He studied art history, media theory, painting, philosophy and business informatics in Karlsruhe, Berlin, Göttingen and Norwich (UK), and received his PhD at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe. He is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal for Digital Art History and member of the Program Committee of the DFG Focus Program "The Digital Image".