n.e.w.s. is a collective online platform for the analysis and development of art-related activity, drawing upon contributions from around the globe, bringing together different voices, accents and outlooks from the North, East, West and South. | Read more..


Data's Demon

I’m very much of two minds about the whole issue of “data-mining,” as Lev Manovich puts it – or “data-recovery” as others might say inasmuch as we have all contributed to that ever-expanding mother-lode – with which Renée Ridgway has invited us to engage in her recent, thought-igniting post. The sheer magnitude of data accumulation is positively diabolical – or at least demonic, to use a more genteel term for the hellish little fellow. Indeed, in a fascinating if somewhat sibylline passage in his deliciously premonitory novel, The Crying of Lot 49, written in the early 1960s, Thomas Pynchon imagines an ambivalent character whom I see as Data’s Demon.


Cultural analytics


After the launch of n.e.w.s. at ISEA2008 in Singapore I did get attend Lev Manovich's lecture, author of the seminal work, The Language of New Media, (2001) MIT Press, Cambridge Mass, USA, where he pitched his 'cultural analytics' research project, as an ad for data-mining and fancy animations in academia, soon to takeover the world.

Manovich began his lecture by delving into the background of data, terming it a 'data revolution'. As we all realize during the last few years there has been an exponential explosion in the amounts of data, for example in 2011 the digital will be 10 times bigger than in 2006, a 60% growth increase. While people in dozens of areas of science and other fields such as business, banking, retail, etc. are using data-mining and interactive visualization; one area is lagging behind... culture. Manovich is into visualizing the cultural in digital form.