Publications

    Hochman N, Manovich L. (2015) A View From Above: Exploratory Visualizations of the Thomas Walther Collection. Published as part of the exhibition PHOTO:OBJECT at MoMA, NYC.
    Hochman N. (2014) The Social Media Image. Big Data and Society Journal. July-September 2014.

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    Abstract: How do the organization and presentation of large-scale social media images recondition the process by which visual knowledge, value, and meaning are made in contemporary conditions?

    Analyzing fundamental elements in the changing syntax of existing visual software ontology—the ways current social media platforms and aggregators organize and categorize social media images—this article relates how visual materials created within social media platforms manifest distinct modes of knowledge production and acquisition.

    First, I analyze the structure of social media images within data streams as opposed to previous information organization in a structured database. While the database has no predefined notions of time and thus challenges traditional linear forms, the data stream re-emphasizes the linearity of a particular data sequence and activates a set of new relations to contemporary temporalities.

    Next, I show how these visual arrangements and temporal principles are manifested and discussed in three artworks: Untitled (Perfect Lovers) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1991), The Clock by Christian Marclay (2011), and The Last Clock by Jussi A¨ ngesleva¨ and Ross Cooper (2003).

    By emphasizing the technical and poetic ways in which social media situate the present as a ‘‘thick’’ historical unit that embodies multiple and synchronous temporalities, this article illuminates some of the conditions, challenges, and tensions between former visual structures and current ones, and unfolds the cultural significations of contemporary big visual data.

    Hochman N, Manovich L, Yazdani M. (2014) On Hyper-Locality: Performances of Place in Social Media. Presented at the International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM 2014).

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    Abstract: In this paper we theorize, visualize, and analyze the relation between physical places and their social media representations, and describe the characteristics of hyper-locality in social media. While the term “hyperlocal” has been recently used to describe social media that is produced in particular locations and time periods, existing research has not raised important questions about representation and experience. How is the physical place performed through social media data? How do we experience locality via social media platforms?

    Our work combines quantitative and qualitative analysis, and employs perspectives from the fields of Digital Humanities and Art History that have yet to be used in social media research. We offer a theory of hyper-local social media, and theorize its manifestations and operations using a particular case study.

    We start by historicizing the hyper-local, drawing parallels between conceptualizations of “site-specific” artworks created in the 1970s and current organization of geo-temporal social media images. Next, we exemplify the hyper-local using the case study of the famous street artist Banksy’s month-long residency in NYC during October 2013. We analyze and visualize 28,419 Instagram photos of these artworks to explore how these photos represent space and time specific events, as well as add new meanings to Banksy’s original images. Finally, we offer a theoretical analysis, proposing what we see as some of the key characterizations of hyper-local social media data.

    Schwartz R., Hochman N. (2014) The Social Media Life of Public Spaces: Reading Places Through the Lens of Geo-Tagged Data. in: Locative Media. Wilken, R., Goggin, G. (Eds.). New York: Routledge.

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    Abstract: Users of locative social media platforms are generating constant streams of highly granulated geo-located information. How does this data change the ways we study a geographic location? What types of insights are revealed in this data about the particular structure of a place? And finally, what biases are embedded within it? In this chapter we examine these questions by exploring the social media “life” of public spaces. Studying geo-tagged data from three public parks in New York City, we take a data-driven approach to survey possible spatial, temporal, and social insights. In addition, we point to the limitations of this data and conclude with a call for a mixed approach of both quantitative and qualitative methods to the study of places.

    Hochman N., Manovich L. (2013) Zooming into an Instagram City: Reading the local through social media. In First Monday (July 2013).

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    Abstract: How are users’ experiences of production, sharing, and interaction with the media they create mediated by the interfaces of particular social media platforms? How can we use computational analysis and visualizations of the content of visual social media (e.g., user photos, as opposed to upload dates, locations, tags and other metadata) to study social and cultural patterns? How can we visualize this media on multiple spatial and temporal scales?

    In this paper, we examine these questions through the analysis of the popular mobile photo–sharing application Instagram. First, we analyze the affordances provided by the Instagram interface and the ways this interface and the application’s tools structure users’ understanding and use of the “Instagram medium.” Next, we compare the visual signatures of 13 different global cities using 2.3 million Instagram photos from these cities. Finally, we use spatio–temporal visualizations of over 200,000 Instagram photos uploaded in Tel Aviv, Israel over three months to show how they can offer social, cultural and political insights about people’s activities in particular locations and time periods.

    Hochman N., Manovich L. (2013) Visualizing Spatio-Temporal Social Patterns in Instagram Photos. In proceedings of the GeoHCI Workshop in conjunction with ACM CHI 2013. Paris, France, April 2013.

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    Abstract: Using spatio-temporal visualizations of large sets of Instagram photos, we show how the collective volume,  spatial patterns and aggregated visual features in specific  time and place can offer social, cultural and political insights.

    Hochman N., Schwartz R. (2012) Visualizing Instagram: Tracing Cultural Visual Rhythms. The Workshop on Social Media Visualization (SocMedVis) in conjunction with The Sixth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM-12). Dublin, Ireland, June 2012.

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    Abstract: Picture-taking has never been easier. We now use our phones to snap photos and instantly share them with friends, family and strangers all around the world. Consequently, we seek ways to visualize, analyze and discover concealed sociocultural characteristics and trends in this ever-growing flow of visual information. How do we then trace global and local patterns from the analysis of visual planetary–scale data? What types of insights can we draw from the study of these massive visual materials?

    In this study we use Cultural Analytics visualization techniques for the study of approximately 550,000 images taken by users of the location-based social photo sharing application Instagram. By analyzing images from New York City and Tokyo, we offer a comparative visualization research that indicates differences in local color usage, cultural production rate, and varied hue’s intensities— all form a unique, local, ‘Visual Rhythm’: a framework for the analysis of location-based visual information flows.

    Hochman N. (2009) Curing—On Erez Israeli's Works. In: Nathan Gottesdiener Israeli Art Prize 2009 catalogue, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, pp. 12-17; 34-39