Visualizing #Banksy

    January 17, 2013 by in Projects
    banksy-clusters-matrix (2)

    A matrix image plot visualization of all photos tagged with the hashtag #banksyny of 6 artworks. In each cluster, (X) – brightness mean, (Y) – hue mean. A red square represents the original photo of an artwork posted to Instagram by Banksy himself.

    What does the street artist Banksy has to tell us about the relation between physical places and their social media representations?

    In the next ICWSM conference I will present a new project that theorizes Hyper-Locality on social media. Using the case study of  social media photos taken during the street artist Banksy month long residency in NYC during October 2013 we visualize, analyze and theorize how a place is exhibited and performed via social media visual data. The project was done in collaboration with Lev Manovich, and Mehrdad Yazdani.

    Here is the abstract of the paper, titled: On Hyper-locality: Performances of Place in Social Media:

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

    Our work combines quantitative and qualitative analy- sis, 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 opera- tions using a particular case study.

    We start by historicizing the hyper-local, drawing par- allels between conceptualizations of “site-specific” art- works 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 Insta- gram 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. Fi- nally, we offer a theoretical analysis, proposing what we see as some of the key characterizations of hyper-local social media data.


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