Cultural Analytics


What can we learn from Information Aesthetics to understand today’s condition and potentials of media analytics? What could Max Bense’s mathematical philosophy of critical rationalism tell us about the objective reign of information and algorithms of nowadays? Are there filiations between the filigree vector graphics of the sixties and seventies to the exuberant image aggregates after the iconic turn? And: how could connections look like between methods of distant readings of abundant piles of pictures with very close investigations of their details? What would ultimately be a simulation of the art historian’s gaze by the means of digital computers? Could even art history become a branch of computer science? And: how will aesthetical questions be answered in the age of Big Data?Cultural Analytics as proposed by Lev Manovich is a contemporary attempt to address such questions. Departing from the problem that digital image media brought about in the last decades – the impossibility to view all or at least a significant fraction of all of the images that circulate in the net – Cultural Analytics aims to offer methodologies for dealing with this torrent of images by creating visualizations and thus even more images extracting chrominance, size, creation date, information, redundancy etc.A similarity to the historical efforts of Information Aesthetics is obvious: analyzing and generating images with algorithms using various image properties including complexity, redundancy and entropy. There also important differences: in the sixties, when information aesthetics dealt with images, the number of images to be analyzed and generated was relatively small because of technology limitations. Now we are confronted with huge amounts of them, and are also able to produce floods of images algorithmically. Cultural Analytics is also concerned with content of images (see and it uses visualization to explore patterns in image collections. During the process of datafication images become data, databecomes image.We want to confront and compare Cultural Analytics with historical predecessors of negotiating the relation between data and images, between facts and imagination, between immersion into singular images and abstraction into visualizations.


Friday July 4, 2016

Frieder Nake (University of the Arts Bremen)
»Once there was Information Aesthetics, ...«

15.30Coffee Break
15.45Jacob Gaboury (New York University)
»Toward a Genealogy of the Invisible in Computer Graphics«
Hermann Pflüger (University of Stuttgart)
»Analytical Aesthetics Applied to a Large Collections of Works of Visual Arts« 

Coffee Break

17.30Lev Manovich (City University of New York)
»Cultural Analytics and Multi-scale Reading«
Saturday July 5, 2016
09.30Ruth Reiche (Technische Universität Darmstadt)
Daniel Kurzawe (Georg-August Universität Göttingen)
»Visual Data Gain Semantics and Research Becomes Visual«

Tara Zepel (University of California)
»Visualization as Process, Not Product«

Ivana Uspenski (Mindshare, Düsseldorf)
»Brand Atlas – Mapping Out the Economy of Contemporary Mythologies«


13.00Thomas Bjørnsten (Aarhus University)
»Making Sense of Data«

Ingrid Maria Hoofd (National University of Singapore)
»From Representation to Algorithm: the Acceleration of the Humanist Spirit«
14.30Coffee Break

Roundtable Inge Hinterwaldner (MECS, Leuphana University Lüneburg)
Lev Manovich (City University of New York)
Martin Warnke (MECS, Leuphana University Lüneburg)
Frieder Nake (University of the Arts Bremen)

Conference venue
Stadtarchiv Lüneburg
Wallstraße 4
21335 Lüneburg



The workshop is open to the public and free of charge, but registration is required. Please register by sending an e-mail to:



Concept & Organization
Martin Warnke
Anneke Janssen
Isabell Schrickel