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It Is Difference Which Signifies: The Visual Design of Collective Representations

From: 2022-02-16 To:2022-02-16

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  • Thematic Line

    Modern & Contemporary Philosophy
  • Research Group

    Aesthetics, Politics & Knowledge
  • 16 February 2022 | 14h00 | Online

    It Is Difference Which Signifies: The Visual Design of Collective Representations


    Dario Rodighiero (Harvard University)


    ONLINE | Zoom link


    This figure presents 200,000 images of the Harvard Art Museums, organized by similarity.


    One of the most ancient philosophical problems is represented by the tension between the individual and the collective. Sometimes two elements are similar because of their estrangement from the context, sometimes the same two elements are different because of the homogeneity of the other elements. Today’s algorithms of artificial intelligence help us to compute the similarity between elements of different types, from documents to images.

    This presentation is about the last three years of research conducted during my stay at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. In such a period my interest focused on the way in which a large number of elements can be presented in the form of network visualization and how the distance between them can be computed. The examples you will see concern mainly digital archives of texts and images. Among them two projects are valuable to be mentioned, the 3D Cartography of Covid-19, representing more than half a million scientific articles on the current pandemic, and Surprise Machines, a digital installation for the Harvard Art Museums in which more than 200,000 images are displayed simultaneously.



    Luca M. Possati (IF-UP)
    RG Aesthetics, Politics & Knowledge (APK)
    Instituto de Filosofia da Universidade do Porto - FIL/00502
    Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) 

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