Author Archives: Jojo Karlin

#Skillset @jojokarlin

Hey #RealWorld #DHPraxis14,

I thought I’d at least start a post (to be edited should the need arise).

#Skillset I offer you:

  1. coordinating/interfacing with people (I like people)
  2. multimodal production experience (I’m an actress, but have worked in most aspects of theatrical production — stage management, direction, music, tech, design — so am pretty comfortable combining different forms/formats to create a unified product).
  3. editing (I like grammar and punctuation (parentheticals especially)). This skill comes with a general love of/attention to details.
  4. positive attitude — enthusiasm and pragmatism — I am impatient to dive in, but patient with failure. I am critical without being judgmental.
  5. creativity (#ironicemptyspace)
  6. cookie baking (I am not above baked good bribery).

See you Tuesday.


Wittgenstein Source

I’ve been reading some Wittgenstein for another course, and his writing seems organized specifically for the purposes of DH — so I poked around to see what people have done. Found this remarkable website out of University of Bergen — after playing with a number of wordpress sites (for myself/roommate/sister), I found the navigation really cool. It’s also impressive in terms of archiving material. (At the library’s ProQuest presentation this week about dissertations, the idea of hard copy microfilms housed deep in a Pennsylvania mountain legible with a candle and a magnifying glass brought me back around to the zombie apocalypse mentality of outcome planning).

Just wanted to share.


Dataset Play: Setting Things Up for Analysis

This post is an attempt to journal some of the attempts I have made to construct a useful space for an art historian who specializes in Dutch colonial art. She has been collecting images of the historic buildings along Breedestraat in Willemstad Curacao. After exploring the options available for tagging photos to particular points on GoogleMaps (mapsengine is now “My Maps”).

creating maps, Breedestraat, Willemstad, Curacao

creating maps, Breedestraat, Willemstad, Curacao

I was not achieving the visual flexibility I needed. The purpose of the project is not to simply see one photo at a time, but to be able to look at the photos side by side as they were in the past and as they are now.

My maps?

My maps?

Then I considered using a WordPress site. Assigning specific categories to each photo, I thought perhaps I could create pages that would pull up images based on separate categories. That way, MvLK could have one page of all the buildings as they existed in the 1890s and one page of a single building from 1890s until today. A website would also perhaps be easier for adding new images. As long as the available categories existed, she could upload photos, post them with categories marked, and they would be automatically appear on the appropriate page.

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 11.05.39 PM

Why aren’t the images showing, Minimatica Theme???

After trying out a number of themes — in an attempt to show the images in the most legible way for MvLK’s purposes– Minimatica seemed great but the pictures wouldn’t show up on the main screen, even though they seemed to be properly put in; Spun, the theme I use, was nice because the pictures of each post are visible on the home page, but the buildings would be better served by square or rectangular thumbnails– I have settled at least for the time being on Arias. I have to adjust thumbnails to see if it will work. The site is


Creating Categories

Welcome page

I like Imbalance 2 because it seems to keep the navigation easy, but I don’t like the distance from the header to the content.

How can you compare photos if they don't fit in the screen?

How can you compare photos if they don’t fit in the screen?

Another possibility I’ve been toying with is

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 1.02.34 AMScreen Shot 2014-11-09 at 1.12.14 AM

Digital Fellow Patrick Smyth talked me through potential ways to use Omeka but the issue seemed to be where to host the data. WordPress also has this issue — how will I transfer editing control to her — I am currently using the Commons (woot!) as my workspace.

I went to the digital fellow office hours yesterday and Patrick and Evan were both helping me consider various map options. Takeaway was that I should learn Leaflet and teach myself the leaflet javascript packet (as my starter to learning the seemingly invaluable javascript totality).

At this point it’s been interesting to interrogate ways to go about assembling the images. Maps continue to intrigue me, but this project seems more about how to appropriate affix metadata to images for easy shuffling between images.

I will let you know how things progress.


Desperately Seeking Sustainability

Yale’s Digital Collections Center image

Apologies, Desperately Seeking Susan, for the poor pun.




Hi DHP14.

I wish I were having the dataset success of Liam, Sarah, James, and, I imagine, others (in my vivid imagination you are all succeeding marvelously). Liam, I tried to follow your line of investigation and wound up in a Mallet vortex that left me feeling more out of my depth than before. In order to find a tool that felt a little bit more manageable, I poked around on diRT again. Since the scope of possibilities felt overwhelmingly vast, I looked to the dhcommons directory of projects to see if some might bring me some amazing idea. Beside seemingly active projects (Entity Mapper, Boston Marathon archive, Modernist Versions Project, Pulp), there were many forgotten ends (Forget Me Not’s sadly forgotten guest book, Bulgarian dialectology) or unrealized projects (Kanon Foundation archive) or proposals unlinked to their outcomes (Fordham DH pedagogy). While I grant that this database, an initiative of CenterNet, might not be their primary focus, the seemingly short shelf-life of some of these projects seems relevant to the approaching Tom Scheinfeldt visit. In his webinar on October 14th, he discussed generating funding and the human needs of maintaining these projects both in terms of community and of maintenance.

I googled digital sustainability (I know I’m not the only anxious person). About 50,400,000 results. Jisc, historically Joint Information Systems Committee– now just Jisc, has a guide to sustainability, but it hasn’t relieved my mind much.

Now back to the task I (data)set out to accomplish. If anyone has good suggestions for text analysis tools for the tech-challenged (beyond the Manovich-maligned tag cloud), please point me in the right direction.



Also, I really enjoyed this image (even though I’m not talking about sustainability in terms of digital decomposition….)

Kyle Bean, The Future of Books

This week’s readings

I imagine people found these on last year’s syllabus, but I figured since I didn’t see links for this week on our current syllabus, it would be nice to copy them to a place I frequent more often.

Thanks, Evan, for the R Intro Thursday. And thanks, Daria and Stephen for the links!



Richard Dupont, Untitled #5 2008 Richard Dupont, Untitled #5, 2008

My roommate came across this exhibit after we’d had a somewhat snarky conversation about post-colonialism and postmodernism. Just curious what people think about “postdigital”.

Julian Mayor, Clone Chair, 2005 photo courtesy of Topaz LeungJulian Mayor, Clone Chair, 2005 photo by Topaz Leung

Here is the museum blurb about the exhibit that went up at The Museum of Art and Design last October and showed through June. Did anyone see it?

Out of Hand
Materializing the Postdigital
October 16, 2013 to June 1, 2014
About the Exhibition

Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital will explore the many areas of 21st-century creativity made possible by advanced methods of computer-assisted production known as digital fabrication. In today’s postdigital world, artists are using these means to achieve levels of expression never before possible – an explosive, unprecedented scope of artistic expression that extends from sculptural fantasy to functional beauty. Out of Hand will be the first major museum exhibition to examine this interdisciplinary trend through the pioneering works of more than 80 international artists, architects, and designers, including Ron Arad, Barry X Ball, Zaha Hadid, Stephen Jones, Anish Kapoor, Allan McCollum, Marc Newson, and Roxy Paine. Represented are some of the most compelling creations from the past decade ranging from sculpture and furniture to fashion and transport.

Organized by MAD curator Ron Labaco, Out of Hand will be on view at MAD beginning fall 2013 (October 16, 2013 to June 1, 2014). It will be the first museum show to consider the impact of these new, revolutionary methods of computer-assisted manufacture on fine art, design, and architecture, and will introduce the public to the imaginative expression that these emerging processes enable. Through this exhibition, MAD will explore a monumental transition in the way human beings understand creation, from the earliest objects conceived and produced by individual makers through the tools of technological innovation. Today’s digital fabrication methods such as 3D printing, CNC (computer-numerically-controlled) machining, and digital knitting unite divergent artistic approaches, offering new opportunities for individual artists, architects, and designers to integrate these skills as vital part of their personal creative processes, representing the fruits of a new movement.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an active roster of public and educational programs, from workshops and lectures to curriculum-based programs serving K-12 students, as well as in-gallery interactive stations. A series of master classes featuring the designers and technology including in the exhibition will be scheduled, programs designed to engage visitors in the creative processes of artists at work and to reveal the far-reaching potential of many of these new technologies.

Major support for Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital is generously provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Industries Fund NL, and Infor. Additional support has been provided by Dassault Systèmes, the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York, Toyota, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature,  the Flemish Agency for Arts and Heritage, and Design Flanders. Major in-kind support for the exhibition has been provided by Shapeways and LuciteLux. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is the official airline of MAD.”



World Wide Telescope and digital learning

Following up on Martha Joy’s helpful digest of the Twitter workshop, I feel I should make sure everyone has links to some of the amazing platforms for digital interactive education and exploration presented last Friday by Curtis Wong, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research. I was particularly taken with his early work on the Barnes Foundation collection — a CD Rom that allowed you to explore the galleries on multiple levels before visiting the museum– and his work with Project Tuva— access to annotated lectures of Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist Richard P. Feynman.

These projects raise many questions about goals of data-enrichment in education. How do we use the data enrichment capabilities afforded by technology to teach more than just the skills to search for data or the sense of immediate need to find answers? How do we appreciate objects and phenomena in the presence of so much information? How do we synthesize the many pieces of content with attention to the many slants of truth?

More than simple slide shows or directed tours, Wong’s programs really seemed to be three-dimensional encyclopedias, in some cases four-dimensional (with some of the “tour” maps, you can express depth over time). The WorldWide Telescope, launched in 2008, is an amazing example.

WorldWide Telescope

When paused in the app, you are not in a single frame, but are posited within the universe and can move virtually from star to star. The blurb for Wong’s talk described the WorldWide Telescope as “a free, rich interactive virtual simulation of the visible Universe to enable kids of all ages to explore and understand the Universe.” The exploration of educational material with the multi-platform applications, Wong also showed some of his interactive TV work with PBS, seems particularly appropriate to this week’s discussion.

Fetch on PBS (kids show with multimedia web supplement).

These projects also bring up questions concerning the intersection of profit and education, and the educational philanthropy of large tech companies. Seeing the work from Wong’s perspective and learning his trajectory in the creation of these remarkable research projects showed a great dedication to the accessibility of information to anyone willing to engage, the WWT is available only on Windows (which I don’t have on my MacBook). Though I missed the beginning of the talk, because I am still incapable of finding my way around the GC, the question of tech competition seemed to bubble up beneath the altruism every once in a while.



Micki’s comment about how the computer literacy gap between younger and older generations disrupts and threatens the top down teacher-pupil paradigm has really stuck with me. Though it seems that professors have long been considered at risk of becoming dinosaurs, ossified in their own practices as new ideas outpace them, I get the sense that the discrepancy here and now is far greater.

I was talking to an actor friend of mine who does web and graphic design as his survival job, and he recommended this documentary on Aaron Swartz. I haven’t had a chance to watch in full, but it raises a lot of questions about open-source and system subversions, perhaps more-so than about the generation shift, and it seemed relevant to discussions from last week and the readings this week (“Hacktivism”).

The whole documentary is available on YouTube:

The trailer:

And NPR coverage:



Riding the current

IMG_2244  IMG_1591  IMG_2563

Having just surfed my way through the torrents of people along 34th Street, past currents of traffic on and off the subway, aquarium views through minded closing doors, I feel compelled to write my first impressions down before the sea dilutes them to too great an extent. “What is digital humanities?” The question so aptly answered by classmates from across a spectrum of disciplines is one that I have been asked over just about every cup of coffee or glass of wine that I have had in the past three months. Since I first heard the term in a conversation with an admissions officer during the MALS application deadline extension, I have slowly whittled it down to what I hand wrote in my composition notebook: Digital Humanities provides digital approaches to and tools for the investigation, interrogation, representation and dissemination of the study of humanities.

In each of these coffee-cocktail conversations, the person I am talking to seems to decide that DH really belongs to her discipline. My sister, a children’s librarian, said it sounded suspiciously like a library degree. My roommate, a post-doctoral art historian at Columbia, immediately considered applications I could concoct to support her research on Dutch colonial art. Even my roommate who is a high-powered HR manager for a large retail store has taken to calling “digital humanities!” at the least provocation. The sheer interdisciplinarity of my generalized definition is what drew me to this track. In all my studies, I have struggled to connect. (Perhaps why Forster has always struck some raw nerve in me). I am interested in how these human connections transform alongside artificial developments.

To me, DH is something like New York City. It is a place where so many provincial ideas and particular cultures bump into each other that they have no choice but to reorganize and adapt. Local peculiarity made accessible on a large scale. In this crucible comes conflict – so many people, so many thoughts made so available can be overwhelming and contentious. It also seems to come with access – just as you may brush by your personal idols in the million+ crowded 33 square miles, so might they respond at random to a haphazard tweet. And in the way that CUNY, as a clamoring body of so many cells and committees and loopholes, seems to make higher academic thought available to the people it concerns, DH seems to amplify these opportunities for interaction and contribution.

I very much look forward to seeing how my feelings change with all I am learning, to understand better how to overcome suspicions, trust integrity, and determine authority with so much immediately and constantly available. Perhaps my anxieties will multiply; perhaps I will feel better equipped to navigate the constant updates and changes. Either way, digital humanities promise to be quite a ride.