Digital Traces I: Meta-Morphologies of St. Petersburg with Lev Manovich

The Science and Technology Studies (STS) Center at European University at St. Petersburg, Russia is announcing a call for participation in a series of three international collaborative summer schools. The first school will take place at European University at St. Petersburg. The second school will be held by Sciences Po Medialab in Paris. The third will take place in a university in New York City (final place will be announced later).

The 2016 summer school will combine lectures by participating faculty and a practical hands-on lab directed by Lev Manovich, professor of Computer Science at the City University of New York, and Damiano Cerrone, Principal Researcher at Michael Sorkin’s TERREFORM CAUR in New York and Associate of the Spatial Ethnography Lab.

Damiano Cerrone SPIN Unit
Instagram pictures nested to the nearest bus station Damiano Cerrone / SPIN Unit: exploring the landscape of the invisible city, using digital traces to unveil, measure and study the meta-morphology of the city of Turku

This workshop explores the landscape of the invisible city, using digital traces to unveil, measure and study the meta-morphology of the city. Participants will a use large dataset of location-based social media from Instagram and open source GIS software. They will also physically observe selected locations and compare their findings with the patterns revealed by analysis of Instagram images. In particular we will study the relation between urban amenities – such as retail, food establishments, and other services – and the image of place to gain a new understanding of the invisible relations between social practices and urban space.

Lev Manovich PHOTOTRAILS Project
34,993 photos from Brooklyn during hurricane Sandy sorted by time and hue Lev Manovich / PHOTOTRAILS Project

The cities of St. Petersburg, Paris, and New York share many commonalities: they have a strong cultural presence, draw large tourist populations, host some of the greatest museums, restaurants, music and theater venues in the world, and are considered both iconic and atypical in their respective countries. They also create unique practices, interactions, subcultures, and spatial logics that are not always visible to the naked eye. Combining the use of computational methods and qualitative social science research, the series of summer schools will investigate the digital traces of human activities in their respective host cities.

Participants will learn the basics of digital mapping and analysis using open source and social media data. The main dataset used in the lab is over 400,000 Instagram images shared in St. Petersburg during 07/2014 – 06/2015.

Application deadline: June 1, 2016. More information on application