Scalar workshops have been well integrated into the winter line-up of scholarly society meetings. In January, longtime Scalar collaborator Jentery Sayers led a hands-on Scalar workshop at the DH Commons pre-conference event at the MLA in Boston. In February, Micha Cardenas led the 2nd annual workshop at the College Art Association Conference in New York and also led a Scalar workshop at THATCamp. Participants in each workshop were able to create their own Scalar workspace and to begin experimenting with the platform during the event and beyond.
In early January, Tara McPherson, Alexei Taylor, Joan Saab, Nicholas Mirzoeff, and Micha Cardenas traveled to São Paulo, Brazil for the 8th Encuentro of the Hemispheric Institute. The event (in the words of the Hemi) is meant to “examine the broad intersections between urban space, performance and political/artistic action in the Americas. From the critical poetics of body art to the occupation of public space by social movements, the event invites participants to explore the borders, identities and practices through which subjectivities, hegemonies and counter-hegemonies are constructed in the spaces of the city and beyond. We are particularly interested in the ways in which bodies both interpellate and are interpellated, mobilize and are mobilized, by and around the diverse and complex “passions” that are so defining of our globalized and mediatized present—fear, hatred, disenchantment, hope and faith, among others. We seek to investigate, collectively, the strategies through which bodies (individual, social and political) make themselves present and intervene aesthetic conventions, social formations and political structures in their search to create new meanings and new modes of sociality.” Alexei offered a week-long Scalar workshop, while Tara delivered a keynote, “Feminist in a Software Lab,” and participated in a teach-in on the digital humanities.
The ANVC/Scalar team conducted a number of workshops this fall. Craig Dietrich has run continuing events at Scripps and USC, as well as leading a workshop at THATCamp SoCal and many others. Micha Cardenas visited the Simpson Center at the University of Washington and the Getty Research Library, Alexei Taylor led several NY-based workshops, and Erik Loyer visited Duke University’s Franklin Humanities Institute and PhDLab. Tara McPherson gave several talks about ANVC and Scalar, including presentations at Smith, NYU, Rutgers, the Umea, Sweden HumLab, Oslo University, and UCLA.
A mobile-optimized version of Scalar-based project The Knotted Line recently went live, making use of the open API built in to every Scalar project. The Knotted Line, a collaboration between artist/educator Evan Bissell and ANVC Creative Director Erik Loyer, explores the nature of freedom and confinement in the United States by way of a 500-year tactile timeline and accompanying pedagogical materials whose content was authored in Scalar.
The new all-HTML version was created using the same data sources that power the Flash-based tactile interface, and is unique in that it is currently the only way to view The Knotted Line‘s paintings depicting over 50 historical moments as a continuous image over 25,000 pixels in width. A slider control allows the user to fade the various components of the visual timeline in and out, including the “knotted line” itself, the paintings, and the black and white silhouettes that often ironically alter their meaning.
The historical glosses available in the Flash version appear in this new incarnation as well, via red dots which the user can click to reveal each brief paragraph, as well as a link to a counterpart page of writing and media delivered through Scalar’s native interface.
The mobile-optimized version is available now.
The USC Shoah Foundation + ANVC jointly hosted a small working group focused on digital scholarship and the Holocaust. For one week in August, Jeffrey Shandler, Ethel Brooks (both of Rutgers) and Rachel Baum (of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) joined ANVC and Shoah staff to investigate the potentials for digital publishing on issues of the Holocaust, embodiment, historical memory, virtuality, and more. The group used Scalar to work with digitized testimony from the Shoah collection while also discussing larger conceptual issues related to Holocaust scholarship. As the week unfolded, they found the opportunity to think about “form and content” together a very generative experience. Special thanks to Dan Leshem, Craig Dietrich and Micha Cardenas for their facilitation of the workshop.
In July, ANVC Lead PI Tara McPherson presented the work of ANVC in a keynote talk at a joint meeting of JISC and CNI. According to JISC’s website, “the two organizations gathered thought-leading experts from across the globe at a horizon-scanning event. They explored how institutions need to respond to the changes in scholarly communications to avoid a crisis in professional recognition of research – and to make the most of the opportunities that digital technologies can bring.”
Update: A report from the meeting is now available here.