Art History is based on empirical research. We gain knowledge using visual data. Precise observation, comparison and classification of objects of art are the fundamentals of our discipline. With the rise of Digital Art History, this process has become digitized.
Digital Art History means using the computer to support researchers with their epistemic goals. The computer can process more images than a human can look at in a lifetime. Hence, visual information has to be collected and processed, made accessible and analyzed. The analysis of Big Image Data is a great opportunity for Art History and adds new methods to the discipline.
Today, art historians are not only interpreting pictures but becoming picture-makers themselves. Large amounts of image data can only be analyzed through visualizations. These images are themselves in need of interpretation. Clearly, this falls into the domain of art history.
The second issue of the DAH-Journal will focus on Visualizing Big Image Data. Data visualizations raise new questions and we welcome articles which are discussing questions surrounding this topic, e.g.:
- How to interpret such images?
- How do visualizations generate new insights?
- How is order established by means of pictures today?
- What is the relation of a quantitative research to qualitative research - and what does this actually mean in art history?
- What data do we need to acquire in the first place? And what are the best visualization tools currently available for art historical research?
The topic of visualizations also raises questions of how the interdisciplinary exchange between art historians and computer scientists works and how it should develop in the future. To what extent are art historians dependent on computer scientists in order to generate and effectively use the possibilities of digital metapictures? Is there a case for closer collaborations and/or do art historians need to fill the gaps in their knowledge of digital technology?
The second issue of the DAH-Journal is scheduled for end of 2015. Featured author will be Maximilian Schich. He is an Associate Professor in Arts and Technology and a founding member of the Edith O'Donnell Institute for Art History at the University of Texas at Dallas.