Yesterday I was at UC Davis for the “Beyond the Book” Conference on the digital humanities—which was something of an eye-opener for me as far as providing some broader context for the work we do at Vectors. My perspective on this field tends to be very narrowly project-focused, so it was good to have my horizons expanded a bit with both a sense of the history of digital humanities scholarship as well as the obstacles facing those trying to do this kind of work today—work which still lacks the kind of legitimacy within the academy that would make it a less risky choice for junior scholars.
There seemed to be a genuine interest and energy in the room directed towards making it possible for more institutions, scholars, designers and programmers to participate in this kind of work. A number of Vectors projects were featured throughout the day, along with intriguing excerpts from And Then It Was Now by Frances Dyson and a preview of Precision Targets, the project I’m currently working on with Caren Kaplan. Sharon Daniel joined the proceedings virtually from Berlin, where Public Secrets is currently being shown at the Transmediale festival, and I got the chance to speak a bit about the connections between music composition and interactive design, while showing an early version of a visualizer for Vectors project databases (more on that in a future post).
Thanks to Caren Kaplan, Carolyn de la Pena, Jennifer Langdon, the technical staff and everyone else involved at UC Davis for putting on such an informative event and for featuring Vectors so generously.
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