In 2010, in partnership with three graduate students, I received a grant from the North Carolina Renaissance Computing Institute to explore the use of databases and visualization technology to understand art markets. We were advised by Steve Chall in RENCI, and were later joined by my colleague Eric Monson from Duke’s Visualization Technology Group.
Original Project Description:
Visualizing Art, Law and Markets
Victoria Szabo: art, art history, and visual studies (AAHVS) and program director, Information Science + Information Studies (ISIS)
Hillary Coe Smith, Sandra van Ginhoven, Katherine De Vos Devine, AAHVS
Steve Chall, RENCI
Eric Monson, Visualization Technology Group
This project, which applies information visualization techniques to the study of emerging art markets, will be integrated into the information visualization program. The project involves a team from the Duke Visual Studies Initiative (VSI) and seeks to create a collaborative infrastructure for analyzing market flows in early modern Europe using a variety of media incorporated into a database-driven, dynamic visualization tool. The tool will visualize influence networks and geographic market maps in order to understand how art markets emerged and grew. The research team plans to develop the tool so it will be useful to other VSI scholars.
We presented our database structure and project plans at the annual College Art Association conference in February 2012. This led to an invitation to publish an essay on our methods in Art Documentation, which appeared in Fall 2012 (vol. 3 no. 2) as “Transforming Art History Research with Database Analytics: Visualizing Art Markets.”
Monson has continued to work with a number of graduate students on database development and visualization techniques for art historical scholarship. I continue to be involved as a faculty advisor on new and developing projects in Art, Art History & Visual Studies and in other departments and programs. The Wired! Group, and now Bass Connections: Information, Society, and Culture, in partnership with Information Science + Information Studies, plan to push further into the field of data-driven visualization techniques going forward as part of our exploration of big tent digital humanities applications for historical and cultural representation, interpretation, and communication.