Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
#SB5: Visual Culture Paper Session
Wednesday, 24/Jul/2019:
1:45pm - 3:15pm

Session Chair: Lauren Tilton
Location: Marquis C, Marriott City Center
capacity 60

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Exploring the Correlations Between Graphic Elements in Picasso's Poetry

Luis Meneses1, José Calvo Tello2, Enrique Mallen

1Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, University of Victoria, Canada; 2University of Würzburg; 3Sam Houston State University

Picasso started writing poems in April 1935 during a period of personal crisis. However, even before this period of turmoil took place, Picasso had already been fascinated by language from the time of his cubist experiments. In fact, his poetry is not only fascinating as a form of communication from someone who is primarily known for his plastic output, it is also puzzling for anyone researching the interconnection between language and writing, i.e. verbal and graphic signs.

In his poems, Picasso tried to expand the expressive power of language by concatenating words in unordered strings. Another interesting linguistic feature in Picasso’s poetic manuscripts is the addition of numerous bracketed strings which are purposely left differentiated as footnoted “afterthoughts” to the text. They are presented as blurbs which the reader may then choose to read at the point where they are inserted or may continue reading the original text, ignoring these later additions. Other graphic elements we find are hyphens, blotches, area coloring, underlining, etc.

Given the nature of the graphic elements, we outlined Picasso’s poetry as a Visually Complex Document —which as in the different “planes of consistency” of collages, presents distinct layers of text and images that constitute integral parts of the document’s representation (Audenaert, 2008). Following this premise, at the TEI 2018 conference we presented our solution for linking TEI encoding, digital facsimiles and specific zones in Scalable Vector Graphics. In this abstract we propose to take this approach one step further and explore the impact that the graphic elements in Picasso’s poetry may have on the text.

Our study will address three research questions: First, do these graphic elements occur in similar contexts in the text? Second, do these graphic elements interact with each other? And third, is there a correlation between the type of graphic element and the position they occur in? For instance, do blotches occur primarily before or after specific lexical categories (verbs, nouns or adjectives)? Our research will address these questions as we continue to explore the correlations between Picasso's poetry and his plastic output.


Audenaert, N.(2008). Patterns of Analysis: Supporting Exploratory Analysis and Understanding of Visually Complex Documents. IEEE Technical Committee on Digital Libraries (accessed 26 March 2018).

Computational Analysis of Digitized Images from the Roman de la Rose Digital Library

Kristen Mapes

Michigan State University, United States of America

The Roman de la Rose Digital Library (RDL) ( serves as a resource for the study of the most popular secular work of the European Middle Ages by providing access to 146 digitized manuscripts in IIIF format and with additional datasets describing the manuscripts in the corpus. I have been working with RDL data to create an interactive visualization platform for exploring codicological and location information. This next phase of the project employs computational image analysis to explore the digitized images themselves in conjunction with and in comparison to the codicological data provided by the RDL. Applying new methods to this corpus will open new avenues of research for medieval studies scholars interested in the history of the book, illustration transmission, and more.

I will use Imageplot software ( to explore issues of image saturation and brightness. Such calculations will be put in comparison with the codicological dataset provided by the RDL. One would expect manuscripts with a higher median brightness to reflect manuscripts with larger borders and/or to have few to no illustrations, for example. Finding evidence to challenge or support codicological analysis will further research understandings of this well-studied corpus.

The Distant Viewing Toolkit ( (DVT) will allow analysis of facial and object detection across the digitized manuscripts in the corpus that have at least one illustration. The RDL has datasets of Illustration Titles and Narrative Sections, providing insight into characters and their frequency across the many variations of the corpus. Bringing the RDL datasets into comparison with algorithmic analysis of characters may reveal new understandings of the consistency of figures in illustrations.

On the whole, this work seeks to bring a robust dataset of digitized manuscript images into contact with multiple image analysis approaches to test their use in medieval manuscript analysis. I hope to spark new conversations among medieval studies scholars, historians of the book, art historians, and scholars interested in computer vision and computational image analysis.

The Chinese Iconography Thesaurus: A Digital Art History Project

Hongxing Zhang1, Yi-Hsin Lin1, Jin Gao1,2

1Victoria and Albert Museum, United Kingdom; 2UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, United Kingdom


The ever-growing volume of digital images made available online by cultural institutions has fuelled the increasing need to implement metadata strategies that can optimise access to digital content. Traditionally considered a methodology rooted in European art history, iconography has been historically employed in taxonomies to index and access images related to European art. Because of the lack of alternative models for documenting non-European artefacts, Chinese art objects housed in European and North American collections have often been catalogued according to Eurocentric classification principles and categories.

The Chinese Iconography Thesaurus (CIT) project presents a unique opportunity to create an alternative classification scheme deeply rooted in the specificity of Chinese art, with the potential to foster dialogue between the studies of Chinese art and European art. It is a multidisciplinary pilot project that brings together sinology, art history, and digital humanities to create the first thesaurus of Chinese iconography. CIT will be a valuable research tool that enhances the accessibility and understanding of Chinese art.

Aim and Goal

With team members based in the Asian Department of the V&A Museum, the CIT project was launched in 2016. It aims to create indexing standards that will facilitate access and interoperability of Chinese digital images across collections. On one hand it will provide professionals in museums, libraries and image archives with a controlled vocabulary that will allow the improvement of cataloguing practices for Chinese collections. On the other, an online database of Chinese art images indexed with the CIT terminology will deliver a dynamic and open-ended platform to explore the Chinese conceptual world. Conceived as an intuitive and user-friendly interface, underpinned by academic rigor, the online image database will enable a wide spectrum of users to effectively retrieve subject information across collections.

The project output will be a structural bilingual (Chinese-English) thesaurus with its core vocabulary comprising ca. 8,000-10,000 Chinese concepts. The main body of terms will be extracted from key pre-1900 Chinese sources, especially from the titles inscribed on the religious and secular paintings in the imperial collection formed by the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1735-1796). The list of the sources also includes widely referenced taxonomies, dictionaries and encyclopaedias, such as Iconclass, Art and Architecture Thesaurus, and National Palace Museum Taipei Subject Codes.

The project data is planned to be released open access in October 2019 (provisionally), along with a searchable image database that contains images of selected objects from the V&A’s Chinese collections as well as other institutional partners, e.g. the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Both outcomes will be made available through a dedicated website.

Lightning Talk: A 3D Model and Exemplum of a Fifteenth-century Italo-Byzantine Reliquary

Justin Garrett Greenlee, Victoria Valdes

University of Virginia, United States of America

This 5-minute lightening talk delivered by (2) collaborators relates to the creation of a 3D print of an Italo-Byzantine staurothēkē (a work of art that is a reliquary, or container, for relics of the True Cross from the crucifixion of Christ). Our model is based on photographs taken in the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, Italy, which we then extrapolated to three dimensions using topographical features and the ability to hand-render in Rhinoceros. The talk is directed to digital humanists interested in the software, skills, and machinery needed to bring a 3D print to completion. It will also be of interest to those who would like to construct a 3D model but lack direct access to their object of interest and/or a 3D scanner.

Our talk begins with a historical introduction to the work of art with a focus on the reliquary as a layered object that was created in the fifteenth century in the city Constantinople. It was here that the core components of a gold cross and a surrounding wooden tablet were produced with subsequent interventions taking place in Italy, where the object was outfitted with ornamentations around a secondary frame and attached to an elaborate silver processional handle. The logic that guided successive renovations to the reliquary is one of accumulation and the massing of sacred material and we chose to tell the complex history of the object by rendering it as a 3D print in five parts. These components can be disassembled and reassembled by a potential handler and in five minutes we will discuss how these revisions and other acts of interpretation make our model an exemplum—or an object about the reliquary—more than a replica.

Keywords: 3D modeling, 3D printing, Rhinoceros

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