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9/13 – 14

The Digital View - Mixed Methods in Image Analysis - Quantitative versus qualitative approaches

ZeM – Brandenburgisches Zentrum für Medienwissenschaften
Hermann-Elflein-Straße 18
14467 Potsdam

The method of image comparison has a long tradition in art and image studies. Since the middle of the 19th century in particular, image comparison has shaped a media “dispositive” that found its way into academic art lessons with the use of double slide projection and photography as a reproduction tech-nique.

Image comparison as a method and the analysis of visual similarity criteria are today faced with new possibilities in terms of media technology in view of the digitality of images, the digital flood of imag-es on the Internet and digital methods. In addition to the classical analog image sciences, computer-controlled calculation methods such as computer vision or machine learning algorithms are used for image comparison to sort the image data using pattern recognition or distant viewing.

For some time now, both qualitative-hermeneutical and formal-quantitative approaches have been combined in the analysis of digital images. However, a systematic and critical evaluation of the epis-temic value of the two methods, especially in their combination, is only just beginning. This is where the workshop comes in:
It combines different perspectives on questions of the comparison of (digitally available) images. The papers dealing with these questions come from the humanities, starting with art and image studies, and are supplemented by voices from quantitative disciplines such as computer vision research. The work-shop focuses on image-scientific questions in mixed methods research, but opens up thematically with regard to the overarching question of qualitative and quantitative data. Approaches from sociology, the artistic occupation with automated image generation and practices from the field of data journalism are also included in the discussion.

At a higher level we will discuss the question of how the "digital comparative view" of the computer is to be evaluated in comparison to a purely analog (human) view. What are the promises of digital image analysis and to what extent do digital analysis methods generate "similarity"? What new in-sights and models of explanation are produced? What in turn means the specifically digital mediality of the comparison and what would be a possible image-theoretical location? What are the potentials, but what are the limits of the digital view? And finally: Which specific narratives and cultural projec-tions are articulated in the application of digital image analysis methods?

The first day of the workshop is dedicated to the individual lectures, with plenty of room for discus-sion. The morning of the second day will serve to actively deal with the mixed-methods topic by means of targeted text reading and group work, and then to finally attempt to locate the questions in a "coordinate system of methodology".


The workshop is organized as part of the research project "anci" (analysing networked climate imag-es), which is dedicated to the topic of similarity as a criteria of image comparison in image and com-puter science and visualization research using the example of climate images on the Internet.

Prof. Dr. Birgit Schneider, Janna Kienbaum (University of Potsdam)
Prof. Frank Heidmann, Paul Heinicker (University of Applied Sciences Potsdam)
Dr. Thomas Nocke (Institute for Climate Impact Research Potsdam)


Since the space in the ZeM is limited to 40 people, we kindly ask all, who would like to participate in the conference to register via jkienbau@uni-potsdam.de or paul-heinicker@online.de