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Hypercities: Thick Mapping in the Digital Humanities

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The prefix "hyper" refers to multiplicity and abundance. More than a physical space, a hypercity is a real city overlaid with information networks that document the past, catalyze the present, and project future possibilities. Hypercities are always under construction. Todd Presner, David Shepard, and Yoh Kawano put digital humanities theory into practice to chart the proli The prefix "hyper" refers to multiplicity and abundance. More than a physical space, a hypercity is a real city overlaid with information networks that document the past, catalyze the present, and project future possibilities. Hypercities are always under construction. Todd Presner, David Shepard, and Yoh Kawano put digital humanities theory into practice to chart the proliferating cultural records of places around the world. A digital platform transmogrified into a book, it explains the ambitious online project of the same name that maps the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment. The authors examine the media archaeology of Google Earth and the cultural-historical meaning of map projections, and explore recent events--the "Arab Spring" and the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster--through social media mapping that incorporates data visualizations, photographic documents, and Twitter streams. A collaboratively authored and designed work, HyperCities includes a "ghost map" of downtown Los Angeles, polyvocal memory maps of LA's historic Filipinotown, avatar-based explorations of ancient Rome, and hour-by-hour mappings of the Tehran election protests of 2009. Not a book about maps in the literal sense, HyperCities describes thick mapping: the humanist project of participating and listening that transforms mapping into an ethical undertaking. Ultimately, the digital humanities do not consist merely of computer-based methods for analyzing information. They are a means of integrating scholarship with the world of lived experience, making sense of the past in the layered spaces of the present for the sake of the open future.


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The prefix "hyper" refers to multiplicity and abundance. More than a physical space, a hypercity is a real city overlaid with information networks that document the past, catalyze the present, and project future possibilities. Hypercities are always under construction. Todd Presner, David Shepard, and Yoh Kawano put digital humanities theory into practice to chart the proli The prefix "hyper" refers to multiplicity and abundance. More than a physical space, a hypercity is a real city overlaid with information networks that document the past, catalyze the present, and project future possibilities. Hypercities are always under construction. Todd Presner, David Shepard, and Yoh Kawano put digital humanities theory into practice to chart the proliferating cultural records of places around the world. A digital platform transmogrified into a book, it explains the ambitious online project of the same name that maps the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment. The authors examine the media archaeology of Google Earth and the cultural-historical meaning of map projections, and explore recent events--the "Arab Spring" and the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster--through social media mapping that incorporates data visualizations, photographic documents, and Twitter streams. A collaboratively authored and designed work, HyperCities includes a "ghost map" of downtown Los Angeles, polyvocal memory maps of LA's historic Filipinotown, avatar-based explorations of ancient Rome, and hour-by-hour mappings of the Tehran election protests of 2009. Not a book about maps in the literal sense, HyperCities describes thick mapping: the humanist project of participating and listening that transforms mapping into an ethical undertaking. Ultimately, the digital humanities do not consist merely of computer-based methods for analyzing information. They are a means of integrating scholarship with the world of lived experience, making sense of the past in the layered spaces of the present for the sake of the open future.

52 review for Hypercities: Thick Mapping in the Digital Humanities

  1. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    really interesting history and inquiry into the burgeoning intersection between information systems and studies in the humanities. some of the danielewski-esque interludes were unnecessary or needlessly esoteric, but overall a very interesting read

  2. 4 out of 5

    amy

    The HyperCities project itself is really interesting – not to mention seminal in terms of reminding people all over again that maps and mapping exist and are representations, not “facts” – but I don’t think this particular printed book is the best vehicle. So much of the dynamism of the project is just impossible to capture. Quick, 5-to-6-page profiles of projects built on HyperCities look great and work fine within the confines of the page thanks to plenty of photos and screenshots. The authors The HyperCities project itself is really interesting – not to mention seminal in terms of reminding people all over again that maps and mapping exist and are representations, not “facts” – but I don’t think this particular printed book is the best vehicle. So much of the dynamism of the project is just impossible to capture. Quick, 5-to-6-page profiles of projects built on HyperCities look great and work fine within the confines of the page thanks to plenty of photos and screenshots. The authors set out to define mapping, “thick mapping” and “digital humanities"; present a media history of Google Earth; and discuss how thick mapping can serve journalistic, ethnographic, and humanitarian purposes. In the last category, the book is a slam dunk. The first two sections, though... HyperCities the platform allows thick mapping down to a close, personal level but HyperCities the book stays frustratingly zoomed out in its analysis in the book's early sections. The authors repeatedly refuse to discuss the nitty gritty of code, for example, talking about commands they “don’t really understand” as if they never bothered to check. Also, they seem to write for an audience almost entirely ignorant of maps and mapping, another missed opportunity. But mostly I think the book designers were unsubtle in their choice of heavy paper for a book about “thick mapping.”

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

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    Lacarnly Creech

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    Katie

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    Ed Steinmueller

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    auria

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    Andrew Battista

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    John

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    Liz Alleva

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    John Linstrom

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    bookcasewalls

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    Melanie Wilson

  50. 4 out of 5

    Godiva Reisenbichler

  51. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  52. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Yeung

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