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Thursday, May 12 • 1:30pm - 1:45pm
Modeling a National Media Conversation: Agent-based models, Sonification, and the case of “Mark Twain”

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This paper uses agent-based models (ABMs) and sonification to investigate media coverage of “Mark Twain” as it has been preserved in a digital collection of historic 19th and early 20th century newspapers assembled as part of the Chronicling America Project at the Library of Congress. I argue that the combination of ABMs and sonification offers a somatic alternative to the reliance on visualization that characterizes much digital humanities work on textual corpora: this embodied perspective, part of a movement toward what has been called data "perceptualization," provides access to a greater array of sensory experiences a dataset may provoke and invites the creation of exploratory, experimental, experiential narratives that are no more or less defensible than narratives produced by more widespread approaches to data analysis.

I begin my discussion by outlining the creation of an AMB that invites users to adopt the perspective of an agent navigating a digital environment in which “Mark Twain” is a central topic of interest. I then demonstrate that occupying space within the model provides users an opportunity to experience the conversation surrounding “Mark Twain” as it unfolds in real-time; and, I show how sonification may be employed to enhance this experience by providing as sense of the sonic environment created by conversations as they unfold. I conclude by comparing insights obtained by visualizing my dataset with those produced by modeling the same data.


Thursday May 12, 2016 1:30pm - 1:45pm MST
COOR 195 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  Arts and Media, Long Paper
  • Session Location COOR 195