Exhibition by: Lev Manovich, Jeremy Douglass, William Huber

With: Adelheid Heftberger, Agatha Man, Alex Avrorin, Bertrand Grandgeorge, Chanda L. Carey, Christa Lee, Colin Wheelock, Daniel Rehn, Devon Merill, Jia Gu, Kedar Reddy, Laura Hoeger, Nadia Xiangfei, Nichol Bernardo, Ong Kian Peng (aka Bin), Rachel Cody, Sergie Magdalin, So Yamaoka, Steven Mandiberg, Sunsern Cheamanunku, Tara Zepel, Victoria Azurin, Xiaoda Wang.


This fall, the gallery@calit2 presents “Mapping Time,” an exhibition by Software Studies Initiative ( The lab is directed by Lev Manovich, UCSD Professor of Visual Arts and Calit2 researcher; its core participants are Jeremy Douglass (Calit2 post-doctoral researcher) and William Huber (PhD student in Visual Arts). In addition, undergraduate and graduate students and faculty from the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, Communication, Visual Arts, and Calit2 participate in the lab’s work.

Since 2008, Software Studies Initiative has focused on the development of new methods and techniques for the analysis and visualization of visual and interactive media. The exhibition coincides with the lab releasing a number of open-source tools which are used to create all works in the exhibition. Over the summer 2010, Software Studies Initiative had the unique opportunity to use the gallery@calit2 as a research laboratory, running analysis of 1 million Manga pages on gallery computers. The experiment will continue throughout the exhibition with new results being computed and visualized every day.



The lab uses the term Cultural Analytics to refer to its techniques for the analysis and visualization of large cultural data sets. As Lev Manovich notes, “It was my exposure to Calit2 in the first place – specifically the vision of a new scale of cyberinfrastructure and scientific research as manifested in the HIPerSpace supervisualization system and OptIPuter – which led me to begin thinking about cultural analytics back in 2005. It is therefore exciting to be able to share with the community the results of this work five years later.”

For the “Mapping Time” exhibition, the concept is to render the “shapes” of cultural time. According to Manovich: “our goal is to demonstrate how we can visualize gradual changes over time at a number of scales – from a single minute of a video game play to 11 years of Naruto (most popular Manga title) to 130 years of the journal Science (1880-2010)”. The exhibition includes visualizations of novels, video game play, web comics, Manga, motion graphics, feature films, and mass media publications presented via large-scale prints, animations and real-time generative projections.

Software Studies Initiative research is supported by Calit2, CRCA, UCSD, the NEH Office of Digital Humanities and NSF.