“Everything today is supposed to be global, except that in practice no one has ever had a truly global view"

Bruno Latour

Cultural Trends Lab

The lab was founded at University of Tyumen (Russia). The lab is directed by Dr. Lev Manovich, a pioneer in using computational methods to study contemporary culture, and a professor at The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY).

Elsewhere project

Our current project is in area of cultural analytics. It extends the work carried out by Manovich and his colleagues since 2007 in California and New York in new directions. The city of Tyumen act as the logical research base for this new project - investigations of dynamics of global culture that includes many smaller size cities as opposed to only a handful of global capitals.

Today, a small number of world capitals get disproportional amount of attention in media, research studies, and various ratings. Therefore, it is easy to assume that a handful of “top” cities continue to act as the “centers,” and the rest of the world is still a periphery, receiving new ideas with a delay. But what is the real picture? How did globalization and the rise of new communication technologies changed geography of culture? Can we find we every contemporary cultural trend today in thousands of smaller cities? Is it possible that some of these cities are more culturally innovative precisely because of these distances from the capitals and smaller size? Are there big parts of the world left today that are not aware of these trends and don’t innovate?

How did contemporary culture developed and diffused around the world since beginning of globalization? Was the growth even or uneven, accelerating or slowing down in some periods? Are the growth patterns the same for different fields or does each of them develops in in its own way?

To answer these questions, we need to create the first detailed maps and timelines of contemporary global culture and see what patterns they reveal. Rather then guessing, we will collect enough data and measure trends - to develop the first detailed quantitative analysis of contemporary culture in space and time on a global scale.

Project goals:

  • Propose and test a new research methodology for digital humanities and computational social science.

  • Create unique datasets that for the first time combine data about many types of cultural activities covering thousands of cities on all continents.

  • Use data science and visualization methods to map, measure and compare cultural activity in cities worldwide and the growth and diffusion of contemporary culture over time after 1990.

  • Understand how local cultural projects, groups, creators and locations can improve their global visibility, and provide them with the tools that they can use to compare themselves with their counterparts in many countries, and make their offerings more unique.

  • Help to make more visible globally innovative cultural projects and activities taking place in Siberia.

Project in detail - motivation, methodology, datasets:

Lev Manovich. Elsewhere. (January 2019).