“Everything today is supposed to be global, except that in practice no one has ever had a truly global view" - Bruno Latour (https://zkm.de/media/file/en/pm_reset_modernity_e.pdf).

Cultural Trends Lab
is located at University of Tyumen (Russia). The lab includes local members in Tyumen and also participants from Moscow and New York. 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).

Lab members:
Anastasia Arkhipenkova (Lab manager)
Alise Tifentale (PhD student in art history, The Graduate Center, City University of New York)
Daria Remizova (MA student, School of Advanced Studies, Uiversity of Tyumen)

Current project: Elsewhere
Our current project is Elsewhere. It has the following goals:

  • To show that “contemporary culture” - certain intellectual themes, creative activities, lifestyle trends, innovative thinking - now exists in numerous places worldwide, and not only in global capitals or largest cities in each country.

  • To create large datasets that for the first time combine data about many types of cultural activities.

  • Use data science and visualization methods to measure and compare cultural activity in thousands of cities worldwide and its growth over time.

Contemporary culture is studied across a large number of fields that include sociology of culture, communication studies, humanities, urban studies, and computer science (large-scale analysis of users’ web and social media behavior and content.) Each of these fields carves out particular types of cultural activities and objects for analysis, and often ignores everything else. Our project proposes a more integrative approach that reflects changes in lifestyles and values over the last 10 years. It also aims to develop and test a new methodology – computational analysis of the types of “big cultural data” that until now have not been analyzed on such scale.

Writing about the emergence of social science methods in the 19th century and the work of Frédéric Le Play, historian Theodor Porter notes: “The basic task of social science, as Le Play and many of his contemporaries conceived it, was to work out a form of observation appropriate to the new social and economic conditions of the nineteenth century.”[1] Today we need to work out forms of observations appropriate for our new cultural conditions – i.e., substantial quantitative and qualitative changes in cultural production and participation worldwide - after three decades of globalization and development of a series of new communication and publishing media (the web[2], social networks, data visualization, interactive maps, open data, use of AI by culture industry, growth of tourism, etc.)

[1] http://www.history.ucla.edu/sites/default/files/u184/porter/le_play_scientific_observation.pdf.

[2] The first graphic browser for the Web was introduced in 1993, and this lead to exponential growth of the web.