Humanities Studio 2 Midcourse Highlights

For their midterm project, students were asked to develop a set of criteria for building a collection of Homeless Paintings and create a spotlight in Curarium to share the collection they derived from those criteria. The criteria could take the form of an ontological scheme, or it could focus on iconography, place, or creator, or take entirely different form. Regardless, the spotlight needed to explain the criteria, curate individual works by its terms, and strive for the high comprehensiveness.

You can see some of the students’ work on the Curarium platform, which has an ever-changing and improving face:

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In “Sign Sign of Three”, ungrad Shuya Gong studies paintings that feature Madonna, baby Jesus, and a third figure. She found 700 paintings and chose a sample group of 75 for her study. She categorized the paintings by how the three figures were arranged, finding that faces and poses came up again and again. She created a visually striking map and key of her chart of these figures’ relationship in space:


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Shuya went on to do a fascinating close reading of some particularly similar sets of paintings. You should certainly check out her spotlight on Curarium.

Ben Zauzmer’s “Auto-Reverse Google Image Search” was another stellar project, which also gives a sense of the diversity of skill sets and interests in the class. Ben explains in his spotlight: “I wrote a program that loops through all 11,233 and marks which ones have a Best Guess on Google Reverse Image Search. Since Google prevents scraping, I used Selenium WebDriver to repeatedly open and close a browser that would automatically search Google Images, and then I used Python to record the results and write them to a CSV. The program took about 31 hours to run, or 10 seconds per painting.”

He found that about 771, or 7%, were matches, and that, true to that proportion, 7 of the first 100 had matches. So he investigated those records manually as a representative sample. Take a look at what he found at his spotlight.