Detail map of San Diego, California, United States,Manhattan, New York, New York, United States,Shevchenkivs

A: San Diego, California, United States, B: Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, C: Shevchenkivs'kyi district, Kyiv, Ukraine

The First Project to Investigate the Use of Instagram During a Social Upheaval

2/17/2014 to 2/22/2014

On October 14, 2014 computer scientist and new media theorist Lev Manovich  of the The Graduate Center, City University of New York informed the Humanist Discussion Group of the project by his Software Studies Initiative entitled The Exceptional & The Everyday: 144 Hours in Kiev. This was the first project analyzing the use of Instagram images during a social upheaval using computational and data visualization techniques. The project explored 13,203 Instagram images shared by 6,165 people in the central area of Kiev, Ukraine during the 2014 Ukrainian revolution from February 17 to February 22, 2014. Collaborators on the project included Mehrdad Yazdani of the University of California, San Diego, Alise Tifentale, a PhD student in art history at The Graduate Center,City University of New York, and Jay Chow, a web developer in San Diego. The project seems to have been first publicized on the web by FastCompany and TheGuardian on October 8, 2014.


Visualizations and Analysis: Visualizing the images and data and interpreting the patterns. 

Context and Methods: Brief summary of the events in Kiev during February 17-22, 2014; our research methods. 

Iconography of the Revolution: What are the popular visual themes in Instagram images of a revolution? (essay by Alise Tifentale).

The Infra-ordinary City: Representing the ordinary from literature to social media (essay by Lev Manovich). 

The Essay: "Hashtag #Euromaidan: What Counts as Political Speech on Instagram?" (guest essay by Elizabeth Losh).

Constructing the dataset: Constructing the dataset for the project; data privacy issues.

References: Bibliography of relevant articles and projects.


Lev Manovich, Alise Tifentale, Mehrdad Yazdani, and Jay Chow. "The Exceptional and the Everyday: 144 Hours in Kiev." The 2nd Workshop on Big Humanities Data held in conjunction with IEEE Big Data 2014 Conference, forthcoming 2014.


The Exceptional and the Everyday: 144 hours in Kiev continues previous work of our lab (Software Studies Initiative, with visual social media: (analysis and visualization of 2.3 Instagram photos in 14 global cities, 2013; (comparison between 3200 selfie photos shared in six cities, 2014; collaboration with Moritz Stefaner). In the new project we specifically focus on the content of images, as opposed to only their visual characteristics. We use computational analysis to locate typical Instagram compositions and manual analysis to identify the iconography of a revolution. We also explore non-visual data that accompanies the images: most frequent tags, the use of English, Ukrainian and Russian languages, dates and times when images their shared, and their geo-coordinates." 

Timeline Themes

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