HyperCities: Thick Mapping in the Digital Humanities

HyperCities: Thick Mapping in the Digital Humanities


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The prefix "hyper" refers to multiplicity and abundance. More than a physical space, a hypercity is a real city overlaid with information networks that document the past, catalyze the present, and project future possibilities. Hypercities are always under construction.

Todd Presner, David Shepard, and Yoh Kawano put digital humanities theory into practice to chart the proliferating cultural records of places around the world. A digital platform transmogrified into a book, it explains the ambitious online project of the same name that maps the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment. The authors examine the media archaeology of Google Earth and the cultural-historical meaning of map projections, and explore recent events—the "Arab Spring" and the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster—through social media mapping that incorporates data visualizations, photographic documents, and Twitter streams. A collaboratively authored and designed work, HyperCities includes a "ghost map" of downtown Los Angeles, polyvocal memory maps of LA's historic Filipinotown, avatar-based explorations of ancient Rome, and hour-by-hour mappings of the Tehran election protests of 2009.

Not a book about maps in the literal sense, HyperCities describes thick mapping: the humanist project of participating and listening that transforms mapping into an ethical undertaking. Ultimately, the digital humanities do not consist merely of computer-based methods for analyzing information. They are a means of integrating scholarship with the world of lived experience, making sense of the past in the layered spaces of the present for the sake of the open future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674725348
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 07/07/2014
Series: metaLABprojects , #3
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Todd Presner is Professor of Germanic Languages, Comparative Literature, and Digital Humanities at the University of California, Los Angeles.

David Shepard is Lead Academic Programmer at the Center for Digital Humanities at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Yoh Kawano is Campus GIS Coordinator at the Institute for Digital Research and Education and lecturer in the Luskin School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Table of Contents

Preface 6

Lexicon 12


Thick Mapping

Digital Humanities

The Humanities in the Digital Humanities 22

HyperCities: A Very Brief History

Thick Mapping in the Digital Humanities

Windows 66

Los Angeles Ghost Maps

PDub Productions: Mapping HiFi

The View from Above / Below 84

Toward a Media Archaeology of Google Earth Counter-Mapping

Georeferencing: "It is turtles all the way-down"

Windows 128

Rome: Jumping over the Life

Mapping the 2009 Election Protests in Tehran

Mapping Events / Mapping Social Media 140

Participatory Digital Humanities

On the Event: HyperCities, Now (Egypt, Libya, Japan)

Gallery: A Journey through Tohoku, Japan 184

Endnotes 204

Acknowledgments 211

Credits 212

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