Doctoral Research Image
Doctoral Research Image
Ian Guest created an image to visualise the ‘flânerie’ on Twitter. In a second version, Ian creates a gif to show the three layers.

“Doctoral Research Image” by IaninSheffield https://flickr.com/photos/ianinsheffield/40631136105 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

He also documents his thinking:

One of @meteropologeny’s maps was imported into Inkscape and created as a base layer onto which other layers were added.
Tweets were dropped on top of the district blocks. Fitting them to the size and shape of the buildings was possible, but I felt they began to lose their inherent ‘tweetness,’ so left them as simple rectangles. This meant I needed to mask out the underlying buildings …
Which is where the idea for using the Twitter bird came from, although …
It was important as a flâneur not to lose the sense of cityscape, so the next stage brought that back and introduced the different districts or quartiers as ways to categorise the tweets.
As explained previously, these tweets were arranged into different quartiers …
… with the whole street plan reintroduced so one might imagine a walk around the city whilst encountering the kinds of activity seen when wandering the Twitter timeline.
The street names are formed from blog post titles, each street intersecting the quartiers which the contents of the post exemplify.
In the final stage, for simplicity, the tweets are wiped and replaced by illustrative snippets from the blog posts on adjacent streets.

I particularly like Ian’s take on interpretations associated with the various layers. I remember creating a similar thing with transparencies in a project when I was at university.

📓 Problematic Art

Discussing Molly Ringwald’s essay on the Breakfast Club, Cory Doctorow reflects on the importance of problematic art:

Without “problematic,” then imperfect art is “bad” and you have to choose between cherishing the ways in which it improved your life and jettisoning the art and its effects on you. That all-or-nothing framework makes acknowledging imperfections needlessly expensive and thus unpopular.

But with “problematic,” we can have it both ways: “This art, whose flaws I acknowledge and wish to see improved upon, made me happy and improved my life and my understanding of the world.” That statement doesn’t give a pass to the flaws in art, it doesn’t make a virtue out of the work’s hurtful or ugly imperfections — rather, it opens a space to talk about (and thus address) the flaws without having to deny your pleasures, influences and loves.

Bookmarked The cult of Mary Beard – podcast by Charlotte Higgins (the Guardian)
How a late-blossoming classics don became Britain’s most beloved intellectual
An intriguing insight into the life and times of Mary Beard. A classicist who has made her name as a popular intellect. Full of wit, there were two quotes that really struck me. One was about the supposed ‘logical’ path to a career:

Her career stands, in a way, as a corrective to the notion that life runs a smooth, logical path. “It’s a lesson to all of those guys – some of whom are my mates,” she said, remembering the colleagues who once whispered that she had squandered her talent. “I now think: ‘Up yours. Up yours, actually.’ Because people’s careers go in very different trajectories and at very different speeds. Some people get lapped after an early sprint.” She added softly, with a wicked grin: “I know who you are, boys.”

The other was on the lessons learnt about understanding the ‘Classics’:

This approach was neatly displayed in her bestselling history of Rome, SPQR (2015). The early history of Rome, the era of its fabled seven kings, is notoriously difficult to untangle. There are few, if any, contemporary sources. The whole story slides frustratingly away into legend, with the later Romans just as confused as we are about how an unremarkable town on a malarial swamp came to rule a vast empire. One way of handling this material might have been simply to have started later, when the historian’s footing among the sources becomes more secure. Instead Beard asked not how much truth could be excavated from the Romans’ stories about their deep past, but what it might mean that they told them. If the Romans believed their city had started with Romulus and Remus, with the rape of the Sabine women – in a welter, in other words, of fratricide and sexual violence – what can we learn about the tellers’ concerns, their preoccupations, their beliefs? According to Greg Woolf, “One of the things Mary has taught is to look at the window, not through it, because there isn’t really anything behind it.

For a text version, go here.