DAHC Projects are self-guided, hands-on exercises that introduce the basics of Digital Arts and Humanities research at UCSB. They are designed with the curious student in mind: someone who may not have a background in digital methods or research, but who is willing to spend thirty minutes learning about a new field or a new perspective. Projects are designed to reflect the research of one of DAHC’s member groups; students are invited to contact the groups whose work they find interesting.

DAHC Projects are not self-contained assignments, but an entire media ecology. After all, DAHC is a hybrid online/real-world space that includes hardware and software, devices and data, tinkering and inquiry. As the public face of the research and pedagogy occurring in the DAHC, Projects bring together resources and community members from across campus. Most of all, DAHC Projects are an invitation to join our community. Welcome!

Project 1: Distant Reading

Research Group: T-Hackerspace

What would it mean for a computer to read a poem? The rigorous logic of the computer has obvious applications in the sciences and mathematics, yet such thinking appears to be entirely alien to studies in the arts. Reading a poem or viewing a painting can be a captivating experience that transports us as readers and viewers. Perhaps that work of art will change the way we think about the world altogether! A computer surely will not have that kind of experience, however it can discover patterns in works of art that escape human attention and that help us to see them in new ways.

This Project is designed to introduce newcomers to some of the most common techniques for reading texts with computers, or as we like to call it “distant reading.”