Symposium – The Digital Gaze

From September 13 to 14, 2018, we discussed the current state of digital image comparison in the humanities and interdisciplinary image sciences at the workshop The digital gaze – quantitative versus qualitative approaches. The workshop took place in Potsdam at ZeM – Brandenburg Centre for Media Studies. On a higher level, we discussed the question of how the digital comparative gaze of the computer should be evaluated in comparison to a purely analog (human) gaze. We questioned quantitative measurement methods such as computer vision or machine learning for their potential of style generation, image recognition or similarity measurement from the perspective of art history. We presented and analysed new perspectives and lines of sight that are associated with the use of quantitative methods and their influence. In addition, we discussed the general role and location of digital humanities as a discipline and the compatibility of qualitative questions and digital algorithmic tools or methods.

The workshop brought together different perspectives on questions concerning the comparison of digital images. The first day of the workshop was devoted to approaches from art history, media studies and cognitive psychology, while the lectures on the second day examined the digital view the perspective of sociology and data visualization. Seven main topics could be identified from the content of the lectures, the questions and discussion panels.