Arts | Humanities | Complex Networks (May 2010, Boston)

Arts | Humanities | Complex Networks – a Leonardo satellite symposium at NetSci 2010
taking place at BarabásiLab – Center for Complex Network Research,
Northeastern University in Boston, MA, on Monday, May 10, 2010.

By means of keynotes, contributed talks and interdisciplinary discussion we will explore and identify important issues surrounding the convergence of arts, humanities and complex networks. On the one hand we will concentrate on network structure and dynamics in areas ranging from art history and archeology to music, film and image science. In the same time we are interested in the development and critique of network visualizations from medieval manuscripts to the latest tools, such as Cytoscape and Processing. Our dual focus is based on the opinion that the study of networks and the study of visualizations of these networks complement each other, much in the same way as archeology cannot live without self-reflective art history – studying the represented always presupposes the study of representation. Bringing together network scientists and specialists from the arts and humanities we strive for a better understanding of networks and their visualizations, resulting in better images of networks, and a better use of these images. Running parallel to the NetSci2010 conference, the symposium will also provide a unique opportunity to mingle with leading researchers and practitioners of complex network science, potentially sparking fruitful collaborations.

Confirmed keynote speakers include:
Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg (IBM Visual Communication Lab, Boston):
Ward Shelley (New York artist):

In addition to the keynotes we are looking for ten 15 minute contributions in order to cover a large territory around arts, humanities and complex networks.

Abstracts should not exceed 200-300 words. Applications should include one relevant URL and your most awesome figure. Please send a one page PDF not exceeding 500kb to:

Selected original papers will be published in the Leonardo Journal, MIT Press.
Proceedings will be published online.

Important dates:
The deadline for applications is January 22, 2010.
Decisions for acceptance will be sent out by February 7.

Possible subjects include:

  • Multi-modal networks of features and meta-data in art, film, music and literature;
  • Citation and transmission of motifs (Mnemosyne);
  • Emergence and Evolution of canon in art, music, literature and film;
  • Evolution of communities of practice in art and science;
  • History of network visualization (genealogies, trees, matrices);
  • Art history of taxonomy and evolutionary models (like Darwin‘s corals vs. Wallace‘s trees);
  • Networks in architecture (from the Ekistics movement to modern traffic planning);
  • Cultural exchange and trade networks (from the Neolithic to modern supply chains);
  • Contemporary art and network science;
  • Network structure in cultural heritage, film and music databases;…

Attending our symposium will be free of charge. As space is limited, we require registration. Registration will open on January 22, 2010 at

NetSci 2010 attendees can register directly now. For the NetSci 2010 registration fee and deadline please see

The symposium is organized by Maximilian Schich (Art Historian at BarabásiLab), and co-chaired by Roger Malina (Executive Editor at Leonardo journal) and Isabel Meirelles (Associate Professor at Dept. of Art + Design, Northeastern University).

The symposium is a satellite to NetSci 2010 and counts with the support of the BarabásiLab – CCNR and Dept. of Art + Design, both at Northeastern University in Boston, and Leonardo/ISAST.

Arts | Humanities | Complex Networks:
Dept. Art+Design:


About Fil Salustri
I'm a design methodologist and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Adjectives that describe me include: secular humanist, meritocrat, and long-winded. Some people call me a positivist too, as if that were a bad thing. Go figure. My real home page is

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