Category Archives: Group Project Updates

Anthropizing in the Anthropocene – Group Update

Hello fellow digital-humanists-in-training,

It has been an interesting couple of weeks for Hampton and I as we wind down toward the end of the spring semester and put the finishing touches on our text analysis project. Spring break saw us able to increase our corpus to five texts by Stiegler and some of his disciples. It also saw us accomplish what we set out to do, which was find a new vector which took the vector for “value” or “profit”, subtract from it the vector for “Anthropocene”, and add to it the vector for “Neganthropocene. The hypothesis was that by doing this, we would take away the characteristics of value which correspond to the Anthropocene (non-)epoch, and add those which correspond to the desired Neganthropocene epoch.

This has provided us with some interesting little tidbits to think about, such as the recurrence of the Greek topos ouranios, which bears a strong cosine similarity with our new vector for value in the Neganthropocene. The topos ouranios is the place in heaven where Plato believed that all the ideal forms were located. Stiegler (along with many other continental philosophers) are critical of this metaphysical construct which posits a transcendental world beyond. Stiegler is philosopher of materialism, situating the ideal world of thought within physical human bodies, technical systems of memory support, and material social relations. This poses the question: what similarity does that which ought to be valued in the Neganthropocene bear to this theological dimension? This reminds us of Stiegler’s treatment of Aristotle’s theos, wherein he resituates God as a dimension of being to which questions about being are posed and from which knowledge about being comes. It is also the object of all desire and all attention. We cannot go further into this now, but this is a little taste of what the results of our word embedding have got us thinking about.

Ultimately, though, however, our results have proven a little confusing, and a little disappointing. After a final meeting with Michael Gavin from the University of South Carolina, a literary scholar experienced in word embedding, we realized that there was a fundamental flaw in the premise of our project. When working with a corpus as small as ours, running simple word embedding models on the entire corpus creates too much noise for anything statistically significant to emerge. We have some ideas about how this project can be taken moving forward, and some better ways to approach word embedding. If nothing else, we have learned a vital lesson about text analysis, and have learned a fair amount of Python this semester.

So, we are pivoting the final results of our project a little bit in an attempt to show something a little more interesting. We have queried the model for 40 terms which we deemed most interesting and important to Stiegler’s work. We will be creating a table to visualize the 5 most similar words for each term. We will then be creating a network graph with Gephi to visualize this constellation of Stieglerian neganthropological concepts based on the results of these cosine similarity clusters. We are having done doing this work, and we can’t wait to share it with ya’ll.

Lastly, Hampton and I are working on a project for our Digital Memories class here at the GC that we are calling Modeling Memory in the Anthropocene and we will be hosting it on our website for this project. It will also be a Gephi network graph that models Stiegler’s conception of memory and how it relates and differs from the conceptualizations of memory in memory studies and digital memory studies. So keep an eye out for that.

Thanks for reading guys. We hope that you are all staying sane and healthy at this point in the semester and we look forward to hearing how your projects have been shaping up.

God bless.

Mainframe Group Project Update 04/28

This week I continued making wireframes for the website on Figma; the link to the sheets can be seen here:

Our aim is to convert the layout into the code; however if we stray off from the initial design that would be inevitable. One change we are making is in terms of videos; as opposed to embedding them we perhaps would provide links to the web pages instead. We still have yet to purchase a domain name as well. We also still need to compile text for site as well, which Kai is currently putting together.

Digital Gardens Update 4/28/22

In the final weeks before presenting my group and I had made several changes to our WordPress site. In order to match the scope of our new and improved project theme we decided, with the help of our Tableau guru Kelly Hammond to frame our work more like a story. If you look to our website we now have multiple tabs most of which are under the title of a question. Kelly gave us the great advice of setting our work up as an inquiry to entice the viewer to click and investigate. Because our project is now driven more towards those already involved in the garden sphere we narrowed down our visualizations to what could possibly of interest to them. At the time of writing this post we have about 3 1/2 visualizations already up. By the completion of this website we will have about 5 charts and maps. Here is a look of what we have so far: *Note some posts are still in a work in progress*

1.Where are NYC Community Gardens?- This interactive map showcases NYC’s “digitally listed” gardens via data found on Greenthumb and Open NYC. This map allows users to click through several categories coinciding with the status of the garden (active, closed, inactive etc.) We felt that this was important information to share as it gives a sort of one stop shop look at what gardens in NYC are open and operating and which are left stagnant. We imagine this data may be helpful to those who may wish to take over a space left abandoned or perhaps give an introspective look to an area in NYC that lack and are in need of green spaces.

2. What is the Area Income of Community Gardens?- Our second interactive map shows the general household income associated with number of gardens per zip code. Kelly gave us the idea of correlating number of gardens with the size of the circles. This gives a more clear indication of the density of gardens per area. By observation one can see that most gardens are situated in lower income areas. This may be linked to produce and a need for more resources and outdoor space. In order to see how community gardens improve the general space for living we will also have a map connecting air quality in neighborhoods brought on by the affect of the green spaces.

3. How Many Gardens can you find on the Web?- A interactive pie chart showcasing the number of gardens in each borough with a web presence. This vis is more of a forward suggestion to those involved or looking to start a CG.  Having a digital identity is almost crucial these days to be known in the world. As Digital Humanists coming in to this project we felt it was our due diligence to push this angle 🙂 (we also wanted to tie in our original idea)

4. What do NYC’s Community Gardens Produce?- This is a 2 part vis. The map portion that is already uploaded lists gardens featured on GrowNYC that are listed as having produce. The type of produce and neighborhood are shown as well as an indicator to show which gardens give away produce (Could go to residents, farmers and markets or all the above). This map was inspired by an interviewee who was interested in knowing what other gardens grew. We presume those involved in green spaces will also share a similar interest. Perhaps to gain insight or maybe even inspiration.

We still have a few more tabs on our webpage we need to fill with information but we hope to finish up our website by the projected date of 4/30/22. In other news I was able to attend the Tulip Festival at West Side Community Garden over Spring Break. While there I talked with the treasurer and volunteer who were very excited over the prospects of our project. I will upload the photos from my visit in our photo tab soon!


Sounds of Music Group Project Update April 28th, 2022

We changed the theme of the website in order to streamline the user’s experience when navigating the site. We are still at work on a few of our webpages, and have one or two additional blog posts lined up, but the website is mostly complete.

However, we would like to acknowledge at this point that any work, whether it is of art or otherwise, is never finished, merely abandoned. This popular adage, often attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, holds true for our website as well. With proper funding and adequate time, we would expand our website, our toolkits, and our blog further.

We are proud of what we accomplished this semester thus far. 

Raquel has been finalizing the Accessibility Toolkit, creating an accessible PDF version of it for distribution, and preparing to present our project. 

Caitlin has been making final website edits, and Felicity has been expanding the Latency Toolkit and editing it for ease of use. She has offered a blog post with suggested reading on topics relating to music and emotion, the meaning of music, and the language of music, that might interest people attracted to the idea of music participation in our Sounds of Music program.   

As our pilot program approaches, we remain excited about this project. We are confident that our work in introducing a virtual, synchronous music enrichment experience can be recreated in most public or private settings, and that others can learn from both our failures and our successes in our own attempts. We also hope that our Accessibility Toolkit can be useful to those who have disabilities and experience difficulties accessing content on the web, as well as their caregivers and families.

As we approach the dress rehearsal and launch day, we will be supporting Raquel in her efforts to practice and perfect the presentation. We will be crafting a narrative that will explain the problem of social isolation, especially amongst senior citizens, the homebound, and the disabled. We will offer the Sounds of Music not as a solution, but as an outreach and a start to solving the conundrum we face as we enter a post-pandemic world. 

Zoom has become more than a tool for virtual meetings; it has become a forum for discourse, discussion, learning, family connections, and more. It connects us to one another, and brings us into each other’s homes. As we enter the ‘new normal,’ we will continue to use Zoom as a platform for our pilot program. Zoom has the capacity to forge new friendships, reinforce existing ones, and create connections between people in different parts of the NYC metropolitan area and beyond.  

We hope that the Digital Humanities will be a useful means of connecting those who would otherwise remain isolated and lonely. We wish to reach an audience that is often overlooked by DH as a field, and bring elderly folks who have limited computer literacy into the technological fold. 

We have a meeting scheduled on Monday to complete our plans for our pilot program and to practice our presentation. 

Mainframe Group Project 04/14

Dancing in the server room

For the next week we plan to remove the non-rendering images, purchase domain name and direct GH pages to it, rename the collection, and work on the layouts.

The day before the presentation, I attended an ‘Intro to GitHub’ webinar to get a better understanding of how GitHub operates in terms of cloning, forking, branching, and pushing, and committing. I have only have experience creating a website by myself; but being able to work with another person collaboratively on the same project is a little bit more complicated in terms ‘Pulling’ and ‘Pushing’, sending pull requests, and getting code to work. I’ve starting looking at websites codes to get a better understanding of what I am reading and how they are structured in terms of sizing, margin, accent, position, align. etc. I also had to determine how to work in the terminal by either using bash or zsh.

For Spring Break we have communicated to each other that we will still continue to work on projects and are still open to forms of communication despite. Taking a break from work I plan to use this time to determine what our final product should look like.

Modeling Value in the Anthropocene | Group Update 4.14

This week, the theoretical foundations we’ve tilled throughout the semester and the sprouts of code that we’ve been working to steadily nurture have at last hit a growth spurt – a welcomed sight considering season’s harvest is fast approaching us. Brian, Modeling Value in the Anthropocene’s preeminent vector producer, has worked diligently to develop our code, surmounting the entropy of depreciation and navigating a sequence of potentially-progress-preventing errors. Most recently, in coordination with the GC’s resident Python wizard, Rafa, we’ve managed to tackle a malevolent IndexError, seen below, through a simple excision of futile functions silently lingering within the complexities of our cipher. As far as we can tell, the sailing is smooth from here on out. As is likely evident at this point, writing about coding is a difficult thing to do so, while I apologize for the brief nature of this update, rest assured that value is being modeled in an anthropical manner.

Extending our sphere of mentors to include Rafa has proved to be wildly helpful, as we were provided with additional workshops to assist us through the last leg of our Pythonic journey along with the necessary troubleshooting to overcome our now-disentangled block of code. Despite Rafa’s incredible demanding schedule, presently saturated due to his role as an advisor for the Digital Humanities program, he managed to find time to enthusiastically assess our code, bypass the hindrance that had held up our progress, and provide valuable guidance for the next steps of our modeling of value in the Anthropocene. As we noted in our presentation, if we’ve learned anything from the process of developing this project, it’s been the strength of the support systems available at the GC and the talented folks that populate them.

Over spring break, Brian and I intend on developing our code to some stage of “near-completion” (with the tentative assistance of Leanne on Monday) so that we might finally have a concrete sense of the shape that our final findings might take in order to begin developing elements of the project that are determinant on these results.

In the meantime, our previous group updates have started to be accumulated and restructured into a “blog” of sorts, in order to detail our processes, our difficulties, and our victories for those who seek to work on similar text analysis projects in the future. Additionally, the creation of our digital “Introduction to Bernard Stiegler” document that will detail Stiegler’s thought in an approachable fashion is underway, with both the script and images being constructed and compiled behind the scenes. I’ve attached a few provisional mock-ups that represent the aesthetic direction this production might take.

And lastly, as we’ve noted previously, our Modeling Memory in the Anthropocene project for our Digital Memories class has been approved with production at last set in motion, providing an exciting additional element to our exploration of Stiegler’s work that we look forward to incorporating into Modeling Value in the Anthropocene.

Alright, folks, that’s all from us. We hope everyone has a happy and safe Spring Break and we look forward to seeing everyone’s project flourish in this delightful spring air.

Be well,
H & B

Digital Gardens Update 4/14/22

Based off of feedback from our classmates and Prof. Maney my team members and I decided to look over the details of our project again to ensure and really set in stone what the purpose of our project is and how we can go about improving it from here. With a brief overview of what we have accomplished as a team thus far we have found the intent of our project didn’t change but that we had added to it in a way we didn’t originally account for. From the start of of our journey we were positioned on the path of creating a digital repository of information on NYC green spaces to answer the question of “What is a Community Garden in the Digital Age?”  Our infographics would of provided a one all stop for those interested and already involved in the gardens. Although we still feel this is a solid proposal, we wanted to shift the scope of our project to better reflect the current direction of what we feel our website and findings are really trying to show. Below is our first draft revision of our new objective.

Community Gardens started with seed bombs and vacant lots, today there are more than 500 gardens spread out in NYC but what is a community garden? Our project uses methods of data visualization and ethnographic interviews to explore who, how and what is accessible within these green spaces and what the effects of these gardens mean for the community that surrounds them. Our audience centers mainly around those already involved as we are approaching what they are familiar with  from a research perspective. By bringing awareness to the effects of these gardens we hope to improve the current standing of them on both a local and state level.

Additional Advantage

Through our research and ethnographic work we found that Community Gardens are largely funded by the grants provided by the federal Housing and Urban development program and  then further financed by membership payments. We hope for our work to come in use when applying for these grants- we are attempting to create solid evidence of why city green spaces are vital for the community and the environment.

Milestones, Adjustments & Going Forward 

In order to meet our milestones and keep in schedule with our deadlines and revised scope of our project we have decided to condense our number of visualizations to 4.

  1. Map of Income Levels- Showcase demographic of people participating/Who it is important for?
  2. Pie Chart of Web Presence- How accessible are Community Gardens?
  3.  Produce- What neighborhoods provide/give back to the community
  4. Plant Life of Gardens (will try to connect to the air quality of boroughs/neighborhoods- we have available data on both)

This Saturday we will be meeting with Kelly Hammond, the lead developer for the Who Wins with Book Awards? project. Her Tableau expertise will help us improve and advance on our journey of visualizing our findings. Please look forward to our finished work 🙂

We have also taken down the notes and comments given to us during the mock presentation and will make the following improvements in the coming weeks: fix logo to account for individuals who are visually impaired, change tone and opacity of colored points on map, change up text and image formatting for pull quotes, shorten text for final PowerPoint presentation. Lastly everyone seemed to really appreciate our use of images so we will definitely be creating a photo tab for our website (we have a lot of great pictures!)

For now enjoy these pictures Benjamin has taken when doing another interview.















*Please refer to last post for Spring break details, I meant it to put it in this post.

Sounds of Music Group Project Update April 14th, 2022

 On Monday, we completed our manifesto, the text of which is pasted below:

Sounds of Music Manifesto

Introduction & Origins

 Music is human. Of this much, we are certain.

The sounds of music have been with us for millennia. Our ability to create music, to find harmony where once there had been discord, remains a defining factor of our humanity. Music is found in every culture across the globe.

Throughout human history, music has evolved and changed. For much of its history, music was ephemeral. It was played, and with the fading of the final note, it lived on only in memory. With the advent of recording technology, a rendition of a song could be repeated again and again. In the digital age, music has taken on a different, more portable life. Often, it has become a solo, individual experience.

 We seek to revive the communal aspect of listening to music. The connections and bonds formed by sharing music together endure long after the last note sounds. We seek to create a virtual space where music can be enjoyed and examined for its capacity to produce great emotional outpourings of joy, sorrow, grief, and ultimately, catharsis.

 Sounds of Music takes its name from The Sound of Music, a 1959 Broadway musical by Richard Rodgers, composer, and Oscar Hammerstein II, lyricist. The story was loosely based on a memoir about the von Trapps, a large family that acquired a substantial reputation for singing in their native Austria before they fled the country in 1938. As a family unit, they achieved immense popularity in the United States through concert tours and recordings, and eventually, they settled permanently in Vermont. The 1965 movie of the same name, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, won five Oscars. Among the many tunes from the show that became popular standards are “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “You Are Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” “Edelweiss,” “Do, Re, Mi,” and “My Favorite Things.”

The sounds of music mean, to us, the human voice, every instrument capable of creating music, and synthetic musical instruments. We have focused on the former two of these three.

 Our Goals

Music is the instrument through which we are inviting members of our community to come together and form lasting, meaningful connections. Our primary target audience has consisted of elderly individuals, a population that is vulnerable to becoming isolated and lonely.

 The Sounds of Music is very much about people. People have informed every part of our user-centric design, from our website to our pilot programs to our Accessibility Toolkits. We have defined the Sounds of Music by our target users amongst the elderly population, and designed with the extreme user in mind.

We are committed to making the Sounds of Music accessible to all who might wish to partake in our music enrichment program. Music should be for everyone and anyone who wishes to listen, and we wish for our communal experience to be an uplifting, joyous one.

We believe in creating a safe, inclusive space for those who enjoy music to discuss memories that arise, connections that present themselves, and other elements of the musical experience.

We wish for our audience to come away from the pilot program smiling, feeling connected, and engaged. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, elderly individuals have not experienced the type of connections that they once enjoyed freely and without concern for their health.

We seek to remedy this by providing an online, virtual environment that is both a safe space for sharing music and memories, as well as a community-building experience during which new friendships can be formed and maintained.

Our ultimate goal is to create an online community through which the sounds of music foster new friendships and fresh perspectives. We seek to make this experience available to all who wish to partake in it. We also wish for this experience to be both customizable and easily duplicated in almost any setting, both private or public. 


During our Monday meeting, we also discussed the possibility of meeting again with Jeremy, a Music for Veterans facilitator who has consulted with us once before. We plan to meet with him on Friday afternoon in order to discuss our plan for the pilot program that will take place on April 25th. 

On Wednesday, we presented our progress thus far and received feedback, including but not limited to:

  • “Love the logo!” – Faihaa Khan
  • Emphasize significance in slide 2: not many DH projects have focused on elderly populations. This is one of the first. (Bret)
  • It might be worthwhile to explain why you chose zoom as the platform: ubiquity, wide adoption, etc. (Bret)
  • “I like the screenshot from the workshop. Gives a good sense of also the people connection in the project!” – Benjamin M.
  • Maybe main point: Accessibility is a major focus of our project. It has to be when serving a homebound, elderly population (Bret).

In the past few weeks, Felicity reached out to three different nursing homes and facilities, who were relatively eager to learn more, but we decided not to pursue this avenue of outreach. These facilities were Inspīr Senior Living, Terence Cardinal Cooke Harlem Nursing Home, and Amsterdam Nursing Home. 

We are looking forward to experiencing the pilot program with a more diverse group of participants, one of whom is an elderly artist friend of Caitlin’s who is well-known in the Queens artistic community. We hope that it will go smoothly, and be a positive experience for all involved. 

Mainframe Group Project Update 04/08

This week I presented Kai with more Logo Options and Social Media Icon options.

I started off creating a style for the page. I am still figuring out the best type for the page, but it would probably make sense to test that using a wireframe. I wanted to start off using simple color scheme based off the colors I started using for the zine– however I need to indicate which ones are specifically the primary and secondary colors. So it is still up in the air for revisions.

I also need to determine the layout, grid, and spacing rules, to define how pages are structured. I believe Wax has already determined a setting for the grid, but I’m sure it can be altered later. I also need to determine how quotes, different links, and the emphasized parts will look like.

During our zoom meeting on Wednesday Kai and I drafted up some key points to get done for next week:

  1. Meeting up next week before spring break in order to get some tech questions out of the way in person.
  2. Determine style changes we’d want to make in terms of website layouts.
  3. We’d draft writing on Notion, which is easier to copy in past into code, as Notion operates using Markdown to format texts.
  4. Determine how the slides will look for the presentation on Monday.

One thing we have come to a mixed decision on is how to fix the images that are not rendering on Wax– we could spend more time troubleshooting and hopefully learn some valuable skills in coding; or decided to edit some out of the collection in order to compress our set of images.

Bret also mentioned about extending or initial plan of using deformation in terms of these images; is an archive itself a form of deformation by placing the image in context with other similar images. To what degree do the tropes of mainframes (batch processing) figure into the archive itself?

Also on my to-do list is to check out the book Plain Text: The Poetics of Computation by Dennis Tenen, an Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.

Digital Gardens Project Update 4/7/22

As we’re inching closer to the end of the semester my team and I have been steadily working on visualizing all the data that has been collected the first few months of our project development. As we’re producing these infographics we will also be uploading them on to our CUNY Commons website.  If you look to our site now you will see a tab labeled under Data Visualizations of Community Gardens in NYC. This tab is still a work in progress as we’re still figuring out the the functions of a page on a commons site. Every time we try to put a separate posting on our tab the vis ends up on the homepage instead of the designated tab. For now we’re putting our finished charts and maps on to one page but we will figure out how to make this more organized. Below are still images of what we have so far. (Make sure to go to our website to use the interactive features.)


The interactive map showcases community gardens in NYC and their current status. To make the points on the map clearer the viewer can click on the different colored squares on our key and highlight the specific points they want to observe. We felt the present day standing of the gardens was pertinent information to show for a number of reasons. For one it makes it easier for the average user to see what green spaces are active and available for use in their area. Please stay tuned for our critiques and explanations on this map when we provide an accompanied written section on our website.

For our pie chart we did a web scrape of the gardens featured in and investigated which gardens had an info page on their respective gardens and which didn’t. From there we compiled a list on the ones that did not and proceeded to do a deep dive exploration if these gardens had any web presence at all! With the help of a hover over feature the viewer can see how many gardens in each borough are web anonymous- a rare characteristic in this current day and age.


According to our workplan we are pretty much on track for what we wished to accomplish by this timeframe. The data collection portion of our project has been completed so now we’re are focusing on what we have and how to present it, something we wished to do by this time! However with that being said looking towards the future and the allotted time left my team members and I have discussed the possibility of cutting down the scope of our visualizations. Originally we planned on displaying a total of 6 forms of data: Active vs Non Active, Income levels by area, gardens that supply produce, gardens supported by Obesity Task Force, plant life of gardens & Digital web presence. Although we would ideally like to have a chart or map for all of these we figured we may have to disregard 1 or 2 to stay on schedule. I also think it’s important to mention that all of us are beginners at Tableau and are learning as we go along. This means making a vis requires quite a bit of time on our part. Our team member Nelson who is the main member in charge of the vis’ has even reached out to a GC Digital Fellow for assistance. Unfortunately the fellow did not have much knowledge in the software program but did give pointers on how to organize our data sheets to make it easier to import and use, this was definitely a big help to us.

On the other side of our project, our ethnographic research has been progressing. As we had mentioned previously we have an interview with the oldest community garden member done by Benjamin, coming soon to our website. Before uploading we have condensed the audio file to an Mp3, constructed a transcript and pulled notable quotes we felt were compelling. These quotes will be sent to the interviewee who will give us the go ahead to upload. Benjamin will be visiting Quincy Community Garden on Saturday to do an observational study. By the end of this project we hope to have 3 interviews up.

Spring Break & Going Forward 

During Spring break all team members will be working independently. At this point we are all working on different aspects of the project simultaneously so our weekly meetings may take a pause to allow for more work time. With that being said we are always keeping in touch via our WhatsApp group chat to fill each other in on work that has been completed or in progress.