CFP: Digital Art History (NORDIK, Reykjavik, 13-16 May 15)

Reykjavik, Iceland - NORDIK 2015. Mapping Uncharted Territories, The 11th Triannual Nordik Committee for Art History Conference, May 13 - 16, 2015
Deadline: Sep 25, 2014

NORDIK 2015, session:

Digital Art History – a new frontier in research

Art History is at the brink of new ways of accessing its material and gaining unprecedented insights. While we are still using image databases that resemble slide libraries, Information Science has to offer multiple advanced approaches to images, such as content based search and classification that will become important tools for art historical research. Big Image Data will enable us to master the content of huge collections by making use of intelligent algorithms and visualising their results. What requirements does Art History have towards Information Technology? What projects do exist that can serve as best practice? Which direction does Art History go from here?

While we teach our students to amass a collection of artworks in their minds in order to recognise, compare and judge art, computers are able to store, make available and analyse more images than any human could see in a lifetime. The computer is increasingly able not only to search across meta data, but to derive information from the image itself, like colour information, similarities, entropy or content information. The computer is increasingly able to not only deal with pixels, but to virtually see what is on them. Moreover, computers can help to classify image, e.g. into epochs and artists.

The so called Digital Humanities investigate the potential of the use of Information Technology (IT) in the humanities. Sciences that are dealing with images, like Art History, are slowly catching up. Still, the prototype of a department of art history has had two repositories of knowledge: the library and the slide library. The slide library has now been digitalised in databases of images with their respective meta data. But still they mimic slide libraries in structure, i.e. we can find what we already know. We have not yet raised its digital treasure to find what we do not know already. But Art History is at the brink of entirely new methods by means of IT. Soon we will have tools in our hands that will revolutionise our discipline.

Papers should consider questions such as:
- Which advanced digital tools are suitable for image search in Art History?
- What does Big Data mean for Art History?
- How to visualise Big Image Data?
- What are the future challenges for computer vision in the service of Art History?
- What are the requirements for a rich image format that serves research in art?
- How can we learn from experiences in museums?
- What are concepts for an international IT infrastructure for Art History?
- What are interdisciplinary approaches that can serve as best practice?
- If the computer is increasingly intelligent, what is the role of the researcher and his relations to the tool being used?
- If the computer is the new medium in research and teaching, how does that change the methods we are using and does that have precursors in the history of our discipline?
- If Art History is about to experience fundamental change, what has to be the guiding line to develop digital tools that serve our scientific objectives?

This Call for Papers is for a session as part of the NORDIK 2015 — Mapping Uncharted Territories – The 11th Triannual Nordik Committee for Art History Conference, 13-16 May 2015, Reykjavik, Iceland.

We invite paper proposals. Please submit a 1–2 page abstract, brief c.v. (two pages max.), and full contact information by September 25, 2014. Please direct your communication both to the chair of the session (Dr. Harald Klinke, and to the conference organisers at:

Dr. Harald Klinke, Kunstgeschichtliches Seminar, Universität Göttingen

For more information on the session and the conference with 22 sessions spanning a wide range of topics visit:

CFP: Digital Art History (NORDIK, Reykjavik, 13-16 May 15). In:, Jul 14, 2014 (accessed Oct 1, 2020), <>.

Contributor: Harald Klinke, Institut für Kunstgeschichte

Contribution published: Jul 14, 2014

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