In a recent study of Instagram photos called  “The Exceptional & The Everyday: 144 Hours in Kiev”,  Lev Manovich, a professor of computer science at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, and his research team organized 13,208 images shared by 6,165 Instagram users February 17-22 amidst the chaos of the Ukrainian Revolution in 2014. Using data visualization techniques, the research team organized the images by the dates and times they were shared and charted that data against protests and other events during the four-day Ukrainian Revolution. The composite image also includes summaries of those events in six hour intervals.

This is an excellent example of how individual social media posts over a tight period of time from a specific location can begin to tell a rich collective story about a social movement. The visualization captures the exceptional and contrasts it with the mundane. At first glance, it is not perceivable to the user that violent protests took place in the Kiev. It is not until closely examining the individual photos that images of chaos, fires and mobs of protesters become visible. At the same time, it is clear that some Ukrainians continued to post typical Instagram pictures, including selfies and pet portraits.

From The Everyday Project

Among the most interesting findings from Manovich’s study:

  • Fourteen perecent of the shared images were around The Independence (Maidan) Square. This was the main site of the confrontations between protesters and government forces.
  • Nine of the most frequently used tags were related to the revolution. Examples include #maindan, #euromaidan, #revolution.
  • The images show different types of involvement of people in the revolutionary events.
  • The exceptional and the everyday are involved in a mutually transformative relationship. In this event, the exceptional transformed into the everyday because of the absolute condition for holding up against police forces.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015 at 11:42 am and is filed under DATA VISUALIZATION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.