MoMA, New York Public Library, Google, and Twitter: our 2014-2015 projects, exhibitions, publications

The last 24 months have been a very busy and productive time for our lab.

In 2014, we created six new projects focusing on analysis, visualization, and interpretation of large cultural data. Four of them were installations commissioned by New York Public Library, Google Zeitgest 2014 conference, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, and a media festival in Sao Paulo. We were also commissioned to create a visualization for Wired August 2014 issue.

In 2015, we are showing our projects in 12 exhibitions in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, including Infosphere in ZKM (Center for Art and Media), Tallinn Architecture Biennale, Data Traces in Riga, and West Bund Biennial of Architecture and Contemporary Art in Shanghai. We also created a new selficity London edition for Big Bang Data exhibition at Somerset House in London.

Our projects were featured in hundreds of publications including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, The Guardian, CNN, PBS, NBC, LA Time, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, The Atlantic, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Wired, Slate, Fast Company Co.Design, Spiegel, Le Monde, Buzzfeed, Gizmodo. For the full list of media coverage, see

We are grateful to institutions that are supporting our work: The Graduate Center at City University of New York; California Institute for Telecommunication and Information and The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

We were lucky to work with the amazing team of data and media designers: Moritz Stefaner, Daniel Goddemeyer, and Dominikus Baur. Moritz is the creative director and visualization designer for both Selfiecity and On Broadway, and we are very grateful for all his work and dedication to these projects.

Awards and recognition:

Selfiecity received Gold (in website category) from Information Is Beautiful 2014 Awards.

Lev Manovich is included in The Verge 50: the list of the most interesting people building the future (2014).

Selfiecity is included in six best visualizations of 2014 lists.


Twitter Data Grant:

Out of 1300 international teams who applied, only six teams received the Twitter Data Grant. ">Twitter Data grants. As the part of the grant, Twitter gave us access to every tweeted image worldwide for 2011-2014. We will be publishing the results of our analysis of this amazing dataset in 2015-2016.

Culture Analytics Institute

Lev Manovich is a member of organizing team for Culture Analytics Institute (March 6 - June 10, UCLA). 115 leading academic and industry researchers who will be speaking at 4 Institute workshops.

Commissioned projects:

On Broadway

An interactive installation that visualizes multiple layers of data and images collected along the 13 miles of Broadway spanning Manhattan. Data includes 660,000 Instagram images, Twitter posts and images, Foursquare check-ins, Google Street View images, 22 million taxi pickups and drop-offs (2013), and economic indicators from the U.S. Census Bureau. Artists: Daniel Goddemeyer, Moritz Stefaner, Dominikus Baur, Lev Manovich. The installation is on view at the New York Public Library as part of the exhibition Public Eye: 175 Years of Sharing Photography, December 12, 2014 - January 3, 2016. Interactive web app is available at On Broadwaywebsite.

Phototrails: Animated

Animated visualizations of 2.3 million Instagram images from 13 global cities commissioned for Google Zeitgest 2014 Conference. Artists: Nadav Hochman, Lev Manovich, Jay Chow. September 14-16, Paradise Valley, Arizona. Original project (2013): Phototrails.


A site-specific project for a media facade in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Instagram selfies from Sao Paulo are animated to reveal patterns in self-representation. One animation presents the photos organized by estimated age, another by gender, and the third by the degree of smile. Artists: Jay Chow, Lev Manovich, and Moritz Stefaner. SelfieSaoPaulo was on view on the media facade, located at the building FIESP / SESI and Alameda das Flores (Avenida Paulista 1313), every night for the duration of the 2014 SP_Urban Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil. June 9 – July 7, 2014.

Taipei Phototime

Real time visualization of Instagram image streams Taipei and New York. Artists: Lev Manovich and Jay Chow. Taipei Phototime was commissioned for Wonder of Fantasy. 2014 International Techno Art Exhibition at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei. May 17 – August 3, 2014.

selfiecity London

Analysis and visualization Instagram selfies from London. Commissioned for Big Bang Data exhibition at Somerset House in London. December 3 2015 – February 28, 2016.

Self-initiated projects:

The Exceptional and the Everyday: 144 hours in Kyiv

The first project to analyze the use of Instagram during a social upheaval. Using computational and data visualization techniques, we explored 13,208 Instagram images shared by 6,165 people in the central area of Kyiv during 2014 Ukrainian revolution (February 17 - 22, 2014). Team: Lev Manovich, Jay Chow, Alise Tifentale, and Mehrdad Yazdani, with a guest essay by Elizabeth Losh. Released 10/07/2014.


Analysis and visualization of 3,200 Instagram selfies from five global cities. The project includes an interactive web app Selfiexploratory. Team: Lev Manovich, Dominikus Baur, Jay Chow, Daniel Goddemeyer, Nadav Hochman, Moritz Stefaner, Alise Tifentale, and Mehrdad Yazdani. Released 02/19/2014.

Publications: new books 2014-2015:

Data Drift: Archiving Media and Data Art in the 21st Century. Editors: Rasa Smite, Raitis Smits, Lev Manovich. (RIXC, 2015)

The Illusions. Digital Original Edition. A BIT of The Language of New Media. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2014.

Publications: articles, book chapters, conference papers 2014-2015:

Manovich, Lev. The Science of Culture? Social Computing, Digital Humanities, and Cultural Analytics in The Datafied Society. Social Research in the Age of Big Data, edited by Mirko Tobias Schaefer and Karin van Es. Amsterdam University Press, forthcoming in 2016.

Manovich, Lev. Exploring Urban Social Media: Selfiecity and On Broadway in Code and the City, edited by Robert Kitchin and Sung-Yueh Perng. Routledge, forthcoming February 2016.

Manovich, Lev, and Mehrdad Yazdani. Predicting Social Trends from Non-photographic Images on Twitter, Big Humanities Data workshop at IEEE Big Data 2015. Forthcoming in Proceedings of 2015 IEEE International Conference on Big Data.

Heftberger, Adelheid. «Die Verschmelzung von Wissenschaft und Filmchronik». Das Potenzial der reduktionslosen Visualisierung am Beispiel von «Das elfte Jahr» und «Der Mann mit der Kamera» von Dziga Vertov. In La visualisation des données en histoire. Visualisierung von Daten in der Geschichtswissenschaft , edited by Enrico Natale, Christiane Sibille, Nicolas Chachereau, Patrick Kammerer, and Manuel Hiestand. Zürich: Chronos-Verlag, 2015.

Manovich, Lev. Data Science and Computational Art History. International Journal for Digital Art History, Issue 1, 2015, pp. 12-34. Featured article.

Manovich, Lev and Everardo Reyes. “Info-aesthetics,” in 100 Notions for Digital Art, edited by M. Veyrat. Paris: Les Editions de l’Immatériel.

Manovich, Lev. The Language of Media Software. In The Imaginary App, edited by Svitlana Matviyenko and Paul D. Miller (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2014), pp. 189-204.

Manovich, Lev. Software is The Message. Journal of Visual Culture, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp. 79-81.

Reyes, Everardo. Aesthetics of temporal and spatial transformations in environments, Metaverse Creativity, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp. 151-165.

Reyes, Everardo. Explorations in Media Visualization (invited talk) in Extended Proceedings of the 25th ACM conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia Hypertext'14, September 2014. New York: ACM Press.

da Silva, Cicero Inacio and Marcio Santos. Analysing big cultural data patterns in 2.200 covers of Veja Magazine. Proceedings of the Digital Humanities Congress 2012. University of Sheffield, 2014.

Hochman, Nadav and Lev Manovich. A View From Above: Exploratory Visualizations of the Thomas Walther Collection, in Object:Photo. Modern Photographs 1909–1949: The Thomas Walther Collection. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), website.

Manovich, Lev, Jay Chow, Alise Tifentale, Mehrdad Yazdani. The Exceptional and the Everyday: 144 Hours in Kyiv, in Proceedings of 2014 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, 77-84.

Tifentale, Alise and Lev Manovich. Selfiecity: Exploring Photography and Self-Fashioning in Social Media, in Berry, David M. and Michael Dieter, eds, Postdigital Aesthetics: Art, Computation and Design (Palgrave Macmillan: 2015), pp. 109-122.

Hochman, Nadav. The social media image, Big Data and Society, July-December 2014.

Hochman, Nadav, Lev Manovich, and Mehrdad Yazdani. On Hyper-Locality: Performances of Place in Social Media, presented at The International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM 2014).

Manovich, Lev. Watching the World, Aperture, No. 214 (2014), special issue on “Documentary, Expanded.”