‘Photo Archives Are Sleeping Beauties.’ Pharos Is Their Prince

Pharos is an effort among 14 institutions to create a database that will eventually hold and make accessible 22 million images of artworks.

The New York Times has a story about a collaboration to develop the Pharos consortium photo archive, ‘Photo Archives Are Sleeping Beauties.’ Pharos Is Their Prince. The consortium has a number of interesting initiatives they are implementing in Pharos:

  • They are applying the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model.

The CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model (CRM) provides definitions and a formal structure for describing the implicit and explicit concepts and relationships used in cultural heritage documentation.

  • They have a visual search (which doesn’t seem to find anything at the moment.)
  • They are looking at Research Space (which uses CRM) for a research linked data environment.

Animethon 20

Yesterday I went to the Animethon. This is a convention about Japanese anime, manga, games, cosplay and related culture that takes place every year in Edmonton on the campus of Grant MacEwan City Centre Campus. The three day event attracts thousands (probably around 6000). A sgnificant portion of participants are dressed up for cosplay. You can see my photographs on Flickr in my Animethon 2013 set. The best of the cosplayers I saw was the Hello Kitty samurai knight in the photo above.

It is tempting to compare this Japanese pop culture event in Canada to ones I saw in Japan, but I haven’t seen enough on either side of the Pacific to be sure. What is clear to me is that Japanese pop culture is big here in Edmonton and not just among youth. While there were a lot of kids (some with parents), there were also older fans (like me.) I loved the inventive costumes and there seemed to be almost as many men cosplayers as women. Many took real pride in their costumes.

Some of the panels I went to included one on the Touhou Project and one on ball-jointed dolls (BJD). There was a cosplay contest with some fabulous costumes. I also spent time in the exhibit hall were I picked up a WonderSwan and some games, including a copy of Rez. Now I need a PS2 to play it on!

The ball-jointed doll session was the most interesting as it was a community I didn’t know much about. There is apparently a strong BJD club in Edmonton and they meet to trade and teach each other. Many of the participants had brought their dolls (see my photos) and they seemed to be mostly mature women, though there were some men there too with dolls. I can’t help wondering about the differences between the doll culture in Japan and here. Here it seemed to be a hobby in the tradition of collecting dolls. In Japan there seemed to be a subset of male owners for whom these dolls are more than collectibles, but that may be a projection.

Simon Norfolk: Supercomputers

From Humanist I found Simon Norfolk’s web site which includes a photographic series on “The Supercomputers: ‘I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that” (click enter, then click the title of the collection and then click photographs.)

The photographs pick out details of HPC installations that are visually arresting. They are without people as if these spaces were silent. In reality when you are in these spaces (at least the computer rooms I’ve been in) they are noisy with cooling systems and there are people nursing the beasts.

Historypin

Historypin is a very cool project that lets people attach their historic photographs to locations. It is a partnership with Google that allows images to be pinned on Google Street View and Google Maps.

I like the scale and ambition of this project – it invites a country to document itself. I also like the way they have captured the concept with a name (“Historypin”) and an image of the historic photo pinned over the current view.

GHOSTSIGNS: hand painted wall advertising

GHOSTSIGNS.CO.UK is a site dedicated to the hand painted advertising murals that we often see like ghosts of text on the sides of buildings. The site presents itself as,

a collaborative national effort to photograph, research and archive the remaining examples of hand painted wall advertising in the UK and Ireland.

The images of these ghostsigns are up on a Flickr group pool. See also HAT (History of Advertising Trust) web site which has a gallery.