Digital Durham

Spring 2018

ISS 356S | VMS 358S | EDUC 356S | HISTORY 382S-01

Trudi Abel, Victoria Szabo

WF 10:05-11:20am | Rubenstein 350

The Digital Durham seminar is based on the idea that understanding the
past is a civic virtue. The course fosters awareness of the complexity
of Durham communities, including the interconnections of the white and
African-American communities in the past. The project lays bare
Durham’s experience of industrialization, immigration, segregation,
and urbanization and demonstrates how that history shapes the present
and the future. Students will engage with a broad array of primary
sources in the Rubenstein Library including maps, photographs, census
data and handwritten letters from the nineteenth century–and digital
tools which they will use to share and interpret historical documents.

This course is part of a Bass Connections 2017-18 project.

Image Credit


Joel Herndon

Hannah Jacobs

Brian Norberg


Digital Durham

Digital Cities: Representing the Past and Inventing the Future

Spring 2013

VMS 380S

Florian Wiencek, Timothy Senior, Victoria Szabo

This course on ‘Digital Cities’ is being developed as collaboration between Jacobs University (Bremen, Germany) and Duke University with the aim of exploring the use of new tools, techniques and methods from digital and spatial research in the visualization of historical material culture and the built environment. It combines theoretical and practical approaches to digital places and spaces or localized digital media, as location has become a dominant coordinate system to digital information in the last years.

Our focus at Duke University is digital storytelling of site specific and architectural history and the re-mediation of spatial experience using a variety of tools, such as 3D-modelling, audio, video, augmented reality or web-authoring. The theory and practice will be grounded by readings of theories of digital media, digital storytelling and digital cultural heritage and digital spaces. Moreover we will learn practical media production skills in lab-sessions in class – complemented by WIRED! Workshops taught by Sarah Goetz on Friday afternoons – in order to produce rich-layered historical accounts of different sites in Durham, NC. The projects, which will be carried out in groups and will contribute to a larger common project, will be “deep dives” into the histories, possible histories and possible futures of architectural sites in Durham, NC on the basis of available archival material as well as individual research by the students on the site(s). Ideally these projects will have the form of interactive / participative / performative (on-site) interventions using different forms of digital media, which will (re)mediate the in situ experiences of the sites’ histories, presents and futures. This practical project is combined with a written documentation, which will explain your project ideas, the role of individual group members in the project as well as the theoretical grounding and rationale of the projects and the reason you chose the media at hand for realizing your project.

The course will be conducted through a mixture of regular joint classes of Duke University and Jacobs University over videoconferencing to both teach and experiment with core technologies and to explore core topics of the course together, as well as independently-run classes in a lecture/seminar format, which will focus on relevant theory and group-project development.

Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany Collaboration
Duke has established a close relationship with members of the Jacobs University community in Bremen, Germany. In 2012-13 several Jacobs graduate students came to campus as exchange students. We taught our Digital Cities course, which was coupled virtually with a course at Jacobs. Both courses met at the same time and videoconferences discussion and workshop sessions with one another, as well as sharing project crits.

Related Essay:
This project was presented at the Digital Heritage International Congress 2013 and subsequently published:
“Digital Cities: A collaborative engagement with urban heritage”
Timothy Senior, Victoria Szabo, Florian Wiencek

Historical & Cultural Visualization Proseminar 2

Spring 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2018

HCVIS 581S-01 | VMS 581S-01 | ISIS 581S-01

Mark Olson

M 1:25-3:55pm | Wired! Lab (Smith, Bay 11, A233)

Interactivity and online content management with 2D and 3D imaging and interactive systems.  Mini-projects based on existing and new research data from the Wired! Lab and elsewhere. Best practices for digital research project planning and collaboration. Theoretical topics include: critical digital heritage, virtuality and culture, information aesthetics, hypermedia information design.

Proseminar 1 required. This course is required for all MA in Digital Art History/Computational students.

Digital Places and Spaces

Fall 2017

ISS 660S | VMS 660S

Victoria Szabo

T 8:45-11:15am | Wired! Lab (Smith, Bay 11, A233)

History, theory, criticism, practice of creating digital places and spaces with maps, virtual worlds, and games. Links to “old,” analog media. Virtual environment and world-building and historical narrative, museum, mapping, and architectural practices. Project-based seminar course w/ critical readings, historical and contemporary examples, world-building. Class exhibitions, critiques, and ongoing virtual showcase. Projects might include: web and multimedia, GPS and handheld data and media capture, 2D & 3D mapping, screen-based sims and game-engine based development, sensors and biometrics, and multimodal, haptic interfaces.

Gothic Cathedrals

Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015, Fall 2014, Fall 2012

ARTHIST 225-01 & 225-01L | MEDREN 215-01

Current Instructor: Edward Triplett

Past Instructor: Caroline Bruzelius

Fall 2017: TTh 11:45am-1:00pm | Perkins LINK 072 (Classroom 6)

In this course, students work in teams of 3 to create a fictional cathedral. They write a narrative and propose a program for the decoration (stained glass and portals) and architecture (ground plan, elevation, section and façade) of a cathedral situated in a specific place and time. The historical narrative begins with the Christianization of the site, and must consider access to supplies of wood and stone (students study geological maps). The fictional cathedral also needs to be located near roads, ports, or rivers in order to provide the economic basis for the project. All proposals include fictional budgets (income and expenditures) as well as an outline for the organization of the labor force.

The “master builders” in this class learn a computer-design program (AutoCad) to produce their cathedral plans and drawings appropriate in style and structure to the date and place chosen by the group. Projects are presented to a jury at the end of the semester and prizes are awarded for teamwork, project quality, and originality.


Cathedral of Saint Susanne

Historical & Cultural Visualization Proseminar 1

Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015, Fall 2014

ARTHIST 580S-01 | HCVIS 580S-01 | ISS 580S-01 | VMS 580S-01

Victoria Szabo

Th 8:45-11:15am | Wired! Lab (Smith, Bay 11, A233)

Interactivity and online content management through databases, collaborative blogs, and other systems. Data visualization based on textual, image, and quantitative sources. Basic techniques for virtual reality, simulations, augmented reality, and game-based historical and cultural visualization project development. Mini-projects based on existing and new research data from the Wired! Lab and elsewhere. Best practices for digital research project planning and collaboration.Theoretical topics include: critical digital heritage, virtuality and culture, information aesthetics, hypermedia information design. Instructor consent required.

This course is a core part of the MA in Digital Art History/Computational Media.

Italian Baroque Art

Fall 2016, Spring 2018

ARTHIST 256-001 | ITALIAN 256-001 | ROMST 256-001

Kristin Huffman

TTH 11:45am-1:00pm | Smith Warehouse, Bay 9, A266

This course traces the development of the Italian baroque in architecture, sculpture and painting and considers a variety of themes relevant to Baroque artistic production, including: the impact of the Reformation and the Catholic Counter Reformation; economic influences; central versus peripheral trends; issues of gender and sexuality; patronage; urban planning and transformation; the artist, his workshop and rivalries; and seventeenth-century primary sources. The semester project will include a digital treatment of art historical content.


Hannah Jacobs


Neatline Final Projects

Historical & Cultural Visualization Proseminar 2 on Models: History, Theory & Digital Practice

Spring 2016

HCVIS 581S-01 | ISIS 581S-01 | VMS 581S-01

Mark Olson, Annabel Wharton

T 1:25-3:55pm | Wired! Lab (Smith, Bay 11 2nd Floor, A233)

Matt Ratto (2011) describes critical making as “a desire to theoretically and pragmatically connect two modes of engagement with the world that are often held separate—critical thinking, typically understood as conceptual and linguistically based, and physical ‘making,’ goal-based material work” (253). Models offer a site in which making and conceptualization are inextricably interwoven. Like models themselves, this seminar brings theory and practice together. We shall develop skills both in making models and in thinking about and through models.

Student projects will both model and analyze, theoretically and historically, a site or object of their choice. Digital 3d models will be constructed and then be presented in the form of a 20-minute conference paper and then refined and elaborated as a final paper.

Historical GIS

Fall 2017

ISS 315-01 | VMS 304-01 | ARTHIST 315-01

Edward Triplett

TTh 3:05-4:20pm | Wired! Lab (Smith, Bay 11 2nd Floor, Rm A233)

This is a beginner/intermediate Geographic Information System (GIS) course designed to help students design maps and spatial diagrams of historical subjects. The class emphasizes perspectives, procedures, and tools that are relevant to art and architectural history, but students will also learn that most spatial methods are inter-disciplinary. Although geared toward art history, students from any discipline are welcome. This course is designed as a hybrid lecture/lab format in which direct instruction is supplemented by hands on learning labs using ArcGIS software and real-world spatial data. The main skills students will gain are:

· Integration of spatial and tabular data
· Geoprocessing
· Data visualization
· Creating features
· Editing Features
· Vector and Raster Integration
· Spatial Analysis
· Georeferencing

Introduction to Art History

Spring 2015

ARTHIST 101D-001 LEC & 101D-01D DIS

Caroline Bruzelius

Joseph Williams

MWF 10:05-10:55am | The Wired! Lab (Smith, Bay 11, A233)

The Introduction to Art History covers the History of Art from Prehistory to the Middle Ages. A significant part of the course concerns mapping the transportation of raw materials (ivory, tin, copper, for example) as well as objects acquired through colonial expropriation (such as obelisks). We will concern ourselves with works of art as the products of emerging systems of trade and transportation, as well as works of art as reflecting social systems of memory and commemoration.

Research and technical support for this course are provided by Lee Sorensen, Librarian for Visual Studies & Dance, and Hannah Jacobs, Wired! Lab Multimedia Analyst.