I was really fortunate to participate in several interdisciplinary conferences this past spring. In February I presented at the “Mapping the Musical City” Symposium, organized by Newcastle University and the Institute of Musical Research at the University of London and at the “Power of Musical Networks” Seminarat the Orpheus Instituut in Ghent, Belgium. In April I attended the “Digital Matters in Medieval and Renaissance Studies”Symposium at Duke University.
Right now, I’m focusing on visualizing Venetian musicians’ networks based on tourist guides publishing the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. For each of these conferences I got to experiment with different mapping and graphing platforms that demonstrate these connections in various ways.
Rather than highlighting the individual musicians’ experience, as in the payment records, tourist guides provide other individuals’ interpretations of Venetian musical culture, often for the benefit of foreign visitors.
Venetia città nobilissima et singolare
Original edition by Francesco Sansovino in 1561.
Updated edition by Giustinian Martinioni in 1663.
For the Newcastle symposium I created a map in Carto. [Available Here]To create the base map, I used a high-res download of Ludovico Ughi’s 1729 map of Venice (available on Wikimedia commons)and geo-referenced it using Map Warper. (Huge thanks to Theresa Quill at IU for introducing me to this site!)
I created color-coded layers for four tourist guides published between 1663 and 1700. Depending on which layers you have selected, you can click on an institution and see the excerpt from the guide that mentions it. Carto has a cool feature where you can enter an image url in the metadata and that image will be in the pop-up window. (Tutorial here.)
Since all of the tourist guides I used to create this map are available in Google Books (Woohoo!), I used the snipping tool in the ebook reader to generate the url. Since I first created this map some of the image links have become defunct so, as awesome and time-saving as this feature is, it’s maybe not the best long-term solution.
Selecting a section of the image using the Snipping tool generates an image url that you can copy and paste into Carto. What a time to be alive!
There is also another layer which includes information from my network graph, labeled “Employed Musicians, 1670-1690.” If you click on an institution in that layer, you’ll see a list of the musicians named in the documents from my dissertation research. This isn’t comprehensive, of course, but it’s a start toward bringing together different kinds of evidence.
Putting this map together was a useful exercise, but it also created a lot more issues for me to tackle. First of all, some of these tourist guides mention specific musicians (living and dead) associated with different institutions while other just mention the institution as an important venue. This distinction is more about the documents than it is about the institutions, so I’m trying to decide what role it will play in the graph and how I can communicate it visually.
Second, my research is about networks. While it definitely matters where different institutions were in the city and in relation to one another, I want to be able to draw edges between these institutions to demonstrate relationships. I’m sure that determining and classifying those relationships is going to be an adventure!
I’ll be writing about my presentations for the Orpheus Instituut and for Duke in future blog posts. Stay tuned!