Archives for the month of: April, 2013

Our project consists of two ways of reconsidering Ulysses in time and space. The first part of the project uses archival maps of Dublin layered using the Google Earth interface  to locate objects from the exhibit within their geospatial context in Ulysses and their historical context within Dublin. The second aspect of the project asks exhibit-goers to consider the reader’s geotemporal experience of the novel by mapping the word count in Ulysses locatable in a region of Dublin onto a 3D, tactile, 1925 map of Dublin.

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Dislocating Ulysses

The initial workflow for the Google Earth map is laid out in this video.

As the project developed, we added another component to the data model and workflow. This was the information about the objects’ histories in Dublin. A second iteration of the project with an example of the added data can be found here.

What is notable about the development of the workflow is that by the end, we added an extra layer of research to the project by teasing out the histories of the objects located on the map. Our data model contains some of the research conducted for the map (retaining, of course, only the research that made it onto the map). A list of the works cited for this research can be found in the bibliography.

Workflow for the 3D Map

 This project appropriately began with an analogue edition of Ulysses. As the picture below reveals, I employed relatively low-tech methods to gather the data, or as Johanna Drucker would say, the capta.

First, I went through each chapter and marked every instance of an identifiable place change using post-it notes.

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As I worked my way through the text, deciding where an event occurs was not always straightforward. One question I came across early on in the capta collection process was, “When a person recounts a memory of an event that occurred somewhere other than where the character currently is, do I mark the place of the memory as the place the text occurs or do I continue to mark the location of the character?” In part for consistency and ease of mapping and in part because the context of the memory still occurs in the place where the character speaks or thinks the memory, I chose to record the place where the character currently is as opposed to the place to which the memory points.

My choice foregrounds a connection between the location of the characters’ bodies and the text. Given the novel’s interest in the interiority of the characters, stream-of-consciousness and metempsychosis, this might seem a strange choice.

The second step involved gathering word counts. For all but the last two chapters, I used the text files of the 1922 edition released by the Modernist Versions Project.

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For the last two files, which are not yet on the site, I used the edition posted the Internet Archive which is “based on pre-1923 print editions” (Internet Archive).

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I used the search function to find the phrases that marked the beginning and endings of a passage located in a given region, copy and pasted the text into TextWrangler, and noted the word count. I also noted the word count for the entire chapter. When I added the number of words from all the chapters in Ulysses, this provided the word count.

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Determining the word count for passages proved difficult for the portions of the novel where characters are in transit. Hence, another question that followed me through the novel was how to mark passages in-transit or how do I locate movement? Kiberd’s work on the importance of walking in Ulysses highlighted this question as a significant problem for our geotemporal representation of the text. Kiberd attributes the importance of movement particularly to Bloom noting that “Bloom is at his most vital in the world of process, in motion between two fixed points. A committed wanderer, he knows that movement is better than stasis” (82). I grappled with this problem for a while until I capitulated to practicality. For the purposes of raising and lowering regions on the tactile map, I grouped destination points on a walk or drive. When a character did more than simply pass through an area, I marked that area as a distinct location. For example, in Hades, Bloom travels from Grand Canal St. to St. Mark’s to the railway, Queen’s theatre, past Farrell’s statue, through Rutland Square and eventually to Prospect. Instead of trying to decide where along this route each word occurs, I grouped the destinations together.

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The ratios were created by dividing the number of words located in a given place (or located in-transit) by the total word count of the text, which was calculated by adding up the total word count from the chapters we from which selected the word counts. Page numbers are omitted from the word count of both data sets. The resulting data model contained information for the Location, Chapter, Chapter Word Count, Location Word Count, Total Word Count, and Ratio for each segment of text locatable in a given area.

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Alex used Mudbox to create the 3D map. First, he selected a plane, in Mudbox he superimposed the image of the 1925 map from UVic’s special collections onto the plane and engraved the image into the plane so that exhibit goers could feel the streets and grooves in the plane. Using the ratios in the data model, he then raised the map proportionally according to the percentage of words spent in a given location. Alex provides a more in-depth explanation of the modelling process here.

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The project proved unexpected in several ways. It provided unexpected results. Not having read the novel prior to the project, I expected a larger portion of Dublin to be represented in the text. I certainly did not expect that the disparity in word count per location would be as significant as it appears on the map. While the basic argument of the map– that the readers experience the geotemporality of the novel differently from Bloom or Dedalus– is not surprising, the vast tracts of Dublin the reader does not experience or experiences in passing was surprising to me.

I was also surprised by how many of the acquisition items for the Exhibit were not directly from the text. While this discovery was challenging for the development of the map, I found it exciting for the Exhibit itself. In part, it means that the objective to engage Ulysses’ Long Now, through the exhibition of anachronistically related objects, had been met. The Exhibit reveals the ways in which the text lives on both intentionally and unintentionally  over a hundred years after the narrative takes place. For the objects that could be mapped, I was frequently surprised by their histories within Dublin. Items as seemingly innocuous as pennies are tied to a fraught, colonial history. Even the regulation of pornography in Ireland can be linked back to the “Obscene Publications Act of 1857” ratified by the English parliament and applied to Ireland until Ireland followed their independence with the creation of their own “Censorship of Publications Act” in 1929.

On the practical side, locating the objects in Dublin and in Ulysses was a little more difficult than I had imagined. This was particularly the case with objects that might appear in more than one point in the text e.g. the curling iron, keys, and pennies. Also, a good portion of the objects were locatable in Bloom’s house. While the bulk of the text is spent out and about in Dublin, significant passages occur in Bloom’s domestic sphere suggesting that while the city of Dublin is important, the physically smaller sphere of the domestic is equally significant, though perhaps in different ways.

The breadth and limitations of mapping tools also surprised me. As seen in the workflow chart below, we tested several mapping tools, including Hypercities and Neatline before returning to Google Earth.

Dislocating Ulysses

Neatline would have been the ideal interface through which to show the historical contexts of the exhibit objects within their place in Dublin. We could have located an object in an interface that would allow us to show the objects place in time and space. It would have allowed us to show, more deftly, the acquisition items that were not locatable within Dublin and their relationships to the text more deftly.  However, hosting a Neatline exhibit proved difficult for our timeline and experience sets.

What did not surprise me was the time it took to decide which items to map, locate text in Dublin, and play around with the different interfaces to see what did and did not work. I am indebted to Alex for taking the time to render the map in Mudbox.

Can This Project Be Recreated?

This project models methods of engaging with archival material, exhibit material, and the geotemporal representation of the novel that can be mapped on to other exhibits and certainly other texts. Our data models are freely available for people to use if either project piques their interest.

The project is not only interoperable in terms of the ability for others to use the data models and the means of inquiry for other texts. The project also poses questions that can be asked of other texts and exhibits:

1) How do readers experience time and space in a text?

2) What can we learn from seeing and feeling geotemporality?

3) How can remediate archival material in ways that allow us to understand both the archival material and the text (in this case, Ulysses) differently?

4) How can and can the remediation of archival material be productive?

Developing the Google Earth Map

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The Google Earth Map could be developed by

  • using photos of the actual exhibit items,
  • hosting the map on a web as opposed to local server,
  • locating more objects from the exhibit (beyond those objects locatable in Ulysses Dublin) and
  • using Neatline as opposed to Google Earth.

Ideally the photographs used for the Google Earth map would be photos of  the actual acquisition items featured in the Exhibit. The Google Earth map could also be hosted on a site so that exhibit-goers may navigate through the map as opposed to viewing a video that demonstrates the information presented via the map. The map might be more interesting if I was able to locate more of the acquisition items within Dublin or if we had expanded the map to show acquisition items and their histories that were not locatable within the text.  With more time and resources, the information used to develop the Google Earth map could be used to develop a Neatline map, that, as stated in the Reflection Statement, would have been a more ideal platform.

Developing the 3D Map

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The 3D map could be developed by

  • printing the 3D model using the Maker Lab’s 3D printer and
  • figuring out a method for distinguishing travel from stasis on the map.

The first way we would like to develop the project, preferably prior to the opening of the exhibit, is to print the 3D map of readers’ experiences through Ulysses’ Dublin. A way to develop the project further given more time would be to consider a new method for representing travel along the map. This could come in the form of colour or tactility. Does travel feel different than stasis?

Introduction

Our two projects evolved as we figured out both the possibilities and limitations of our joint visions. The primary objective from the beginning, however, was three-fold. First, we were interested in rethinking both Ulysses and the Exhibit’s engagement with time and space and the possibility of representing this engagement through geotemporal distortion. Second, we wanted to re-present analogue, archival material through digital media in order to inspire new ways of thinking about the text in terms of time and space. We also wanted to consider the possibilities inherent in the transformation of the analogue to the digital and back.

Google Earth Map

In order to meet our initial objectives, we collaborated on two projects. The first project takes objects from the English 560 acquisition list and maps the objects, using Google Earth and three layered archival maps of Dublin, according to their location in Dublin as specified within the text. The three archival maps of Dublin come from the University of Victoria’s Special Collections and include a map of Dublin from 1100-1550, 1876, and 1925.

This portion of the project rethinks a linear progression of both space and time by situating Ulysses in a past and present Dublin. For the first segment, three historical maps of Dublin from the UVic Library’s Special collection, including a map of Dublin during the Anglo-Norman invasion that situates Ulysses’ Dublin in a long colonial history, an 1876 map, and a 1925 map that represents Dublin around the time of Ulysses’ publication, are layered over one another to give a sense of the novel’s engagement with the long, colonial history of Ireland.

The project also maps objects in the exhibit that represent objects locatable in Ulysses’ Dublin. By locating the exhibit objects on a digital map, we hope to re-situate the dislocated objects in their geotemporal location as suggested by the novel. The map also acknowledges some of the histories the objects carry with them into the text. For example, the Army Recruitment Poster carries with it a history of British conscription of the Irish from the 18th century on (Denman 208). While the link between the colonial history of Ireland and the poster is not foregrounded in the text and may not be foregrounded in the physical exhibit space, the history is never the less present. The Google Earth map allows us not only to repatriate the object to its place in Dublin, at least in a digital sense, it provides a forum for us to unite the object with its histories and the Long Now these object engage.

Rationale for the Maps

The map of Dublin from 1100-1550 spans the period of the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland. When considering the Long Now of Ulysses we wanted to pay specific attention to the long, colonial history of the area with the hope that some of the objects might be able to reach back to that early history of colonization. The 1876 and the 1925 maps were the two maps that most closely corresponded to the day Ulysses takes place, June 16, 1904, and the publication date of the first volume edition in 1922. The final layer of the map is the 2013 Google Earth map of Dublin. Locating the objects on the first two archival maps asks the viewer to contemplate the geographically specific histories the objects intentionally or unintentionally carry into Ulysses. The 1925 map asks the exhibit viewer to consider the context of these objects in the contemporary context of early readers of the 1922  edition. By retaining the 2013 map of Dublin, the project also asks viewers to consider their own understanding of these objects in the Exhibit’s present and the ways in which our current understanding of these objects influences the way we read these objects in the text.

Tactile 3D Map

While the first map asks readers of Ulysses and exhibit attendees to consider, through geotemporal distortion, the way the objects in the text carry with them ever present and transforming histories, the tactile 3D map asks exhibit attendees to consider a reader’s geotemporal experience of Ulysses. As the many mapping projects based on Ulysses suggest, Joyce’s text is highly mappable and fully immersed in the idea that cartography is a way of knowing (Hegglund 164). The mapping projects pointed to in the following sections use maps as a way of understanding Ulysses,  its characters and Dublin. Our 3D map differs from those projects by asking how can we use mapping to understand  a reader’s experience of the text as opposed to characters’ experience of time and place in the narrative. Our project asks the following questions: Can we locate a reading experience? Can we assign a temporal value to a reading experience? Can we trace and can we feel the process of reading?

As is outlined in the workflow, we chose to use word count as a way to measure the “time” a hypothetical reader would spend in a given location in Ulysses’ Dublin. This, of course, provides a flawed sense of “temporality” given that word length, concept complexity, and as one study suggest, even head tilt (Firth 52), affect the rates at which one reads. We chose to use word count as a fixed measure with the awareness that our methods would only provide one possible representation of the experience of reading Ulysses.

This map uses 3D modelling software to represent the reading experience of Ulysses onto the University of Victoria’s archival, 1925 map of Dublin, the same map used in the first component of the project. We chose the 1925 map of Dublin for two reasons. First, it was the map that most closely corresponded to the publication date of the first volume edition of Ulysses. Second, it was also the most detailed archival map of Dublin in the University of Victoria’s Special Collections archive.

Why use archival material?

One of the questions we were concerned with throughout the course was “what can we learn through the remediation of analogue, archival materials through digital manipulation?” Another, related question was “how can we make this process that links the physical archive with digital methods meaningful?” In part, we attempted to address these questions by using digital methods to bring the material out of the archive and into the public sphere of the exhibit. We also attempted to make the archival material new by using the material in our methods of distortion. For example, as opposed to simply photocopying the map, we made a 3D model that would allow people to feel the streets of Dublin in order to engage a new way of knowing the space of Dublin. We added another temporal and spatial layer to the map by using the archival image to locate the text and to raise areas on the map in proportion to the word count (as a measure of the “time” a reader would spend) in the region.

Critical Engagement of the Project with Other Works

Michael Seidel begins his study of Ulysses and geography by noting Kant’s observation that “the human mind appeals to geography for spatial orientation as readily as it appeals to history for temporal orientation” (ix Seidel). This project attempts to unite both the temporal and the geospatial in order to rethink Ulysses in relation to the space of Dublin, the history of Dublin and the objects in the Exhibit, as well as the reader of Ulysses. In this section, I will explore how “Dislocating Ulysses” can be understood through the tri-focal lens of digital humanities scholarship, cartographical and non-digital literary scholarship of Ulysses.

Ulysses from a Distance

Two primary influences of this project, in terms of digital humanities scholarship, are Franco Moretti’s Graphs, Maps, Trees and Galey and Ruecker’s “How a Prototype Argues.” Moretti focuses on the ways distant reading practices can disrupt our ways of understanding texts and hence come to new ways of exploring texts. This form of literary analysis that moves beyond the close reading practices of New Criticism is not, as Moretti points out “an obstacle, but a specific form of knowledge” (Moretti 1). Moretti describes distant reading as a critical practice “in which the reality of the text undergoes a process of deliberate reduction and abstraction” (1). While Moretti’s work focuses on large corpuses of texts, we are employing his notion of “deliberate reduction and abstraction” of the text through our tactile map of Ulysses in order to come to a specific, if not new way considering the text. Engaging with traditional, literary criticisms that highlight the quotidian aspects of Ulysses, the importance of time, and importance of space in the novel, Alex and I attempted to rethink the way the text could be represented in an exhibit space.

A Tradition of Mapping

In terms of cartographical criticism, this project builds upon a long tradition of scholars who, as Jon Hegglund notes, “have been all too eager to plot Ulysses onto a map of Dublin” (165).  The history of the cartography of Ulysses is readily accessibly online in analogue formats such as Seidel’s analysis of Joyce’s mapping of the Odyssey onto Ulysses’ Dublin to digital formats ranging from Visit Dublin’s printable PDF titled “Ulysses Map of County Dublin,” which charts Bloom’s journey throughout his day to Boston College’s “Walking Ulysses,” an interactive map that allows users to trace the paths of Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom. The “Dislocating Ulysses” project, through its two components intends, not to duplicate such expert work on cartographical representations of Ulysses’ “‘real-world’ physical space” (Hegglund 164), but rather intends to rethink alternate ways in which the novel and by proxy the Long Now of Ulysses Exhibit can and do engage with time and space.

A Tradition of Traditional Literary Criticism

At the same time the project is rooted in digital humanities works and methodologies, it is also rooted in the literary criticism of scholars such as William Schutte, Jon Hegglund and Declan Kiberd. In his study of cartographical rhetoric in Ulysses, Hegglund makes a point that the very act of mapping within the text is seen as a way of knowing. He writes, “Joyce seems to have been aware of the particular discursive power of the cartography within a larger economy of knowledge, as the relationship between the topographical precision of Ulysses and the rhetoric of cartography is more than coincidental” (Hegglund 164). The two components of the project engage in the Joycean tradition of knowing through mapping by disrupting traditional mapping strategies by 1) establishing a link between the displaced exhibit objects and their place in Ulysses Dublin, 2) suggesting that the objects carry with them histories that extend beyond the text, 3) suggesting that reading experiences can be mapped, visualized, and felt, and 4) suggesting that digital and physical models in fact, as Ruecker argues, make arguments in and of themselves.

Image

Here is a link to our data model for the Google Earth map.

Here is a link to our data model for the 3D map.

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