Mapping Human Violence
seminar post graduate MA fine-art
2004 January 5 - April 1
Piet Zwart Institute Rotterdam
by Tjebbe van Tijen
The seminar "Mapping Human Violence" (MHV) will have the following elements:

  • 1 study of core texts on history and philosophy of human violence;
  • 2 study of core texts on history and philosophy of mapping;
  • 3 studying examples of human violence representation from historical atlases, visualized statistics, etc;
  • 4 following the never ending debate on definitions of human violence;
  • 5 discussing the phenomenon of accusation & denial, reconciliation & compromise;
  • 6 each student makes a first attempt to make a historical overview of human violence related to their own country/region (students on this seminar are from Argentina, Chile, Lebanon, Netherlands, Sweden);
  • 7 studying the debate on methods of visual representation of quantative information;
  • 8 some primary database techniques for collecting documentation on human violence;
  • 9 developing models to store, analyze and visualize source materials;
  • 10 making a web-based group work: documenting representations/mappings of human violence;
  • 11 making an individual work;
  • 12 writing an individual essay/report on the subject of the seminar.
Links
- Handbook seminar MHV
- Reading Reading List MHV (for educational use only)
- About the Reading List MHV
- Reference Lists (with individual web-links)- Presentation of students work on the April 1 15:30 hrs

  Piet Zwart Institute: Overblaak 85; Rotterdam; metro/train station Blaak (cubic buildings); Phone: (+31)- (0)10-2414152

Handbook for the seminar Mapping Human Violence
Piet Zwart Institute - Rotterdam
January 8 - March 25, 2004
Tjebbe van Tijen/Imaginary Museum Projects
email: info@imaginarymuseum.org

-Version 21 january 2004

schedule
The Seminar mapping Human Violence will take place from january to march 2004.

In principle the fixed meeting day will be each thursday, starting at 11:00 hrs in the PZI building in the Blaak cubes. If needed there can be made some arrangements for another day, but I prefer a regular schedule.

form of meetings/sessions
The meetings will have the following elements or combination of elements:
- lectures
- discussions
- work-group meetings
- personal tutorial meetings
- evaluation meetings
- possibly some excursion

January
08 Explanations
  - introduction of theme
  - examples of my own work (Tjebbe van Tijen: Unbombing, Imaginary Museum of Revolution, mapping articles) related to mapping human violence (see my website Imaginary Museum projects and Reading List MHV)
  - Reading List System Mapping Human Violence (MHV)
  Tasks
  1 Gill Elliot/Twentieth century book of the dead (to be read completely)
  2 select quotes (text and visual) from Tufte's books on information visualization
  3 make inventory of human violence in country/region of origin of students
15

Explanations

  - examples of human violence mapping
  - examples of historical sources
  - students show first inventory of violence in their country/region history
  - database structure historical information
  - principle of exporting data from database (example Filemaker Pro)
  - students show examples of personal work
  Tasks
 

4

make a comment on visualization system of Kuweit atlas of Iraq violence (in one single picture, either panoramic or as a window sliding over a big picture (can be done in Photoshop);
 

5

select one, or a few, computer programs or plug-ins for visualizing the statistics you are collecting on your own country/region;
 

6

install database software (Filemaker) and Adobe.
22

Discussion

   - on definitions of human violence (check the following quotations in the reading list: Elliot, Rummel, Etheringthon, Shapiro)
  Explanations 
  - visualization of quantative information (Neurath/Arntz, Lockwood, Tufte, Ota)
  - historical data-sets
  - database structure historical information
  - students show examples of personal work
  Work session
  - entering data of own country/region in FileMaker pro database
  -  formatting bibliographical data <AMSbibl.fp5>
  Tasks
 

7

write a personal comment on the book of Gil Elliot (between 500 and 1000 words) and email that to me before the 28th. of January (with subject line = comment Gil Elliot)

  8  build your country/regional database with bibliographical references in Filemaker Pro <PZImhv.fp5>
  9 make 3 different forms of visualizations based on country/regional data in (your) database (use both computer and manual techniques (whatever material you find usefull, painting, objects, collage, etc.) NB you may also supply photographs or video of such manually made representation
29 Explanation
  - examples of dramatization of historical information (Roman wars, Napoleontic wars, slavery, risings, French revolution, Russian revolution, 19th century nationalism, emancipation movements, World War !/II, Vietnam war, Israel, Palestine, September 11, etc.)
 

Discussion

   

representations and construction of social memory

 

Work session

  -

documenting web-sites that dramatize historical information; making database structure for entering such information (this will be added to the section Visualization of the Reading List MHV

  -

downloading a sample data-set COW Inter-State War Data, 1816-1997 (v3.0) <Intra-State Wars (V 3-0).csv> and import this data in Exel, transfer field definitions and try to make a graph using a simple graphing tool (like the one included in PowerPoint).

downloading another data-set KOSIMO database from Heidelberg International Institue for Comflict Research <kosimo.zip> and transfer it to Filemaker Pro and make different lay-outs and sorting-methods of the data.

I have posted sample files and KOSIMO manual in a public directory on the PZI-server:

 

Tasks

 

10

choose a specific kind of representation/dramatization of human violence that you will document; start to make an inventory of sources on the chosen subject (both on the Internet and in traditionally published sources, like books, magazines); enter the material you find directly in a database structure

 

Tutoring (personal)

  -

short talk about your choice of subject for the essay and your personal project (some of them in the lunch-break, others after 5, depending on your schedule)

February
05

Work session

  -

each student will explain to the group their choice of subject for an essay and the content of their personal project (these two elements can be interlinked); a first list of source materials (web and traditional published books and articles), will be presented as well

  -

entering some of these sample data in personal database and working out protocol to combine these (web and bibliographical) sources in a communal database (the format is as in the reference list as has been explained in the session of 22 January)

 

Explanation

 

-

public available statistics and information of human violence on the Internet: a.o. Rummel/Democide, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Red Cross, Cultural Survival, Minority Rights Group

 

Tasks

 

11

write a personal comment on 2 or 3 of the websites as shown today and send them to me by email before February 11 (between 250 and 500 words); also enter this information in your sources database (we can devide the work on forehand, who is going to cover which site)

 

12

search and add similar websites that are relevant for your chosen personal subject and/or project

     
12 Lecture (just PZI)
  -

accusations & denials, a critical survey of terminology: bias, misinformation, disinformation, lying, manipulations, difamation; doubting, revisionism, denialism; xenophobia, islamophobia, anti-zionism, anti-arrabism, anti-racism, anti-imperialism, anti-terrorism, etc., etc.; or "is all propaganda then?"

 

Discussion

  -

how hard are facts; whose objectivty; avoiding difamation (German = Rufmord), going beyond the dichotomy of good & evil

 

Task

 

13

find at least 7 web-sources, preferably in PDF format of articles, publications dealing with accusation & denial in relation to the history of human violence. Make desxcriptions of it in the format of the reading List MHV (while doing so, coordinate your research with the other students, to make sure that yoy are not documenting the same source... you may do so by sending email-reports on your ongoing search on the Internet to the group). So make both an introduction and give 3 to 5 quoatations and possibly also visuals for each of the 7 sources you choose. NB make your choice in such a way that the material may be used in your essay.

19

Lecture (just PZI) 

  -

reconciliation & compromise: can we allow ourselves the idea of "multiple truth"

 

Discussion

  -

antagonizing and non-antagonizing ways of representing human violence

 

Tutoring (personal/group)

  -

about personal projects and essays

 

Task

 

14

work on your essay and personal project

March
04

Worksession  

  -

student reports about their work in progress (project/essay)

  -

adding materials to the joint project of the Reading List MHV

 

Tutoring (personal)

  -

personal essays and personal projects

 

Task

 

15

make a short description 1 (A3 format text big letter size; we can decide beforehand on some sort of format/module) of your personal project and an outline (also 1 A3) of the main points of your essay and email that to me before March 10; these descriptions will be used to make an overview for the presentation on March 11.

11 Public visual lecture & discussion
  - Tjebbe van Tijen: Mapping Human Violence (an attempt at a synthesis)
 

Presentation

  -

in big map form of student projects and summaries of essay (see Task 15)

 

Task

 

16

make a HTML page of your sources in reading List MHV format and post these on your PZI personal website; have it ready on Matrch 17.

18

Work session

  -

showing progress of personal projects

  -

helping each other with personal expertise, insights

 

Tutoring (personal)

  -

draft versions of personal essays

 

Task

 

17

make final version of your personal project and essay

25

Work session

  -

of personal projects of students (group session)

  -

presentation of summaries of essays of all students

 

Presentation

  of personal projects (for other year students PZI and staff)
 

Feel free

  !

and enjoy whatever ceremony we like to device


gathering content
You will work both individually and in a few groups (these will be formed after the second or third meeting).
You will need to read all the text quotations and view all the visual quotations on the web-site of the seminar. Apart from that there will be some basic books that each of you will have to read entirely. Also you will be asked individually to read specific books and choose text and visual quotations from them. These quotations will, as soon as they are ready, added to the on-line reference resource, so be available to all participants of the seminar. This last task needs to be done by using a fixed format. At first these quotation can be supplied to me by email (texts and image attachments), later we may want to make arrangements and create facilities to make this task a joint undertaking of all seminar participants.

common information resource
The reference materials on-line will be from the very beginning a common resource which will give a text and visual basis for the essay you will have to produce by the end of the seminar. I suggest that you will try to make your personal notes/quotations in a similar fashion to have better possibilities to exchange your material with others during the seminar. We can discuss during the first two meetings how we can best realize this technically, as some standards are needed to bypass the regular announce of incompatibilities because of the usage of too many different digital formats.

group project web-site
One of the end-products of this seminar will be the website with references and links, which may include also essays and other on-line works the seminar participants choose to develop. My idea is to keep this resource on-line as a stimulus for others to involve themselves with a subject with such a great social relevance: 'mapping human violence'.

subjects
The basic information is divided in four simple categories:
1- human violence
2- mapping
3- data-basing
4- visualizations and dramatizations

Each category has two sub-sections: -general references and -specific references; it must be clear that often the more abstract or theoretical works will be found in the general category, while the other will be specific examples.

The notion 'mapping' is taken in a very wide sense, cartography, graphic design, visual display, dramatization.
Data-basing will be mostly technical information, but some philosophic, aesthetic and social aspects will need to be addressed as well.

individual projects
The last stage will be doing something with all the knowledge and insight that will be amassed during the seminar, to produce some project, some work that will communicate a specific aspect of human violence in a particular chosen form or format and write an essay on it or in relation with it.

These visualizations or dramatizations need not to be in a format that uses electronic/digital media, other (traditional) media may be considered. Also combinations: material/immaterial, tactile/virtual, high tech/low tech can be considered.

underlying theme...
One major theme is underlying the whole seminar, how to communicate quantitate assessments of human violence, how to make such 'mappings' of specific violence comparable, to honor both individual and victimized masses, to also present information, insight in such a way that it does more than just serve a single political purpose (however noble that may seem to be), to avoid the production of another antagonizing media device. This may sound far fetched and unrealistic, for sure... but it will give a yardstick to measure proposed activities/projects/subjects... it will brings us back to what is stated in the last line of the manifesto that opens this seminar:

... find our way out of the spiraling labyrinth of terrorism