Big Data (Digital Scholars)

(image by Chad Hagen)

(Wassily Kandinsky, Composition 8)

The illustration in the New York Times Sunday Review for an article on “The Age of Big Data” caught my eye. It immediately reminded me of Kandinsky’s Composition 8. Which means to say that Kandinsky also understood “big data.” As for the problem with, big data, consider how the diagram in the NYT lacks the kinetic animation in Kandinsky’s conception. The points are more compressed into each other, suggesting worlds and world-creation.

Stanley Fish wrote critically about the “digital humanities” in the only NYT “opinionator,” was it last week. The link is: A group of digital humanists weigh in at

For more Stanley Fish, where he cites Jerome McGann, a leading voice in Digital Humanities, see

To me it comes back down to data and interpretation. I would like to think there is an art to the combination of big data and small bore interpretation.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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