- Arts, Humanities and Complex Networks Reach Critical Threshold
THE LEONARDO SATELLITE SYMPOSIUM on Arts, Humanities and Complex Networks (AHCN) at the International School and Conference on Network Science (NetSci) was launched in June 2010 with the main goal of expanding and fostering cross-disciplinary research on complex networks within, or with the help of, the arts and humanities. NetSci, where our satellite symposia took place from 2010 to 2015, is the largest and considered the most important meeting of network science worldwide.
Both our Leonardo special section and the AHCN symposium series have accomplished their original mission. When we started, the arts and humanities were not included as relevant disciplines in the standard network science literature. Fast-forward seven years, and we find successful cross-pollination among the sciences and the arts and humanities. In addition, a look at research in the arts and humanities shows that complex network analysis is now a well-established methodology, especially in data-driven research. Furthermore, our symbolic aim to add arts, humanities and design to the official list of relevant disciplines fostered by NetSci was finally realized in the official conference call for NetSci2017, with arts and design included with computer and information sciences, physics, mathematics, statistics, life sciences, neuroscience, environmental sciences, social sciences, finance and business. The inclusion of arts and design in the official eco-cosmos of NetSci highlights on the one hand that data have become increasingly rich with cultural aspects, and on the other, the central role of visual representation in network science research.
During the six iterations of the AHCN symposium, we published selected articles in the Leonardo journal, the last batch of which is included in this issue. In 2012, MIT Press published the AHCN eBook, which became the first anthology of articles to foster the emerging convergence of arts, humanities and complex networks. Now, in its fifth edition, the eBook collects 58 articles grouped under five loose themes: Networks in Culture (5 articles), Networks in Art (17), Networks in the Humanities (19), Art about Networks (8) and Research in Network Visualization (9). These areas emerged from our call for participation, which functioned like a radar sending out the words “arts, humanities and complex networks” to a growing list of relevant disciplines, including among others archaeology, art history, linguistics, literature, musicology, information design and visualization. In total, the articles represent research by 128 authors from more than 37 disciplines, many working in interdisciplinary collaborations and using a diversity of methodologies that range from vigorous humanistic inquiry and pure natural science to free artistic expression.
We continue to welcome submissions pertinent to the topic of arts, humanities and complex networks in the Leonardo journal. The goal is to keep serving as a catalyst for relevant trends emerging from mainstream branches within the arts and humanities, the overlapping eco-cosmos of digital humanities and cultural analytics and, of course, the scientific community. This effort aims to complement work that already permeates discipline-specific conferences, journals and monographs. In particular, we invite further complex network–related submissions to Leonardo to continue the enzymatic function of accelerating emerging art-science research, including work that precedes the critical threshold of established disciplines. As the AHCN symposium organizers, we thank Leonardo for having provided us with a forum for dissemination. We are also indebted to the multidisciplinary community of researchers for their contributions and for helping us deepen our understanding of arts, humanities and complex networks.
We look forward to your next contribution on the topic of arts, humanities and complex networks! [End Page 440]