Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 801.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 10:29:55 +0100
From: Willard McCarty <email@example.com>
Subject: visual pattern recognition?
This is a question about the capability of current software to find
patterns in visual images.
For a difficult example, see the well-known 3rd century A.D. Tunisian
mosaic usually entitled "Diana the Huntress", online at
<http://www.tunisiaonline.com/mosaics/mosaic18b.html>, "A mosaic found in
Utica in which Diana the Huntress, dressed in a short dress, is stringing
her bow to shoot an arrow at a doe. In the middle of the scene stands an
It seems to me that we are visually invited to identify the goddess, known
from the Iliad as "Mistress of Animals" (Potnia Theron, 21.470), with the
animal at which she is preparing to shoot. Mythologically the
identification is uncontroversial (Walter Burkert, Greek Religion 149-52);
does the image insist on it? Consider the space enclosed by Diana's legs,
dress and the ground; compare the space similarly enclosed by the doe.
Consider the curve formed by the doe's head, antlers and chest; compare the
curve suggested by the bow. Note the shape underneath the doe; compare the
shape to the right of Diana's right leg.
This is a difficult example because the shapes I have asked you to compare
are not identical -- only, to me, compellingly similar. Can we concretely
imagine software finding such correspondences? testing them out (by some
kind of morphing?) once we point them out?
Dr Willard McCarty / Senior Lecturer /
Centre for Computing in the Humanities / King's College London /
Strand / London WC2R 2LS / U.K. /
+44 (0)20 7848-2784 / ilex.cc.kcl.ac.uk/wlm/
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