DM- Doing Magic

Elizabeth Seibert

             Over the course of the semester, I have been working with DM, a digital tool for connecting images together and finding relationships between them. I first thought DM stood for ‘Digital Mystery,’ as I had not a clue what I was doing with it. I did not have any images to work with or an idea of what to do with them, and this made the project seem very confusing and like it would take an enormous amount of time. Finally, I worked to upload images to the computer and start my own DM workspace for the project. Then things got cool.

                  I have since learned that whatever DM does stand for, I would like to call it, “Doing Magic,” because it is ultimately grounded in a system without any structure at all, yet it can produce an unlimited array of tangible results. For instance, I could choose to focus on any aspect of the chapel that I wanted to: It’s clock, it’s weathervane, its architecture, it’s position relative to other buildings, its position relative to time, etc. I could choose whatever I was interested in, and connect this to more images in the set. It was like playing detective, like I used to as a kid—I could look for clues in pictures and solve something bigger by trying to make sense of it.

                  The freedom to do what I wanted to with the DM tool was great for me, because while I get anxious about not knowing what to do at first, my best work happens when I don’t have any structure. That being said, however, the structure-less aspect of DM also makes it a challenging tool to use. There are only a handful of buttons to click on and use with DM, and there is no built-in-way to keep track of anything. I had to create that for myself.

                  DM can be applied to look for patterns and connections between pictures and texts of any sort. In this way, however, I can only see it being useful for research projects that look at documents or compare at pictures. Using it for bigger projects, like economics policy, clinical psychology, and crime-scene analysis might require a more advanced set of tools, similar to DM, but with more functions. For instance, recoloring a picture to show different areas, or having a prediction function built into it that can analyze a patient or a set of patterns for you. DM helps the user recognize a pattern, to a point, but then it is up to the user to make sense of this. In this way, DM could stand for Demi-Module.


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