ACDH-CH Lecture 8.3 – Cultural Analysis as a Multidisciplinary Science

When: Nov 29, 2022, 16:45 -18-15 (CET)

Where: University of Vienna, Lecture Hall 1,
Main Building, Tiefparterre Stiege 1, Hof 1 – 1010 Vienna

Registration: Please register for this lecture via the registration form.

Maximilian Schich
Tallinn University

By now, art historians routinely use computational and data-driven approaches, even advanced methods of machine learning and computer vision to understand their respective subjects of interest. While this happens, it becomes ever more apparent that we face inherent opportunities, which transcend the limits of traditional research in art history. Exemplifying the potential, this talk will demonstrate the viability and even necessity of cultural analysis as a multidisciplinary science. The presentation will focus on three foundational challenges, which stand in front of us with increasing clarity: Networked interaction, conceptual multidimensionality, and fundamental patterns in time. All three of these aspects are subject to emergence, i.e. a hallmark of so-called complex systems, where new quality constitutes itself from the dynamics of large granular quantities at scale. Particular research results will cover cultural migration over millennia, art history over centuries, and the recent NFT hype over 150 days in 2021.

This ACDH-CH Lecture is organized in close collaboration with the Department of History at the University of Vienna.


Maximilian Schich is a multidisciplinary scientist and art historian, with post-doc experience in network science and computational social science, building on a 10-year track-record of knowledge-graph “database pathology”. The PhD pioneered network analysis in art research. High-impact work in Science and Nature introduces A Network Framework of Cultural History. The upcoming book titled Cultural Interaction outlines a systematic science of art and culture.

Relevant Publications:
Andres Karjus, Mar Canet Solà, Tillmann Ohm, Sebastian E. Ahnert, and Maximilian Schich.
Compressionensembles quantify aesthetic complexity and the evolution of visual art.” arXiv:2205.10271 [cs.CV]
(2022) open access:

Lee, Byunghwee, Min Kyung Seo, Daniel Kim, In-seob Shin, Maximilian Schich, Hawoong Jeong, and Seung
Kee Han. “Dissecting landscape art history with information theory.” Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences 117, no. 43 (2020): 26580-26590. open access:

Schich, Maximilian, Chaoming Song, Yong-Yeol Ahn, Alexander Mirsky, Mauro Martino, Albert-László
Barabási, and Dirk Helbing. “A network framework of cultural history.” Science 345, no. 6196 (2014): 558-