September 25, 2004

Social Network Analysis


Wretchard from the Belmont Club wrote about Social Network Analysis, by Vladis Krebs:

Social Network Analysis is a mathematical methodology for connecting the dots -- using science to fight terrorism. Connecting multiple pairs of dots soon reveals an emergent network of organization. Once you have a network map, you can measure parts of the network, or the whole, using social network metrics.

I used public information, from major newspapers on the WWW, to map the terrorist networks. In the network map above, the hijackers are color coded by the flight they were on. The dark grey nodes are others who were reported to have had direct, or indirect, interactions with the hijackers. The gray lines indicate the reported interactions -- a thicker line indicates a stronger tie between two nodes. Notice the clustering around the pilots.

The graphic came from Orgnet. It'd be interesting to apply this analysis to the artworld (eh... the interest would likely probably wear off quickly). Especially after Paul Schimmels' MOCA LA show "Public Offerings" and the tacit admission that the artworld as a system is the only valid subject (so says the intelligencia) for making art (shades of the artist as courtier!). Check this out, from Jerry Saltz in ArtNet:

That world has been compared to a machine, a circus, a cult and a club; it's been called a brothel, a dinner party and a high school with money. I called it a trading floor in 1999. In 2001, ultra-observant Frieze magazine publisher Amanda Sharp declared it "a wounded animal." Regardless, the city's art world is expanding, and money is conspicuous. Idealists open galleries to add to the discourse but are often turned into selling machines. Artists go from unknown to mainstream overnight. Youth is worshipped. Art fairs proliferate, although many who participate say they hate them. The underground is vanishing. Consensus stands in for criticality. Avoidance and denial are everyday things. Private dissatisfaction is rampant, yet this discontent turns passive in public. So many people have so much invested in the system that the New York art world feels as if it's trapped in a paradigm it can't escape.

He goes on to write about a "Super Paradigm"... but I think it's wishful thinking. I'd rather call it a "Super Interregnum".

Hat Tip: Mat Gleason's blog. Happy Birthday, Mat.

Posted by Dennis at September 25, 2004 11:09 AM


I completely agree with you. This is a great analysis. I really appreciate your thoughts on the subject.

I hope you will make a more visual analysis of social network. I would like to see an updated article on this. Do you have any suggestion where I can find it?

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