Chris is a sociology researcher who specializes in cultural studies and street art/graffiti research.
I wanted to use Instagram to map cultural taste and engagement in the city. Magi Metric’s new geo-location feature, where you can map the latitude and longitude of a photo was most useful for my work.
A traditional way of thinking about art is that it is universally appealing. For example, anyone can look at a sunset and be moved by it - regardless of the language they speak or their cultural background. But in the 1980s, a new idea came out of sociological research - that taste for art & culture highly correlates with class. For example, an interest in impressionist painters might be upper class, but an interest in tattoo art might be low class.
We can use Instagram to map these types of cultural taste and their shifts over time. Perceptions of street art in Melbourne have shifted rapidly in the last few years. Where it used to be considered vandalism, it is now rated as a major tourist attraction. Can we map this by using the Instagram data, based on street art followers and their specific interests?
We would also like to use Instagram to assess engagement in public space. Where are the highest volumes of images of #streetart or #foodporn coming from?
My research interest is street art & graffiti. However, any humanities researcher interested in contemporary culture could use Magi Metric’s geo-location feature in a similar way. I already have another project coming through the pipeline using Magi Metric’s Instagram data analytics.