14.0801 visual pattern recognition?

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Fri Apr 13 2001 - 05:31:45 EDT

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                   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 <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
             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
    olive tree."

    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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