Movie Geographies

Ben Schmidt, July 2, 2015

I just saw Matt Wilkens’ talk at the Digital Humanities conference on places mentioned in books; I wanted to put up, mostly for him, a quick stab at some of the raw data running the equivalents on my movie bookworm.

Top Mentioned places: cell colors show percentage of movies from decade mentioning place name

{
    "database": "movies",
    "plotType": "heatmap",
    "method": "return_json",
    "search_limits": {
        "*LOCATION__id": {
            "$lte": 40
        },
        "primary_country": ["USA"]
    },
    "aesthetic": {
        "color": "TextPercent",
        "x": "decade",
        "y": "*LOCATION"
    }
}

Matt’s paper focused on what he called the “neo-liberal hypothesis”; whether as markets constitute consciousness, centers of capital become more important to literary geographies.

The above chart shows an interested inverted relationship between New York and Washington that maps somewhat on to that idea with a bit of a twist. New York is highest in the periods of largest income inequality, Washington in the period of teh 60s and 70s when capital is comparatively the least powerful in US history.

Capital and politics mentions are inverted.

{
    "database": "movies",
    "plotType": "linechart",
    "method": "return_json",
    "search_limits": {
        "*LOCATION": ["New York","Washington"],
        "primary_country": ["USA"]
    },
    "aesthetic": {
        "color": "*LOCATION",
        "x": "decade",
        "y": "TextPercent"
    }
}

Percent of movies mentioning individual places

{
    "database": "movies",
    "plotType": "linechart",
    "method": "return_json",
    "search_limits": {
        "*LOCATION": ["New York"],
        "primary_country": ["USA"]
    },
    "aesthetic": {
        "y": "TextPercent",
        "x": "MovieYear"
    }
}