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akademic werdsakademic werds
written and published in Tinderbox 1.2.3
i've spent quite a bit of time working on a new vog. this one isn't really a vog in the spirit of vogging but is more along the lines of a cinema experiment. it was suggested to me by a student who is working on an essay about the virtual image (deleuze) and it's presence through three sequences. brando's "i could have been a contender" speech from on the waterfront (eliza kazan, 1954), then de niro/scorsese's reworking of this into the mirror in raging bull (martin scorsese 1980), and finally it's complete reworking by mark wahlberg in paul thomas anderson's boogie nights (1997).
the student had made a simple sketch placing 3 frames representing each sequence cascading back in space (and history). there were various arrows joining various bits. i really liked the visualisation and it was obvious that for this student visualising the relationship was fundamental to how they understood it. so i proposed that i make a vog that more or less did this, so that they could then include it into their essay (as quicktime) to help them write their essay.
so, i now have the contender vog. with explict content i guess since there is full frontal male nudity.
since it's more pedagogical and analytical than my more usual vogs the interactivity is button based. technically it is a parent movie that loads three child movies, each of these being the relevant sequence from each of the films. you can view each sequence by itself, with sound on or off. you can overlay raging bull or boogie nights over on the waterfront so that one film becomes semitransparent, or you can overlay all three at once. (which isn't recommended since you can't see a whole lot of detail when the three are superimposed at the same time.)
now these semitransparent overlays could be done in something like final cut pro, after effects, or some other video editing package. i would then load this is as a child movie so that when you wanted to see raging bull over on the waterfront, that would be an entirely separate quicktime movie which would be loaded. the problem with that is that each sequence most be of identical length, and they're not (though i imagine they could have been, but of course some of the content for some of the sequences would be largely irrelevant and be used as padding). by using just 3 quicktime movies loaded as child movies into 3 different movie tracks i can load and play them as needed, and because of the dynamic nature of quicktime I can, in real time, change the blend mode of a movie so that when you look at it by itself it is 100% that movie, but when overlaid it is now 30% transparent. same movie, same file, all i do is have a script attached that simply loads and plays the movie and changes it's blend mode by changing the graphic properties of its parent track.
problem is it just doesn't quite run properly. just too much cpu needed to dynamically blend three tracks in real time and play them (which is why at this point it would be better to have done the blending in final cut pro and just have a single childmovie track which loads one of 6 movies (the three titles + on the waterfront with raging bull, on the waterfront with boogie nights, and on the waterfront with raging bull and boogie nights). but the idea is there. and why this is better than making 6 movies, well, that's obvious isn't it?
here i only need 3 films (so that's only 3 downloads, not 6), and because it's done dynamically in quicktime i can overlay any one of these over another with one line of code attached to, for instance, a button (TrackOfIndex(4).SetGraphicsModeTo(blend, 32500, 32500, 32500)) as opposed to making an entire other film (of the 2 tracks ovelayed), compressing it, scripting it, loading it. oh, i also did a mpeg4 version using quicktime 6, works perfectly.
it's one of those hard times. in 6 or 7 weeks i leave for bergen. semester's just finished here and there are essays that must be assessed. school holidays and my children. essays and chapters to be written. some wrote awaiting editing. list of projects that need babysitting.
i am not yet visible to bergen and am becoming invisible in melbourne. i'm the one about to go ("i thought you'd left!?") and the one not there. makes it hard to know where i am, in most of the senses that we like to give that phrase.
the name of the site says it all. flash content in a very broad range of popular genres. haven't spent time looking cos i was on loband when i found it, but what i did see sort of showed the stuff i've been discussing on the empyre list. this is not interactive anything. it's tv on the net. which is fine, but let's just realise that the paradigm is just tv, the browser is the tv set and the buttons let us choose our channels. and it's further proof that most flash work in these contexts is more about the reinvention of animation (usually with no awareness at all of the history of animation) than anything new. again, that's ok, but let's keep our socks on keep it in the appropriate context - i can make a vector animation and stream it and people can watch it. audience model: televisual (click = consume), distribution model: televisual (broadcast via portal sites).
has been in touch and is the person behind solublefishtv. he's just got livestage pro which is pretty much the main tool you need to vog, and i'm very much looking forward to seeing what comes of it. the work i've seen so far has already suggested some really interesting ideas, primarily rethinking ideas or approaches to the 'frame' as an enclosing boundary (what does it enclose?). i also like the simple sketches that the works to date seem to be. this is very much in the spirit of vogging as i certainly imagine it. they're not supposed to be grand statements (who'd read a blog of grand statements - as i wrote that i thought it would've been nice if jesus had blogged, not because it would be grand statements (we already got that collaborative blog) but for the everydayness of it).
they're not supposed to be grand statements, just sketches and ideas along the way to somewhere.
some mac people don't seem to know about the issue that microsoft introduced with the most recent versions of their browser. it requires an activex plugin to be downloaded so that quicktime content can work. it only needs to be downloaded and installed once, but since you don't really know what screen they're going to arrive at you need it on each page that has qt embedded. the page above explains how to do it, and why.
quicktime and explorer
that friends have been picking up the dac announcement and linking to it. :-) if getting here was that easy.
nice to see
well, i used to have 600 emails in my in tray and now it's 20 or so. done it. tons and tons just got deleted, let's face it, a call for papers that i hung on to from 2001 ain't much use unless i'm an archivist. i'm not.
the rest got moved to a series of to do folders which i just work through every now and then and keep an eye on. if something arrives and needs an answer it gets one, or it gets moved to the appropriate to do folder. that's it.
tomorrow, i'll figure out how to slice bread.
a blog written by brian tol seems to be very much about architecture, design, and information management (and perhaps emergence?). would be rather relevant to ander's work.
i'm using tinderbox to maintain the melbournedac::streaming worlds web site. the site design's going to change but i'll continue to use tinderbox to maintain it. i'll build what will be a template file in tinderbox which will be used by someone else to add and maintain content. the html templates will look after all formatting and publishing.
tinderbox is not good for shared/networked stuff (it's very much a personal tool), but it's brilliant for a project such as this. for instance i'm assembling the index page out of several child notes and this means it's trivial to add new content, or to change existing content.
and after sleeping on that i've realised that the dac homepage just ortabeablog.
broadband only. thanks to jill for finding this vog blog (ah, things are moving...) looks good and they're using livestage pro (which is the only tool to use) but i can't find an email address!! and they've got dodgy code on their pages so it just won't work in ie on windows .... i've left a comment on their blog so i hope to hear from them.
have set up a moderated announcements list for the dac conference. hopefully enough people will subscribe to it so i don't have to do another bulk academic spam.
dac mail list
my office is being painted. since i'm in a heritage building the choice of colours appeared to be any colour as long as it's coconut. (don't quite understand that since i have a false partition and metal aircon ducts through my wall and across the ceiling. all very 1960 rather than 1860. but a fresh coat of paint will be refreshing. unfortunately it's the 3rd time my office has been packed in 3 months. bureaucracies are like that (and they can't do the new carpet this time either, so it will be packed again when someone decides on the colour and price).
well, the show is on the road, sort of. i'm conference chair of the next digital arts and culture conference to be held at rmit, melbourne, ostraylea in may 2003. a description of the event has been mailed out to more lists and addresses than i ought to admit to (it's academic spam), and a preliminary web site set up.
next to do is get the academic board in place, work out what sorts of art works are to be invited to complement the conference themes, get the academic management system in place, and raise the funding.
antoanetta ivanova of novamedia arts is producing the conference with me. it's just brilliant to collaborate with a new media producer so that the traditional nonsense about unpaid work on conference management gets tossed out the window.
hazel smith and roger dean, quoting a book that quotes eddie prevost (jazz improvisor):
what is certainly perplexing, though, is that really, . . . . . there have been few manifestations of the kind of group which use, to use evan parker's term, a "laminal" approach; layered textures. in the european free jazz side there's still been this emphasis on individual statement in juxtaposition to each other.
in this, prevost refers primarily to successive "individual statements", in which tere is a hierarchy of role amongst a group of free improvisors at any instant . . . he probably also had in mind, though, the multiplicity of simultaneous event which was developed within free music. [p. 69. Smith, Hazel, and Roger Dean. Improvisation, Hypermedia and the Arts since 1945. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1997.]
the idea of the laminal mentioned here suggests something about how i'm currently working in the vogs, and it offers a useful contrast to what i'm increasingly simply calling cinema. cinema, with edits and all the usual tools of narrative episodes, can be quite easily seen to be a series of individual statements (though related of course) placed in juxtaposition. there is the literal juxtapostion that is an edit, but also of course the larger forms of juxtaposition that are formed in how the narrative is built or represented in the film - which narrative statements are shown, and which go where.
the vogs though are laminal in that each image and/or sequence is visually carved up so that there is a layering of texture (the collage/montage mollage effect here is also to deliberately create a literal texture to the vog), and with some of the recent works with the multiple text tracks there is of course juxtaposition but it is not serial (in time) but about layers (literally) and simultaneity.
and to read a movie like this you do have to play it (play with it not just click play) and once you do that what the movie is for each client is a series of changing layers.
brief note to sit and brew for a while. the principle of organisation that informs most blogs is as abitrary as the alphabet - it's the gregorian calendar. just as i've changed the structure of the blog so that the temporal seriality of the posts becomes visible rather than atomistic (see, i want to link there to the node where i discuss that, but the model is more that they're all on more or less the same screen at the same time, sort of) it might appear that blogs are more like spatial hypertext where proximity provides some index of relevance. though of course this doesn't have to be the case at all, since there need be no necessary relation between sequential posts at all.
except time. so perhaps blogs are a third major hypertext form, temporal hypertext. i just need to leave that one sit to brew.
spatial, link node, temporal
movable type is a well known web log and publishing system. it is server side so you install it on your web server and off you go. i'm going to look into installing this onto one of the servers i run to set a student blog centre.
this is stuff i've always done - we had a web server for student publishing in 1995 for instance (and all content is permanent) found an interesting new technology that is basically simple and appropriate, installed it (so we own all the processes involved and are able to make all the decisions about how to use it, when, and why).
the successful implementation of technology in education has, in my experience, generally been the identification and distribution of appropriate locally owned assets. they've certainly been the most innovative and educationally relevant projects.
(i wonder how many of the major education technology providers, those that do online education systems, are implementing blogs into their courseware. if they're not then i'd suggest taking that as almost empirical evidence that they, and the managers who make the corporate decisions to purchase, just don't understand the role of technology and education. the relationship is symbiotic, distributed, and local.)
alphabetic literacy, as i seem to remember walter ong sortasaying, is an abstraction that is developed from the abstract nature of the alphabet. there's nothing inherent in a for it to the first letter in the english alphabet, it's just made first.
now it's one thing to say that any other letter could've got to be first, but it isn't just an observation about the arbitrary nature of the alphabet in terms of learning it ("a, b, c . . ."). just the fact that there is an idea of a first letter is already to have been acculturated to the ideology of print literacy. in an oral culture (or children's culture which is also principally oral though in complex assemblages with print) there is no first word that is used to form a mnemonic chain so you can learn how to talk. the idea of a common first word which you recite when learning how to talk is, well, absurd. but of course as soon as a child learns to start speaking english, if you're in print literate culture, it won't be very long at all before the child, as a minimum, can recite "a, b, c . . ." (and in our numerate culture similarly can recite "1, 2, 3").
this alphabetic ordering is quite an extraordinary level of abstraction. an example i've used in classes to show this is a game i used to play with my daughter. the game involved listing objects and wondering which was the odd one out. one day my list was "kookaburra, koala, kangaroo, possum." now when print literate you'd pretty much abstract these words so that possum is the odd one out since all the others start with k. but not in oral culture, where knowledge is always grounded in the context of a life world. when 3 her answer was in fact kangaroo, and the rationale is of course entirely reasonable - all the others live in trees. now she's 7 and has had 18 months of school, her answer is possum, because all the others start with k. she's learnt how to abstract from the thing to the noun and that the principle of order is not about the properties or qualities of the thing but about the structure of the words.
in academic writing the arbitrary nature of alphabetisation is well illustrated by the rules for organising bibliographies. they're sorted alphabetically. why? well it's the only way on a page you can find something, it provides a serial order that aids information retrieval. but how do we use bibliographies? i use them in 2 ways. one is instrumental, i want to see what a particular reference is, so i am seeking a specific title or usually author (since it's the author's name that most citational systems privilege as the unit of organisation). here alphabetisation is really useful. the other way is i just browse, to get an idea of what references have been used.
now in the instrumental example i know things like the author name, so in an electronic environment i can pretty much just do an electronic search for that. the random access nature of content and the ability to uncover and display content via a search makes the necessity of alphabetisation in a bibliography unnecessary. on my mac, command f, finds it and if it's the wrong one? command g to repeat the search. it doesn't matter in what order the citations are stored for this work.
and in the browsing example, well, it's browsing, again alphabetical order is an abstract structure of ordering the content that is basically unnecessary. yet as an academic i know that suggest there is no good reason for a bibliography in an electronic only essay to be sorted alphabetically is to invite apoplexy. it's print literacy as an ideology, and like all good ideologies it appears to us as natural and so invisible.
well the blog has been completely rebuilt, from templates up. this means that there will be a few broken links for a while, and some 404's too.
what's different? well i used to publish each blog entry as an individual html screen. i did this so that i could use tinderbox's linking engine to just make links from text to nodes by clicking and pointing (it's my storyspace experience showing through). if i used a template that gathers nodes into a single page, this nifty linking doesn't quite work - it needs the node as a page by itself to work out the html link.
i've changed tack and gone for the more traditonal collected note blog style for two reasons.
trivial reason: was just getting too many screens, this part of my site was approaching 300 odd screens.
more important reason: there's an orality in blogging which requires a temporal continuity. wots that mean? i write a node about something, then shortly after write a new node about something else but the new node is a continuation or a riff or a riposte or an aside to the previous. a flow of return, reference, and repetition sometimes happens and this duration of writing as engaged in a material lifeworld (the material of the lifeworld in what is blogged about but also the materiality of blogged writing which is necessarily and inevitably temporally delimited - date and time stamped and the principal of organisation is anti-alphabetical) just doesn't work when i split each post up into a little atomistic screen. so the convenience of the linking (a very hypertextual practice) worked against the temporality of the blog and made this particular blog more print like in the manner in which each entry became an island, not quite autonomous but for intents and purposes presenting itself as a colony of one.
this i find a shift for me as i'm very attuned to a link node model of hypertext writing and i use tinderbox like this and to publish this blog. it's part of the invisibility of the agents in tinderbox that i have. i use them a lot for publishing and sometimes to find stuff, but i tend to build structure, thematic and contextual history and pattern via literal text to node links, rather than an agent. but i realised that the temporality of the blog is something i need and is important, and that if i want to find structure in the tinderbox-as-blog model then i need to rely less on explicit internal linking and much more on agents. btw this isn't about not linking internally in tinderbox-as-blog but that such linking has a different cognitive and/or structural role than in a simpler link node model.
this would also suggest that while blogs are or can be quite hypertextual, they're not quite link node hypertext.
i'm working on an international conference to bring here in 2003 (all top secret for now, only those who can fit under my patented cone-of-silence know about it). anyway, need to find some admin tools to help and this is a rather useful url. always knew there was something that the acm did with all that cash i used to send them.
returned to opera for osx. it's still in beta but is about 400% faster than ie, and though there's no java support it seems to do a pretty good of style sheets. think i'll stick with it for a while, the speed difference really is dramatic.
the next things i said...
a vog is not
the second programmatic missive i sent to empyre to stir the slumbering possum (the first was the vog manifesto, vogma):
a vog is
my turn after but with jill to be the guest moderator come provocateur on empyre. jill's set a high bar after our fortnight on blogging so i'm anxious about what will happen, if anything. i think it's a bit worse because i'm gong on about interactive video and cinema and a lot of what i want to say or try and deal with is sorta from my own work. what if no one answers? what if no one cares? bugger it. i'll just change topic :-)
via my rmit account i get a lot of spam. unlike my uib account which maintains very strict blacklists (for instance this one) and has spam filters (jill mentioned this somewhere round here, her anchors aren't working). lately there has been a very persistent spanish porn thing with various subject headers, somethings explicit.
i finally read one and it's bilingual and in english tells me i'm only getting it 'cos i signed up for it (yeah right, must be included in my australian geographic subscription i got for my dad) and there's an unsub url. throwing abandon, caution, and other synonyms of care to the zephyr i click.
turns up a url with an apology and an explanation that the spam isn't coming from them, they cut the account when notified of the spam, and they provide information about where it seems to be originating from. with convenient email addresses (all .es addresses).
so now i have a eudora filter that is grabbing the stuff as it arrives, bouncing it back to the isp postmaster, and deleting it.
now i'll probably get hate mail from some poor bunny who's had their id hacked.
the fine folks at sorenson (someting about a utah address just makes me wanna call 'em folks) have made their own compression tool to more or less compete with media cleaner pro. it's called sorenson squeeze and i just got a freebie cos i own the sorenson pro 3.1 codec. might use it, but since cleaner 5 is now osx happy, and totally hip have hipflics, i probably won't.
(time time time)
sorenson 3 still rules for http delivery, it's cpu intensive and i assume optimised for forward play only, trying to go backwards in a sorenson encoded clip is not a good idea. but the quality versus the bit rate is very good. and in case you're wondering, there is a substantial difference in quality between the free sorenson 3 that's bundled in quicktime 5 (and 6) versus the professional version.
you can also get a version of squeeze for sorenson mx, the codec they've developed and licenced to macromedia for flash mx. apple have turned nasty about this (is an intro), which is sorta poor form but on the other hand when macromedia are reported as saying
you gotta get sort of suspicious. marcomedia know as well as apple that quicktime is not really about the streaming video market and as i keep soapboxing about, pretty much anything you can do in flash you can do in quicktime. and when you start using flash in quicktime, good things can happen. different things, and for different purposes, than flash only, but there are great possibilities. so a claim like this i see as part of a continuing mystification and dumbing down of the new media community in terms of what can be done using video, online, interactively.
which i guess does bring me to flash mx. which i haven't really looked at, but it's incorporation of video natively into flash i see as the kiss of death for net based interactive video. unless the embedded video allows all of the interactivity and scripting that flash grants outside of the video, it's just another television set dressed up in a skin. if i can't click on part of a video image, at a particular time, to effect narrative interruption, then it isn't interactive video.
media cleaner pro, which for video and audio compression is a bit like microsoft word (you might not like the price, or how slow it runs, but it is the international standard tool), has been updated to a 5.x which runs on osx. i must've missed the announcement, so not sure when it happened, but now with sorenson 3.1 on osx and cleaner on osx there are about only 2 programs i use regluarly that aren't osx. (quicken, which in australia for macintosh completely stopped at version 5 years ago, and endnote, an academic reference program - which come to think of it tinderbox could do.... :-) )
this is a very good thing because osx is very very good.
i added 2 new user accounts to my osx tibook for my kids (just means they can use the computer to their heart's content and i don't have to worry that they've just deleted all my mail) but it really slowed down waking up, the desktop for my admin user account just started getting finicky (desktop pictures not sticking, for instance) and various minor odds and sods. removed the user accounts and things much happier.
note to self
from the site:
open source qt api
::17 Jun 2002 10:54::
this is the page in the developer part of apple's site that has links to all the quicktime technical documentation. this stuff years ago used to be only available via the "inside apple" series of books. most of it is too programming orientated for me but there is stuff in there about sprites and what's new in qt 6 and the rest which are useful resources.
most people treat quicktime the same way they treat real and windows media content. you cut ya vid and compress it into a format do burn cd or embed on a web screen or load in a player.
but quicktime is an authoring environment. you can write and make in quicktime the same way you sorta write in html. and when you do that, and know what video, sound, sprite, text, picture, colour, and streaming tracks are and can do, and that a quicktime movie can have lots (for instance 8 video and 3 sound tracks) then all of a sudden your perspective changes.
not a delivery medium, authoring medium which is also delivery. just like learning how to write hypertextually (which is the difference in understanding links and writing with the open versus writing in word then marking up in html).
this is a london design firms 'world's smallest web site' which i found via b.barr's blog (the triple b). something like 18x18 pixels. i think they're irish since when i looked tonight they had a go ireland splash square (i guess it's a square rather than a screen then it is 18 x 18).
but it's a great cute gimick and something that would be good to show students about design and constraint :-)
guimp or why it it isn't about size
brandon barr's texturl is a blog i like to look at every now and then (though i have a blog, well, this is it isn't it?) i don't read a lot of blogs. bit like i'm on quite a few email lists but i don't post a heck of a lot. it's about time management i guess (which is what is good about brandon's blog, it's as irregular as mine - in fact how many full time academics with teaching, research, administration and grant responsibilities also blog, and how often do they blog? mmm.)
brandon and media
::16 Jun 2002 20:04::
went to restart the Ti after upgrading some system software and i got the dreaded question mark of nonsense on screen. tried restarting via the reset button + option and it could see the osx system but still wouldn't boot from it. dash to the office for the system cds and disk utility repair which found some problems. more muckings about with little joy. visions of using the restore cd then another trip to the office for bandwidth to get back to 10.1.5...
then noticed that the mouse wasn't working, unplugged it. seems to fix it. mouse back in now. i think the usb connection wasn't quite 'firm' (the cable connection was loose in the usb port) and that freaked something out. i hope it is that simple.
sometimes sundays are stoopid.
a graphic desiger designed blog with attitude. well known though i hadn't realised about the grep notes (thanks jill) and my lack of groking grep has always been a pain since bbedit pro has full grep support.
i'm sure (he says defensively) that i'm not the only one who has this sort of oedipal thing about some books. take, for instance, manovich's "the language of new media" and ulmer's "teletheory". manovich's book sat on my shelf for ages and i just sort of acknowledged it by ignoring it. because there are parts of it that are very close to my own work (the academic equivalent of convergent evolution) but of course i have hardly published.
so it sort of feels like my ideas are not mine. though it is more like they are mine and so there is a desire to find and show how theirs are wrong or not as good as yours. that's what i mean by oedipus. sorta kill the father (they're the father because they're there first and the book becomes this sort of fetish for the phallus and logos
) and take their place. ulmer's the same. "teletheory" is a major work for what i do in terms of my teaching, writing, and research practice. a sort of protobible. i've read maybe the first 20 pages and just have to put it down as i feel whacked around the head by the ideas. that they're so close to what i'm doing (bit sad about the timedrag though, sheesh), that here is the material i need to legitimate a pile of my work, but again this sort of oedipal ressentiment about it being done without you.
so i've either just outed myself semipublically as someone with major issues with fathers (haven't we all?), or just 'fessed up something that is incredibly common in academia. certainly one of those yale deconstructionists wrote a book all about this (in relation to poets), and i wonder how much this is about print culture in bed with (hope you like the turn of phrase there, oedipus, in bed with, oohhh, where's barbara johnson these days?) humanities academic individualism.
our modes of engaging theoretically with others seem so often to be either kill the father, love the father then kill 'em (pay homage and your dues and your debt to x and then show how much smarter you are), or just love the father (offer not much more than commentaries on the work of the father, largely to prove to the father that you're worth their care).
sounds bitter doesn't it? funny, i think these are actually strongly present in a lot of writing, i'm interested in other ways and i think it is only about how one's academic 'voice' is legitimated (i guess you're not going to have much of a voice in a real family if you refust to acknowledge your parents...?).
anyway, just wanted to say that sometimes i have books that i know i have to read but i hide from them. tha's'll.
to the tune of a j richman ditty
::16 Jun 2002 10:39::
well, the bergen autumn palette was shortlived. really did not like it, the blues were too muddy and the grey, blue and orange was too complicated. so now it is an exercise in grey. a tonal sort of essay. i think this is closer to my imagined bergen palette.
what is beautiful about the colour in bergen is how soft and absent the light is (it comes from nowhere and everywhere) then, autumn, sofmuted hints of red and yellow as leaves turn. in winter cold rained light redeemed by a blanket of snow and day blue softness that fairytales the world.
storyspace (and particularly not to write in word, paste into storyspace and put it through the hypertext node-chunk processor) and to treat this as creative writing space is pretty much to treat it as a personal improvisational space. this might be a good way to make that more apparent. particularly given how i use blogs, and how i've suggested thinking of storyspace writing as a sampling environment.
samples and improv
while reading a short journalistic essay on new media and the academy i find this:
Film Comment 37.6 (2001): 30-34.
and i'm surprised at what feels like a disciplinary conservatism. i think this is more to do with american cinema studies and media studies than media studies per se. the media studies program i teach in is nearly 30 years old, and in many ways needing an overhaul. in australia media and cultural studies got added to the curriculum ages ago, often into places like former english lit departments (i think largely because lit has seen itself as the academic cultural police so any new discipline dealing with kulta and discourse was going to be appropriated by them). it was only when i went to a conference in america that i found out that most of what i do is 'new' media studies. in australia we were quite happy to just call it media studies and to recognise it's place and relevance within existing disciplinary boundaries. so yes, i'm struck by the conservatism of the above comments. right now in australia adding media studies is over, everyone is adding new media to their programs. same deal, same institutional formations. i expect this is because in the united states media studies is actually communication studies, very different traditions and practices to the anglo-australian model.
and of course cinema studies has work to do. it is no longer the dominant screen based art, tv and the domestic computer have put paid to that. it may be the preeminent screen based art, but surely i'm not the only one who recognises the irony of that claim for cinema (the discipline was founded on the legitimation of an industrial art as art, then moved towards the popular), it sounds dangerously close to, let's see? i'll choose sven birkerts and his tantrum about books not being precious.
new new media
spam i've received a few times recently. the banality of this deserves observation. (that's unique irony emotion there btw.) i mean, just the spam tells you they don't know squat about writing, 130 unique emotions. what on earth are unique emotions and if they're unique how come there's 130 of them? is this the writerly equivalent of "add 3 inches"?
hypertext is more or less over for another year. well, except for their major essays. and there in lies the problem. with the concentration on process that has been in place it's obvious that the best place to foreground and learn about some of the key issues in hypertext is to write hypertext. and the students are confronting that now, as they write their academic essays. however they'll all make mistakes, and it would be a much more successful subject if this work was done earlier in semester, responded to, and then further developed.
so these are the things that i'm going to do differently next year. the first minor essay will be moved forward and completed much earlier in the semester. this is primarily a technical exercise establishing for the students that they know how to use the software, so sooner is better. then the academic essay will be bought forward as well, so that a draft will be handed in at some point for review and then completion. this also means that i might be able to develop some peer review processes in this so that students get to see what other student work looks like.
assessed themselves each week around these criteria, justifying this to each other. i collected all these, handed them out in the final lab, and they had to go through them and then determine an overall assessment for their participation through the semester. they then had to justify this assessment to a group of peers. perhaps the best part of this exericse is requiring them to also point out to the group what they think they would have to have done differently to have given themselves a better mark. this isn't about taking marks off for not having (assessment as punishment) but just making visible to themselves the distance they perceive between what they have done, and what they understand they could have done. out of 35 students only 2 have given themselves top marks, and i'll probably talk to them just to confirm that it's legitimate.)
i also need to formalise the research activities, or foreground them much more. in my first real go at process based teaching with a problem twist i've not provided enough context for the development of a research practice. this really ought not to be too ambitious in this subject anyway, given all the cognitive jumps and writerly defamiliarisation i put them through (over 90% of students in their assessment of the semester have commented that it has changed how they think about writing and what they think writing is, which is pretty much my major aim in the subject). so the research stuff needs to complement this and not just become something about research as this abstract thing like in most of the other subjects they do. i think moving the major essay forward and getting it submitted twice will help here. and keeping the essay framed as a problem and then letting peer groups form around each problem. and the groups can suggest essays that they ought to read (so they'll have to find them too). and then my job will be helping them figure out how that can be done (how to find essays, how to share them with the group). and the lab can move away from the technical thing it is now into something more like a studio...
semester that was
ben waggoner's course on video compression.
tim arch, who has been doing hypertext with me this semester, has recently heard a couple of talks (one by me) on blogs and has started his own. always good to see nascent ideas and projects being given room.
and so it goes...
history of blog
by way of one of the design honours students i'm collaborating with on a publishing project. foucault meets space invaders.
the electronic imprint from the uni of virginia. major initiative from the place that people like john unsworth hang out.
uva e imprint
as part of the federal governments 'support' for research data is collected and audited from universities annually. within rmit this research is also to be identified with a 'research concentration.' the list is:
for all the brouhaha around about clusters, interdisciplinarity et al i find this onerous. probably because i don't fit any of them and so my own practice risks institutional invisibility. gives you latitutde, but means you're only ever a team of one. but really, where does a critical theory paper presented at a primarily computer systems conference (the acm hypertext series for instance) fit? the strength of conferences such as this, and the work that is presented there, is that it crosses boundaries - if only because you're presenting theory to a room full of computer scientists (who funnily enough do listen).
oliver, julian holland. polygon destinies: the production of place in the digital role-playing game. n.d. 2001. www. may 17 2002.
this is julian's paper for the cosign 2001 games semiotics gig in amsterdam. interesting paper with a strong architectural theme but where it shines is in the effort to use bergson, serres and some phenomenology. it's ambition is probably its undoing in the long run though
::2 Jun 2002 23:25::
last lecture this week in hypertext theory and practice. i was going to write a web site of some description for it, but i've relied on the blog instead for schematic notes, references and the like. and since i also use to maintain my bookmarks for things like hypertext, hypertext literature, interactive cinema and the like i figure there's a good start for the students here.
anyway, last lecture. last week we went over some basic stuff just to repeat what has been discussed most of semester. one of the more common errors i make in my teaching is to think that students have followed the twists and turns, the key points, and also managed to take on board the major commentators/commentaries and various takes on them. and then i'm always surprised when as a group they return to what i'd think of as 'old' first principles (nonlinear versus multilinear, questions about closure, reading pleasure). so i overestimate how much they've been able to deal with the issues and i underestimate how much i've covered and i guess how much i know about this stuff. which is probably a typically academically stoopid way of saying that because i know lots about this stuff it all seems self evident to me so what's there to teach?
where was i? (i lecture like this too, you can see why the dots don't get joined up. hell you can see why i think lectures suck for learning.) this week. i'm going to show them some of scott mccloud's comments from his "understanding comics" (i haven't read "more understanding comics" yet), particularly where he discusses the role of the gutter in producing narrative (aka links). this isn't so much to show them another way of thinking about links but to help get them to see that some of the things we've been thinking about cross over into all sorts of places. i also want to show them some of my own interactive video work since this is completely informed by hypertext and pretty much works on the assumption that what hypertext theory proposes ought to be able to be applied to interactive video. then i'll get them into small groups to deal with the problems they raised last week:
participated in an informal forum on vj tools this afternoon organised by robin macpherson. vjing is not my field but i could and did talk intelligently about codecs and the like. various vjs showed some of their tools, as well as some of the audio stuff available. it's impressive what tools are out there for improvisational video work. i'll try and compile a list. (but not today, last week of semester, sunshine, very bad viral cold.) blahblahblah
the other day i listed the powerbooks i have owned. well, got a new one. not one of the new new ones. been upgraded from my old 400mhz ti to a 550mhz ti. it's a more recent model so has 16mb of video ram and a faster system bus (noticeably so) but has the same screen resolution as the old. the documentation mentions gig ethernet, but i haven't been able to check that yet, so far all i've been able to do is use a cross over cable to move stuff from the old one while i've been at home with a rather serious cold. oh, this one's got the combo drive, trés kewl. i pretty much no longer use a desktop machine - though this is slower than a desktop g4 it does all that i need (video capture, compression, editing and all my academic work) so my entire professional life pretty much travels with me.
technote come tutorial about different font sizes in quicktime for mac and pc.
text in qt mac and pc
this offers a comparison of features between different digital video formats for online work.
web or net art project game thingo where you add stuff and then you and others vote (scale of 1 to 10) on whether it's art or not. one of those self deprecating ironic postnetwork art things that critiques its own institutionalisationism (that means it wants to be outside but knows that to be outside you have to be inside).
art or not
Jeremy Welsh: email@example.com Bergen Art College
Dan Mihaltianu, Ass. Prof. and intermedia artist at the Photo Dept. of KHIB firstname.lastname@example.org
Mona Bentzen - Sentient Film & Art"
email@example.com Geska Helena Andersson research facilitator, Interactive Institute, Sweden
names and addresses
what he doesn't know about video compression doesn't exist.