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akademic werdsakademic werds
written and published in Tinderbox 1.2.3
will has picked up mark's comments too (i'm playing catch up here). he takes quite a different view to what i wrote a few moments ago, but i suspect there is a lot of common ground and also possibilities. like will's comments about wireless vogging, which is possible though we're still waiting for the tools, but i do see it possible for vogging to approach blogging in terms of its relation to quotidian time.
here the model is dziga vertov. when he imagined filmmakers all around russia shooting daily, and the footage being processed and screened daily in this sort of immense editorialised documentary, he was actually dreaming ted turner's business plan. which impresses the hell out of me. but now that we can vog, there is somewhere in between vertov and cnn. it is personal. it is quotidian. it is about learning or hearing or surrendering to the imperatives of the medium (scale, size, duration, bandwidth, authoring, time) which is not what most video/film practitioners do when they come to this environment.
on the other hand will is right on time when he notes that voggers sculpt rather than report time. elegant and accurate. it is not live tv. it lies between cinema (which is so terribly stuck in narrative and grandness) and video art and time is what it complicates.
ah, blog lag
damn, jus t spent ages writing the post below about time and vogging and i see mark has a new vog! (but be warned, nearly 8MB - mark how about a poster movie?) need to get home now so will have to view, think, and write about it later!
mark has a new vog
this is the links page of the university of canberra centre for writing. an excellent resource to find journals and sites about electronic literature, poetry, and text performance.
canberra centre for writing
mark has some interesting comments on the possible differences between vogs and blogs. he's right, of course, and wrong (of course). while vogs that are being more than 'tv on the web' are much more 'finished' than say the average blog post, i'm not sure that this separates it that much from blogging.
first of all before the advent of blogger, movable type and so on just imagine how much work a text blog would have been! it is only with the appropriate tools that we can blog in the "scratchpad" writing manner that mark describes.
so we need vogging tools. this is why aisling kelliher's project is so important, and potentially significant. many of us now have the hardware to shoot, capture, edit, quickly and easily. the harder bit is adding interactivity and putting it online.
however, in quicktime there is a lot of interactivity available, and it is possible to build a tool that would, for example, easily let you nominate hot spots in a region of a video clip, of a defined duration, and that when you clicked on it x would be loaded. much like the bookmarklets that blogger and their ilk provide in blog land. it isnt' that this isn't possible. just that no one has made it yet. and it hasn't been made yet because no one has really seen that particular future. yet.
but that aside, vogging is slower than blogging. as perhaps it ought. if only because what you could say in 2 minutes is a damn sight (or is that site) more than what you could write in two minutes.
when i started vogging i invented a rule. each vog should only take an hour to make. this first vog was a simple video track with a text track with some urls in it that you could click. was a nice rule but it didn't last long. it isn't just the learning curve, it's the pleasure of making cinema, if that's what we want to call it. so many of the vogs have taken hours, though largely because i was learning - most of them i could now make in under two hours. but is so very different from the hours bloggers spend, let's see, installing movable type, redesigning the css and templates, redesigning them all a month later, fussing over colour schemes, font sizes and so on? if we included that as part of the time of writing (as we should), then i'm not sure that there mightn't be that great a difference between the time to vog and the time to blog.
i stand by the claim that a video blog must have interactive video in it, otherwise it is only television feigning novelty. but the interactivity doesn't have to be the sorts of things that i, mark, or will make. it could be simply a href track that loads http content in a lower frame as the video plays (like this early vog, you need to click on the lake to make it happen, though this uses the autohref attribute to push through the http requests). this is quick, easy and suggestive. it isn't so much rocket science but that even with such a simple series of possibilities we don't really know what to do.
the time to vog
the australian digital theses program is to provide a common interface to australian electronic theses. this is an interesting project, but the vast majority of work contained here, as far as i can see, is more or less standard thesis content in something like pdf that is archived and distributed in this manner. this is not the same as writing an electronic dissertation where you do thing that can only be done electronically.
australian digital theses
game studies is a peer reviewed journal, pretty much set up by espen aarseth, and is one of the better places to find content related to game theory.
chris willerton wrote an interesting paper on hypertext and mystery writing for the 2000 hypertext conference, and if you've got access to the acm library you'll find it somewhere around here. he also has a small list of links.
got this via my good friend jeremy yuille, who is finally about to begin real blogging (i won't shame him by linking to his first effort). mobile blogging. as with all of these things it is impossible to predict if it will work, and why it would or wouldn't (after all who ever thought that SMS would become an almost killer app of mobile telephony?). but this is the first thing i've seen that makes sense of what you'd really like to do with a mms phone. photography, annotate, publish. i'd do it. the problem with mms to me is that while it has the peer to peer stuff of networked communication something more needs to be added to make it worth your while to send an image of yourself to someone you know. yes you'd send it to loved ones, perhaps, but images tend not to have the to and through of phone conversation or even sms, whereas being able to publish via the blog. different story, different model. same network.
well, a new semesters teaching starts this monday. my enrolment numbers for hypertext theory and practice have been decimated. normally i have between 30 and 40 and right now there appear to be 12. my vanity insists this is because i've been teaching here .5 for two years and so students just don't know what i do (no word of mouth). my insecurities tell me it's because the subject has gone downhill and that word of mouth has killed it. the reality is probably that journalism, where i used to get a few students, now has an online journalism subject (the less i say about that the better), and that students today don't see hypertext as relevant to what they want to know about what they think they want to do online. of course it is, deeply and richly (i am very frustrated by new media's inability to see that hypertext theory answers so many of what it thinks are new questions - the recent reiser and zapp anthology on interactive cinema, for instance, has essays where you can literally remove 'interactive video' and insert 'hypertext' and not notice, except the hypertext essays would have been written in 1992, not 2002).
and this year is the year when the course is getting quite a rehabilitation too.
norwegian humour is often quite close to australian humour. dry, ironic, possibly even sardonic. (not sure i know what sardonic means, but reminds me of sardines and it's a small step from there to norwegian humour.)
the difference, for an australian anyway, is that it can take a while to actually see that there is in fact a sense of humour. though i imagine this is no different to how many find australian humour with its specific desire to embellish and deceive (hoop snakes that hold their tail in their mouths to chase you down hills for instance). to revel in your own culture's specificity and to ironically celebrate it.
::22 Feb 2003 17:27::
today i've been trying to install movable type on os x server. on os x isn't a problem. but on os x server (10.2). well. that's a different story. you see the conf files and that sort of stuff on the server flavour of os x do different things to all the standard apache conf things that happen in the personal flavour of os x. so there is not just a httpd.conf but there is also a httpd_macosxserver.conf file and the latter is sort of parsed into the former. (so that if i change the log format for my logs and then use the server admin tools to admin the server, it rewrites the conf file to the generic log format!).
so, in my stress and late in the day i googled and of course found a page about how to install movable type on os x. this still isn't server but i think i might be able to use this to hack my way through the os x server stuff to make it happen.
why am i doing this? i want my hypertext students to blog this semester, but within all the other things i expect them to learn i don't want them to have to worry about installing it themselves (though later in the semester if they want their own install then we'll do that). this subject is mainly about hypertext, and their time is to be spent writing and thinking about that, and not doing the usual hypertext thing where they mistake web writing as being some sort of graphic designer. (this is why i use storyspace and why storyspace remains a brilliant hypertext environment.)
movable type on os x
a web site sort of portal for used books. not sure if it is the one i was shown a few years ago, where i had tried to get a text via amazon's second hand search with no luck and here had 4 copies, all available.
matt kirschenbaum has started a blog. a late, by matt's standards, convert :-)
matt is one of those american scholars (they're always american) who is one of my secret benchmarks for research excellence. (the less if 'fess about my scholarship the better.)
matt's new blog
this is something i wrote in the bergen collaborative blog and it has been picked up in a couple of other blogs. so i went looking for it here in this blog and couldn't find it and it took 2 weeks before i realised that it was in the bergen blog. so i've stolen from myself to put it here, so i can bloody well find it when i need it (i need it for something being written). so, first appeared in collogatories, now here.
Alternatively, even where a student or group blog might not 'count' towards final assessment, it ought to be possible to use a blog in such a way that students can see it as being relevant to their final outcome. This would certainly be the experience of those who maintain what are more or less known as 'research blogs' (Jill Walker has a good collection of links and annotations at http://cmc.uib.no/jill/txt/researchblogs.html ), where the social nature of the writing and the regularity are understood to contribute to ongoing writing and research which will happen outside of the blog.
In the case of blogs they can be relevant and useful where you might want students (individually or in groups) to reflect on what they're doing, or why they're doing something, or on what they might be learning. They are good if you want to help show and teach students how to write critically since they are not monumental like essays or reports, and are informal and personal enough to tolerate errors, asides, amendments, and so on. If you use the Web in your teaching or research then they work wonderfully as personal postit note systems, since most blog tools have bookmarklets that let you grab a url and annotate it as you go. They are useful if you work in a distributed environment (in whatever form) and it is useful for students to be able to write about their work and to have that writing accessible in different places in different contexts. They may also be useful (and 'may' here has a speculative intent) where you want to bring together a group of student researchers to work on a common research problem, where the collection of blogs (is there a neologism for that yet? a blog of blogs) actually are (or could be) a knowledge domain where the sum of the parts (links, notes, comments) are greater than the whole.
::17 Feb 2003 19:28::
from the press kit (and hey, i'm on the board so this is like totally gratuitous promotion):
www.ce.canberra.edu.au/inflect. infLect is based at the University of Canberra Centre for Writing. The journal showcases creative work which brings together text, visual images and sound into a reciprocal relationship, and also writing which combines critical and creative content. Volume One contains new work by Jim Andrews, geniwate, komninos, Ana Marie Uribe, Jason Nelson, Thomas Swiss, Motomichi Nakamura and Robot Friend, Hazel Smith and Roger Dean, and Brian Kim Stefans.
got this by way of the fibreculture list, but i'm sure it will be the top of blogdex in nanoseconds. google buys pyra labs and blogger. this isn't just a vote of confidence but is a paradigm shift. google is the first search engine that understood the web as a system of links and that these links, what expresses connection between parts, is the major semantic, structural, thematic, and commercial economy of the web. that is it is the first large search engine that treats the web as its native habitat, rather than bringing flatland values to the problem of data, indexing, and retrieval.
similarly blogs are the first native genre to have developed in the networked writing space that is the Web. so it makes sense that one sees the value of the other, but together . . . this is not just a question of commercial capital but also of the intellectual (cultural and networked) capital that comes with living the web in vitro. in 3 - 5 years publishing will have changed so dramatically as a result that what we today will appear odd.
google buys blogger
the international centre for digital content. housed or attached to john moores universityand is between industry, research, and education. quite an innovative model by the look of it. they have an ma program, and it looks like the work with industry, to professional development, not sure what else. be a good place to visit if you're interested in education, new media, and research futures.
in my referrer stats i've just found that my vog project is linked from the international centre for digital content ma in new media production, in the uk. so of course i'll blog them, twice (the other post is the more generic annotated thing that will turn up more or less here but also in my link directories). of course this is a nice illustration of the general economy of the link (that's bataille's general economy not 'economy in general') as one link from them opens a unrecoverable excess.
the fame of a link
today i've flown 2 and a bit hours north of melbourne to coolangatta. from there a 30km taxi ride to the gold coast campus of griffith university for a visit. it is a very long trip to do in a day (as i am, i'm currently in the coolangatta airport waiting to board the flight home). growing up as i did on the other side of the railway line flying somewhere for a day or 2 still feels very exotic. this exoticism is compounded by that great chestnut, how big australia is. i'm still not quite half way up the east coast, but the weather is so thoroughly subtropical. as soon as you step into it, even at 9am, its soft dampness and deep warmth envelopes you. not hot, only about 24 or so, but that tropical sort of warm that is like sand on a beach - it just gets in everywhere and is not to be ignored. everything is very very green, the gum trees are different, what counts as a melbourne indoor plant grows three times the size in front gardens. and the architecture is off those places where you need a roof to keep off the rain, but no walls to keep out the cold. because there isn't any.
someone blogging at marjbabe.blog-city.com has referred to my vog manifesto and they seem to be interested in vogging. excellent, could well mean it is an international conspiracy of 4: me, mark, will, and marjbabe aka...
i've been teaching hypertext theory and practice since 1995. and i think since then i've always taught html authoring (writing code, i'm more interested in students understanding link architecture and code architecture than for them to mistakenly think they're designers). one thing i have insisted on from the beginning is that students will publish to the web, and that this is permanent. in other words i have given students accounts on a university server that i control where their content will not be removed at the end of the course or when they graduate.
why? because from the beginning i have treated writing online as a continuous emergent and rhizomatic archive. and i use rhizomatic not merely in the deleuzean sense of an acentred network, but also with its explicit biological connotations of life. and because i always recognised that writing online was a public form of writing that did problematise (and foreground) the role of voice and authority in writing in terms of page literacies and its epistemes of power.
however, while this is the case the form of writing that first evolved in those experiments was of course the homepage and then some sort of small 'site'. the homepage was always a strange beast, temporary and transitional as it turns out, of which the best were always a thoroughly informal sort of curriculum vitae. blogs, of course, have replaced these (and it really ought to be remembered that the informality of blogging has always been a condition of public online writing and self representation through such writing).
writing on the web always conflated authorship and publication into the same event. this was always the case (and was why if students did not publish their work online then they didn't actually understand the political, social, and ideological implications of the web and writing). one of the significant implications of blogs is that they're distilled this even further, so that where the homepage was informal, idiosyncratic, and mixed the private and the public, the regularity of change in a homepage was subject to much longer cycles so that academics (and librarians) could be anxious about permanence and dissolution.
blogs have taken each of these and made them primary conditions of the genre, front and centre. they are private and public, are generally thoroughly informal in tenor, are idiosyncratic in their style, content, and design, are updated on a basis that takes variability as a given and have developed permalinks to provide a form of self archiving. in addition most blog engines have further enhanced the way that writing is publishing online so that the event of writing is largely synonymous with the event of publishing. i'd suggest it is this that has encouraged the rise of 'live' blogging, much more than the journalistic intent of much of this work.
hasn't meant that those who were anxious about online writing to begin with feel any better about blogs. but if we didn't have fossils we wouldn't have had the industrial revolution, would we?
authorship is publication
maryland institute for technology in the humanities, title sort of sums it up. a collaborative research centre. this is similar to what i'd like to try and do here at rmit.
lightbox is a tool developed by the maryland institute of technology in the humanities and lets users share a common repository of images and compare them. matt kirschenbaum has been involved in the development of this. it runs on windows and unix, so should run under os x. a quick read of the documentation tells me the command line things i'd need to make it happen. i'm wondering if something like this might be useful in a cinema studies class where students were all able to look at and compare an image or images at the same time, and if this would be a qualitatively more useful way of doing this than all looking and talking about the same image, at the same time. might have to play with this.
just a list to be returned to when i've got time:
partially.org (click on the daily movies link)
audiovisceral.net (one of the most significant of all)
and luuk bouwman's tropism
better video blogs
i've added one more line to the vogma manifesto because it seems a lot of people have come to just that page and don't quite get that it is a manifesto for a specific blog based practice. this is something i hope to find time to blog about soon, as there has, over the past 3 or 4 months, been a rise in the idea of the video blog but everyone seems to think that a video blog is a video with some blog. that might be a video blog, but to my way of thinking that is like saying a blog is a web page with some writing on a web page. a blog is not that.
a blog is personal, informed, variable, ongoing, topical, affords irrelevance (due to ill judgement, the passage of time, and so on), and it is networked writing. it is a writing that participates in a network and creates a network. this network can be informational (a link to a resource of some kind), social (links to peers), and is emergent. anyone who doesn't link in this manner might be writing online, but in my blog they're not blogging. and linking is one of the major, if not the major, form that this networking takes.
ditto with video. dropping video on a gregorian basis into your webspace is, well, cnn, or the evening news, or evening current affairs. it is journalism or chat or variety or just not what you'd do in your blog (i hope). yes, this is interesting because it helps people see that online video is not and ought not to be judged as television (frame rate, resolution, size, scale, duration) but it is not video blogging. it is television rediscovering the same scheduling and flow that it has created for itself on air. i mean really, television is all about the serialisation of time on a regular schedule. this is one of the major distinguishing characteristics of broadcast television (the same show, at the same time, on the same channel, on the same day). it is called scheduling. now someone has realised that you can do the same thing online if you use a blog with video. yes, it is sort of bleedingly obvious in retrospect, but once bleedingly obvious it is hardly a paradigm shift, is it?
so video blogging to be video blogging needs the same qualities as regular blogging. the video needs to be networked, which ought to mean more than just on the network. admittedly most of the vogs are 'linked' in that they have activities or actions that users need to do to read them. much the same as reading a blog requires some sort of user action (blog reading is more than reading a screen, it does include following links, connections, etc), and some of the vogs actively use external content in themselves, but i'm still figuring out just what a link architecture (what i guess others call interactivity) ought to happen inside the vogs. (and perhaps i'll just realise that they're more about interactive cinema than about blogging?)
and just as blogging is distributed through multiple blogs, written by multiplicities, so too is vogging. some of the recent interest in video blogs reflect this: bit of firewire, a vid camera, and a decent computer, and anyone can put up video content on a regular basis, but we need to push it a bit more than that to move it past the journalistic or even homepage model that informs some of this practice. the video must respond to the user, in the same way that blogs through their link architectures produce an emergent, vibrant and living temporal network. anything else is tv colonising the web. sorta handy, but it is not a video blog.
bad blogs are vanity writing, bad video blogs is vanity video.
in australian slang to be dacked is to have your pants pulled down around your ankles in public. it was only ever the sort of thing that seemed to happen in high school and i guess is a combination of misplaced hormones, aggression and rampant foolishness. anyway, i'm buried in melbourneDAC work, hours a day, as the next intense round of stuff gets under way for reviewing submissions and various other administrative demands. so i'm a bit dacked out at the moment (which is why i felt obliged to point out that the word is loaded locally) and things like here, and there, are suffering as a result. and teaching starts in what, two weeks?
my vog project has been included in the graphite art show here in melbourne. and as usual i miscalculated everything by a week. i thought it was to be bumped in for next week but in fact it is opening today! so my day has been spent rebuilding some content that can run off a stand alone imac with no net connection, which includes setting up said imac with a clean install of osx and so on.
graphite is a regional siggraph conference. i'm not attending the conference, though there are some good panels, since it is the usual acm gig which means a lot of money.
anyway, while i was mucking about with screen shots for some leaflets i want to leave next to the imac about the vogs i realised that it looked much nicer being visually softer. so i've also spent time with the css.