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Music and Technology: The Pop-Star/Rock-Star Cyborg May 1, 2009

Posted by yakshi in cyborgs.
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An article in Rolling Stone called “Alternate Takes: Disco-Cyborg Takeover” by Joe Levy from 2007 discusses an unintentionally leaked track from Britney Spears’ album Blackout:

“What made that ballad so can’t-look-away strange was hearing a vocal free of Auto-Tune, the pitch-correction software that defines pop music today. You know the sound of Auto-Tune, at least pushed to its limits, when it produces the vocoder-like robotic vocals of T-Pain’s “Buy U a Drank”and other summer ubiquities such as Rihanna’s “Umbrella” or Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls.” All of them deploy the digital effect that comes when vocals are tuned too tight, a quavering disco-cyborg melisma that’s become the keynote of so much of the Top Forty.”

Levy observes that artists today seek the digitally enhanced sound in their music, and that in turn their voices are merged with technology. The track no longer belongs to the performer, it is a cyborg-creation indebted to Auto-Tune and other studio equipment. The product is artificial, and lacks the raw, honest quality of original pop recordings from the 1960s like The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer.” If pop icons like Britney Spears typically do not write their own lyrics or music, and their voices are digitally enhanced, then American consumers are really only prizing them for their appearance. It seems Britney Spears is some type of programmed fembot!

It is easy to peg contemporary pop musicians for their heavy-handed incorporation of technology into their music, the manipulations have become a part of this genre’s aesthetic, but what about rock musicians who originated the use of vocoders and talk boxes?  In Frampton Comes Alive!, Peter Frampton used a talk box for two tracks to modify the sound of his guitar. He spoke into a tube attached to his mic to alter the sound of his electric guitar, relying on music technology to surpass human ability. The robotic like sounds made him eternally famous. In Frampton’s case, as compared to Spears’, I find that he made a conscious, artistic decisions to alter his music, and did not use his talk box as a means of hiding his lack of talent. 

You can find the article in Rolling Stone here: http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2007/09/10/alternate-takes-disco-cyborg-takeover/

And a video of Frampton with his talk box: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu2bw2QCOO4&feature=related

The Art of “Sky Doll” and Disney April 30, 2009

Posted by smike97k in art, comics, cyborgs.
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I really liked where our discussion of Sky Doll was going towards the end of our last class, in terms of its artistic aspects and the similarities between Disney characters and the characters in Sky Doll.  The characters are very similar in artistry, but in story line very, very different.  Disney is known for its seemingly innocent characters, with a large distinction between the “good guys” and the “bad guys.”  These characters and their “goodness” or “badness” is really portrayed in the artistic aspect.  “Sky Doll” surely does not have an “innocent” plot in terms of the way Disney would define it, however it is an interesting dichotomy to look at, in terms of the similarities in art, and the differences in story.  SO here are a few of the artistic connections I found to be really interesting.

Ursula from The Little Mermaid was the first character to come to mind when I saw the character of “Frida Decibel” in Sky Doll.  There is something about the facial characteristics and the hair that caught my attention artistically.  ursula-2




I think that someone else in class discussed these two characters (The Little Mermaid and Jasime from Alladuntitled1in) and their similarities to Sky Doll the character.  It is interesting how the facial creations are very similar, and while the sexuality is there in the Disney characters, it is much more evident in Sky Doll, in terms of the female body.





For some reason Stich from Disney’s Lillo and Stich reminded me of the character of The Boss or God, in Sky Doll.  Though they are not similar in personality characteristics, the art seems similar to me.17_lilo_und_stitch_500_375_the_disney_channel1




Some food for thought about the connections in art 🙂

Life Out Of Balance April 30, 2009

Posted by chris drake in culture, cyborgs, humanity, technology.
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Koyaanisqatsi- A recommended film-

Koyaanisqatsi  opens with scenes of the American southwest, many of them filmed from the air and displaying the sheer hugeness of the area: deep chasms, enormous rocks on vast plains, all with little human presence. Shots of Niagara Falls and other troubled waters and an increasingly ominous tone to the music set the viewer on edge, as one begins to see signs of human presence: machines, pipelines, power lines take a place in the landscape. Nuclear explosions produce mushroom clouds over the desert.
People are eventually seen, sunbathing on a beach in the shadow of an enormous factory. The natural world soon disappears altogether, replaced long shots of packed highways. Sped up, they look like rivers of erratic light. The music becomes dominated by heavy steady beats.
Just as they seem about to explode in a frenzy, the images and the music stop, replaced by slow-motion footage of people who seem displaced, the music also grows much slower and simpler. After the previous section, this feels like a hangover. The movie ends with an astonishing, unbroken tracking shot of a rocket that explodes in mid-air shortly after liftoff. For several long minutes, the camera follows a piece of burning wreckage so steadily that it appears not to be falling at all, merely spinning in space.
Koyaanisqatsi asks the viewers to ponder their relationship to a social system that has come to dominate them rather than serve them. Much of the film is exhilarating and beautiful in a way that may seem counterproductive to that end. But the cumulative effect is more meditative than frightening. The film is not traditional in any sense. It takes the viewer on a wild flight from the tranquil (seemingly lifeless) western deserts of the United States, through the great planes of the nation’s heartland and mid-west, our forests and on to America’s largest cities. The pace accelerates as the music and images drive individualism from the minds’ eye. Modern technological life becomes impersonal and mechanical, and humans become robotic. Our everyday lives seem meaningless as we produce, consume, and maintain ever -increasing amounts of need. Technology feeds on itself and like the rocket shooting into space, as we speed to the top we our bound for destruction. Koyaanisqatsi is the Native American term for ‘Life Out of Balance’

Sky Doll April 29, 2009

Posted by dunemethane in cyborgs.
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The cartoon aspect of this graphic novel really threw me off in respect to the dark subject matter and language. As I opened the book I thought, “Oh, Jesus, what is she making us read now!” But Then I started to read and I saw these cartoon characters swearing and having sex. That really threw me for a loop. But I guess that is the point of this class. I think this type of book is really what is bridging the gap in America between cartoons and adults. The people that I’ve talked to about cartoons and comic books think that they are just things for children and I try to show them otherwise, and this is definitely a book that can prove those people wrong. But at the same time I’m not just singing its praise because I really did not enjoy reading it. Maybe its just because the darker stories that I’ve read usually tend to have a more adult for of art to accompany them. This is usually accented by darker colors and more black and white. I sort of liken it to how kids eat lots of candy which is bright colored and adults tend to like more bitter and dark things like coffee. Sky Doll was more of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I like the idea but in execution I think it fails. I was too distracted by the eye popping color to really appreciate the story that was trying to be told. I felt like I was watching loony toons but with the story of sin city or something like that. Overall, nice effort and good try, but I couldn’t bring myself to recommend this book to others.

Free Comic Book Day April 29, 2009

Posted by baimeeker in cyborgs.
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For those of you who are interested in comics, May 2nd is Free Comic Book Day.  The official website is here: http://www.freecomicbookday.com/.  Basically, if you go to a participating comic book store, you can get free comics.  Most places will give you only one comic, but it depends on the store how many you can get for free.  I did a zip code search online and found that our local comic book store in Canadaigua is participating!

Their website notes the following under free comic book day on their calendar:

Free Comics!

Chris Yambar, Ben Morey, Meg Casey, Fred Stressing, Ken Wheaton and maybe even the living legend Del Rivers!

Half-price back issues!
Half-price action figures!
$1 mystery items!

Did I mention free comics?

I’m not sure whether to participate myself, but if you’re interested maybe we can put a group together!


92 South Main StreetCanandaigua, NY

Dollhouse April 28, 2009

Posted by saraholsen in cyborgs, gender, technology, television.
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After briefly bringing up Dollhouse, I thought it would be interesting to do this post about it. I have, as requested, watched all of the episodes of Dollhouse throughout the semester and I found the show to be both interesting and entertaining.

There is little need to say why it is interesting. The acting is fairly good, the plot is easy to follow and always intense, and the storyline is always different yet somehow relates to one another.

The interesting factor is, for me, a lot harder to scope out. I had never thought of the technological advances that are presented in the story. Though some times it seems highly realistic (and others not) it not really the reason why Im interested in the show. Immore interested in the show because it presents such strong sexual roles and how they affect our society. The male and female characters are all very controlled by their sexuality, whether they are one of the dolls or not. The woman who runs the Dollhouse even allows her sexuality to be played out through the dolls. But something I find more interesting the women characters. When they are dolls, they are submissive and quiet and obedient. However, especially in echoes character, she is rarely placed into a role that she is those things. In fact, in almost all her programing she takes on characteristics of strenghtligence, and power…all characteristics that we designate as male. And it is the male that seems to program her, and deprogram her for that matter. It is the switch that we have recently been discussing that controls the woman cyborg and her sexuality (characteristics).

Thumbs up to New Media April 28, 2009

Posted by jr4024 in art, class, fsct 301, technology.
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I guess with my last blog post, I’d like to reflect back on all of our different projects that we have executed through the different new media programs. First off, I’d like to reiterate that I did not think of myself as an artist in any way, shape, or form before this class. Sure I’m a creative person and my imagination tends to run wild, but literally speaking…no. However, in this class I was given the opportunity to make tangible pieces of artwork that weren’t necessarily your typical paintings, but definitley a piece of art. I never thought about programs such as Photoshop as an artistic skill that creates “pieces of art.” I’ll go ahead and say that I’ve created d*** masterpieces compared to what I thought was going to be a disaster. And as for my final project, I am going to use the one program that I found the most challenging and horrifying…photoshop. At this point, I know this seems a bit like “brown-nosing”, but I can truly call myself an artist having now been open to the “other side” of art…at least a digital one…and I have battle wounds to prove it!

Facebook- cyborgation of my life. April 23, 2009

Posted by mccuemonster in cyborgs.
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So I was brain storming on what do for my final project when I started thinking about Facebook. Oh yes I went there. I was thinking that Facebook has changed my life more then I should like to admit. In fact people I don’t even speak too are my friends on facebok. It makes our generation different. It reminds me of textual relationships; I mentioned them in class earlier this year, the relationship between “friends” that consists of picture comments and wall posts. I love facebook infact it sometimes controls my life. I know sick right. But look at how much power this one net work has. The ability to communicate events and/or gossip at each individual’s finger tips. E-mail was fast, msn even faster, but facebook is almost a cyber you. It allows you to create a home/ person who can be teased, corrected, and or interacted with. It also reminds me of our round table discussion of the cyber home. The idea of my facebook home page gives me butterflies, and I guess I am opening of the question, is that sick, or is this the future?

VoiceThread Projects April 21, 2009

Posted by animatingthecyborg in art, communication, visual culture, writing.
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Here are the links to the projects we screened and discussed in class today. The Umbrella Group will be submitting their link on Thursday, and hopefully we’ll have time to screen it in class next Tuesday. I haven’t heard from the Handlebar Mustache Group–I hope they are alive and well.

Remember, you have two options: either adding onto the narrative in some way, or adding a substantial comment about the VoiceThread project itself–hopefully these will bring the narratives into a different kind of life, a life of their own outside of the creators’ hands.

I’d like you to make these comments on each others’ by 10pm tonight–I will be checking the links to see the progress. This way you all have enough time to incorporate how the VoiceThreads changed in your Reflective Analysis through the commenting of viewers, and, also, what it is like letting go of a creative work and allowing others to imbue it with a life of its own outside the scope of your original design.

Gender Inversion/Women’s Rights Group

Barbie Group

Polaroid Group

Beatles & Diary Group

Tobacco Group


Posted by ml7142 in cyborgs.
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