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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

Patchy-work Girl February 18, 2009

Posted by dunemethane in narrative, structure, visual culture, writing.
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At first I was really intrigued by the idea of reading a story that if I clicked on any word would take me to another page like those old-school choose your own adventure books. I started to read and clicked on words and kept going until I realized that I just kept going in circles eventhough I clicked on different words everytime. WTF? I tried this for about a half hour when I eventualy just gave up and accepted that this hypertext business is not as cool as I thought it would be. But I guess it makes sense since it starts with talking about embryo’s and ends talking about the same exact thing (literally).

The Artist and His Mediums February 17, 2009

Posted by ah12 in art, visual culture.
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So, I suck at art. Just today, I squished my hand in a printing press. I have issues with stick figures. Ever heard the saying “The Apple never falls far from the tree”? Its bulls**t , my father is an artist, by that I mean  its what he does virtually full time. You’ve probably never heard of him, but none the less at roughly the same age I was when I pulled a C+ in Intro to the Arts my freshman year of high school, my father was working as an apprentice for the restoration of a very old church in Bavarian Germany.

Just as William Blake is known not just for his poetry, but also for his prints on which his poetry appeared, an artist is far more than his mediums. My father uses photography, wire hangers, cigars, and your more typical paints, oils, and so on for his works. He may not be famous, but just like any famous artist, he experiments with many various mediums to capture the imagination and attention of spectators, which is the real talent. Blake was originally known for the quality of his prints, but later on gained the deserved recognition for his poetry.

For proof that an artist is more than just his mediums, but that they DO play a role in the expression of his clips, look at the following. Notice how my father, and two of his famous contemporaries all use different forms of media to capture and evoke



A few further thoughts on a lecture. January 29, 2009

Posted by ah12 in visual culture.
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Hannah Ledecker’s lecture on microcinematography presented an interesting dilema.

It is my opinion that the positives of microcinematography as a tool for learning and demonstrating cellular biology far outweigh its negatives. Microbiologist’s reluctance to accept microcinematography is nothing but bias to the old ways, an inability to advance to a newer medium created by old biases rather an accepted standard. I did this by merely looking at a friends biostatistics book and looking at ways in which microcinematography could help.


  1. The Scientific method: Microcinematography helps give a more in depth look at both the qualitative and quantitative observations of an event, a more accurate statement of the problem based on the ability to see fluid and constant cellular activity. Which allow for a more enlightened and thought out hypothesis and prediction. (Aspects of Scientific method in italics)

  2. Variables: Microcinematography may allow for classification of data as interval data or as a continous variable by showing the changes in variables (cell count, volume, whatever) and thus provide more relevant information.



The following example is to supplement my argument and are less scientific:


  1. Generation: We live in the “ADD (Attention-Deficit Disorder) Generation”. It takes more than a text book to attract peoples attention. Film, movies, and television shows captivate our attention. Special effects films always make the most money as chosen summer blockbusters. While it may not be as ethically sound to recruit based on a generational weakness, for a nation that lacks in scientists, it could soon be a necessity.

  2. Personal: Friends confirm that microcinematography, when used, helps students appreciate and understand the underlying concepts behind cellular activity.They would also (for the most part) choose to watch a video over reading a book with “accurate, engaging diagrams and images”

  1. Diagrams: A look at another biology textbook shows the golgi apparatus’ actions describe via picture, with arrows pointing to movement between the nucleus and the cell, the diagram is choppy, and does not provide a solid description of what is occuring

Thanks for reading!

Love Connection on Instant Message January 29, 2009

Posted by yakshi in communication, technology, visual culture.
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The above is an article entitled “Instant Message, Instant Girlfriend” by rising college sophomore Roger Hobbs, written for the New York Times’ Modern Love college essay contest. I thought of this essay instantly after reading “My Laptop” by Anna Newitz in Evocative Objects. As in Newitz’s reflection, Hobbs discusses how our internet aliases provide anonymity that allow us to share more about ourselves and our emotions online. Because we do not have to worry about physical interaction while chatting or flirting on the internet, we can be more candid with our thoughts and take time composing our responses. The internet also opens a virtual forum for dating, providing many more prospective boyfriends and girlfriends than in everyday life. Instead of happening upon your crush at school and talking for five minutes in the hallway, their screenname provides a direct, informal connection to them. Talking online expedites a normal relationship, and provides a certain distance that makes people more prone to sharing their secrets and life stories. As Hobbs eloquently remarks, “The Internet is the real world. Only faster.” 

Is the internet an operator that allows people to fall in love? You could argue that an all-night instant message conversation is comparable to a five-hour phonecall, but what about the lack of human connection. In an IM conversation you cannot hear inflections in a person’s voice or hesitations in their speech. Instead you develop an imaginary sense of their physical qualities as Newitz did, her crush’s body was “the feel of slightly concave keys nestled in a brushed stainless steel tray. His breath was the sound of  a fan cooling the CPU.” Now whenever Newitz turns on her laptop, she sees “a shadow of him flicker past.” Our we developing relationships with machines or with people? And if we are building relationships with internet aliases, will their online counterparts match up to their genuine personalities? As young people, are our relationships deficient of human interaction? With more and more substitutes for communicating in person (IM, gchat, text messages, email, BBM, facebook and facebook chat, twitter…), I think the best solution is relying on operators that allow you to talk in real time. Conversation should not be so composed or deliberate, and as Hobbs learns their are severe disadvantages to establishing artificial relationships.

The apple commercial made me think… January 29, 2009

Posted by dunemethane in visual culture.
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I saw the comment about the apple ad and it made me think about the newest apple chromatic nanos. Songs reminded me of how apple used color to get more people interested in their products. This is exactly what is happening in Songs. Blake uses the color and images to better sell his product. Both cases are function and individuality in one. The nano serves the same purpose as the other ipods but offers the consumer their own choice of color which intrigues people to buy them. Songs is very similar, the reader does not get to choose the colors, but this book offers something that every other normal book does not. People get tired of the boring white and black and need color to break from the mold.

Reproduction of Songs of Innocence and Experience January 28, 2009

Posted by baimeeker in art, visual culture.
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I do not think it is weird that most publications of Songs leave out the prints. Although our text does include these prints, they felt the need to also include the text. Copies of these prints are hard to read. This reflects one of the difficulties of reproductive technology.

When David Mack gave his talk last semester, he brought original art from his comic. Although I had seen some of these pages in Kabuki Art books, I was stunned at how different they looked in real life. The art took on another dimension of clarity, a different medium, and even a literal thickness missing in its copies. Copying results in fuzziness, everything printed in the same medium (computer ink), and a loss of the third dimension of thickness produced with heavy paint or Mack’s pasted borders. This can be seen in the fuzziness of the text in Songs. The ink and method of printing are different than in the original.  And of course, it is also a copy of a copy.

I am not saying that we should read only the text, but that if we lose a dimension by leaving out the pictures, we also lose a dimension through the copy machine. My question is, how much do we lose and how important is this dimension to our understanding of Songs?