Monday, November 30, 2009

final class meeting

Our final class meeting will be 12/16 at 7 p.m. (until we're done, likely b/w 9-10ish.)  I'm going to see if we can meet at IML's conference room, as it's a bit more festive than our classroom but has access to tech/a kitchen, etc.

I'll bring some kind of light meal and some wine.  Feel free to supplement w/ wine/sweets if you like.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Visualizing Dinner

The New York Times has posted a great visualization of the prevalence of various Thanksgiving dinner-related search terms (recipes, ingredients, etc), revealing state-by-state preferences for things like sweet potato casserole and pecan pie.

Happy holidays!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Databases and Distributed Narratives: Resources and Examples

The following links provide a broad range of examples for those interested in both a general history of databases and information networks, and the role such technologies can play in the creation of fiction and other kinds of narratives.

Keep in mind that there's a fair amount of stuff in here that's only tangentially related to databases or distributed narratives per se -- but we feel that in the context of our readings, this extra material provides important context and flavour. Mmmm. And yes, that's flavour with a 'u'.

The list follows a general trajectory of antecedents --> early examples --> contemporary examples --> future directions.

Clay Shirky - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Relational database - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
ODP - Open Directory Project - Site Info from Alexa - Site Info from Alexa
Google Image Labeler
cyoa · animations
ryanTree.jpg (JPEG Image, 500x435 pixels)
Electronic Literature Organization
YouTube - iPhone App: Bloom by Brian Eno & Peter Chilvers
jeff watson » Blog Archive » Tenori-on
Quasimondo : Incubator - Experiments, Sketches and Computational Craft by Mario Klingemann
Lev Manovich - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Work of Jonathan Harris
The Whale Hunt / A storytelling experiment / by Jonathan Harris
ATLAS experiment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Many Eyes
Watch MGMT "Electric Feel"
Queneau sonnets
Grafik Dynamo!
Year Zero Case Study
I Love Bees - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
MIT Press Journals - The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning - Abstract

Lost Clip

The Lost Archive- Holding narratives

In our readings on archive and narrative for this week, I am intrigued by a number of possibilities and questions surrounding a sense of reader/viewer and the ability to spatially and temporally construct narratives. Jill Walker poses this possibility- this position concerning technology as fragmented, but in a way that opens up a construction of the personal/professional within the context of a daily life. Walker claims, “Yet perhaps they also point to a new kind of unity: a
unity where the time and space of the narrative are in sync with the time and
space of the reader.” In Steve Anderson’s discussion on Soft Cinema, this combination of database and narrative pose a similar construction of multiple “selves.” Rather than a centered or linear account, the network computer reveals (as well as obscures) this account of modern identity.

In constructing multiple identities and possibilities for understanding narratives, Marsha Kinder’s Labyrinth Project also reveals this possibility in selection and categorization as crucial elements to language, allowing for further interrogation of master narratives. I can’t help but reflect upon Tom Gunning’s talk at USC last week, and his discussion and research on moving images. He talked about much of his recent research in LA, showing a couple of example clips of thumb or flip books, playing with this idea of still images and the physicality involved in moving the image. One of the most striking elements to the clips involved the very straightforward close-up of a flipbook, from cover to cover. I am reminded of the materiality in covers. Perhaps this line of thought is getting away from this week’s readings, but I am very much wrapped up in the idea of covers as beginning and ending points. It is this attempt in capturing narratives (master narratives), and the physicality of holding a journal or book and flipping pages that makes me reflect upon discourses of unity and the user/reader’s/consumer’s investment.

I can’t help but think of Jem Cohen’s film Lost Book Found, which documents the filmmaker’s obsession with finding a journal on the streets of New York with lists upon lists of numbers, dates, names and places. The film essentially mediates on this question of lostness within an urban space, as well as the impossibility in reconstructing someone else’s obsessions and mental categorizations. In the filmmaker’s attempt to reconstruct a stranger’s place in New York City, the film also shows a layering and mapping, both in the understanding of New York as a Place, and the patterns in the filmmaker’s mind in unraveling this code, his own understanding of his role as an observer and dweller through a set of visual objects.