So, since my final project ate my life for a little while (and my blog grade, too; a zero for two straight weeks isn't bad, right?), I thought it deserved its own blog post. It was really nice to go back and sort of re-read some of the stuff from earlier in the year. Since I had focused on hypermedia for both the midterm and the final, I had a chance to look at the material a couple of times, and sort out a few things that had confused me at first. I also got a chance to explore some more hypermedia texts, and while I probably could have done this more extensively, I ended up reading the beginning of another Deleuze and Guattari article that I thought was pretty cool, even if I didn't understand it. I also got very familiar with the game engine in Blender and this video plugin, so if I ever need to use it again, which I have no idea if I will, I'll be able to.
I saw in today's reading a lot of what we've been talking about so far; problems of big business re-asserting itself online from the perspective of the wide eyed and optimistic internet community member, and then problems of equal access limiting the internet's ability to offer representation to the entire world community. I suppose in a way these are linked issues, since money is still very much power in our society. Thus marginalized groups tend thus not to have much of it, and a re-assertion of the current economic system of distributing power would put ethnic or social groups who are already kind of disenfranchised. It's interesting that Rheingold ends by saying he's been "colonized" by his virtual communications; that's sort of a loaded word in the kind of things we read and I don't entirely see how it fits, except just meaning that the separation between real and virtual life isn't so drastic.
Does anyone have any experience compiling programs? I'm might need to compile a plugin for a program on my mac and I'm kinda not so up on programming and whatnot.. is there anyone who might be able to help me do this?
The collective intelligence article I thought was really cool. It's always interesting to me to see how people are theorizing that big changes (culture, social organiztion) take place in relation to information flow and technology. While I felt like I would probably like to have some more examples pointed out to me before I accepted the theory outright, it occurred to me that we might be on the cusp of this transformation still. Nevertheless, I felt that some of Levy's points about the ways in which this new collective intelligence would have an impact on our identity resonated with some of our in class discussions.
Nakamura's article is a good segue from our last class discussion. Readings like this tend to leave me a little flustered since I find myself in the unenviable position of both having the ethicality of my own actions implicitly under discussion as a white male and knowing too little about the topics of race and power dynamics to really participate. What I emerged from the essay being most interested in, besides the general issue of identity tourism, which made a great deal of sense, was specifically the line between identity tourism and the borrowing of elements of cultural constructs to define one's identity. The way I was reading the article, it seems to come down to whether the symbols one borrows both are drawn from and affirm repressive cultural practices/constructs/whatever (the examples of the oversexualized asian female sterotypes that Nakamura presents). Nakamura's point about gender being whited-out on the internet is something that came up in class; we also debated whether cyberspace is race-neutral, or only white. I'm still unsure whether things are universally one way. In internet communities where Orientalism or equivalent processes with other races reinforce white-centric structures of racial domination and racial dialogues are discouraged, clearly 'whiting-out' is taking place. But is this true of every internet space? Are there examples of communities in the internet where gender is truly neutral? I wish I was more familiar with literature on how race constructs are built and defined so that I could engage the reading more, and develop a more informed opinion about the role of race in cyberspace.
One of my good friends from high school actually met his now-boyfriend of a couple years online, much to my own nervousness at the time. Despite my own fears about him, he ended up actually being pretty cool and they're very happy together now. Watching my friend make a connection he could otherwise never have made where we lived online certainly gave me some pause at the time; I had always internalized the rhetoric mentioned about the internet being too dangerous and open a place to be that personal and establish that level of trust. If you couldn't see them, after all, then how could you know who they really were?
My project proposal is to play with the idea of a new media kind of thing that's heavily image based and nonlinear. Basically I want to try making a hyperfilm. The idea of translating film into the new media world is a really interesting one to me and I've been kind of thinking about how one might go about doing this for a little while now. While I'm not entirely confident as to the best way to make a truly "hyper" image medium, I'm willing to take a little preliminary stab at it.
In our reading, I've seen film described in one place as the last surviving form of linear narrative, and I think this is fair. Film is steeped in past storytelling methods and, just like regular print, it is highly linear. The viewer's experience is heavily dependent on the organization of the material, and the principles of linear organization apply here in a very real way. The sequence of the elements of the story play a key role in determining their meaning and filmmakers, whether on a conscious level or not, and the structure of the piece emerges as the linear sequencing of the encounter between the viewer and the elements of the film.
All of the cyborg readings we've done really sparks my interest in studying more about whatever field it is where you consider really big things to be machines. It's really interesting to me to put together these really huge and abstract chains of causality and ascribe them agency, almost as if they were some kind of living thing. Reading the Critical Art Ensemble piece, one word immediately came to mind: Paranoia. Initially in the "those whackos" sense, but then as I'd seen it in Gravity's Rainbow, where it sort of blurs into more of a general "everything is connected" that I read as having implications about causality in general.
Harraway's piece once again put something I have very little familiarity with and didn't think was really at all relevant to discussing new media into a totally new perspective. Just as with Marxist though, I didn't really understand how it could be related until we got to issues of copyright and sharing information with hypertext. Honestly, I felt very lost very many times in the piece. Harraway is writing with an intimate knowledge of many thinkers of whom I am ignorant. That said, I will comment on a few ideas. With the dawn of a conscious fabrication of parts of our biological nature, older ideas that dictate gender constructs seem to become less important. I thought that Harraway saw in this new phenomenon a deliverance from what she saw to be 'dominating' and damaging concepts of gender that were based on superiority. Honestly it's difficult for me to get any further in than that without confusing myself.
Ridiculously long. So much time in front of the computer. The map should be up by 8:00.