Thursday, October 29, 2009

Emerson campus visit

Here's the map: 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Examples of "reification"

Peter Schaefer in "iPod and Philosophy" mentions Marx's concept of "reification," or verdinglichung, which translates to "thingification."

That refers to the ways in which the all-powerful market reduces workers to quantifiable "labor" hours, stripping away all individuality, while simultaneously giving human qualities to the manufactured products, such as iPhones or iPods, whatever gadgets that people tend to love as much as living things. This anthropomorphication seems funny or cute on the surface but disturbing in its transference of humanity. Most of the people in China who make iPods could never afford one.

Look at this current Honda commercial, for example, which treats a car like a beloved pet:

Or this Zagg commercial for the Invisible Shield to protect an iPhone, like a loved one:

Does this raise any issues for you?

Audio projects

Here are the completed files:

"Mask of the Living Dead,"
by Jon Tanner, Linda Wylie, Linda Zandi, Phil MacArthur, Brad Martin and Danielle Berk, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "Masque of the Red Death."

"Croquet with the Queen,"
by Kerri Lingo, Jessica Stockton, Faun Scurlock, Samantha Zeiner, Barbara Melton and Nate Mannan, an excerpt from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll.

"The Game,"
by Eric Hill, Danielle Chaney, Vince Paulson, Aaron May, Dale Strouse and Kaitlin Himrich, a morality play of the same name by Louise Bryant.

"Apocalypse 2.0,"
by Shawn Kepfer, Ruth Zschomler, Yasha Kehn, Alex Barry, Jerry Joiner, inspired by "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," one of Aesop's fables.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Remediation collection (Prompt 6)

If you haven't looked through the fantastic collection of remediation examples brought to class through Prompt 6 in the Google group, you really are missing out. There are way too many good ones to share them all during the class period (thank you all contributors!), so I encourage all of you to browse through the list, if you haven't done so already. In relation to our discussions and readings, particularly Jenkins, here are a few of special interest:

Audio and text:

Courtesy of Shawn Kepfer -- "V for Vendetta"

Audio and imagery:

Courtesy of Jerry Joiner -- Secret Mommy's "Kool Aid River"

Video games:

Courtesy of Yasha Kehn -- The Beatles RockBand video game

Beatles RockBand trailer

And from Aaron May -- BioShock bedtime story

Once Upon a Pixel Video Game, Bioshock | Game Trailers & Videos |

From short children's book to movie:

Courtesy of Linda Wylie -- "Where the Wild Things Are"

And Eric Hill's mention of R. Crumb's remediation of the Bible:

R. Crumb site

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What does music look like?

Some attempts at music visualization:

The Music Animation Machine -- Beethoven's Fifth

DFR - Music Animation

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Philip Glass in Portland on Nov. 3

A note from PICA:

"Philip Glass
Creativity and Collaboration: An Evening with Philip Glass

In conjunction with Portland Opera's west coast premiere of Philip Glass's Orphée, PICA and the Northwest Film Center will present a very special evening of piano, film, and lively conversation. On November 3rd, Glass will share, through music and words, how artistic collaboration across genres has influenced his work.

Afterward, PICA invites you to a special post-show reception with Glass. Reception tickets include admission to the lecture. Just select the "PICA member" category when purchasing advance tickets. You will be required to show your PICA membership card at the door.

November 3 | 7-9 pm | Kridell Ballroom at the Portland Art Museum
$25 General / $20 Member (Purchase advance tickets)
$75 Lecture and Reception (Purchase advance tickets)"

Audio narrative / radio theater resources

Dr. John Barber has compiled a great list of resources for his Digital Sound class this term at WSUV, including links to various audio narrative / radio theater examples (scroll down about 2/3 of the page, to the section entitled "Radio drama ...").

Some samples:

"Art" by Yasmina Reza, three characters talking about a white painting,

And from the Rick Emerson side project, "A.Z.," an action piece about when zombies take over the world,

Episode 6: "No Mercy"

Creation of the most desirable and undesirable songs possible

I mentioned this in lecture last week. So here are the links, in case you want to follow up (via Eric Jackson):

From a "This American Life" segment on the topics of polling and artistry and music creation (on episode two).

Eric also found the mp3s of the songs, found here

Hindenburg coverage with/out sound

Without sound:

With sound:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Check out the remediation of balloon boy

First, the initial report ...

Then, the media response, and I mean that in the most general sense, open to anyone in any form as modern technology now allows instantaneous worldwide distribution of media material, regardless of production value or talent, including this song:

Then, the Oops!

And the cover ...

And the press conference ...

And more amateur response (obscenity warnings on these). ... Again, technology allows instantaneous worldwide distribution of material, regardless of production value or talent:

And, yes, even the "Downfall" parody, presented as if Hitler is in charge of CNN ...

The idea of a media hoax certainly isn't new, even one involving balloons. Here is a story about the one pulled off by Edgar Allan Poe. He wrote it for the New York Sun in 1844.

What really has changed, though, is the technology of the media environment. In what ways did that affect the outcome of the recent balloon boy story?


"Within minutes of the story breaking the term "balloon" was trending on Twitter at over 1600 tweets per minute. Twitter accounts were created, claiming the names @boyintheballoon and @balloonboy almost immediately. A website, was created to provide updates on the story. Before the boy was even found, "Save Balloon Boy" t-shirts were available for purchase online. Just now a tweet came through my TweetDeck advertising Balloon Boy shirts for $30."

And by the way, any similarities with the case study we examined last week regarding the attention-seeking dad of "Adolph Hitler"?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Another great example of time-based media

Yasha Kehn discovered this video of an artist/storyteller using just sand, music and a light table to create an emotionally compelling production. Wow!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Another opportunity to showcase your audio project (and earn XC points)

Besides the Digital Sandbox contest, listed below, Jon Tanner also identified a site, Radio Drama Revival, that accepts submissions. This not only would be a great line on your resume, but if you can get your work posted on the site before the end of the term, I will negotiate a few extra credit points as well (for the person, or people, who work through the submission process, depending on what that entails).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Triumph of the Will"

This Leni Riefenstahl film, which became a propaganda tool for the Nazi party, challenges Oscar Wilde's contention that art is autonomous from morality. What do you think?

Strange maps

Sorry I didn't find this a few weeks earlier. But here it is anyway:

Strange maps

Nazi rhetoric in modern American politics

Here are some examples:

From (Aug. 6, 2009):

"Over 10 years in Congress, U.S. Rep. Brian Baird has stayed tethered to his district, flying back to Southwest Washington for more than 300 sometimes-bruising town hall meetings during Congressional recesses.
But this year, he's literally decided to phone it in.
Instead of appearing in person, where "extremists" would have "the chance to shout and make YouTube videos," Baird said Wednesday, he's holding what he calls "telephone town halls" instead.
Baird said he's using the new system because he fears his political opponents may be planning "an ambush" to disrupt his meetings, using methods Baird compared to Nazism.
"What we're seeing right now is close to Brown Shirt tactics," Baird, D-Vancouver, said in a phone interview. "I mean that very seriously."

Monday, October 12, 2009

Zombies and "Star Wars"

After talking in class with a few students about how a layer of zombies can be added to just about anything, I ran across this mock trailer for a "Star Wars" version of that:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"Springtime for Hitler"

Another remediation example relating to Nazis; see visual references to "Triumph of the Will" (as well as Busby Berkeley). ... From Mel Brooks' "The Producers." The two main characters in this piece try to oversell shares in a Broadway musical as part of a scam. The show is supposed to be so bad that it will close immediately, and the guys can skip town with the investors' money. But they need a piece that absolutely will flop. They think they find the perfect script: "Springtime for Hitler."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Downfall" parody

This clip from the film "Downfall" has generated many remediated parodies on a variety of topics, including the Apple Cup in 2008, right after the Cougs surprise victory (which made them only the second worst team in college football history); if you are a Cougar football fan, I think you'll find this to be quite clever:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Digital Media Sandbox Consortium contest

At the end of this month, our class could collaborate again with the folks at Digital Media Sandbox Consortium (based at Tennessee State University in Nashville).

A group of colleges, predominately on the East Coast and in the South (WSU Vancouver has the honor of being the first Northwest college to join into the mix) will participate in its annual podcasting competition, which offers prize packages of up to $500 in cash as well as "gear."

Our audio stories could fit perfectly in the category of "creative feature," but those aiming for that distinction will need to keep in mind the theme this year, "distraction" as well as the submission guidelines (such as maximum length of 10 minutes).

A full set of contest rules and criteria can be found here.

Here are the winners from last year, to compare techniques and quality level.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

David Sedaris on language and symbols

This David Sedaris audio excerpt, from a piece called "Six to Eight Black Men," provokes thoughts about language, stereotypes, foreigners, small talk, onomatopoeia and traditions, including the stories we pass down from generation to generation. And it is really funny.

Examples of audio theater

Here are a few great resources to hear high-quality radio theater:

L.A. Theatre Works (we are going to hear this group's Pygmalion on Wednesday night)

The Mercury Theatre (Orson Welles's troupe, which created the infamous "War of the Worlds" broadcast

And a big list of all sorts of radio theater on the Web

Friday, October 2, 2009

Another extra credit opportunity

The Portland Art Museum is presenting a show right now that I think offers interesting insights into our class:

"Word and Image/Word as Image
AUG 22, 2009 – NOV 29, 2009
Featuring works by artists from Albrecht Dürer to Ed Ruscha, this exhibition examines the relationship between word and image in prints over the course of more than 500 years, from the Renaissance to today. Comprising nearly 70 works, the exhibition is assembled from the permanent collection of the Portland Art Museum and local private collections.

The exhibition focuses on four groups of works, beginning with late 15th- and 16th-century prints, which tend to convey clear messages with a close correlation of text and image. This section includes a page from the renowned Nuremberg Chronicle, the most lavishly illustrated book of the late 15th century.

Prints of the 17th and 18th centuries often present ambiguous messages, particularly in commentaries about society, as in works by by Francisco de Goya and Cornelis Dusart.

With the emergence of Pop art in the mid 20th century, prints drew from everyday subject matter, common objects, and consumer culture, as in Andy Warhol’s large-scale renditions of S&H Green Stamps, Robert Rosenquist’s layered corporate logos, and Roy Lichtenstein’s comic-book style portrayals of melodramatic or violent subjects.

From the late 20th century to the present, artists have explored language as a subject, used text in conceptual or paradoxical ways, and explored social concerns. In Ed Ruscha’s Drops, from 1971, the letters in the word ‘drops’ are formed illusionistically with drops of water. Bruce Nauman’s Eat Death, a lithograph of 1973, evokes disturbing associations, and Edgar Heap of Birds’ 2006 monotype series addresses issues relating to indigenous peoples of North America.

Other artists represented in the exhibition include Odilon Redon, Käthe Kollwitz, Georges Braque, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jenny Holzer."

If you attend this exhibit, and then write a thoughtful piece of discourse about it and its relationship to themes we have discussed in class (500 words minimum, posted to the Google group), I will award you 10 extra credit points.

- Prof Brett