Thursday, October 28, 2010

10/28/10 Notes for Seminar in Media & Design Studies

1) One page Methodology

2) Research Practices in Media Studies Programs
  • Go back to thinking about methodology (initial paragraph, visual representation)
  • Think about my methodology in relation to the question of Arts-based practice as transformative research (page 110)
  • For panel, would be more multimodal ...piece of interactive experience
  • Notion of my own research practice, coming out of a creative practice, exemplary for transformative research
  • Action Item: Read Ch 4 in Arts Practice as Research
  • Methodological stance on a set of practices, demonstrate what we mean by practice as research, research as transformative (how does your practice inform research)
  • ISEA (International Symposium on Electronic Media Art) and CAA (College Art Association)
Virtual Window by Anne Friedberg
Presentation by Gabe and Discussion with class
  • overview of visuality, how it develops through practice, schools of practice
  • Alberti ...visual idea of perspective drawing & painting ...practical philosophical school up to computer, tv, mobile screens being post-perspectival
  • Central metaphors grounded in frames, windows & screens ...tracing development over time from renaissance through to today
  • replaced books with screens ...all of my input through my devices.
  • for a couple of weeks, didn't read traditionally for a while. Stepped into reading this book with those ideas in mind.
  • First sat down to read book ...videotaped myself. What does reading look like?
  • Relationship between books and screens. relationship between printed page and the screen can become a page. In the introduction but not throughout
  • Think alot about what's not in the book -- a real compiltation of the book, it interesting moment when this book was released, everything exploded ...questions, extensions, further lines of inquiry could happen to now. She finished reading the book in 2004, released in 2006 (pre-youtube or on the edge)
  • One youtube icon in interactive part but not in the book
  • Virtual mobility within cinematic frame ...virtual mobility of the cinematic viewer
  • Images & Ideas of mobile framing, recording playback, consumption, devices that carry around
  • context given by professor and then learn to read for that goal
  • sift, scan, extract info really easily -- visual, verbal, textual learner
  • found i could read for about 2-3 hours, more i read, the easier it got
  • always take notes by hand ...whatever scrap is around

The Practice of Everyday Life is a book by Michel de Certeau
Chapter on Reading as Poaching
  • A misunderstanding of reading
  • An image of ourselves reading, sitting at a table reading a bound book, but we read in all sorts of ways
  • The readers body is a wild orchestration of ticks, manners, shifts that are evoked by the reading of the book. We don't read in a state of quiestence.
  • Is reading in an absence of ubiquity? When one enters and leaves as one wishes...
Interactive Extension on Virtual Window ...great after you read the book

Book is loosely chronological along different themes. Each chapter went back and forth along a different inquiry.
Mining and interpreting the metaphor of the window
Historicity of these things ...looking not just the technical development (Alberti in Renaissance period, he invokes the window of the metaphor but also as a practical point in perspective & drawing) You paint as a look out on the world, paint the window as where you're seeing
Frame of a painting ...frame a view
Window -- imagine a line that you'd replace with an opaque substance to draw on, as a tool from 3d to 2d space
Create a virtual imagined space that shares a connection

Moving from single viewer perspective to multiple perspectives
From window, she goes to the frame
link camera obscura as a perspective tool (though this camera was there before perspective drawing)
early example of virtual movement. Within projection of camera obscura -- it as own device for moving, perspective ...linked what the cinema would become, fixed, immobile frame, virtual mobility, image moves but you as spectator does not move
Apparatus theorists -- focus on unique quality of cinema apparatus

Suturist Theorists --

Sequential multiple perspective, temporal multiple perspective -- The window

Ch 3
Material history of glass
how windows changed over time
as glass became bigger, more transparent, stronger -- than windows changed. Able to see how visuality changed over periods and time
Make buildings completely out of glass, architecture is framing the world, viewing devices that connect it to cinema, cubist paintings

Ch 4 - Architecture of Screening Places
dynamic space of movie palace is to distract u from the edge of the frame
edge never moves, its fixed and immobile... it kills the experience of mobility and movement that is happening at the center of the frame

Courbousier framed windows horizontally not vertically -- viewer of the world
arguments / discussions on cinematic and tv aspect ratios. There was a time when aspect ratio was not set
Orientation of aspect ratio come up. Eisenstein wanted vertical, horizontal frame ...argument of cinema and television
Talk about pillow talk (movie) -- how it divides up the frame, multiple frames, multiple persectives are contained simultaneously in mainstream films

Ch 5
Sequence and stackability
deeper fleshing out of multiple criticisms
1968 exhibition, 1st video monitor connected to a computer
could have focused on the computer screen as multiple perspectives

President Obama on campus
Recording, experiencing them through the screen, posting them on FB and reliving them with friends. I wanted to see him with my own eyes. We're doing what Anne Friedberg tried to pre-sage...

Vertical framing to happen ...what type of videos would look like? how will that be viewed?
pocket of our pants dictate the size of the iPhone, or our hand...
illustation of when things converge

Are these practices contribute to globally, industrial marketplace?
Made bigger through digital practices ...recording, remixing, sharing
Market is changing that, effecting it... take strength and comfort in that
find room for intervention, invention of imagine the future

Transformative works that reflects on my real world
Big commercial can be used for creative, artistic expression

mobility and immobility
agency ...doesn't extend to talk about them
spectator of being immobile and frame as static is impt to Anne

what's going to happen originated, shifted, used
do u notice if your seeing a digital projection or 35 mm production ...existential connection to the image. Existential link back to the original...

a word pins down a meaning
space for interpretation that happens in your mind ...reading the words

Wondering what is at stake?
** memes aren't history
** diy culture ...history is memes
what history are you giving up and not?
what is that form that you will take, do in the world that will be in perpetuity ...leave a mark in the world of thinking

Anne: own obsolescence is quicker than our deathbed

Vice versus focus ...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Launch of PBS Kids Go! Webonauts Internet Academy

This past year, I had the privilege of working with PBS Kids Go! as educational advisor to their new media literacy game. Webonauts Internet Academy encourages young children to reflect on privacy, credibility and what it means to be an ethical participant in a community. I had a chance to sit down with Abby Jenkins, PBS Online Community Manager, to reflect on the development of the game and how this fits into the PBS Kids Go! experience.

Knowing that PBS KIDS had an original game on media literacy, what sparked you to want to develop a new one? And how is this new game, Webonauts Internet Academy, different than the other?

Today’s media landscape is much different than it was ten years ago, when PBS KIDS first launched a game on web safety. Since that time, the media kids are exposed to have become increasingly social. For that reason, a focus on digital citizenship was important because kids’ social interactions and presentation of self are increasingly blurred by “online” and “offline” interactions. The Webonauts Internet Academy game is part of the new PBS KIDS GO! Digital Citizenship Initiative to help kids and parents navigate today’s digital landscape.

With this new initiative, PBS also supports parents and educators by offering discussion guides and other resources to help foster discussions about online safety and good digital citizenship with children.

Creatively, the Webonauts Internet Academy is new world we created, where kids take on the role of the Webnonaut and complete a series of missions. There’s a cast of characters that includes the Bamdudes, who are the best cookie makers in the galaxy, and a mysterious enemy called the Great Static who is set on stealing the Bamdude’s secret recipe. While entertaining kids, it is designed to teach kids about online privacy, how to deal with bullying and how to distinguish credible sources online.

How does Webonauts Internet Academy play into the entire PBS KIDS GO! experience?

Like other games on, we want to put kids in the driver’s seat. We carefully develop game mechanics and content that are age appropriate. We also know that kids now expect to be able to customize their experiences online to reflect their interests and personality. At, kids can customize and shape the content in many ways, including the creation and sharing of video mashups, modding games (to modify or make changes to games), creating a playlist of favorite videos, customizing the look of their Secret Box, and more. Webonauts is reflective of the PBS KIDS GO! experience in that it offers kids the opportunity to shape their experience through the creation of their suit. On, we step kids through the account creation process and provide help with creating username and passwords. After setting up an account, kids can save their customized Webonauts suit in their “Secret Box,” which is a customized place for saving creations and points from across with the option to share it with friends.

PBS KIDS GO! also has content that focuses on other aspects of media literacy. The site, Don’t Buy It, focuses on helping kids identify and understand advertising And for parents, PBS Parents Guide to Children and Media offers tips on how parents can use media to support their childs development and other strategies for raising children in the digital age.

What are the key media literacy themes you wanted to get across in the Webonauts Internet Academy game? And why did you find these concepts most relevant for kids to learn?

Designed for kids 6-9 years old, the game consists of a series of 12 scenario-based missions around three themes: privacy, credibility and citizenship. As we set about thinking what topics to address, these three themes emerged. Developmentally, kids are discovering who they are as individuals and are starting to make some of their own decisions both in screen mediated environments and offline. Many of these decisions involve understanding what information is ok to share publicly and how that information gets shared, sifting through vast amounts of information to find answers to questions, and learning what it means to be part of a community.
We took a scaffolded approach to each of theme, with game scenarios that introduce a topic and then build on the concept throughout the game.

In-game missions address the importance of protecting passwords and maintaining privacy settings, teach how to differentiate between credible and non-credible sources of information, and how to react to bullying, among other topics. When all missions are completed, kids become full-fledged Webonauts and earn their certificate, which they can print and share at home.

People are always eager to learn the process of how a game like this is developed. Can you tell us how many people were involved in developing Webonauts Internet Academy? How long did it take to create the game? What are some of the skills of the team that makes Webonauts Internet Academy a success?

Game development involves the work of many people working closely together. The core PBS Kids production team included two designers, two content leads, one educational advisor (thanks, Erin!), an advisor for parent and teacher content, a team of Flash developers, and our design intern. You can see who produced the game here

This game was developed over a period of about six months. Because it involves such a variety of skills and areas of expertise, it really could only have been produced as a team effort.

And if I were to want to one day work for a company like PBS KIDS GO!, what are some of the skills I would need to have?

The team that makes up PBS KIDS Interactive is a group that’s passionate about making the most educational and best designed interactive games for kids. Besides being committed to PBS’ mission to deliver the highest quality educational media, you would need experience developing media for kids—whether as an educator, developer, designer, or producer. Plus, you need to like playing games and have fun!

In developing Webonauts, what was one thing you learned in the process? Did you learn something new about media literacy that you didn't know about before? And if so, what have you done with this new information?

In researching for this project we learned that there is still surprisingly very little media literacy material out there for kids 6-9 years old, so we saw this as an opportunity to do something new and fill a gap for addressing this topic for this age group. We also learned that it’s important to also provide support material to engage the whole family and classroom teachers, since the true effectiveness in addressing issues related to privacy, credibility and citizenship involves an ongoing dialogue between kids and grownups. Webonauts Internet Academy can be a conversation point to address these important issues and also to empower kids as informed decision makers.

And we also confirmed that game development is totally challenging!

Abby Jenkins is Online Community Manager for She joined PBS KIDS Interactive in 2005, and has worked with producers on many award winning television program sites and web original projects.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

10/21/10 Seminar in Media & Design Studies

These are my notes from class take it all with a grain of salt.

In Looking at Sullivan's Art Practice as Research
  • Applied Research and how digital humanities has taken up Applied Research... engage technologies in research

  • always necessary transformative research ...rearranges how things are taken up and done. Rearrange habits, rituals, cultural habits.

  • inflection of applied research as transformative research

  • Digital humanities ...there are people who are not happy with this. Evacuation of the intellectual property of humanities. Not suppose to take up with fads. Their province of research was in transcendental questions ...anything that smacked of doing anything that was part of addressing the populist

  • Train classics, ancient greek / latin -- still need to be documented. There's still plenty to be done. Traditional humanists don't see it as applied in the same way... don't want to be justified in contemporary terms.

  • Traditional humanists ...text based interpretation of research
Digital Humanities state out of these new practices come new questions to ask.

Producing Techno-Culture Innovation ...Anne Balsalmo's idea

The Humanities for Tax Payers by Megan Morris

Art Practice is interventionist work. Art engages with the material, what its researching and in its engag

Anne: Technology is broader than the tools. It's the arrangements

Cultural Studies
What is culture?
Culture is always technological, technology is always cultural ...don't bifurcate, ie: technology = tools, and then it separates it from culture. Apprehension of the technolocgical is always culturally inflected. It differes throughout history, and culture from culture.

Anthropological approach to culture ...anem for human practices that are exhibited in a group of practices in a
Margaret Mead, study of islanders ...culture approach, culture is the practices and several kind of meaning-making practices (language, etc) -- particpated in meaningfully ....naturalized culture, a way of bounded way. (ie: in the 60s)

After the 60s Antrhopological issues ...discipline of Anthropology ...culture as abounded concept
Multiple cultural theories
Anthropologies as acoloniast project ...has tools in a way of fixing it in time. Naturalize culture as a provence of that group that is bounded.
We impose on them a definition of culture (less developed culture, primitive culture ...invocation of a natural culture)

Post-colonialism forget that ...we're transforming that group into a technological way

It's not you studying someone else's culture ..but way to engage with multiple cultures.
Technological process, resources, part of the natural world.
Coloniasts have science on their side ...any concept of culture was always processing

The Colonial Harem by Malek of the others watching the observers, when the others look back.

Birmingham tradition. Bifurcation of technology and culture isn't useful.
Technology Culture Primer (Greg Weis
** notions of formations, notion of a cultural assembly
** constitution of the social ...doesn't pre-exist, constitute through the practices

"Circuit of Culture" models what culture reproduces (taken from Culture, Media and Identities series (london: Sage, 1997)

Marxism as Cultural Theory Marx talked about why the workers continued to be oppressed. Rise of the middle class. Theory of exploitation. No longer a direct relation to the production. I produce and unlike producing on the farm where I have a direct relationship to what I produce (farm = food for home). Marx unalienated my fruits of my labor. Move into the urban spaces. Wanted to talk to them about how they can be masters of their own destiny

Cultural Studies starts with a critique of high culture. Founded on a critique of the form of value. Everyday culture is not worthy. Purpose of education (early culture studies critique) is to inculturate the masses of the value system of the elite. Brought into schools, treated to literacy, etc. Not for the purpose to empower them, but to bring them into power dynamic where culture elite is what we should aspire too.
  • Question posed: How does culture get reproduced so it can be reproduced in more powerful ways? How could you change culture to be more empowering?
Modalities of Culture in Cultural Studies
  • High / Low Culture (that is a value judgment, see it institutions all the time)
Popular Arts by Paddy Wenell -- looks at all the arts that are created by everyday people. Founding moment for cultural studies ...our transformative intervention is to not just study high culture but everyday life.

This leads Raymond Williams to redefine culture as the practices of everyday life. He also comes up with a different way to taxonomize culture ...dynamism of culture (dominant, emergent, residual) ...always in a process of reproduce. Its value doesn't get set up once and for all. Value of high art is reproduced.
  • Interested in the conditions of emergence ...whereby new forms of cultural expression are created, incubated, expressed, designed, manfested -- intentionally or not.
  • Some cultural products become valued and they're maintained over time... There's an ediface that's affixing them with cultural value.
  • Seeing an explosion of popular forms of culture... start to see the popular arts of everyday people. What are the dynamics? Based on analyzing the popular arts that this model comes up, "Circuit of Culture"
  • Example -- Discourse Analysis of the Sony Walkman
  • Today, reflection between consumption and production would not be so separate today -- think HJ's convergence.
What is the circuit of culture for DIY culture? How does DIY culture reproduce cultural understandings and practices?

Cultural reproduction as a circuit through which flows happen...distributed cultural formation -- image that shows school in the 21st century. Someone has to intentionally produce the relationships between the different places, ie: universities, home, afterschool programs, libraries, streets, museums, recreational / entertainment venues, cultural and religious centers, etc

Discussion of Anne Balsalmo's Ch 4 models
* Where the digital generation learns?

* The University as Site of Technoculture Innovation
  • In a circle and all connected -- Learner-Centered Pedagogies, New Research Questions, Transformative Applied Research, Technology Prototyping, Publications & Outreach, Technologies of Literacy, Disciplinary Programs, New Educational Programs
  • Where did Labrynth (USC Cinema school project) a decade ago come up with their new forms of teaching?
  • Technologies of Literacy is the most lacking do you change your classroom to allow your students to read / write in new ways, participate in the media they are studying.
  • Account for the reproductive moments in the innovation cycle
  • Innovation is not about technology ...its about helping to shift culture
Articulation practices ...what are the broader cultural practices meaningfully now
Why are we studying this now?

Mimi ...interest driven relationships, object of study: creation of a community of interest / anthropological look

Model of a distributed learning environment, the nodes that represent spaces and places of learning
de Certeau ...difference between space and place. "A space is a practiced place."
Look at Whyville, etc (spaces) ...where are these
"A place is a practiced space."
Not look at the virtual spaces but the actual places that organize practices, stage that embodies practice. The role of the body, reinsert the body to virtual possibilities... School in the digital age is the place where bodies go.
Another constellation of practices shaped in different ways
Articulation = Notion of this that's central to cultural studies, notion that articulation is the connection between 2 things (2 disparate elements) ...make an art piece and they become one, a sutured ensemble.
Stuart Hall -- Cab of a truck / Bed of a Truck ...meeting of the 2 is an articulation and we call it a semi (Sutured Ensemble). Elements that have the integrity on their own come together and create a new ensemble.

Material practices
Building technologies are articulatory practices
Adding a chemical to a chemical is an articulatory practice
Articulating symbolic meaning of the ensemble ...physical bring into connection, forging a new ensemble ...articulating the meaning of, not in isolation. Dual meaning of articulation. This is the basis of Articulation Theory (grounded in Gromsky) ...culture gets reproduced moment to moment by people's individual activities. Gromsky sees the individual as a plurality.

Identity is itself an ensemble... construct my identity by pieces of my lived experience... clothes i wear, technology i use, sense of my competency, networks all the way down.

Every node is a constellation, its already an ensemble, embedded in networks.
We inherit this intellectual enterprise...

Use that we are a network of networks to inform your theories. Philosophical foundation.
How does that network configure? Regularities in the network?

Latour focuses on the assembly of narrative. John Law / aircraft stories
Look at Decentering the Object in Technoscience
** object was preassembled to be fixed. Law takes up how to decenter an object, never priviledge it as being the only thing to answer the questions.
** Gets from latour ...creation of the stories that circulate the object that in the end makes the object something different than it actually it is. The heterogeneities ...object in multiple stories, the object is something different for each story.
** Every stakeholders had a different story.
** the object is all of these things but it does cohere across stories. Law has this great notion of assembling and reassembling the project / object and the identity of itself. How do you create an identity for yourself as the one that has a priveledged relationship wtih the object ...his identity as pre-digest of the object of something
Chronicle his own identity and its relation to multiple stories ...its networks all the way down.
Identity about being reassembled through the process of tracking the object in multiple stories
How do I write the story of the projects I've been involved in when none of the projects were singular? I enact a subject position through my writing. I am the subject who was remembering. I'm not the subject of one that participated in the story... the fixity of my own story, this is only one story ...a fiction as much as a cultural archiving.
Latour ...fantasm and the symbolic
Law ...makes sense of it through material practices, an account of analytical processes of an object