Intro to New Media Studies, Spring 2008

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April 28th, 2008 · Comments Off on Interesting…

I thought this was really interesting. Take a look…

Original post by ghart

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That Term…and Voicestra

March 3rd, 2008 · Comments Off on That Term…and Voicestra

I’ve looked through prior class posts to try to figure out what word I can’t remember, but to no avail. I forget the term, but I know it was mentioned in our earliest classes, and more or less referred to the wonderful things that could happen when all these different variables came together…synthesis? no…interference? definitely not. But you guys probably know what I’m talking about.

I’m trying to remember this term, because I just saw a wonderful concert last night that reminded me of what possibilities exist when certain variables are thrown together. I’m back home in Richmond, and saw Bobby McFerrin of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” fame. Before last night, I had no idea how much musical talent and foresight McFerrin had- this goes waaay beyond the apparent simplicity of that hit single.

His only instrument is himself, and one way he controls this ‘instrument’ is through beating on his chest in different ways. He studied under the world’s best conductors to direct a Voicestra. Here is a bit I found on his website:

“Comprised of twelve uniquely gifted singers with broad stylistic experience ranging from jazz to R&B to Indian classical opera, Voicestra serves as a rich compositional palate for Bobby McFerrin’s expeditions into the musical universe. Bobby founded Voicestra in 1986 to explore interactive group singing in his performances, and it has since evolved into a medium for deeply spiritual and powerful improvisations. Voicestra is not just a choir, but a flexible and richly textured instrument through which Bobby can experiment with and express his unique vocal style and musical stream of consciousness. The music is entirely improvised and captures everything in the performance: the day, the time, the theater, the audience. Melodies, rhythms and textures traverse from singer to singer, perpetually morphing in reaction to the moment and Bobby’s instincts. For many audiences, a Voicestra performance is akin to a religious experience, providing them the rare opportunity to witness as well as participate in a musical celebration of spontaneity.”

Bobby would sing a part, then point to a Voicestra “section” (3 different people for each range, 12 people total), and they would sing it back, in harmony. Most of what was sung was a series of sounds, not words that could be understood. That didn’t matter- I was completely blown away. There is a member of the Voicestra that sounds exactly like a drum kit. He was so consistent and believable, I could barely believe it. If I can ever remember that term, this would be a perfect example of it. Why had I not heard of this before?

Original post by grace

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February 26th, 2008 · Comments Off on MOVIESANDMASMASMAS

I was reading a review in the newyorker about the new michel gondry film and a very new media’s comment came up: “This user-generated content (in regards to youtube-esque videos), as it is called, marks either a long-overdue democratization of the arts or, if you prefer, a mass proliferation of the mediocre.” well i am happy to see that reviews of movies are now an appropriate environment to spout facts of media. is it becoming so obvious to people? is it only now becoming obvious? do we need super meta-movies to bring us to that level of obvious? i thought this was interesting because i was reading more mcluhan and he brought up an interesting point about technology.

“…or any other form of specialist speed-up of exchange and information, will serve to fragment a tribal structure. Similarly, a very much greater speed-up, such as occurs with electricity, may serve to restore a tribal pattern of intense involvement such as took place with the introduction of radio in Europe, and is now tending to happen as a result of TV in America. Specialist technologies detribalize. The nonspecialist electric technology detribalizes”

I think this comment answers the preceding quote nicely by saying that the democratization of the arts is the proliferation of the mediocre. we are striving for that unified consciousness. everyone is trying to get on the level with everyone, thinking that they are unique. they are just fueling the fire of themselves and everyone. and ain’t it obvious that the computer is the end all be all of the “nonspecialist electric technology”. the problem with the tribe of today, as i was telling jeff zeiders only moments ago, is that the tribe includes us all. back in the day the tribes were separated by continents, rivers, thousands of miles, mountains, basically anything. those tribes could destroy themselves and be reborn and exist as autonomous entities. now the tribe is everything we all are trying to exist on a common thread but we have no thread. we have the ability for communication, we have different beliefs, social practices, social evolutionary timelines, different everythings, when we go down we all goin down, in a big big way. doesnt that sound fun yum yum. but we are still trying to make those small tribes anyway i mean how cool is it to be in an art collective these days. wham city, rhicineropolis, paper rad, silent barn, etc etc. glorified fraternities that get legitimized by the whitney and suddenly they think they somebody. all im saying is lets sit in our room, lights off, and try to exist without any type of medium, hot or cold, for just a second. im doing all of that but i just got a chinese drone machine so i let that play a little, its so chilly.

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Original post by adamreadwrite

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Intimacy in Media

February 21st, 2008 · Comments Off on Intimacy in Media

The essay made a whole lot more sense to me when we were discussing it in class and Dr. C mentioned car commercials. Because I have first-hand experience with those, I watch them all the time when waiting for a show to come back on. Gone are the days in which vehicles are advertised for the vehicle itself and Hello to advertisements introducing vehicles as a new addition to the family. Vehicles today are created to provide a happy and indulgent driving experience. Microsoft created a program so that while you are driving you can tell your car what music you want to listen to, etc. This music is coming from your iPod which car manufacturers have built in a jack for. My favorite example of all these ‘intimate’ changes are the Cadillac commercials.

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In these particular commercials, it is the experiences which are more desirable than what the vehicle is mechanically. Manufacturers and corporations want to appeal to the individual, and the ’shared’ desires of consumers. Then I thought of the vehicular intimacy in terms of computers. One thing that I thought of was how a lot of technology is made to be personal and intimate. On MyYahoo, my account has an avatar that I can personalize. On myspace (etc) users can customize their page with an infinite amount of possible backgrounds, fonts, pictures, etc. Laptops are now being made with designs and colors versus the black or silver blandness. On the new iMac, you can decide which voice you want the mac to talk with (all are weird). Basically, I feel that choices are becoming substantial in deciding how intimate people become with everything (computers, internet, homes, cars, etc). I look forward to changing my backgrounds on yahoo and my desktop. I enjoy being able to interact with the things I use daily. I realize that I’m blabbering but I just thought it was all interesting that even though we’re not so in the future that computer technology is in our brain (literally) and we haven’t reached any full potential, it is fun to think about how much we change what we use to become more intimate with it.P.S. Let me introduce you to Shelly, my iPod.

Original post by Jacqui

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Thoughts on Engelbart

February 4th, 2008 · Comments Off on Thoughts on Engelbart

Hive Mind/ Collective IQ


a particular type of infinity. The structure of the whole is also found in the structure of each part.
3 distinct layers of thought composution: Specification–> Organization–> Content
Engelbart’s insight is that each layer is itself a fractal, containing the other layers. Understanding this is first step to meta-cognition. Thoughts aren’t independent units.


A difference in degree, when it becomes great enough, brings about a difference in kind. A car is not a faster bike. A phone isn’t the same as being able to shout really loudly.


Yeah but my problem with Engelbrt is that it’s like he expects everyone to be as smart as he is–everybody doesn’t have the intellect to be that innovative.”


Actually, everyone can use language. This symbolic system will enable anyone, whatever their IQ, to be creative.

Prior to Engelbart, computers were centralized- used in timeshares. Like, they only appeared to respond to you, but in reality were being shared among many users. His proposition of PCs was therefore seen as wastful. His dream wasn’t fulfilled until the ’70s.

The virtual world that we enter when using a PC is different from a book. It is both a window and a mirror. Ironically, the U.S. defense department became very interested in personal computers ans LSD in the ’60s. “Anything to expand your mind,” says Campbell,
“but I’m sure those guys never inhaled.” This hippie-connection is apparently decribed in What the Dormouse Said. (Never read it)

Engelbert’s vision opposed to “natural language”- heirarchically nested categories of thought. Our brains think associatively, like a web. Unless we can get at how thoughts are organized, and design computer infrastructure accordingly, computers cannot truly augment our minds, only confuse us more. A concrete example of a symbiosis of computers and humans is Photosynth . It “scrapes” photos by tourists from sites such as Flickr, and from these independent shots, uses complex math to create 3D maps of popular destinations, such as Piazza San Peitro, Rome. Now anyone in the world is able to view all of these photos in onc place, and interactively explore these places, zooming in, and panning around. Sweet.

“Make this weird to you”


Original post by Gwen

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February 4th, 2008 · Comments Off on FACECOLLABORATION

well i just finished watching the Engelbart video and i can only imagine what the people of 1968 thought about his technology. It seems like that type of technology hasnt even been fully integrated into society yet at this time. I mean google documents sort of seems like it and people have been using different types of Virtual Office programs for some time but perhaps it is just that sense of online collaboration which hasnt truly gotten integrated yet. Most of the technology that we seem to use is in the medium of telecommunication. we are conversing, we are talking and talking but are we making things together simultaneously. i record things onto my laptop and then send them to a friend of mine in Boston who then records overtop of it but that doesnt seem like the type of collaboration that Engelbart was taking place in. oh how the computer makes us more together and more alone. alone in our rooms giving words and sounds to people anywhere in the world or even out in space. but no matter how much we want these things to exist they will not be real. i am waiting for the day that video testimony will not be admissible any longer in court cases because of how easy it is to manufacture fallacies that look like truth.

I am reminded of a passage in David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest that spoke about why the video phone never took off. He spoke about crazy things like how the slight distortion of your view would make you buy masks to correct the mistakes and then masks to make you look better and then masks to make us look the best and then we could never leave or room or even look at a mirror because the fake us was much better than the real us. that sounds like second life to me. that is frightening. i was talking to a friend of mine who told me that he heard about concerts given on second life. i think i want that to be my project for class, give a show on second life, it sounds so frightening that i have to do it.

Original post by adamreadwrite

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Hello world!

January 23rd, 2008 · Comments Off on Hello world!

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