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robertogreco : composition   29

Are.na / Arrangement Collage
[also here:
https://github.com/dark-industries/dark-zine/blob/master/lukas_collage.md ]

[See also:
https://www.are.na/lukas-w/arrangement-collage ]

[via:
https://urcad.es/writing/new-american-outline/ ]

"In 2015, Frank Chimero wrote on the “Grain” of the Web, focusing on a web-native media that doesn’t try to fight the inherently rectangle-based HTML Document Object Model (DOM)—also shared with XML and XHTML. This remains true: any site that does not look rectilinear is usually just fooling you; strip the CSS and it’s just a pile of blocks. Perhaps tilted and stretched, or with the corners shaved off, but just a pile of blocks.

As McLuhan would have anticipated, this blocky model has substantial effects toward what web-native media looks like. Chimero documents this well. I’d like to add a psychological component, though, in that as an online culture, we’ve grown accustomed to block-based interfaces. We joke at Web 2.0’s desire to round over corners and balk at clunky Flash plugins; nonlinear, non-blocky interfaces are either salient or sore thumbs.

Native internet users consume media through HTML interfaces at an astounding pace; simple rectangles frame a continuous deluge of multimedia updates. In an age of both physical and digital abundance in the Western world, creation of new media from scratch requires ample justification. Acts of synthesis, archiving, compression, and remix are valuable tools for leveraging information otherwise lost to the unsorted heap. These verbs are ways to construct something new from pre-existing media objects, or at least finding some narrative or meaning within them.

A curator, classically, acts as composer and manager of (typically static) objects so as to convey narrative to a willing audience. The internet audience, however, expects more autonomy in the dynamic content they see. Self-selected content is simply a necessary tactic for navigating nearly limitless information. An explosion of digital “curation” caters to the desire, whether by user directly, tuned algorithms, or third-party human. This manifests when you select topics of interest on Quora and construct a twitter feed of only exactly the people you want. Going to a curated museum is now a relinquishing of control compared to typical digital art consumption, which comes mashed-up through various media platforms.

Even with stream moderation, the modern media viewer is accustomed to lack of coherence between adjacent content blocks. In your tumblr dashboard, a peer-reviewed journal article can sit immediately above an anonymously submitted shitpost. We don’t blink. In an arrangement of DOM blocks, each bit of media similarly carries its own context, history, and qualia. I posit we can effectively navigate our feeds not because we can rapidly jump between the context captured by each DOM block, but rather because we interpolate narrative and construct cohesion. Adjacency implies connection and synthesis, or, in the words of John Berger:
[An image reproduction] becomes itself the reference point for other images. The meaning of an image is changed according to what one sees immediately beside it or what comes immediately after it. (Ways Of Seeing)

Marius Watz, in a response on the New Aesthetic, writes on tumblr image culture: “Its art is juxtaposition: If we put this next to that and this other thing, surely a new understanding will emerge.” To be fair, there are uncountably many combinations that may be devoid of meaning—all I mean to point out is that a diptych is a third object, beyond the original two, with the possibility of value. Some find artistic practice in the form of a relentless stream of rectangles. People go nuts over releases of image dumps from Moodmail and JJJJound, and the Lost Image Desk is making professional practice of it.

(A scan of contemporary sculpture demonstrates that selection and arrangement of objects—often found or folk objects—is an ongoing trend. The viewer is trusted with finding meaning in the arrangement, selection, formal qualities, cultural context, and more in a relational tradition.)

HTML is perfectly built for image adjacency—a blank and infinite canvas, empowered by right-click “Copy Image Address.” Our expansive tumblrs and pinterest boards act as collected and performed narratives, collages of found digital media.
[Traditional] collages, […] were probably laid out carefully, aided by facsimiles, white-out, and tape, existed alongside the book, rather than being subsumed or created through the process of publishing and distribution, as is often the case with internet ‘collage’. Computers conceal distance; their collage move consists of juxtaposing elements that might be stored hundreds or thousands of miles apart, giving an illusion of spatial continuity. (Seth Price, Teen Image)

Traditional art collage used the intrigue and power in composing elements pulled from diverse sources. Meaning constructed by selection, editing, and combination. The HTML collage, however, is copy-pasted. What is the HTML-native collage?

I call it the “Arrangement Collage”—rectangular, transcontextual compositions of, ostensibly, found media. The arrangement collage does less work for the viewer than traditional collage: elements are kept fully intact rather than trimmed for blended. The composition often mitigates interaction between elements and instead celebrates raw adjacency.
When the historical avant-garde used valorized cultural objects such as the Mona Lisa or a violin, it profaned, overpowered, and destroyed them before going on to aestheticize them. In contrast, contemporary art uses mass-cultural things virtually intact. (Boris Groys, On The New)

The arrangement collage, while easy to construct in print, is truly native to the web, in which all objects are, by default, level rectangles, context-switching is the norm, and media to compose with is bountiful.

Our feeds, plentiful in the digital landscape, help populate the arrangement collage. Tumblr, ostensibly a micro-blogging site, is largely used for image collection; FFFFound is legendary for its contextless stream of collected imagery (and as birthing the name for JJJJound, when Justin Saunders couldn’t get an account); and Buzzfeed publishes “articles” that are frankly just stacks of image macros. A proliferation of mindless image consumption concerns Bob Gill.
There’s nothing original. ‘The Culture’ is the great mass of images and ideas which bombard us every day, and therefore shape the way we think visually. Only by recognising The Culture’s presence and its power, can designers move away from the clichés it promotes.

Irrefutably, the images we consume affect how we think, and what we can imagine. Gill’s words should be considered, and the internet-native should stay aware of “the clichés” promoted. Gill encourages “first-hand” research, but this points at a cultural gap—there is no line between reality and the internet; “first-hand” research takes place on the social web. In-person discussion and close examination of physical objects can be romanticized, but it should not detract from the fact that meaningful discussion and critical consumption can happen in a digital landscape as well.

Of deeper concern is the stripping of value from imagery in overabundance. Edition MK’s 2010 DDDDoomed (the name, I assume, another reference to FFFFound) gets at the kernel of this problem: Image Aggregators (“IAs”—such as JJJJound and other blogs), which typically present images contextless alongside hundreds of others, can strip imagery of its power. IAs do work that is weaker, semiotically, than traditional collage, and less organized than archiving (which is often a process of attaching or generating metadata, whereas IAs frequently remove it). Images that find political power within a context are reduced to purely aesthetic objects in the stream. If you are a tumblr fiend, this very likely rings true: the multitude of streams filled with gorgeous scenery, motivational quotes, and supermodel women quickly reduce this imagery to banality and objectification.
We [distance ourselves] from our critical faculties as we slide into models of passive spectatorship that reinforce our passivity by promoting a one-way mode of cultural consumption. […] Continuous over-stimulation leads to desensitisation. (Peter Buwert, “Defamiliarization, Brecht and Criticality in Graphic Design” in Modes of Criticism 2: Critique of Method)

The arrangement collage might serve as a tool in this battle against desensitization. In Buwert’s essay, referenced above, he describes how Brecht’s famous defamiliarization of the theater encouraged “a condition of active critical spectatorship within the audience.” DDDDoomed is lamenting the supposed death of this critical spectator, replaced with the numb and passive viewer. Buwert is less concerned with context/lessness than Edition MK, and instead focuses on familiarity.

There are valiant efforts towards an inclusion of context and metadata with online imagery, but it is not built into the structure of the internet. Flickr and twitter use image covers to dissuade copy-pasting (circumnavigable by screen-shotting) and Mediachain attempts to inextricably tie media to metadata using blockchain methods. As of writing, however, the JPG is not going anywhere, and the ease of downloading and re-uploading an image far surpasses digging to find its source. Entropy is not on our side, and Google’s reverse image search will never be quite fast or comprehensive enough to keep up.

Walter Benjamin might lament the loss of contextual sensitivity, as it comes intertwined with a loss of “aura.” The authenticity that drives Benjamin’s aura is dependent on the idea of an original—which, in internet ecosystems, simply isn’t a relevant concept, as the original and reproduction can be… [more]
lukaswinklerprins  2016  frankchimero  arrangementcollage  web  online  feeds  juxtaposition  canon  curation  collections  tumblr  html  webdev  form  imagery  images  webnative  decomposition  composition  peterbuwert  aggregation  ffffound  justinsaunders  bobgill  sethprice  moodmail  lostimagedesk  waysofseeing  johnberger  dom  xml  xhtml  marshallmcluhan 
february 2019 by robertogreco
////////// from “Commitment from the Mirror-Writing Box,” Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Woman, Native, Other
"Nothing could be more normative, more logical, and more authoritarian than, for example, the (politically) revolutionary poetry or prose that speaks of revolution in the form of commands or in the well-behaved, steeped-in-convention-language of “clarity.” (”A wholesome, clear, and direct language” is said to be “the fulcrum to move the mass or to sanctify it.”) Clear expression, often equated with correct expression, has long been the criterion set forth in treatises on rhetoric, whose aim was to order discourse so as to persuade. The language of Taoism and Zen, for example, which is perfectly accessible but rife with paradox does not qualify as “clear” (paradox is “illogical” and “nonsensical” to many Westerners), for its intent lies outside the realm of persuasion. The same holds true for vernacular speech, which is not acquired through institutions — schools, churches, professions, etc. — and therefore not repressed by either grammatical rules, technical terms, or key words. Clarity as a purely rhetorical attribute serves the purpose of a classical feature in language, namely, its instrumentality. To write is to communicate, express, witness, impose, instruct, redeem, or save — at any rate to mean and to send out an unambiguous message. Writing thus reduced to a mere vehicle of thought may be used to orient toward a goal or to sustain an act, but it does not constitute an act in itself. This is how the division between the writer/the intellectual and the activists/the masses becomes possible. To use the language well, says the voice of literacy, cherish its classic form. Do not choose the offbeat at the cost of clarity. Obscurity is an imposition on the reader. True, but beware when you cross railroad tracks for one train may hide another train. Clarity is a means of subjection, a quality both of official, taught language and of correct writing, two old mates of power; together they flow, together they flower, vertically, to impose an order. Let us not forget that writers who advocate the instrumentality of language are often those who cannot or choose not to see the suchness of things — a language as language — and therefore, continue to preach conformity to the norms of well-behaved writing: principles of composition, style, genre, correction, and improvement. To write “clearly,” one must incessantly prune, eliminate, forbid, purge, purify; in other words, practice what may be called an “ablution of language” (Roland Barthes)."

— from “Commitment from the Mirror-Writing Box,” Trinh T. Minh-Ha, Woman, Native, Other

[See also PDF of full text in a couple of places:
http://www.sjsu.edu/people/julie.hawker/courses/c1/s2/Trinh-T-Minh-ha-1989.pdf
https://lmthomasucsd.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/minh-ha-reading.pdf ]
trinhminh-ha  rolandbarthes  literacy  clarity  writing  language  taoism  zen  buddhism  persuasion  authority  authoritarianism  power  control  tradition  poetry  prose  canon  rhetoric  grammar  rules  expression  classics  communication  subjection  instrumentality  beauty  style  genre  composition  correction  improvement  purification  speech  vernacular  schools  churches  professions  professionalism  convention  conventions 
november 2017 by robertogreco
A Too-Perfect Picture - The New York Times
"You know a Steve McCurry picture when you see one. His portrait of an Afghan girl with vivid green eyes, printed on the cover of National Geographic in June 1985, is one of the iconic images of the 20th century. McCurry’s work is stark and direct, with strong colors, a clear emotional appeal and crisp composition. His most recent volume of photographs, “India,” is a compendium of the pictures he took in that country between 1978 and 2014, and it also gives us the essential McCurry. There are Hindu festivals, men in turbans, women in saris, red-robed monks, long mustaches, large beards, preternaturally soulful children and people in rudimentary canoes against dramatic landscapes.

In McCurry’s portraits, the subject looks directly at the camera, wide-eyed and usually marked by some peculiar­ity, like pale irises, face paint or a snake around the neck. And when he shoots a wider scene, the result feels like a certain ideal of photography: the rule of thirds, a neat counterpoise of foreground and background and an obvious point of primary interest, placed just so. Here’s an old-timer with a dyed beard. Here’s a doe-eyed child in a head scarf. The pictures are staged or shot to look as if they were. They are astonishingly boring.

Boring, but also extremely popular: McCurry’s photographs adorn calendars and books, and command vertiginous prices at auction. He has more than a million followers on Instagram. This popularity does not come about merely because of the technical finesse of his pictures. The photographs in “India,” all taken in the last 40 years, are popular in part because they evoke an earlier time in Indian history, as well as old ideas of what photographs of Indians should look like, what the accouterments of their lives should be: umbrellas, looms, sewing machines; not laptops, wireless printers, escalators. In a single photograph, taken in Agra in 1983, the Taj Mahal is in the background, a steam train is in the foreground and two men ride in front of the engine, one of them crouched, white-bearded and wearing a white cap, the other in a loosefitting brown uniform and a red turban. The men are real, of course, but they have also been chosen for how well they work as types.

A defender of McCurry’s work might suggest that he is interested in exploring vanishing cultures. After all, even in the 21st century, not all Indians go to malls or fly in planes. Should he not be celebrated for seeking out the picturesque and using it to show us quintessential India? What is wrong with showing a culture in its most authentic form? The problem is that the uniqueness of any given country is a mixture not only of its indigenous practices and borrowed customs but also of its past and its present. Any given photograph encloses only a section of the world within its borders. A sequence of photographs, taken over many years and carefully arranged, however, reveals a worldview. To consider a place largely from the perspective of a permanent anthropological past, to settle on a notion of authenticity that edits out the present day, is not simply to present an alternative truth: It is to indulge in fantasy.

What a relief it is to move from Steve McCurry’s work to that of someone like Raghubir Singh. Singh worked from the late ’60s until his untimely death in 1999, traveling all over India to create a series of powerful books about his homeland. His work shares formal content with McCurry’s: the subcontinental terrain, the eye-popping color, the human presence. Within these shared parameters, however, Singh gives us photographs charged with life: not only beautiful experiences or painful scenes but also those in-between moments of drift that make up most of our days. Singh had a democratic eye, and he took pictures of everything: cities, towns, villages, shops, rivers, worshipers, workers, construction sites, motorbikes, statues, modern furniture, balconies, suits, dresses and, sure, turbans and saris.

The power of Singh’s pictures lies in part in their capacious content. But it also lies in their composition, which rises well beyond mere competence, as he demonstrated in books like “River of Colour,” “The Ganges” and “Bombay: Gateway of India.” Singh has cited Edgar Degas and the American photographer Helen Levitt as influences, and you can see what he has learned from their highly sophisticated approaches (Degas’s casual grace, Levitt’s sympathetic view of urban oddity and the way both of them let in messiness at the edges of their images — a messiness that reminds us of the life happening outside the frame as well as within it). A photograph like the one Singh made of a crowded intersection in Kolkata in 1987 draws a breathtaking coherence out of the chaos of the everyday. The image, of which the key elements are a green door, a distant statue, an arm and a bus, is slightly surreal. But everything is in its right place. It reads as a moment of truth snipped from the flow of life.

I love even more a photograph Singh made in Mumbai a couple of years later. Taken in a busy shopping district called Kemps Corner, this photograph has less-obvious charms. The picture is divided into four vertical parts by the glass frontage of a leather-goods shop and its open glass door, and within this grid is a scatter of incident. The main figure, if we can call her that, is a woman past middle age who wears a red blouse and a dark floral skirt and carries a cloth bag on a string. She is seen in profile and looks tired. Beyond her and behind are various other walkers in the city, going about their serious business. An overpass cuts across the picture horizontally. The foreground, red with dust, is curiously open, a potential space for people not yet in the picture. The glass on the left is a display of handbags for sale, and the peculiar lighting of the bags indicates that Singh used flash in taking the shot. The image, unforgettable because it stretches compositional coherence nearly to its snapping point, reminds me of Degas’s painting “Place de la Concorde,” another picture in which easy, classically balanced composition is jettisoned for something more exciting and discomfiting and grounded.

How do we know when a photographer caters to life and not to some previous prejudice? One clue is when the picture evades compositional cliché. But there is also the question of what the photograph is for, what role it plays within the economic circulation of images. Some photographs, like Singh’s, are freer of the censorship of the market. Others are taken only to elicit particular conventional responses — images that masquerade as art but fully inhabit the vocabulary of advertising. As Justice Potter Stewart said when pressed to define hard-core pornography in 1964, “I know it when I see it.”

I saw “it” when I recently watched the video for Coldplay’s “Hymn for the Weekend.” The song is typical Coldplay, written for vague uplift but resistant to sense (“You said, ‘Drink from me, drink from me’/When I was so thirsty/Poured on a symphony/Now I just can’t get enough”). Filmed in India, with a cameo by Beyoncé, the video is a kind of exotification bingo, and almost like a live-action version of Steve McCurry’s vision: peacocks, holy men, painted children, incense. Almost nothing in the video allows true contemporaneity to Indians. They seem to have been placed there as a colorful backdrop to the fantasies of Western visitors. A fantasy withers in the sunlight of realism. But as long as realism is held at bay, the fantasy can remain satisfying to an enormous audience. More than a hundred million people have watched the Coldplay video since it was posted at the end of January.

Are we then to cry “appropriation” whenever a Westerner approaches a non-Western subject? Quite the contrary: Some of the most insightful stories about any place can be told by outsiders. I have, for instance, seen few documentary series as moving and humane as “Phantom India,” released in 1969 by the French auteur Louis Malle. Mary Ellen Mark, not Indian herself, did extraordinary work photographing prostitutes in Mumbai. Non-Indians have made images that capture aspects of the endlessly complicated Indian experience, just as have Indian photographers like Ketaki Sheth, Sooni Taraporevala, Raghu Rai and Richard Bartholomew.

Art is always difficult, but it is especially difficult when it comes to telling other people’s stories. And it is ferociously difficult when those others are tangled up in your history and you are tangled up in theirs. What honors those we look at, those whose stories we try to tell, is work that acknowledges their complex sense of their own reality. Good photography, regardless of its style, is always emotionally generous in this way. For this reason, it outlives the moment that occasions it. Weaker photography delivers a quick message — sweetness, pathos, humor — but fails to do more. But more is what we are."
tejucole  photography  2016  stevemccurry  appropriation  india  culture  authenticity  raghubirsingh  drift  betweeness  democracy  diversity  composition  edgardegas  prejudice  censorship  markets  popularity  nationalgeographic  exotification  realism  outsiders  louismalle  maryellenmark  mumbai  katakisheth  soonitaraporevala  raghurai  richardbartholomew  complexity  reality  sweetness  pathos  humor 
april 2016 by robertogreco
cornelius cardew’s treatise (1963-67) – The Hum Blog
"Cornelius Cardew was a fascinating figure. Both in his life, and through his music, he posed questions with which I find myself in equal sympathy and conflict. He is undeniably one of the most important figures in the Post-War British avant-garde. Cardew, by all accounts, was a prodigy. During his early twenties he worked at the highest levels of performance. In 1958 (age 22) he won a scholarship to study at the Studio for Electronic Music in Cologne, and was promptly asked by Karlheinz Stockhausen to serve as his assistant. Stockhausen’s recollections of Cardew are drenched in respect. He was one of the few people whom he allowed to work on his scores unsupervised. During the late 50’s, influenced by John Cage and other members of his generation, Cardew abandoned Serialism and began to compose scores utilizing indeterminacy and experiment. It was this period of his work for which he is most remembered, and from which Treatise (our subject) comes. In 1967 he joined the iconic free-improvisation collective AMM with Lou Gare, Eddie Prévost, Keith Rowe and Christopher Hobbs, which advanced his sense of compositional possibility. The following year with Howard Skempton and Michael Parsons he formed the equally important Scratch Orchestra, which grew into a large ensemble, preforming over the following four years.

Cardew’s most iconic work was written during a period stretching just over a decade – after which he made a severe turn, dedicating himself to radical Left-Wing politics, and composing “people’s music”- largely based on folk traditions. Under the influence of Marxism he came to believe that the world to which he had belonged (avant-garde classical, and free-improvisation) was elitist. He subsequently denounced both his former work and his relationships, particularly the one with Stockhausen, who he used as a focus for his venom. Though my politics are further Left than Marxism, and free of its dogmas, I can respect his conviction. That said, I can’t agree with him. His position lacks respect for “the people”, and smothers creativity and progress. I love avant-garde music too much to let politics get in the way. Like so many of the legacies of Marxism, the consequence of Cardew’s beliefs were foreshadowed by Mikhail Bakunin during the International at the Hague Congress in 1872. We all know it didn’t end well.

Treatise, which was composed between 1963 and 1967, is considered to be Cardew’s greatest achievement. It’s also a total head-fuck for anyone who attempts to approach it. It’s a 193 page graphic score with no instruction – completely in the hands of the conductor and musicians who interpret it. Whatever you make of the music that grows from it, Treatise is an undeniable thing of aesthetic beauty. The work is rarely realized in its totality. Performers tend to focus on distinct passages. It can be performed by a single player, or by as large an ensemble as possible. There is no indication of preferred instrumentation or duration. Because the work bears no description beyond itself, there is little to say about it. Wanting to share it, I’ve included three realizations focused on pages 1-14, 57-58, and 140-165, by separate ensembles respectively. I’ve also included a series of images which depict the score in its totality, an image of the original bound score made by Cadrew, and scans of the each of its entire 193 pages. I hope you enjoy."
corneliuscardew  music  1960s  indeterminacy  johncage  graphic  musicnotation  notation  avantgarde  composition  mikhailbakunin 
march 2016 by robertogreco
English 508 (Spring 2016)
[See also: https://jentery.github.io/508/notes.html ]

[From the description page:
https://jentery.github.io/508/description.html

"In both theory and practice, this seminar brushes against four popular assumptions about digital humanities: 1) as a service to researchers, the field merely develops digital resources for online discovery and builds computational tools for end-users; it does not interpret texts or meaningfully engage with “pre-digital” traditions in literary and cultural criticism; 2) digital humanities is not concerned with the literary or aesthetic character of texts; it is a techno-solutionist byproduct of instrumentalism and big data; 3) digital humanities practitioners replace cultural perspectives with uncritical computer vision; instead of privileging irony or ambivalence, they use computers to “prove” reductive claims about literature and culture, usually through graphs and totalizing visualizations; and 4) to participate in the field, you must be fluent in computer programming, or at least be willing to treat literature and culture quantitatively; if you are not a programmer, then you are not doing digital humanities.

During our seminar meetings, we will counter these four assumptions by examining, historicizing, and creating “design fictions,” which Bruce Sterling defines as “the deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change.” Design fictions typically have a futurist bent to them. They speculate about bleeding edge technologies and emerging dynamics, or they project whiz-bang worlds seemingly ripped from films such as Minority Report. But we’ll refrain from much futurism. Instead, we will use technologies to look backwards and prototype versions of texts that facilitate interpretative practice. Inspired by Kari Kraus’s conjectural criticism, Fred Moten’s second iconicity, Bethany Nowviskie and Johanna Drucker’s speculative computing, Karen Barad’s notion of diffraction, Jeffrey Schnapp’s small data, Anne Balsamo’s hermeneutic reverse-engineering, and deformations by Lisa Samuels, Jerome McGann, and Mark Sample, we will conduct “what if” analyses of texts already at hand, in electronic format (e.g., page images in a library’s digital collections).

Doing so will involve something peculiar: interpreting our primary sources by altering them. We’ll substitute words, change formats, rearrange poems, remediate fictions, juxtapose images, bend texts, and reconstitute book arts. To be sure, such approaches have vexed legacies in the arts and humanities. Consider cut-ups, constrained writing, story-making machines, exquisite corpses, remixes, tactical media, Fluxkits, or détournement. Today, these avant-garde traditions are ubiquitous in a banal or depoliticized form, the default features of algorithmic culture and social networks. But we will refresh them, with a difference, by integrating our alterations into criticism and prompting questions about the composition of art and history today.

Instructor: Jentery Sayers
Office Hours: Monday, 12-2pm, in CLE D334
Email: jentery@uvic.ca
Office Phone (in CLE D334): 250-721-7274 (I'm more responsive by email)
Mailing Address: Department of English | UVic | P.O. Box 3070, STN CSC | Victoria, BC V8W 3W1

Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it. —Karl Marx"]

[via: "when humanities start doing design without designers because design's too self-absorbed to notice being appropriated"
https://twitter.com/camerontw/status/700175377197563904
includes screenshot of Week 7 note from https://jentery.github.io/508/notes.html ]
jenterysayers  text  prototyping  digitalhumanities  speculativedesign  design  english  syllabus  maryanncaws  johannadrucker  wjtmitchell  jeffreyschnapp  evekosofskysedgwick  technosolutionism  brucesterling  fredmoten  karenbarad  jeromemcgann  marksample  bethanynowviskie  fluxkits  detournement  poetry  exquisitecorpses  algorithms  art  composition  rosamenkman  anthonydunne  fionaraby  dunne&raby  syllabi 
february 2016 by robertogreco
GODARD MONTAGE: Chris Marker's Camera-Stylo / "Notes On Filmmaking"
"To return to Astruc, tonight's film Sans Soleil is an example of "La Camera-Stylo" par excellence. An entire book could be dedicated to Marker's editing in the film, so I will not focus on it in particular at the moment; suffice to say the montage would not have been as effective if the footage itself was not shot with such patient and active framing and movement, by a true camera-writer. I am also choosing not to mention the text, which is of course essential to the film – my focus is solely on the creative independence offered by the small camera, which Astruc so presciently predicted.

The majority of the footage was shot by Marker himself, using a silent 16mm Beaulieu film camera to capture his own compendium of "things that quicken the heart." Although notes on the production are scare if existent at all due to Marker's public reclusiveness, we can assume a number of basic qualities that tie back to Astruc's ideas. Marker's footage seems to have been shot as the events and subjects were discovered and unfolding, and the lightweight Beaulieu provided the discreet ability to write with motion anywhere at any time during Marker's travels. Here we can note the uncanny clarity and purpose with which Marker investigates and focuses on his subjects. Early in the film at the cat cemetery in Tokyo, we have reason to suspect the man behind the camera is not an amateur but truly an auteur cameraman, as Marker moves to reframe the woman praying to the cat shrine.

[image]

Some of my other favorite stills from the film – needless to say a pretty difficult task to choose. Note the care in framing and composition:

[images]

Serving as the film's editor as well as the fictional narrator and fictional cameraman Sandor Krashna (Krashna's friend Hayao Yamaneko is also Marker, the name translating to "Mountain Cat" or "Wild Cat," cats being of course a favorite animal [of the filmmaker]) Marker creates a work that the term "essay film" only begins to describe. Indeed, this type of filmmaking seems a direct extension of Astruc's idea of the roles of screenwriter and director losing their distinction as new technology permits the evasion of the industrial mode of filmmaking that had so far codified into the classical Hollywood system and its worldwide exponents.

Marker's process is not unlike writing a novel or essay, wherein the author is alone with his stylus, writing an excess of ideas and musings which will ultimately be edited into its final form. Except with Marker, the writer is out engaging with the events of the world. Watching the film I feel as I am discovering cinema's potential for the first time – Sans Soleil gives lie to the notion that a fledgling filmmaker must be follow some arbitrary industrial production procedure in order to produce a work that is personal, affective, complex and sincere. As Abbas Kiarostami notes on his masterclass 10 on Ten, in regards to the small DV camera he used on Ten, small cameras "allow the artist to work alone again." Here the distinction between documentary and fiction loses its relevance in the same way it did for Godard in 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her. As Sam mentioned following the screening, it's simply because Marker and Godard choose to simply make a film and do not worry about the categories and genres which are ascribed after the fact.

Below is an excerpt from Marker's text I transcribed from the Criterion box set for Sans Soleil/La Jetee. I cannot help but take Marker's point that technology today could allow for anyone to create something extremely personal and exploratory, free from the restraints of capital. Although his reference to Vertov is certainly appropriate, Astruc could have been evoked just as easily. The real question is: with the advent of incredibly cheap HD video cameras (this generation's Beaulieu), why aren't there more films produced in kindred spirit with Sans Soleil? Why are there virtually no other camera-writers and most importantly:

"Will there be a last letter?"

- Ian

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Notes On Filmmaking
by Chris Marker

Working on a shoestring, which in my case is more often a matter of circumstance than of choice, never appeared to me as a cornerstone for aesthetics, and Dogme-type stuff just bores me. So it's rather in order to bring some comfort to young filmmakers in need that I mention these few technical details: The material for La Jetee was created with a Pentax 24x36, and the only "cinema" part (the blinking of the eyes) with an Arriflex 35mm film camera, borrowed for one hour. Sans Soleil was entirely shot with a 16mm Beaulieu silent film camera (not one sync take within the whole film), with 100-foot reels – 2'44" autonomy! –and a small cassette recorder (not even a Walkman; they didn't exist yet). The only "sophisticated" device – given the time – was the spectre image synthesizer, also borrowed for a few days. This is to say that the basic tools for these two films were literally available to anyone. No silly boasting here, just the conviction that today, with the advent of computer and small DV cameras (unintentional homage to Dziga Vertov), would-be directors need no longer submit their fate to the unpredictability of producers or the arthritis of televisions, and that by following their whims or passions, they perhaps see on day their tinkering elevated to DVD status by honorable men."
chrismarker  budget  constraints  filmmaking  lajetée  sanssoleil  audio  film  tools  howwework  cinematography  cameras  editing  framing  composition  dzigavertov  technology 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Eyeo 2014 - Claire Evans on Vimeo
"Science Fiction & The Synthesized Sound – Turn on the radio in the year 3000, and what will you hear? When we make first contact with an alien race, will we—as in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"—communicate through melody? If the future has a sound, what can it possibly be? If science fiction has so far failed to produce convincing future music, it won’t be for lack of trying. It’s just that the problem of future-proofing music is complex, likely impossible. The music of 1,000 years from now will not be composed by, or even for, human ears. It may be strident, seemingly random, mathematical; like the “Musica Universalis” of the ancients, it might not be audible at all. It might be the symphony of pure data. It used to take a needle, a laser, or a magnet to reproduce sound. Now all it takes is code. The age of posthuman art is near; music, like mathematics, may be a universal language—but if we’re too proud to learn its new dialects, we’ll find ourselves silent and friendless in a foreign future."
claireevans  sciencefiction  scifi  music  future  sound  audio  communication  aesthetics  robertscholes  williamgibson  code  composition  2014  johncage  film  history  ai  artificialintelligence  machines  universality  appreciation  language  turingtest 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Which is More Truthful: Words or Images? : KQED Education | KQED Public Media for Northern CA
"Consider recent news coverage of the Grand Jury’s decision in the Ferguson case. How does the pairing of pictures and captions in the media convey different points of view? How does the combination of images and words affect our understanding or interpretation of current events and the world around us? And how does the wording of different captions affect the way you perceive an image?

Artist John Baldessari has long been interested in combining words and photographs. In an interview with SFMOMA, Baldessari said, “It’s a myth that photography represents the truth. Photographers were manipulating imagery way, way back. If anybody believes a photograph’s telling the truth, they’re in the dark ages.” Take a look at the video below to hear more about Baldessari’s perspective on the relationship between words and images.

John Baldessari was born in 1931 in National City, California and lives and works in the Los Angeles area. His artwork, including projects such as artist books, videos, films, billboards, and public works, has been featured in more than 200 solo exhibitions and in over 1,000 group exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe. His awards and honors include memberships in the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Americans for the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award, the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, the BACA International 2008, and the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, awarded by La Biennale di Venezia in 2009. Learn more about his work by accessing the resources below.

Resource

As an extension of this activity, copy or make up random captions. Ask a friend to match photos to your captions. Share one of the pairings with us via Twitter. This activity is adapted from preparatory materials for Baldessari’s Cal Arts Post Studio Art: Class Assignments (optional), 1970."

VIDEO [embedded: http://www.sfmoma.org/explore/multimedia/videos/595 ]: John Baldessari explains his “strange mind” (SFMOMA)

Artist John Baldessari discusses his interest in challenging conventional modes of visual communication. Beginning with his practice of eliminating visually relevant information from a composition, as seen in his paintings in which colorful dots have been strategically placed over human faces, he considers the ways his imagery and text-based paintings engender new ways of looking and engaging with art."
johnbaldessari  art  words  images  pointofview  perspective  communication  2014  photography  composition 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Rediscovering Literacy [Way too much here, quotes are from only the beginning]
"Literacy used to be a very subtle concept that meant linguistic sophistication. It used to denote a skill that could be developed to arbitrary levels of refinement through practice.  Literacy meant using mastery over language — both form and content — to sustain a relentless and increasingly sophisticated pursuit of greater meaning. It was about an appreciative, rather than instrumental use of language. Language as a means of seeing rather than as a means of doing…

The written form itself was merely a convenience…

Before Gutenberg, you demonstrated true literacy not by reading a text out aloud and taking down dictation accurately, but through exposition and condensation.

You were considered literate if you could take a classic verse and expound upon it at length (exposition) and take an ambiguous idea and distill its essence into a terse verbal composition (condensation)…

the fundamental learned behaviors that constitute literacy, not reading and writing…"

[Update: Adding the final portion to this bookmark]

"This might sound like engineering elitism, but I find that the only large classes of people who appear to actually think in clearly literate ways today are mathematicians and programmers. But they typically only do so in very narrow domains.

To learn to think with language, to become literate in the sense of linguistically sophisticated, you must work hard to unlearn everything built on the foundation of literacy-as-reading-and-writing.

Because modern education is not designed to produce literate people. It is designed to produce programmable people. And this programmability requires less real literacy with every passing year. Today, genuinely literate reading and writing are specialized arts. Increasingly, even narrowly instrumental read-write literacy is becoming unnecessary (computers can do both very well).

These are not stupid people. You only have to listen to a child delightedly reciting supercalifragilisticexpialidocious or indulging in other childish forms of word-play to realize that raw skill with language is a native capability in the human brain. It must be repressed by industrial education since it seeks natural expression.

So these are not stupid people. These are merely ordinary people who have been lobotomized via the consumerization of language, delivered via modern education.

We dimly realize that we have lost something. But appreciation for the sophistication of oral cultures mostly manifests itself as mindless reverence for traditional wisdom. We look back at the works of ancients and deep down, wonder if humans have gotten fundamentally stupider over the centuries.

We haven’t. We’ve just had some crucial meme-processing software removed from our brains.

Towards a Literacy Renaissance

This is one of the few subjects about which I am not a pessimist. I believe that something strange is happening. Genuine literacy is seeing a precarious rebirth.

The best of today’s tweets seem to rise above the level of mere bon mots (“gamification is the high-fructose corn syrup of user engagement”) and achieve some of the cryptic depth of esoteric verse forms of earlier ages.

The recombinant madness that is the fate of a new piece of Internet content, as it travels, has some of the characteristics of the deliberate forms of recombinant recitation practiced by oral culture.

The comments section of any half-decent blog is a meaning factory.

Sites like tvtropes.org are sustaining basic literacy skills.

The best of today’s stand-up comics are preserving ancient wordplay skills.

But something is still missing: the idea that literacy is a cultivable skill. That dense, terse thoughts are not just serendipitous finds on the discursive journeys of our brains, but the product of learnable exposition and condensation skills.

I suppose paying attention to these things, and actually attempting to work with archaic forms like maxims and aphorisms in 2012 is something of a quixotic undertaking. When you can store a terbayte of information (about 130,000 books, or about 50% larger than a typical local public library) on a single hard-disk words can seem cheap.

But try reading some La Rochefoucauld, or even late hold outs like Oliver Wendell Holmes and J. B. S. Haldane, and you begin to understand what literacy is really about. The cost of words is not the cost of storing them or distributing, but the cost of producing them. Words are cheap today because we put little effort into their production, not because we can store and transmit as much as we like.

It is as yet too early to declare a literacy renaissance, but one can hope."
production  jbshaldane  oliverwendellholmes  larochefoucauld  words  aphorisms  comprehension  jargon  wisdom  knowledge  banter  citation  correspondence  conversation  self-indulgence  technology  printing  web  content  composition  civilization  memorization  oralculture  creativedestruction  recitation  history  highculture  popculture  culture  internet  education  2012  gutenberg  text  understanding  condensation  exposition  literacy  communication  language  writing  reading  venkateshrao  unschooling  deschooling  moderneducation  schools 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Notes Towards A Theory of Twitter (Revised) | A.T. | Cleveland
"Twitter is an associative writing form, not a narrative one. In Twitter, we are sent somewhere else-via a link-or reminded of something. We are not telling stories. Thus, while the twitter fiction is swell and cute, it usually it misses the generic boat. Twitter promises a new slate for poets. For fiction writers, not so much. (For what I find to be a notable exception, see my piece for Economist.com). Tweets create meaning and aesthetic experiences  by reminding us, not by telling a story…

1.a.) Twitter does not operate on the narrative arc of rising action, suspense, climax, and denouement…

Twitter lacks single-point perspective (or omniscience)…

2.) Twitter helps resist the curse of paragraphism…

2.a.) A new focus on the sentence is salutary…

Conclusion: There is no summing up on twitter. There are many arrows pointing one across (not up or down) to the ideas of others, cross-fertilization, and forced attention to the composition of sentences."
via:allentan  2012  sentences  hypertext  communication  howwewrite  classiseas  composition  crosspollination  cross-fertilization  storytelling  narrative  literature  paragraphism  writing  twitter  annetrubek 
january 2012 by robertogreco
New iPad app: Composite « James Alliban
"I take a great deal of inspiration from the abstract art of the 20th century…In particular, I’m pretty enamoured by the neo-dadaist collages of Robert Rauschenberg. These pieces consist of silk screen prints from magazine images overlaid with paint. Using this technique, Rauschenberg found that he could comment on modern society using the very imagery used to shape that society.

About a year ago I decided to write some software which would allow me to paint using this approach. I wanted to build a mobile app that would give users the ability to paint using a live video stream. Unfortunately the technology to allow me to realise this idea had not yet been released. This could be achieved with a smartphone but I required more screen space. I needed an iPad with a camera. In March this year, the iPad 2 was released with both a front and back facing camera. Bingo! I proclaimed, and snapped one up straight away."
ipad  applications  ios  art  composition  robertrauschenberg  camera  video  composite  jamesalliban 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Composition 1.01: How a Tool Everyone Has Could Change Education - James Somers - Technology - The Atlantic
"Whatever you produce joins dozens of other efforts in a stack whose growing thickness doesn't exactly thrill your professor. But still he'll soldier on and read, and maybe re-read, and mark up and grade each one. Along the way he might leave short contextual notes in the margin; he might write one long critique at the end; he might do both; or he might do neither and let your grade do all the talking.

Trouble is, no matter how detailed and incisive the feedback, by the time it gets back to you it's already too late -- and, in a way, too early. Too late because your paper has already been written, and what you really needed help with was its composition, with the micromechanics of style, with all the small decisions that led you to say whatever it is you said. And too early because even if the professor's ex post pointers make every bit of sense, a whole month might go by before you next get to use them.

This is not the way to develop a complicated skill."
email  writing  teaching  education  practice  feedback  composition  2011  jamesomers  dialogue  learning  kandersericsson  malcolmgladwell  dialog 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Short Schrift: The New Liberal Arts: Photography ["Photography is a comprehensive science; photography is a comparative literature."]
"classical liberal arts are arts of the word, products of the book, letter, lecture…Renaissance added plastic arts of painting & sculpture, & modernity those of laboratory…new liberal arts are overwhelmingly arts of the DOCUMENT, & the photograph is the document par excellence.

Like exact sciences, photographic arts are industrial, blurring line btwn knowledge & technology…Like painting & sculpture, they are visual, aesthetic, based in both intuition & craft. Like writing, photography is both an action & an object: writing makes writing & photography makes photography. & like writing, photographic images have their own version of the trivium—a logic, grammar & rhetoric.

We don't only SEE pictures; we LEARN how they're structured & how they become meaningful…

Photography is science of the interrelation & specificity of all of these forms, as well as their reproduction, recontextualization, & redefinition…"
timcarmody  2009  newliberalarts  photography  seeing  intuition  craft  writing  documents  actions  objects  meaning  expressions  communication  logic  grammar  composition  art  visual 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Why video games are indeed Art - Our far-flung correspondents
"A beautifully designed videogame invokes wonder as the fine arts do, only in a uniquely kinetic way. Because the videogame must move, it cannot offer the lapidary balance of composition that we value in painting; on the other hand, because it can move, it is a way to experience architecture, and more than that to create it, in a way which photographs or drawings can never compete. If architecture is frozen music, then a videogame is liquid architecture."
videogames  art  rogerebert  architecture  music  movement  photography  drawings  kinetic  wonder  composition 
april 2011 by robertogreco
10 Ways to Develop Expository Writing Skills With The New York Times - The Learning Network Blog - NYTimes.com
"Have you been knocking your head against the proverbial wall trying to teach – or learn – expository writing skills? New York Times models can help writers learn how to write an expository essay that is compelling, convincing and authoritative as well as engaging to read – not to mention authentic. Try a fresh approach with these 10 tips.

1. Ditch the five-paragraph essay and embrace authentic essay structure. New York Times news and feature articles are excellent models for structure, including transitions and organization. Look at the guide to forms of Times news coverage to get started, and then deconstruct some articles to get a feel for how they are organized. …"
composition  education  english  writing  teaching  tips  nytimes  journalism  instruction  howto  classideas  via:lukeneff 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Brains Of Deaf People Rewire To "Hear" Music
"Deaf people sense vibration in the part of the brain that other people use for hearing – which helps explain how deaf musicians can sense music, and how deaf people can enjoy concerts and other musical events. "These findings suggest that the experience deaf people have when ‘feeling’ music is similar to the experience other people have when hearing music. The perception of the musical vibrations by the deaf is likely every bit as real as the equivalent sounds, since they are ultimately processed in the same part of the brain," says Dr. Dean Shibata, assistant professor of radiology at the University of Washington."
brain  deaf  hearing  neurology  neuroscience  technology  research  adaptive  composition  via:hrheingold 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Marginal Revolution: Walter Benjamin's tips for writing
"V. Let no thought pass incognito, and keep your notebook as strictly as the authorities keep their register of aliens... X. Consider no work perfect over which you have not once sat from evening to broad daylight."
walterbenjamin  howto  writing  composition  thinking  creativity 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Top News - Blogging helps encourage teen writing
"Survey reveals that student bloggers are more prolific and appreciate the value of writing more than their peers"
writing  blogging  blogs  education  teaching  learning  language  literacy  publishing  teens  composition  students  via:hrheingold 
may 2008 by robertogreco
MindMeister - think together
"MindMeister supports all the standard features of a classic mind mapping tool - only online, and with as many simultaneous users as you like!"
onlinetoolkit  mindmapping  brainstorming  charts  collaboration  collaborative  communication  diagrams  drawing  freeware  knowledge  mapping  maps  mindmap  tools  software  socialsoftware  visualization  whiteboards  interactive  composition 
june 2007 by robertogreco
Software for kindergarten Beethovens | CNET News.com
"Child prodigies are rare in any artistic pursuit, but new music composition software is making it easier for parents and teachers to raise a little Beethoven."
music  software  children  learning  education  composition 
may 2007 by robertogreco
TPRW Home
"The Process of Research Writing is a web-based research writing textbook (or is that textweb?) suitable for teachers and students in research oriented composition and rhetoric classes."
books  composition  writing  textbooks  research  howto  universities  colleges  reference 
april 2007 by robertogreco
How to Speak a Book - Books - Review - New York Times
"I write these words from bed, under the covers with my knees up, my head propped and my three-pound tablet PC — just a shade heavier than a hardcover — resting in my lap, almost forgettable. I speak untethered, without a headset, into the slate’s m
literature  writing  speech  speechrecognition  tools  software  spoken  composition  howto  dictation  history 
january 2007 by robertogreco

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