Monthly Archives: February 2012

Video Project Blog 3- Production Schedule

I have collected my images as a set on Flicker and on Power Point. I’ve created my text slides on Power Point and done a lot of my production works already.

I have selected my background music from Creative Commons and have listened to it as my slide show played. I really like how the tone of the music compliments the images and the storyline.

I’ve played a little with Windows Movie Maker. This will be the area where I will need to spend time with transitions and adding background music, but I’m not sure how much time to allot.


Reflection on “From Computer Power and Human Reason.”

fragmented girl

CC image posted at Flicker by Christi Nielson

Reading Joseph Weizenbaum’s article “From Computer Power and Human Reason : From Judgement to Calculation, I couldn’t help but correlate what he calls “rips in the social fabric” (374) to the power parents have relinquished by entrusting their children to the whims of technology.  Without face to face interaction, clues to psychological and behavioral issues that may be fueled by excessive technology consumption are often missed.  Turkel, for instance, in her article, “Video Games and Computer Holding Power,” talks about a verbally abusive thirteen year old girl obsessed with a computer game that seems to taunt her. She treats the people around her with the same violent angst, blurring the lines of human and machine (500). Turkel further notes that part of the attraction is that the games become increasingly violent as they progress. This fact alone should throw up red flags to parents.

Turkel insists however, that computer games can be positive influence in that they fill a psychological need for many socially alienated pre-teens and teens.  She uses the example of a twelve year old boy, Jarish, who says that when the game is over and he leaves the arcade he feels “cut off.” He identifies with the game’s characters that have been carefully designed to attract him, and he “dreams” of creating games of his own. Most of all, he enjoys role playing games. He is actively engaged, but in a humanless world. “I love the computer, but I love video games, and whatever happens I will always love them” (507).

Games seem to act like a drug for Jarish, to relieve psychological pain.  My guess is that the thirteen year old girl and twelve year old Jarish would both fly into a rage if unable to get their “fix.” Turkel say however that “Most people don’t’ become addicted to video games just as most people who diet don’t become anorexic” (512), but she acknowledges the risk.  Although different from the computerized therapist Eliza, created by Weizenbaum, computer personhood seems implicit in the mindset of these kid’s parents.  Some amount of trust, and therefore power is given over to these devices that is emotionally human. The problem is, Weizenbaum reminds us, is that computers are just information processors.

Weizenbaum asks, “What is it about the computer that has brought the view of man and machine to a new level of plausibility?” He explains by making interesting correlations that most of us can identify with: the emotional attachment we feel to a musical instrument, a car, objects that become extensions of ourselves. (371).

man praying to computer

CC image posted at Flicker by Anirudh Koul

Weizenbaum proposes that a crisis of faith caused by complicated modern life issues has even turned the computer into a new religion based on scientific logic. Langdon Winner calls it “computer romanticism,” (593) and Turkel describes the feeling one gets from gaming as “meditative” and the experience as metaphysical (511).  However one views the social and psychological impact of computers on our lives in the twenty-first century, it is clear that reflection is an important aspect of informed choice regarding ethical computer use.

Wardrip-Fruin, Noah and Nick Montfort, eds. The New Media Reader. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003. Print.

Weizenbaum, Joseph. “Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation.” Wardrip-Fruin and Montfort 368-375.

Turkle, Sherry. “Video Games and Computer Holding Power.” Wardrip-Fruin and Montfort  500-513.

Winner, Langdon. “Mythinformation.” Wardrip-Fruin and Montfort 588-598.

Video Project Blog 2B

cemetery fenceyoung girl statueyoung woman statuefence with vinegirl holding orange leafpath through trees

Video Project, a set on Flickr.

My video will also include 3 blank slides with text only. I have my complete (so far) video project on Power Point for the time being.

Video Project Blog 2.

Here’s the background music I’m planning to use in my video.

Free Music Archive: Cian Nugent – Grass Above My Head.

Response to Engelbart

human brain

CC image posted at Flicker by randomplaces

Computers are not everything, they are just an aspect of everything, and not to know this is computer illiteracy, a silly and dangerous ignorance.”    Theodor H. Nelson

As inventor of the mouse and other nondescript “artifacts” of computer technology, Douglas Engelbart might have slipped into obscurity had he not shifted his focus from solving societies “complex and urgent problems” during the Cold War to creating a framework for mapping and organizing thought.  He proposes a method of producing intellectual efficiency, which he refers to as augmentation, through the use of:

  • Artifacts- objects used for the manipulation of symbols.
  • Language- symbols that use to explain concepts.
  • Methodology- how we organize data and thought.
  • Training- the means by which to use the above efficiently.

He expands on Bush’s Memex (memory-index) model (Bush 1945) by addressing its limitations; the inability to mimic the brain’s more recursive thought processes.

Engelbart realizes, like Theodor H. Nelson expresses, that “deep structural changes in the arrangements of ideas and things” (134)) would be the future of computer technology.    Engelbart uses argumentative writing as an example of his outline for structuring symbols for many uses, but Nelson delves more deeply into improving the efficiency of writing. Nelson points out something that all writers know; ninety-five percent of composing consists of rewriting and rearranging text, but he also stresses that for computers to be more broadly accepted, they need to be user-friendly. Some of the system requirements he imagined years ago that would encourage writers to use technology are commonplace today:

  • Up-to- date index of user’s files.
  • Memory sufficient to hold expanding files.
  • Many ways of arranging and organizing files.
  • The ability to annotate files.
  • The ability to change both content and arrangement.

Engelbart also points out what has become one of the major rewards of using computers in the classroom; the exponential nature of collaboration when dealing with complex issues to find solutions for the seeming impossible. This is one of the amazing benefits of computers in a classroom of engaged learners where peer interaction turns into “aha” moments. This is especially relevant to writing classrooms, where anonymity encourages shy students during the creative process and during rewriting after peer assessment.  Nelson was especially adamant about students using computers as a way of building knowledge.

Engelbart, Douglas. “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework.” The New Media Reader. Ed. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Ed. Nick Montfort. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003. 95-108. Print.

Nelson, Theodor H.. “A File Structure for the Complex, the Changing, and the Indeterminate.” The New Media Reader. Ed. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Ed. Nick Montfort. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003. 134-145. Print.

Nelson, Theodor H.. “Computer Lib.” The New Media Reader. Ed. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Ed. Nick Montfort. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003. 302-338. Print

Responses to Student Blog Posts

Responses to New Media Reader  posts:

Responses to New Media Design posts:

Responses to video blogs:


It’s interesting to see the variety of styles, tone, and content in my peer’s blogs. I enjoyed commenting on those articles that I am familiar with, as well as on those I am now intending to read.  It’s encouraging to see that there are many ways to interpret and understand meaning in texts that are often difficult for the uninitiated to fathom.  I appreciate the summaries that clarify those for me.  The links and videos also helped to provide interest and clarity to areas that needed further explanation.  The video presentation blogs demonstrate a profusion of talent waiting to be “discovered,” and shows that we are, indeed, a varied lot.

Response to “Six Selections by the Oulipo”

Virginia Woolf in pastel

CC image posted at Flicker by Christiaan Tonnis

The Oulipo performs a scientific dissection of poetry and literature to expose the essence of word combinations, what they term potential.  Through the use of various “rigorous constraints,” (restriction of certain letters, usually vowels) mixed with familiar poetic form, like the sonnet, open-ended literary forms are created which can be endlessly rearranged.  If, as Lescure says, that “vocabulary composed by intersections, inventories, or any other process” is not the purpose, then what purpose did the Oulipo give to their work?

When the group was formed in 1960, they seemed to ask the same question.  Pains-taking thought was put into what to call themselves and to find a place among history’s creative geniuses.  From its beginning, experimentation was given free reign and voice by the group, their ultimate belief being that “history will testify that the Oulipo saved men from the infantile diseases of writers,” (176) by freeing them from the constraints of old forms.

The territory wasn’t new however, creative geniuses before them, like Mozart and Shakespeare, had also used mathematical formulas for new music and word structures (here’s a blog that talks more about Mozart’s “Musical Game”). The Oulipo examined processes used by others and expanded “a whole arsenal in which the poet may pick and choose, whenever he wishes” (176). Computer technology has now allowed writers to expand on earlier experimental works and to present them to an audience of reader/writers.”

Aarseth connects earlier work by the Oulipo with computer science, drawing on a similar belief that “It is not the plot, or the narrative, or any other well-known poetic unit that will be [the] definitive agency but the shape or structure of the text itself” (762). He expands even further by addressing the ethereal nature of the author.  I found this point even more confounding than the idea that words (and music for that matter) can be infinitely manipulated by changing structure. How is an author connected to her work and does it matter? I find this question not only interesting, but upsetting.  As a writer, I feel intimately attached to my work. That’s the problem I have with non-linear text; it makes the author vulnerable to external forces, even total destruction.   I can’t believe that Mozart didn’t feel that intimate connection with his work too and that his “Musical Game” wasn’t just a novelty, created for his own amusement and use.

Aarseth, Espen J.. “Nonlinearity and Literary Theory.” The New Media Reader. Ed. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Ed. Nick Montfort. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003. 761-780. Print.

“Six Selections by the Oulipo.” The New Media Reader. Ed. Noah Wardrip-Furin and Ed. Nick Montfort. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003. 147-198. Print.

Video Project Blog 1

marble statue of mourning woman

CC image posted at Flicker by Thomas Lieser

I will be doing my video presentation on William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury.

The novel is written in a stream of consciousness style which moves the story quickly along a very non-linear path.  My audience is those who began the novel once before and were scared off by the often confusing time-line and prose.

By focusing on Caddy, a main character who never tells her own story, I hope to narrow the novel’s focus long enough to capture the attention of those readers once again.  The tone of the novel is one of economic, moral, and familial doom.  I see it as being portrayed on video as cold, gray, and lost in the past, just like many of the characters. I’m considering using images of some beautiful cemetery statuary along with others that would depict confusion and disorientation to capture the sense of stream of consciousness of the original prose.

ENGL539 Image Project

singleeye2editedumbrella325356058_c8a8759a41_seditedbutterfly 2editedviolin428373544_ce474f62a9_seditedrose4417989884_02135bd52b_zeditedfinalfaceimage3722308661_42e7fa1564_sedited

ENGL539 Image Project, a set on Flickr.

I chose this collection of images to capture the tone of  this quote by Clarissa Pinkola Estes:

To create one must be able to respond. Creativity is the ability to respond to all that goes on around us, to choose from the hundreds of possibilities of thought, feeling, action, and reaction and to put these together in a unique response, expression or message that carries moment, passion and meaning.

The purpose of this image essay is to inspire young women to seek, what I believe to be a distinctly feminine, intuitive nature that is the source of their creativity. The muse, a traditionally female image, has been sought for in vain by those who confuse her passion with sexuality . When fully realized, the intuitive muse within all women is a creative force, powerful beyond words.  My audience is the young woman who has come to recognize her powerful completeness as separate from the the constraints of a culturally sexualized model and is reawakening to her true creative nature. I hope my image essay inspires her.

The order in which the images are presented  moves the viewer from the awakening of the moment of creative impulse to the pollination of the fertile mind.  Next, the unfurling of the imagination uncovers the hidden music of the mind that lights the creative fire within. The final  photo represents the moment of awakening to the unique emotional response that creative expression allows.

Image Search

The original Creative Commons images for this project were found on Compfightusing only one search word, passion, for the entire project.  My purpose was to explore how others defined passion in unconventional and creative ways.  Of course, there were the inevitable, tasteless images that confused lust with passion, but I wanted a deeper and more thoughtful meaning. I found passionate images about nature, music, and more from all over the world. Passion is a global experience, I learned, reflected through art, culture, media, and community.  This worked beautifully with my quote about passion and creativity. I decided to choose from the numerous images which were predominantly red for many of my images because I felt that my audience, sensitive and poetically inclined college students, would make the immediate connection of red with passion.

Image Editing

Image 1.

Original CC image posted at Flicker by Rickydavid

First, I decreased the saturation of the strong, red color in the cloth by one setting so that I could demonstrate (imply) increasing intensity (passion) as I moved through my set of images. Next, I used the Burn tool to darken the woman’s eyelash and brow line.  Finally, I decided to crop the image to focus on the eye even more.

Image 2.

Original CC image posted at Flicker by aurelio.asion

I decided to make some changes to my original editing of this image because as I explained above, I wanted to start out with a less intense color and build up as my set progressed.  I believe this made for a much better image overall too.  Originally I had increased the saturation by two settings. This caused a loss in the detail of the umbrella.  In my final edit, I decreased the saturation by one setting.  I sharpened the image by two settings to increase the correlation of the ribs in the umbrella with the bare tree branches. I retained the rotation which placed the sky in the upper left corner which gives the appearance of the woman glancing up at it from under the umbrella.

Image 3.

Original CC image posted at Flicker by Digital cat

The butterfly image demanded the most attention because the color scheme was so different from the others that it created a distraction.  I wanted to emphasize the one perfect choice to be made out of many options (the butterfly choosing its flower). First, I changed the hue to de-emphasize the butterfly and emphasize the flower that represents “the hundreds of possibilities” in my quote. Then, I sharpened the image to the highest degree.  Finally, I used the White Balance on the fluorescent setting which really created a nicer background by getting rid of the dull olive color.

Image 4.

Original CC image posted at Flicker by Emily’s mind

This photo had a lot of glare on the violin that I softened with the Burn tool using the darkest exposure and the hardest brush.  I also decreased the exposure by one setting which enhanced both the wood and the hand.  This was an important change because I wanted the reaching hand and the violin to have equal importance to the composition.

Image 5.

Original CC image posted at Flicker by Kerekes Janos Csongor

At first, I couldn’t see how a perfect rose could be improved upon, but then I decided to experiment with the Auto-Correct.  This created a vibrant, fiery center-point to my symbol of “thought and feeling.” I liked the effect so much that I used the Dodge feature to highlight all of the brightest edges even further.  Finally, I sharpened the detail by two settings which set my rose on fire!

Image 6.

Original CC image posted at Flicker by Jillian.Xenia

I made three changes to my final image.  First, I used Auto Correct to brighten the image which I found to be too dreary for the overall tone of my composition. This gave the model a rosier complexion (passion, I suspect). Next, I decreased the saturation slightly to soften the over-all effect, especially the background.  Finally, I highlighted the whites of her eyes using the Dodge feature with the smallest brush, using the softest focus.  Now this image appears glistening and powerful; full of “passion and meaning.”

The Learning Process

I used two tutorials to facilitate the learning process for this project, one from, and one from Youtube.  Eventually, however, I had to just dive in and experiment with the tools.  Photoshop Express was very user friendly, and I would definitely use it again for another project.  Using Express first gave me the confidence to try the more in depth version Photoshop in the future.

This project represents more than merely capturing the spark of creativity; it involves a psychological dredging of the mind for meaning.  Ascott says, in his article “The Construction of Change,” that when we discuss process “rather than the artwork which results, to attempt to unravel the loops of creative activity, is, in many ways, a behavioural problem” (128).  The two may be ultimately connected however, by the human mind that often interprets life through the most dominant sense, that of sight.

I would like to further reinforce this point by noting the importance of what Austin and Doust , in their book New Media Design, call “emotioneering” tools in providing human experience in the virtual world of gaming. Even by using high tech New Media tools, the authors say that “we appear to be unnerved by seemingly real but alien and bloodless characters, which are intended to simulate our own humanity” (145). This project also seems, for me, to reinforce that art and the science of human psychology are difficult to separate.

Ascott, Roy. “The Construction of Change>” The New Media Reader. Ed. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1985. Print.

Austin, Tricia and Richard Doust. New Media Design.London: Laurence King Publishing, 2007. Print.

Relflecting on “The Construction of Change.”

glass globes with boat representing space

CC image posted at Flicker by Feist, Michail FunnyFence

In 1961,Ascott sees art as a didactic for cultural change and social awareness.  This implication creates a moral responsibility for educators.  Art, he suggests, is a symbol of existence and people’s ability to shape what constitutes their existence (society). This was also a dilemma faced by scientists at the close of WWII, when technologies that caused destruction could be turned to positive uses (02.37).

Ascott further observes that art is like science in that it examines and interprets existence. Art gives form to experiences as cybernetics gives form to science. Each attempts to form a connection between various parts. Wiener, who honed his talent during WWII, attempts to explain this unique form of connection by explaining how ships are navigated using a type of negative feedback (04.68) similar to how the human brain works.

Cybernetics and art interact in similar ways with technology to create new models for society–how we will live and relate.  The three components should not be separated.  To do so Ascott says, would be “to ignore the theory, the process, the demonstration . . . [which would] be a contradiction of science and, indeed, of a forward-reaching art” (10.130).

Using this integrated model, Ascott describes an education program at a London art school, called “Ground Work,” which connects science, technology, and art into a “total process of art education” (10.130). Components of each discipline are appropriated for a more complete understanding and a more meaning-filled representation.  Collaboration is key as each student becomes both teacher and learner.  This demonstration in “interactivity,” some said, creates profound understanding which is almost Zen-like (04.66).

Kaprow talks about this Zen-like quality in his 1961 article “‘Happenings’ in the New York Scene.” He, like Ascott, sees art as connected to context rather than a preconceived plot decided by the artist. Chance, Kaprow says, is the important element which invites true creativity. “American creative energy,” he insists, “only becomes charged by such a sense of crisis” (06.87). Science too, depends on chance and probability.

This video is a representation of the type of interactivity between science and art in education that Ascott talks about.

Wardrip-Fruin, Noah, and Nick Montfort, ed. The New Media Reader. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003. Print.

Ascott, Roy. “The Construction of Change.” (1962) 127-132. .

Bush, Vannevar. “As We May Think.” (1945) 37-47.

Kaprow, Allan. “‘Happenings’ in the New York Scene.” (1961) 83-88.

Wiener. “Men, Machines, and the World About.” (1954) 65-72.

YouTube video at