Friday, December 09, 2005

Over and out!

Hurrah to all of you for topping off the semester with a long, substantial paper. It's truly been a pleasure learning alongside with you throughout the semester. I wish you the best in your future studies.

I do hope that the next time you stand before an Old Master painting at an art museum; notice a surveillance camera staring down at you when you thought you were "alone"; gaze at a photograph of yourself as a child; shove a videotape into the slot of a VCR; or get closer to someone through email--you think of the films and readings we covered together in class!

A few last loose threads:

Please check back on the Learning to Love You More website to see your classmates' posted assignments. Your responses to the site are fascinating--you both take up the spirit of the project and offer challenges to it. What is it like to have your self-expressivity compelled by a "double" assignment? To have it dislocated from the intimacy of your private, personal space and thrust into the public, collective space of the website?

Finally, just for kicks, take a look at the following music videos. Music videos are such a glossy, ephemeral, and concise compression of what is swirling around in the popular imagination. Like advertising, I think they provide a snapshot of the cultural tropes and representational styles of the moment. You might enjoy the ones below that resonate with some of the themes of the class:

Can technology be as organic as the human body? Is Bjork naked or nude?;size=large;size=large

Does the reproduction change the status of the original?

What if the hallucinatory machinic visions of Busby Berkeley infiltrated everyday life?

Friday, December 02, 2005

Response to Learning to Love You More

Browse the website Learning to Love You More by artist Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher:

and offer your responses. How is the relationship to media technology articulated in this art project different from the ones suggested by some of the other texts we've examined in class? For extra-credit, do one of the assignments and post a full description of what you did and your reflection on the process.

***Sorry, this post somehow didn't appear on the website until Sunday even though I posted it on Friday (thanks, Candice, for alerting me to this problem). So to adjust for lost time, your comments are not due until class on Wednesday. By the way, excellent job on your essay presentations. I am excited to see so many percolating ideas and hope that the provocative intersections between many of your topics provide seeds for fruitful exchanges. One note, remember to keep your presentations to *5* short and sweet minutes, so that we have adequate time for feedback.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Reflection on telepresence

What is a technology of telepresence that you use or have used (email, IM, MMORPG, Facebook, telephone, cell phone, video, webcast, webcam, radio, recording of live music, etc.)? How and why specifically did you use it? What did you gain from the experience? What did you lose? Did the telepresent experience have any relation to a direct experience, by substituting for it, intermixing with it, or leading away from or up to it (like between the curator and the little boy in Me and You?) If so, how would you compare your telepresent experience to the direct experience?

Also, here is the final essay presentation schedule:

Mon, 11/28
David, Eric, Emmanuelle

Wed, 11/30
Stephanie, Alan, Erol

Fri, 12/2
Candice, Kristine, Victor

Mon, 12/5
Amy, Beatrice, Brett

Wed, 12/7
Wendy, Neilson, Benjamin

Fri, 12/9
Brenden, Robert, Justin

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Updates to homework and due dates

I forgot to mention today that I am still working on grading your essays, and I will return your essay #2 in class on Friday.

For FRIDAY: respond to my post below on Dreyfus's essay "Disembodied Telepresence." The blog is due Friday rather than Monday so that you will be prepared to discuss the reading in class, and so that your weekend is clear to work exclusively on your papers.

For MONDAY: class will take the whole 2 hours between 4-6pm. If you haven't already formally done them yet, write a close scene analysis and close reading of a passage that are important to your final essay. These should help you to dig deeper into the evidence, both to help you narrow your topic or theme and to provide support for your interpretations and claims. Bring these to turn in with 3 copies of your rough draft.

Also bring Writing Analytically and the Dreyfus essay to class on Monday.

Close reading: "Disembodied Telepresence"

Choose a sentence or passage from Hubert Dreyfus's essay "Disembodied Telepresence" that you think is significant--striking, provocative, or otherwise worthy of further investigation--and quote it (include the page number).

Then tell us in your own words what you think Dreyfus is saying in the passage, including clarifications to any unfamiliar concepts, phrases, or words that might be confusing, and why you think it's interesting and significant. You might consider how the passage operates in the larger scope of the essay or how it relates to any of the films or other readings we've covered.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Clarification on Essay #3 assignment

Just wanted to clarify that you may use any reading on the syllabus in your final essay, from Kino-Eye all the way to Hubert Dreyfus's chapter on telepresence. You might want to read ahead to Dreyfus's writing, which we aren't covering in class until late next week, if you think it might be useful to your essay: In this chapter, Dreyfus critiques the concept that the internet and other forms of "telepresence" allow people to release themselves from the limitations of their physical bodies planted in real space.

Response to Miranda July

Post a response essay to Miranda July's film Me and You and Everyone We Know and/or performance. Here's that link to what is a response essay for guidelines.

To those of you who tried to get into the talk but were turned away at the door, I am so sorry that they ran out of tickets and I was unable to snag any priority seats. I very much appreciate your efforts to attend, and hope that you are not too disappointed. Anyone who missed the talk can listen to the podcast and view the video archive linked to from the Art, Technology and Culture Colloquium homepage:, but these usually take a few days to become available. I know that there was a lot of waiting and queueing for everyone who came, whether you were able to get tickets or not, so again I appreciate the extra time you invested.

Perhaps those who did attend the talk/performance could fill in the rest of the class with your take on what transpired, particularly Ben and Stephanie who participated in making a video with July.

Also, I put my copies of the following Miranda July works on reserve in the Media Resources Center:
The Amateurist (1998, 14 min.) in Joanie 4 Jackie 4Ever
Nest of Tens (2000, 27 min.)

Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) and Getting Stronger Every Day (2001, 7 min) in Peripheral Produce’s All-Time Greatest Hits are in the MRC's collection and also available for viewing.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Miranda July talk on Wednesday

Miranda July, a performance artist who directed and stars in Me and You and Everyone We Know, will be giving an artist talk called "Ten True Things" on Wednesday, Nov. 9th, 7:30-9pm, at the Berkeley Art Museum Theater. (2621 Durant Avenue, between Bowditch and College)

Free tickets will be available starting at 6pm, doors open at 7:10pm. This will most likely be a very packed event with lines and crowds (her two performances at the Yerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco next weekend are already sold-out), so please get there early to pick up tickets. I am working at the event, so I will try to snag tickets for the class, but you have to be there by 6pm to get them.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Radical Boredom

Siegfried Kracauer's essay on boredom asserts a distinction between conventional boredom and boredom that is "extraordinary," "radical," and "legitimate." What's the problem with conventional boredom, according to Kracauer? What does it have to do with advertising, movies, and radio? And what is this special kind of radical boredom that Kracauer describes? How is it different from everyday boredom?

By the way, please try to ignore the mess of underlining in the copy of the essay that is in your course reader. My used copy of Kracauer's book from which I made the reader was marked up all over the place by the book's previous owner, and I think the markings are more distractions than in any way helpful.