Moviemaking at Çatalhöyük

Feb 27 Brown Bag

Ruth and I are giving the Berkeley brown bag this Wednesday; it should be fun. I wish I had more time to make movies.

Building Archaeological Narratives With New Media

Advances in social media allow archaeologists to interpret, transmit, and remix archaeological data in new and exciting ways. In engaging with these new technologies, archaeologists reflexively interact with the archaeological record and with the greater public. Along with this expanded potential there are considerable problems when these new technologies are applied without an understanding of new media theory and its utility in conceptualizing digital data in the social world. Using current projects performed at the Presidio of San Francisco and from Çatalhöyük, I will provide examples of simple, inexpensive, and practical ways to integrate new media practice into archaeological methodology at all stages. Finally, I will critically examine future directions for new media practice in archaeology.

I might withdraw this abstract though, as it’s for my own session, which is over-full with 8 papers.  Scroll down for the first WAC abstract.

GET REAL: A Manifesto for Virtual Reality in Archaeology

Submitted to the “Experience, modes of engagement, archaeology” session organized by Krysta Ryzewski, Matt Ratto and Michelle Charest.


Virtual reality has been a “killer app” within the realm of archaeological computing, as evident from the number of books, journals, and conferences dedicated to the subject. Though often presented as a single entity, virtual reality is more of a spectrum, from the fully immersive environments famously posited in William Gibson’s Neuromancer to telepresence, or the space “where you are when you’re talking on the phone” (Rucker, et al. 1992). In this paper I will explore the range of these offerings and discuss their relative merit as interpretive and heuristic devices by asking a few uncomfortable questions. Should the people of the past serve as your digital tour guides? Is sitting behind a computer screen truly interactive? What do people learn about archaeology by walking through a virtual model? Does virtual reality contribute to a social archaeology? Finally, I will argue for an augmented reality model for interpretation in archaeology.

This is the first of my two abstracts for WAC. I’m not deeply happy with them, as they were both dashed off during this completely exhausting week.

I’ll post the other one tomorrow–but for now, beer.

Taters of the Lost Ark

Taters of the Lost Arc

I love that his idol is another potato head.

More Indiana Jones toys here.

3 Year Snakebite Anniversary

DCP_0204

My friend John (nickname: “Lucky”) is celebrating his third year since he was bitten by a rattlesnake on a survey. We were in Brownsville, investigating a possible Mexican-American War battleground/retreat path:

It was lunchtime, and Tina and Colleen went with Rigden down the road to a gas station to use the bathroom. I decided to walk down a two-track along the railroad, far enough from the road to pee in private. While walking back, I noticed some stuff lying under a prickly pear cactus and decided to check it out (it was a pile of clothes).
Suddenly, several things happened at once. I felt a sharp, burning pain in my left ankle. I heard a rattle. I glanced out of the corner of my eye and saw a rattlesnake, mouth open, retreating from a bite. I realized that I was in mid-air, jumping sideways away from the snake, totally subconsciously. And then it hit me: I had just been bitten by a rattlesnake!

For the rest of the story, go here:

http://whereinthehellami.blogspot.com/

Happy anniversary, John!  And wear your snake guards!

Postproduction

Vinyl

“In The Practice of Everyday Life, the astonishing structuralist Michel de Certeau examines the hidden movements beneath the surface of the Production-Consumption pair, showing that far from being purely passive, the consumer engages in a set of processes comparable to an almost clandestine, “silent” production.  To use an object is necessarily to interpret it.  To use a product is to betray its concept.  To read, to view, to envision a work is to know how to divert it: use is an act of micropirating that constitues postproduction.  We never read a book the way its author would like us to.  By using television, books, or records, the user of culture deploys a rhetoric of practices and “ruses” that has to do with enunciation and therefore with language whose figures and codes may be catalogued.”

From Nicolas Bourriaud’s Postproduction.

Lightwriting

Stop
This photo of a “Indiana Harbor Belt R.R. switchman demonstrating signal with a fusee, used at twilight and dawn when visibility is poor” was taken in 1943, and found on Shorpy.com. Click on it to view the incredible beauty of the full size.

These traces of light are so evocative and so ephemeral–as anyone who ran around with a sparkler and traced their name into the sky could attest.  Urban lightwriting first appeared on my radar from my interest in graffiti and placemaking, a subject I touched on briefly in previous posts (and in a few papers).

It seems that there is now an open source instrument for live performance drawing and animation called Tagtool that I am trying my best to spec out for this summer for some live, night-time annotation of a certain Neolithic mound.

light_painting_picasso
Picasso, lighwriting

Being able to lightwrite what once was on top of what is could be a fascinating opportunity for interpretation and performance in archaeology.  I’ll reiterate something I’ve been saying for a while:

I want to haunt the present with the past.

lightwriting

Future Nostalgia

1911 Sanborne Fire Insurance Map of UC Berkeley

Last week after class I went to hunt down the ruins of the observatory here on campus. One of the assignments in Introduction to Archaeology was for the students to use a 1911 Sanborn Fire Insurance map of campus and use pedestrian survey to assess which buildings were still visible on campus. It’s a fun assignment and actually gets the students to open their eyes to the landscape that they blearily traverse each day. I’m guilty of the same–I had never checked out the ruins as they weren’t on my usual path up Strawberry Creek to the east side of campus.

It was a sunny day in Berkeley, but the shadows of the huge Eucalyptus trees were still knife-edged, cold. I wrapped my scarf around my neck, walked up to North Gate, wound between the trees, and tramped up one of the small hills on campus to where a corner of the wooden building stood in a tangle of ivy and low trees. No wonder so many of the students failed to find it on the map.

P1010460.JPG

I kicked around the few empty 40s that were laying about, then headed back to my office. Louis Armstrong’s Dream a Little Dream came on my shuffle, which was a strange and lovely fugue from the usual punk rock and miscellaneous electronica. Steam was billowing out of the street grates and the London Plane trees were still muscular and bare, twisting up at the campanile.

I might actually miss this place when I move.

Cheer Up, Blue Valentine

Here’s a bit of light-hearted entertainment for those suffering from the blues on Valentine’s Day…or the rest of us who are just motoring through the semester:

The new Indiana Jones trailer:

The 10,000 BC(E) trailer:

A good reason to keep your contexts clear, reported by the Moore Group:

And a bit of humor in the lolcats genre:
I'm in ur

WAC Facebook Announcement

I just posted this to the WAC group on Facebook and thought I’d share it more generally:

Hello,

We have had several CFPs for the upcoming World Archaeological Congress posted on our discussion board–I encourage you to check them out as the February 22 paper abstract deadline is fast approaching.  Submit your paper topics to:

http://www.sharpsands.com/wac_6_papers_new/wac6_submit_papers.php

We are having a Facebook meet-and-greet night, so stay tuned for the where and when!  If anyone in Dublin has a favorite pub nearby, please let me know.

We are also looking for local (and non-local) attendees who might be willing to twitter-blog their WAC experience.  Again, let me know.

One last thing–coordinating lodging and hotel suggestions are absolutely welcome topics for discussion on the facebook group.

See you in Dublin!

Colleen
WAC Social Networking Coordinator

It’s right in the middle of the field season, but what can you do?  Fly from Istanbul to Dublin and back again, I guess.  oof.