More Comics + New Presidio Blog + Robots

This is the semester that refuses to die! Die, semester, die!

Anyway, so I made (even more) comics about how to make mudbrick and posted them to flickr. I don’t really like the front page much (it’s rehash), so here’s the third page:

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I think I’ll use this as the example comic for my short SHA article that I need to pound out.

Anyway, I also got a blog set up (with hosting from the ever helpful Noah) for the Presidio Archaeology Lab, so we’ll see if they keep using it after my research position ends there:

http://okapi.dreamhosters.com/presidio/blog/

I really like how the map header turned out. When I tweaked the scan to make it look “older” some of the pencil marks popped out, and showed how the map had been drawn a bit differently at first–unintentional photoshop archaeology.

On a slightly different note, Katy invited us to go with her to an art opening at the Exploratorium featuring a mind-reading robot. We got there somewhat late, so we didn’t have time to try out the thing or to look around, but I absolutely have to go back. We stopped by Lucky 13, then we made our way over to the Flaming Lotus Girls benefit, where I got a few good pictures of the Orb Swarm. The Orb Swarm are remote-controlled balls that have lights inside of them, but they’re counterbalanced in such a way that makes them very hard to control, so they tended to go crashing into things. Perfect!

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Open House at Catalhoyuk in Second Life

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Just a quick reminder that I’ll be around on Second Life for most of today (especially after 12) at Okapi Island (125, 93, 47) for Remixing Catalhoyuk Day.

We’re getting some neat coverage; a writer for Archaeology magazine was out a couple of days ago, and I talked to the editor of the Second Life architecture blog today for a bit.

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Okapi/128/128/0

My name is “Clementine Glass” on there, for what it’s worth.

Burning Buildings

A Softer World

Obviously I draw a lot of inspiration from A Softer World with the photo-comics, though I can hardly claim their gravitas. Another of my favorite blogs, Visualizing Neolithic, does the same sort of photo juxtapositions, but without captions. Using images (or in this case comics) to showcase interpretations in archaeology is often done without too much introspection, and my dissertation necessarily involves a critique of previous practice, so I’ve turned to a lot of Visual Studies literature to work through some basic theory. If photographs are melancholy objects, then putting them together into a narrative at least gives them a bit of company, and, more enticingly, the white space between, the “gutter” where all the action really happens, is a fabulous liminal space.

Bonus, my favorite A Softer World strip:
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(Poems, prose, and comics that remind me of archaeology, pt 6)

Remixing Çatalhöyük Day – Nov 28

Remixing Çatalhöyük Day
9am – 5pm PST
November 28, 2007

http://okapi.wordpress.com/2007/11/06/remixing-catalhoyuk-day/

Join us for Remixing Çatalhöyük Day, a public program sponsored by OKAPI and the Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük. Visit OKAPI Island in the 3-D virtual environment of Second Life (see Getting Started below) and explore the past and present of Çatalhöyük, a 9000-year-old village located in present-day Turkey. OKAPI Island features virtual reconstructions of the excavation site and multimedia exhibits of research data. The Island was constructed by a team of undegraduate research apprentices during the Spring and Fall 2007 semester. The Remixing Çatalhöyük program includes lectures, guided tours, games, and much more. Mark your calendars!

Activities Include:

(10-10:30 AM, 3-3:30 PM PST)
Guided Tours of OKAPI Island. Tours will be conducted by Ruth Tringham (Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley, and Principal Investigator of Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük) and the Remixing Çatalhöyük team.

(1 – 2 PM PST)
Lecture: “Cultural Heritage Interpretive Videowalks: Moving Through Present Past Places Physically and Virtually” Presented by Ruth Tringham to the UC Berkeley Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Colloquium and simulcast in Second Life.

(2 – 4 PM PST)
Turkish Music Mix. Visit OKAPI Island, learn about Çatalhöyük and build your own remixes in the OKAPI Island Sandbox while listening to DJ (and UCB Anthro grad) Burcu’s eclectic mix of classical and contemporary Turkish music.

(4-5 PM PST)
Remixing Çatalhöyük Video Festival. Nine video producers will share videos about Çatalhöyük. The Video Festival will be hosted by VJ (and UCB Anthro grad) Colleen Morgan.

(5 – 5:30 PM PST)
Remix Competition. The public is invited to use the OKAPI Island Sandbox or Graffiti Cube to build and share reconstructions of Çatalhöyük or “remixes” of archaeological research data. At 5pm PST, the Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük team will review and select top entries for virtual awards and exhibition on OKAPI Island.

For more information on the event and how to enter Second Life, visit:

http://okapi.wordpress.com/2007/11/06/remixing-catalhoyuk-day/

We hope to see you there!

Presidio Comics

More Presidio education comics posted. I’m not sure about the last one–should I just leave the thought balloons blank?

Click to enlarge the prints; there are four in all.

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PS: I did not actually participate in this dig and am slightly baffled by the methodology, but that’s neither here nor there.

And now for something completely different….

http://www.blm.gov/ca/media/flash/fb/curse.html

This flash animation is just downright bizarre.

1) Stereotypical representations of “rednecks” and Native Americans, check.

2)  GPS is evil, check.

3)  Weird disappearance of Native Americans, check.

4) Spiritual possession of park rangers, check.

5) Is that a moon crater in the foreground?

Maybe my “Berkeley” hat is on too tight, but yeesh!

Emplaced vs. Virtual Interpretation

Oof, gotta take a break from negotiating the “visual turn” in text. Sometimes I wish I could just make a film to show at my orals this spring. Anyway, I was chatting with a friend about the recent virtual worlds conference in San Francisco about the world of Second Life and other recreated experiences and both of us expressed some scepticism about the utility of the concept. Admittedly, I am more interested in emplaced interpretation–giving people the tools to better understand the place that they currently inhabit, rather than a virtualized interpretation of a different place, but there is a lot of overlap between the two concepts in new media.

To illustrate, Vassar (a college I actually almost went to, had I not nearly failed out of high school out of boredom and distaste) has brought the Sistine Chapel to Second Life:

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It’s apparently a proof of concept by Steve Taylor for experiencing art and architecture virtually. Neat idea, especially in that you can fly, and aren’t hurried through by crowds and guards. And, apparently, you can sit next to some guy with black wings. I’m curious to see if there is any interpretation, like text boxes explaining the art or the building material.

Lower tech, and closer to home (physically not virtually, I guess!) is the recent Helena Keeffe project which involves drawings of actual San Francisco Muni drivers, along with their stories AND their interpretations of their own routes. While I am interested in the Second Life project, these art installations are exciting and inspirational. First, for the non-Bay Area readers, riding the Muni (bus/train system in SF) can be a full-contact sport, and I’ve always thought the drivers must have near-heroic capacities for putting up with craziness and general mayhem.

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Second, Helena Keeffe puts a face on these drivers and brings their interpretations of the route they see every day to the thousands of people who ride public transportation every day, not just to a select few who go to a gallery (in real life or online). I love that there are maps, annotated by the driver, along with drawings of different incidents which stand out in their minds.

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As an archaeologist, I’d love to harness this interaction with place. As I was riding home from the Pamuk lecture with Burcu and a couple I had just met, Pamuk’s commentary on buildings came up, and the woman (I’m criminally horrible with names) mentioned that she’s now looking at the buildings in a different light, wondering about their histories, wondering who lives/lived there. Yes.

Back to work!