Red and Hands

Red and Hands

I finally made something that just might be Archaeography worthy, so I abused my limited moveabletype knowledge and posted an entry over there about the wall paintings and Second Life.  Let’s hope I didn’t break anything in the process.

I’ve been banging away at the buildings in Second Life–they’ll be ready by Wednesday, but only just!  The event is being pretty widely publicized, so let’s hope the servers in Linden world aren’t acting up that day.  I love that I’ve been able to get so much research for my dissertation finished, but I think I need a computer/media black-out week someday soon!

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.

Color and Sound

I uploaded another one of my videos to youtube so that I could show it in class tomorrow. I’m taking over half the lecture from Ruth, to tell the students a bit about archaeology and new media, since that’s the way that most of them will experience archaeology, outside of television.

It’s not my best editing job (it’s from Fall ’06), but it will have to do for now.  Remind me to take a better microphone to Turkey next year.

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I’m reusing my 2007 SAA slides, even though they are woefully outdated. (Banksy? Who cares about him anymore?)

Io Saturnalia!

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I wish I could be celebrating today in true Roman style, but I’ve still got too much work to do.  I’ll have to do it up right next year by having a party.  Friday, the day after the semester ends, I’ll be headed off to Colorado for an appropriately snowy Christmas, then back to Texas until January 8th.  I hope to get down to Mexico, but we’ll see.

Next semester is going to be rough–classes every day, Head GSI for Intro to Archaeology, finishing up my field statements and my dissertation prospectus, and scraping together a bit of cash for my final season at Catalhoyuk.  I actually wouldn’t mind going to a different dig next summer, but the set-up for developing a new media methodology for excavation (done during excavation by excavators) is pretty good there, and it’d be another big step toward finishing my dissertation.

Now, off to the library.

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!