SAR Prize Entry

I just finished my entry for the SAR prize this year.  If our session gets chosen, we get to have a special seminar in New Mexico.  These seminars often yield publications and are great collaborative sessions, so it would be great to be able to go!  I reworked my WAC session (here’s the previous version) abstract a bit:

Archaeologists have been rapidly integrating new media technologies into their interpretive schemes through a variety of methods.  Virtual worlds, social networking websites, blogs, wikis, and digital photo mash-ups are becoming legitimate alternate ways to present archaeological information.  The greater availability of inexpensive equipment and software that is powerful and easy to use has provided a lower entry point for remixing photography, film, and databases into multimodal presentations and increased the potential for archaeologists to use these media to tell their own stories.  This, combined with the growing ubiquity of online, collaborative media platforms has allowed us to reach out to new audiences by integrating archaeology into a greater social sphere.   Archaeologists have built too many technological islands in the form of isolated websites, soon abandoned after the project ends.  While new media technologies do provide a venue for ongoing dialogue in a broader public context, what are the implications of this for archaeology?  In a conference that is fully engaged with questions regarding the future of archaeology, this session explores interpretive projects inspired by new media art and technology.  In this exploration we will discuss alternate narratives, collective actions and what it means to be an archaeologist in the digital age. Alternate forms of papers and presentations such as films or websites are welcome.

My entry was typeset by my friend Jesse, who does great design work.  It’s attached here, and you can see all of the other papers that are in the session.

Editing will get less excruciating someday, right?  Right?

Benjamin, McLuhan, Foys

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As we experience the new electronic and organic age with ever stronger indications of its main outlines, the preceding mechanical age becomes quite intelligible.  Now that the assembly line recedes before the new patterns of information, synchronized by electric tape, the miracles of mass-production assume entire intelligibility….What will be the new configurations of mechanisms and of literacy as these older forms of perception and judgment are interpenetrated by the new electric age?

– Marshall McLuhan, excerpted by Martin K. Foys.

Martin K. Foys’ work on medieval tapestries as “hypertextiles” is an enormous influence on the way I have been conceptualizing new media and archaeological interpretation.  Many people have used new media to communicate archaeological interpretations, but not as many have used new media theory to interpret archaeological materials.  I see it as a co-constructive process–to create new media objects to aid in interpretation is to create a narrative of archaeological interpretation, which changes the way that we see the material record.

Can you tell that I’ve been writing my dissertation prospectus? I keep telescoping between great excitement and great dread, all in the small space of my chair in front of the computer.

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.

Postproduction

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“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.

WAC 2008: Call for Participation

 Title: Art, Archaeology and Technology: Current Experiments in Interpretation
Archaeologists have been rapidly integrating new media technologies into their interpretive schemes through a variety of methods.  Virtual worlds, social networking websites, blogs, wikis, and digital photo mash-ups are becoming legitimate alternate ways to present archaeological information.  Lower entry points for remixing photography, film, and databases into multimodal presentations increase the potential for archaeologists to use these media to tell their own stories. This, combined with a growing ubiquity of online media platforms, allows us to reach out to new publics by integrating archaeology into a greater social sphere.  Situated in a conference that is fully engaged with questions regarding the future of archaeology, this session explores current and future interpretive projects inspired by new media art and technology.  In this exploration we will discuss alternate narratives, collective actions and what it means to be an archaeologist in the digital age.  Alternate forms of papers and presentations such as films or websites are welcomed.

Presentations should be 15 minutes long and will be followed by remixes of the content by the discussants.

Contact: Colleen Morgan (clmorgan@berkeley.edu), Dr. Christine Finn (C.A.Finn@bradford.ac.uk), or Dr. Ruth Tringham (tringham@berkeley.edu) regarding interest and participation in the session.

Submit your abstract to http://ucd.ie/wac-6/

Closing date: February 22, 2008.

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.