Monday, May 14, 2018

Time to Say Goodbye

me.
Well netnarr, it's been a really fun semester. I've been so excited to relive the Digital Alchemy and Networked Narratives experience with a new group of students, and I cannot believe that May has come so quickly. It's been simultaneously a very long and a very short semester-- although I can look back and remember the first week, it also feels as if January were years ago. We've experienced a lot this semester and played with a variety of digital tools which have allowed us to see the world through a new lens of digital storytelling. Memes, gifs, games, and sounds all contribute to a greater story which expresses the story of life in the 21st century.

If you go to this link, you will see a comprehensive account of all of my blog posts for this semester. It's crazy to look back at all of the different worlds that we have explored. You will see that there are 16 blogs for this semester, although many more date back to my netnarr life in past semesters (and past worlds). Likewise, if you click here, you will see an account of my Daily Digital Alchemy responses. This has always been one of my favorite parts of the course, as it fosters creativity in digital spaces.

Another netnarr tool that I have always appreciated is the TAGS explorer tool, because it offers an incredible way of tracking participation within a network. Every handle that has ever been included in the netnarr conversation is a part of the TAGS explorer trail. Those of us who have been highly involved in the conversation are harder to pinpoint in the thick of the network, but those on the outskirts have also contributed to the conversation. For example, there have been a few instances where I have dragged my fiance @hemingquay into the class, and he appears in the TAGS explorer as well.  I have screenshots of both of our participation below.

^Grayson (@hemingquay)


^Me (@rissacandiloro, now @rissaverona)

In comparing my Twitter presence from the beginning of the semester to the end, the account analysis tool, I noticed that my activity increased greatly. The first screenshot below is my Twitter presence from the beginning of the semester. The second screenshot shows my current Twitter presence. I have highlighted key differences between the two charts:

old


new

I'm surprised to find that I am one of three leaders on the Make Bank leaderboard (shoutout to fellow leaders Hailey and Tiffany)! I really like the Make Bank as a way of submitting projects for this class, and one of my favorite Makes was the progress GIF: mine was about the process of nail art. I was also very interested in the redlining project we did. I studied TMobile reception in Newark NJ, and was pleased to find that TMobile seems to be free of any redlining implications. This was one of the harder Makes this semester, but I enjoyed the process and I enjoyed assisting other students in completing the project. 

I have expressed this before but the largest challenge in my semester was using Audacity to create audio files. I had a rough time with the endeavor last semester, and doubted that this semester would be any different. However, I'm excited to say that I learned a great deal more about Audacity, and I'm quite proud of my projects. They can be found on my Soundcloud account (am I a Soundcloud rapper yet? Are you proud, mom?). I'm particularly proud of Seasons Transition. I look forward to using Audacity in the future and can see incorporating it into a classroom in the future. After all, aren't all the kids on Soundcloud anyway? 

All in all, I have very proud of this class and happy for the experiences I have had this semester. The digital world can raise important questions about life, access, and privilege, and I think that exploring these questions is of the utmost importance. If any other students see this, please know that I am proud of your work and am glad to have met you this semester. You have all done so well, and I hope you feel that you have learned a great deal about the digital world. To any future students who take this course, come in with an open mind and expect to have a lot of fun-- there is so much more to the digital world than just memes although, as we've learned, memes can be very important. 




Monday, April 9, 2018

Does T-Mobile Redline Newark, NJ?

This class was interesting because we discussed an unfamiliar concept: redlining. Redlining is the practice of marking an area to call it out, usually as a place to avoid. The concept was introduced with a discussion of undesirable neighborhoods, and we were shown a redlined map of Newark, NJ from 1939. I was interested to learn that even in 1939, areas in Newark were considered undesirable places to live, and I would love to understand why in more depth. From what I know of this area, Newark has always been mainly immigrant neighborhoods and, from what history indicates, immigrants have often been on the outskirts of society. This led me to wonder which groups were causing issues in 1939.

Redlining can be tricky because it can be hard to tell why it is done. For example, I live in a great neighborhood in a city that has a bad reputation. My neighborhood is perfectly safe, but for a while Amazon Prime would not leave packages for fear that they would be stolen. Although this practice has been rescinded, it was quite annoying and totally unnecessary, as I do not remember the last time something was stolen off of our doorstep. However, I understand why this was done in my city-- Elizabeth has a dangerous reputation, and the dangerous parts are quite bad. If redlining is done for general safety and security, is it a problem? I suppose I don't know enough to say.

---

I chose to look at T-Mobile cell phone towers in Newark, NJ, and T-Mobile does not shy away from Newark:


As I mentioned in my write-up, I have learned in the past (actually, from New Media Studies with Dr. Zamora) that T-Mobile was formed to be a lower cost option in urban areas, which is the opposite redlining! The map proves that this is still the case, with tons of towers in the urban area. I think it is really cool that such an excellent company purposefully targeted underprivileged areas, and is now one of the biggest cell phone providers.

---

I really think that I have learned a lot about Audacity this semester, which is so exciting! I was dreading the sound editing assignments the most, but I finally feel comfortable enough to edit audio, I guess practice really is the key! I think that with more work, I could be decent at audio editing. This is something to add to my skills :)

I chose to talk about a game created by a student named Merna, in Professor Maha Bali's class in Cairo, Egypt. Merna's game is about single motherhood in Arab societies, and how single mothers are often treated poorly by their peers. Merna dedicated her game to her own mother, who raised Merna and her sibling as a single woman. I appreciated how personal this issue is to her.

The background sound in my audio clip is a mixture of two sounds, light piano music and people talking. I wanted a cafe vibe, because I wanted the final piece to sound like a casual conversation. I'm very disappointed that Merna did not answer my questions, but I did my best to draw conclusions. I'm quite proud of the final result, I didn't think I could possibly piece together a valid-sounding podcast clip, but I think it came together well!



Monday, April 2, 2018

Playin' Games (and making sounds)

I really enjoyed class this week, after all, who doesn't like playing games? I have a great deal of respect for people who analyze video games for their merits, as well as for the skills required to play them. Although the Internet Archive website was a cool idea, I had absolutely no luck playing the old games. As I've said before, I'm not a gamer (I have no patience and no attention span), so it was hard to figure out the controls-- most of which didn't work. However, if you put an old pinball machine in front of me, I'd be on cloud 9! 
I had so, so much fun playing Board Game Online with Hailey, Alan, Kelli, Vanessa, and Justin, I wish we could play it again! It's fun to play a game with a bunch of people, and I see why people enjoy it on a bigger scale. Board Game Online was such a weird experience, and I want to share it with all my friends, because words simply cannot explain it. 


Audacity Project Preview:


To show that I'm working on the Audacity project, here is my work so far! I've found ambient noise and music to be the backdrop of my sound clips, and I've downloaded the questions that I have for Merna, the student in Egypt that I will be interviewing for this project. Merna's project is an empathy game about the condition of single mothers in Arab countries. 


I have some DDAs to catch up on so....:

This one stumped me! I couldn't figure out what the firelit room wanted from me! I'd love for someone to explain to me how this simulator is supposed to work because it seems interesting but I couldn't get anywhere....

I remember this DDA from last year! I enjoyed it then and I enjoyed it just as much now. Book titles are fun to manipulate.

I hated living through this the first time....

I stand by this opinion. Hemingway is painful and this is a controversial opinion that everyone, including my fiance, can fight me on. 

DIGGER!??!?!

After trying multiple games to no avail, I looked again at the Software Library and miraculously found one of my FAVORITE early computer games, Digger! I did not see this the other day, if I had, I'd still be playing it right now...and maybe I am.



I actually really enjoyed playing this game because it was familiar and I could figure out the controllers. When I say that I tried several games before this, I'm not kidding. I tried Tamagotchi, The Oregon Trail, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Mortal Kombat and had no luck figuring out the controls. Pac-Man was a success, but I wanted something that interested me a bit more.

According to the video we watched, I believe that this game is a practice game, because it's the sort of game that you need to play over and over to get it right. Also, there is not one correct answer, so different ways of practicing the game will lead to different ends. 

As for a story.........

Once upon a time there was an alien named Digger. Digger was a small truck, and all he wanted to do was his job, which was mining for sparkly jewels. However, Digger was constantly followed by bad aliens who wanted to steal the jewels that he collected. They ran after him day after day, and Digger was tired of running. So, one day, he decided to set a trap. He took a bunch of large stones and tied them up in a big bag with a dollar sign marked on it. He knew that the greedy aliens would not be able to resist the "money." Then, he went off to work.

Sure enough, the aliens began to follow him, but Digger was prepared. He went about his day collecting jewels, and slowly approaching one of his "money" traps. He spotted a greedy alien behind him, approached the bag, and cut it free of its tied. He watched as it fell down toward the unsuspecting alien, pinning it to the ground.

Digger knew this brief victory wasn't enough, and that he must plan his next attack. The bug-like aliens were milling around their fallen comrad, and Digger had to load the cannons for the next attack. He collected all of his money traps and sent them down the chute one after another. He listened and there was silence. He peeked over the chute....all was still. He won, he finally did it!!! Then....suddenly...what's that? Bright flashing lights strobed across the sky.....

Game Over....Game Over.....Game Over


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Are video games the problem?

Few things annoy me more than the "violent video games" argument, which has been volleyed back between Republicans and Democrats since the early 2000s. Although I do think that parents should moderate which games their children are playing, I don't think that running someone over in a car in Grand Theft Auto is a sign that a person is secretly a psychopath, and I certainly think that uninformed politicians should stop making it a talking point. It's hard to explain why games are fun, and it's even harder to rationalize why fighting or war-based games can be appealing, but I stand by the fact that they don't create murderers. Now, if there was a game where the player was required to dismember or violently and purposefully murder a character for the sake and pleasure of doing so, I might concede that games have gone too far. Following the standard that "video games create murderers," you might wonder how the 1965 release of the popular board game Operation didn't create a generation of doctors.

Ultimately, people need to take responsibility for their interests and actions, and video games have simply become the latest bogeyman. Plenty of people love horror movies, but few people dismember corpses in their basements based on the latest thriller. Likewise, an interest in detective stories has not led the vast majority of fans to recreate their favorite macabre murders.

Now, the question still exists, if empathy games promote empathy, why shouldn't video games promote violence? I argue that this is for the same reason that good books inspire a love of reading. Excellent, moral books inspire feeling deep within a reader that inspires them to act. In a similar way, empathy games make one think about the thoughts and feelings of others. On the other hand, "violent" video games tend to be about strategy-- not feeling. You act based on goals, which inspires a different kind of thought process that has nothing to do with emotion, and that's not a bad thing. It's just different. The opposite of love isn't hate, it's apathy-- and the opposite of empathy games isn't violent video games, it's active hateful games.


Do you think this is a [*************] game?

In class, I played Spent, and it was so interesting that I showed a friend over the weekend. Spent is a thought provoking game because it shows the player the hard decisions that a less fortunate person is faced with on a daily basis. The idea of an empathy game that gives you a look into another way of life is powerful, and it made me think about how reading a book can help the reader to understand a different point of view. This also happens through documentaries and movies, so why not with games? People love playing games, and I think they can be the next frontier of meaningful communication. In playing Spent with my friend, we were able to talk through choices and implications, and it really made us consider the way other people live their lives.

You have the Audacity to ask me to edit sounds?

Here is the link to my Audacity project. The assignment was to work with a transition-- Alan's example was life- from birth to death. I thought a lot about transitions and the idea of seasons popped into my head. There are sounds that are distinctly associated with certain times of the year, and these sounds evoke memories that are dear to the listener. For spring- I thought of running water, in the form of melting snow and rain. For summer, I thought of waves, which evoke memories of summer at the beach. For autumn, I thought of crackling bonfires and wolves howling-- a nod to my love for Halloween (and my belief that we should change the name of the season from "autumn" to "Halloween." Finally, for winter, I used the sound of footsteps crunching across a snowy field. Backing all of this, I chose a light classical track that matched up conveniently well with my clips, and I worked the clips in by fading them in and out. I had a great time finally cracking the Audacity code, and I'm proud of my result!

Where the idea began

The process!
Collaborating with Cairo:

After looking through the projects being developed by the students in Cairo, I have chosen to work with Merna, whose empathy game in on the topic of single mothers in the patriarchal Arab society. I am already impressed by the work that Merna has done toward her game, and I look forward to seeing how it progresses!







Monday, March 19, 2018

Spring Break Was Nice....

....and now we're back!

I'll be honest with everyone, I'm at a point in my semester where I have stress piled on stress piled on stress. Looking for jobs, and working on my thesis consumed every moment of spring break, so I apologize for running on Empty.

Regarding last class, I'm very happy with our conversation on the topic of games. I think people's favorite games tell a lot about them, and we had a great discussion about what we like and look for in games. It's interesting to me how many people get addicted to mobile games, and the different reasons they give for getting pulled in. Eni, in particular, mentioned Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, a game that I also was sucked into a while back. It's crazy how even silly-seeming games have the power to pull you in.

When I was a child, video games were so important. I remember hours of playing Animal Crossing on my Nintendo DS with friends (with or without multi-player options), and bonding over the husbands and children we had in Harvest Moon. Kingdom Hearts is still my favorite game, and I have many fond memories of taking turns playing with my best friend. What strikes me about games like I've mentioned, is that they're still relevant today. The slightest mention of one of these games can turn into a full-blown nostalgia-fest with the most unexpected people, and I treasure these conversations. Although I was never a gamer, I understand why these bonds are important.

On a small scale this past weekend, my dad and I bonded over a hidden pictures-esque game he found on the Play Store (the name of which escapes me). We had a great time playing through and finding the hidden items, and it was a cool experience to bond over a multi-generational game taken to a mobile platform.

In class, I had the time of my life playing Little Alchemy 2, and it seems like others did as well. It was amazing to combine different elements and see what could be built, and remains an apt analogy for our class. Katherine's progress in the game was admirable, and I still can't figure out how she created life! I may have to go back and play some more, when I have time (hah-- what's "time"?)

I'm happy that I was able to participate in the studio visit with Remi Kalir and Keegan Long-Wheeler. As you will see in my first DDA response below, I am not well-versed in video games. I enjoy them, but I haven't played in years (although I'm coming out of retirement for Kingdom Hearts 3-- FINALLY). Our conversation regarding the importance of games made me ponder how they might be incorporated into the classroom to evoke responses from students. We live in a time where everyone is so jaded that we cannot take fun for granted, and I believe it should be integrated in every way possible. I'm excited to see the games that Professor Maha Bali's students in Egypt are working on, and I look forward to communicating with them!


DDAs: 3/13 through 3/19/18

My caption sums it up...as I've said, video games are fun and important and cool but am I a gamer? Not whatsoever.


As Hailey and I have discussed, there's really no way of making eyes look normal in this kind of picture. But "artsy" was my goal so.....

In conclusion, I'm nervous for this week. Sound editing is not really my thing, so we'll see how it goes! I have a lot of admiration for people who do it well. Last semester, I was quite impressed by Brooke, and I can't wait to see what this semester brings!

Monday, March 5, 2018

GIFs, GIFs, GIFs!

I love digital art. I've been interested in the digital world for as long as I can remember, from fanfiction.net, to deviantart.com, to my discovery of YouTube when it was a relatively new platform. I have always been interested in the different ways that people express their art, and I appreciate that GIFs are finally being given the recognition that they deserve.  

One of my favorite types of digital art are YouTube videos. I've loved YouTube for years and years, and it's my default for entertainment and news. I have a collection of favorite makers, some of whom I have followed for years, and I've learned so much. For example, one of my passions is makeup and, as a young girl, I used to watch Michelle Phan and Julia Graf, and that's how I learned to do makeup! It's also cool to me that, despite the fact that time has passed and much has changed, I could still find the videos I loved so long ago. By growing up in the digital age, digital art became my culture and I am grateful for it. 

GIFs are interesting to me because process GIFs, like the ones we worked on in class, aren't that different from videos. They show steps in a process and, if you're a visual learner, they might be even better for you than YouTube videos, which tend to have a lot of talking and explanation. 

Show your work:


Here are my syndicated blog posts. I seem to have10 from this semester.


Here is the link to my DDA responses, but for some reason nothing will load. Alan, thoughts? I've certainly been participating :) I haven't been as responsive as Kevin (@dogtrax) with his 51 tweets since January 1st, but I'm a top runner with 14 responses. 


Watch me go on TAGSExplorer at the above link! It's amazing to watch the course interactions mapped out. Netnarr really is a complex organism. Do you see me right in the center of it all? Let's play "Where's Waldo."


As for my place on the leaderboard of Makes, Hailey I'm coming for your title!


GIF a Process Make:

Showing off one of my favorite processes! I'm re-doing my nails tonight, so I will try to remember to take pictures in order to re-do this make. I'd like it to reflect the process a bit more, rather than just showing the components.


GIF if all Together: Digital Art / Digital Life Make


I had so much fun with remixing this GIF! I love reaction GIFs and the reactions I included are some that made me laugh quite a bit!





DDAs: 2/27 through 3/5

In a recent development, I am no longer able to embed my tweets here because I have made my Twitter account private-- at least for the time being. I am applying to teaching jobs and I don't want potential employers looking through my social media. Obviously there's nothing bad, but I can be silly with my friends and I need to attempt a professional persona ;) I'll make it public for the sake of Twitter chats and class events and, from now on, I will post screenshots of tweets. 



I love to share these photographs because I was quite proud of them. I've never seen such a beautiful rainbow!


This was so much fun! I made a QR code that links to my Twitter. I didn't know it was so easy to make one, and I'll keep this in mind for future projects. Of course I had to include glitter, it's my favorite!



Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Make Bank: Photograph a Process

For this make, I am submitting a process that is fun, frustrating, and something I am learning day by day. I love having my nails done, but going to a salon every two to three weeks can be quite expensive. It's also a time commitment of about two hours, which is usually more than I can spare. So, about two years ago I decided to learn to do my own gel overlay. I bought all of the supplies: gel, tools, files, buffers, plastic tips, and a UV lamp, and each time I get a little better. It's hard, but relaxing and fun. It also gives me so much satisfaction each time I complete a set I am proud of. 

Here are the parts of the process:




 


Monday, February 26, 2018

GIF it up!

Last week was a nice break, although I'm glad we had time to talk about GIFs which, next to memes, are my favorite subject. I love using GIFs in conversations with friends, and often joke that lately, these two are personal favorites:



Honestly, when isn't there a use for hell Elmo? As for the drinking bleach meme, maybe you have to know my friends, but they send some crazy stuff to our group chats. 

It's cool to me that GIFs are also an art form. Artists have never been bound, and I love that people have taken this silly form of communication and made it into a format that can be shared in art galleries. I am referring to this, which I also shared in the Referencium: 10 Emerging GIF Artists Who Prove Motion Photography Has No Limits

I hope you enjoy the makes I submitted for this week! I had a lot of fun with them!

Captioned GIF for Many GIFs From One [Western] Video Make:

Uncaptioned GIF:
(but if this were to be captioned anything, it would say #BYE)

Interesting GIFs

Here are the links to the Tweets I posted about interesting GIFs. Honestly, the egg underwater still has me reeling! My favorite is definitely the tennis one though, it's seamless!

This GIF was amazing to me, because it explains how keys work, which is something I have struggle to understand since two weeks ago when my key broke in my office door. https://t.co/qJBrujchDm pic.twitter.com/AgSaV6z8bR


Daily Digital Alchemies 2/20-26/18

DDAs weren't a requirement this week, but I saw this prompt and I really needed a puppy today. Shouldn't every day have a puppy?

Monday, February 19, 2018

On Selfies

Selfies are an interesting topic to me because, as I expressed in class, I don't take many! Usually when it's time to pick a profile picture, I have to scroll through many, many pictures on my phone before reaching one that I would like to represent me. That's not to say I never take selfies, I just feel rather vain sharing them. 
To preface this, I don't like attention. I don't like putting myself out there for others to pick apart, and that's not an insecurity, I'm just a private person. I don't talk to a lot of people about the deepest matters of my heart, and I think that selfies can reveal a lot about a person-- stuff that I don't love to put out to the general public. I prefer candid shots, nature shots, shots that show something real about the world. My instagram is full of flowers, nature scene, and pictures of my friends and family. One of my favorite posts on my account, currently, is a series of photos my friend captured of my and my fiance. He wanted to a couple photo and I felt awkward, so it came out to be a series of pictures of me trying to run from the camera. It was candid, it says something that I'm okay with revealing, and that's why I like it. 
I cannot express enough-- I don't have an issue with people taking selfies, it's just not really my thing. Even when I don't look great in a group picture, I would much rather be posing with friends than standing on my own in a photo. Maybe I'm too critical of myself, but I find that sometimes, after I post a selfie, I look back at it and find issue with it. Usually my issue is, "I don't look like that!" I find that selfies, while they help us to look attractive, cater to our best angles and, in my case, that's not realistic. I like dealing in reality and when I know how much time and effort went into taking and choosing the perfect selfie, it ruins the image for me. 
Like I said, it's complicated. 


Emilio Vavarella Studio Visit

It was so interesting to hear from Emilio! He is so young to be as accomplished as he is, and it's impressive to hear the things he has taken away from his experience as a young artist. I thought it fascinating to hear that his inspiration is drawn from fields of theoretical research and philosophy-- in addition to traditional artistic inspiration. I have chosen to share the clip below because I was struck when he mentioned that his original inspiration in high school was drawn from surrealism and Dadaism. We spoke about this topic briefly last week in class, when we briefly discussed Dadaism in relation to nihilistic memes. I shared an article in my last post which talked about the fact that nothing is new, and the nihilism of millennial's humor and memes is reflective of Dadaism. It's fascinating that Emilio originally took inspiration from similar sources!


Google Arts and Culture

I had so much fun with the Google Arts and Culture app. I'm embedding my tweets below, but it made me laugh! Some of the results did bear some resemblance to me, although the two I am sharing first were apparently the closest matches. The first one reminds me of pop art, the second one reminds me of a drawing I could have done in fifth grade. I'll leave it to you to decide which one is a more attractive semblance.


As for the side profile....oh man! I don't know about that! Is that really how I look, Google?

Google Arts and Culture is a fun app, but I can certainly see how people might have issues with the results-- particularly, people who are not of European descent. I don't know which library the app draws from, but there certainly does seem to be far more art representative of European culture. The one thing I can say for sure is that it's a fun app, and not to be taken seriously at all. After leaving class, I got dinner with a friend and she and I had a good bit of fun messing around with the app's capabilities.

Daily Digital Alchemies 2/13 through 2/19/18
Oh, Charlie. Charlie, my dude. His dumb, adorable face lends itself to memes.

A picture of my favorite area of my bedroom. My favorite candle, and my favorite not-so-little-anymore plant. I'm quite proud of him for surviving this long, but I definitely need to re-pot the poor thing.

Honestly I didn't plan on doing this one but I saw Hailey's idea for matching tattoos and I was inspired. Hailey, when we goin'? I'm committing to memes for life.

#SelfieUnselfie

Selfie:

Unselfie: 

Artist Statement:
I have chosen to share this selfie because it is a rare image of myself that I love, accompanied by a backdrop of one of my favorite places in the world. The shine of light spanning the photo is a crack in the screen, which I have manipulated to work in my favor. My unselfie is a photograph of my happy place, a peaceful spot in my home surrounded by people and things that I love. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Expanded Post:

Selfie:
What is seen: I took this selfie a few weeks ago in Hoboken, right on the waterfront in front of the Manhattan skyline. It's the first selfie that I have taken in a long time that I love, and I use it as the avatar for my professional/personal Gmail account. I believe that it is fairly representative of me, and it's a good picture.

What is unseen: There's also a subtext to this photo that would certainly not be picked up by the average viewer. The selfie is taken on the waterfront, with NYC in the background, but still very much in New Jersey-- which is how I like it. I love Manhattan, but I am glad to have it as the backdrop, and not the forefront, of my life. I can visit whenever I want, but the craziness can stay safely behind me while I focus on my life in the much quieter (but not too quiet) NJ.
Additionally, the light in this selfies is slightly blurred. You see, I have a crack across the front of my phone which, unfortunately, crosses over the front facing camera. It used to be a source of constant frustration to me, because it reminds me that I foolishly shattered my phone. However, this picture is evidence that I'm able to get past the frustration because one of the tenants of my life is that perfection is not only impossible, it's undesirable. By forcing myself to be okay with my camera, by learning to work with the cracks and making the light fall where I want it to--- it's sort of a metaphor for how I live my life. A selfie alone wouldn't reveal that. 


Unselfie:
This dresser is my happy place. It's full of things I love: makeup, jewelry, a stained glass lamp, and photographs of the people I love. I choose to share this unselfie because it's the view I focus on every morning as I get ready for work, looking at my makeup and jewelry and deciding how I will portray myself that day, while also looking at images of the people I love. Getting ready every morning is the most peaceful part of my day.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Memes and Selfies

I love that this class recognizes the importance of something as seemingly-silly as memes in the overall narrative that is digital culture in the 21st century. Memes are very important because, as I mentioned in class, they're a form of communication that we tend to take for granted. For example, I mentioned The Meme Bible, a gift I bought for my friends (10/10 recc, by the way, buy it immediately #notspon). When I looked through the activity book, I realized that the strangest thing about my absurd purchase, was that my parents would look at it and have no earthly idea what the book was about. The language is English, but it might as well be ancient Greek for the communication barrier. There are many levels to understanding memes, some far below the surface, and that fact is amazing to me.

In another meme-related note, I bought a game for my fiance for Christmas called What Do You Meme?, which is like Cards Against Humanity but with memes. To play, the dealer pulls a meme card which displays a photo, for example:


The players then throw down cards that have phrases on them, to correspond with the photo. The best photo/phrase combination wins. Perhaps this could be played by people with no understanding of memes, but I think that a huge element of the game would be missing. Memes have meta narrative and are best enjoyed when they are understood. 

Make Bank: Memes!

I live for memes, have I mentioned that enough times yet? I love them. I'm fascinated by them. I think they are a fascinating view into the mind of the current world, for better or for worse. My fiance sent me an article this morning from salon.com, regarding the bleak nature of millennial memes-- e.g. eating Tide Pods. The author compares the nihilism and absurdity of millennial humor to Dadaism, a movement that has been around for a century. It's an interesting look into how history repeats itself.

As for my memes:

Submission: 
The Most Fascinating Subject

Submission:
Nosedive (Black Mirror Meme)

Submission:
Nosedive (Black Mirror Meme)


Submission: 
Memes That Meme Themselves

Selfies:

In regard to selfies, selfies are a complicated topic for me. I don't think they're hugely empowering to people, nor do I believe that they suggest a desperate cry for help. I think they're pictures, as we have been taking for years.

Everyone wants to look good in pictures, and selfies allow individuals to choose how they portray themselves to the world. There is no inherent issue in wanting to post a cute, happy, sexy selfie. However, selfies tend to be correlated with vanity, which is another topic altogether. Vanity is a real thing that I believe should be avoided, primarily because it serves no one. To that end, I will include one of my favorite drawings by Charles Allan Gilbert, "All Is Vanity."

A picture speaks a thousand words
Selfies are not the problem. Vanity is the problem. Desiring beauty is not the problem. Being consumed by beauty is the problem. Being confident is not the problem. The desperate need for verification is the problem.

Personally, I don't take many selfies because I think the world is more interesting than my particular face, but I certainly don't think selfies are inherently bad. You do you, friend. The problem was never selfies, the problem is, as it always has been, the meaning beneath the selfie. If taking a selfie makes you feel better about yourself, absolutely do it, but also understand that your worth lies far deeper than what a camera can capture. 


DDAs, 2/6 through 2/12/18

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Welcome, February!

I am so glad that January is over.

100% me.

Some things that happened in January were cool though, like last week's Twitter chat! I'm so encouraged by the widespread class participation, and by the input of the open network participants. It's always so great to be reminded that our class is bigger than the four walls at Kean.

Something that I especially appreciate about digital art is that it opens up new possibilities. For example, photo editing is so accessible. I don't have to be a master photographer to know how to alter levels in a picture in order to enhance certain elements of the photograph.

Throughout the Twitter chat, I continually thought about DeviantArt and Fan Fiction.net. These two websites are prime examples of how digital art has shaped entire communities. Fan Fiction allows authors to create stories and poems about their favorite characters from T.V. shows, anime, books, or movies.  Deviant Art fosters communities of people who want to share their art, fan based or other, with the world. These two sites enable people to share their creative brilliance with the world, and are major hubs for artists who might not be recognized without the power of the digital world.

Regarding the Re-New-Media-Art project, I find it fascinating to discover fossils from the early days of the internet. Patrice and I discovered Olia Lialina's early e-lit piece, "My Boyfriend Came Back From the War," which shockingly holds up reasonably well today. After reading her biography, it seems she was far beyond her time, especially considering that it was created and posted in 1996. How crazy is that to think about?




Oh, Five Card Flickr. This is a great assignment, but a dreaded one for someone like me, who doesn't enjoy creative writing. That being said, I tried.


Here's the link to my finished work:

http://5card.cogdogblog.com//show.php?id=41448



Tweets (1/29 through 2/5/18)




Sunday, January 28, 2018

Digital Footprint? Menza menz.

Let me preface all of this with a definition of the Italian (American) slang word, menza menz.


So, this guy defines menza menz as meaning something like "maybe, maybe not." I've always understood it to mean a somewhat non-committal, "what are we gonna do?/there's nothing we can do." Which, either way, is how I feel about the topic of my digital footprint.

Sure, it makes me nervous. Sure, I worry that we will become 1984 and every step will be tracked by the government, and every movement watched. But honestly, what can we do? I like action, I like definitive answers, and right now we don't have one. That means that we have two options: 1) Live off the grid, or 2) accept it. Right now, as far as we know, the things that track us are only doing to to have a profile of the things we buy for advertising purposes. I have nothing to hide, I have no reason to be afraid, so until I have a real reason to be concerned, menza menz

That being said, as I mentioned last week, Brett Gaylor's Do Not Track documentary is fascinating to me. Even though I don't feel moved to do anything about the things tracking my life, I like to know that they're there. I like to believe that Google has some supreme purpose for me. And, if not, I hope they enjoy my online purchase history of makeup, books, and clothing. 

--

I chose to annotate the article "How-- and Why-- Apple, Google, and Facebook Follow You Around in Real Life" by DJ Pangburn. Much like Do Not Track documentary, the article talks about all of the different apps that collect location data, and speculates the use for such information. Truly, it is nerve-wracking, knowing that all of our information is laid out there for the makers of apps to use as they please but, again, what can we do? The most interesting discussion is the discussion of the police needing a warrant to access cell phone data which, as I annotated in Hypothesis, is an issue for which I can argue either side. On the one hand, cell phone data can reveal a lot. If you have no reason to feel worried, why would you care if the cops had access? An equally compelling point, on the other hand, is that they should require a warrant, because of privacy rights. 

In regard to the information about Apple, Google, and Facebook tracking your location, I like that the article discusses some ways around this but ultimately, they're unsustainable. You can keep your location off until you need to use your GPS, and then what? Even if you use a GPS that isn't connected to your phone, some company, somewhere, has access to that information. 

All things considered, the content of this article was interesting but we live in a networked world. One way or the other, you can be tracked down. I suppose you can make it easier for people to find you, or more difficult but, as of now, I don't see a way around Big Brother. 

--
Tweet Frequency:
My fiance tweets a lot more than me:





Daily Digital Alchemies-- 1/23/18 through 1/29/18:




Sunday, January 21, 2018

Back in the saddle!

The time has come to dust off this blog and dive back into NetNarr. It's good to be back in our world, and I'm excited to see what this new semester has to offer. As I mentioned in class, this will be my third time around the block in ENG5085, "New Media Studies," then "Digital Storytelling," and now "Digital Alchemy/Networked Narratives," and each time I have learned something new and exciting about the digital world. I'm especially excited this semester about accompanying new students on their journey.

A word of advice to new students-- this may seem like a lot at first, and it may seem completely weird, but rest assured, you'll fall into the swing of things quickly. A great deal of this class involves making it what you want it to be, which is really cool! If you feel so inclined, check out older posts on this blog to see some of what I put together last year at this time. You'll see that there is nothing to be afraid of.

One of the craziest things I've learned from taking many trips down the Internet rabbit hole is that the internet knows a whole lot about me. It knows my interests, my friends, the products I like, and is able to suggest things that I will, in all likelihood, be interested in pursuing. I'm sure everyone can relate to the feeling of your skin crawling when the product you were just talking about is the first search suggestion on your phone. Or, when you Googled a product you were interested in buying, only to have it show up as an ad on every website for the rest of eternity (or, as an added bonus-- when you look up a gift idea on a shared computer and the ads ruin the surprise....gotta love the World Wide Web).

As you will learn about me this semester, I am fascinated by all things dystopian, and this idea ties in directly with the concept of an all-seeing, all-knowing government using me as a cog in the wheel of consumerism. In fact, Do Not Track reminds me greatly of my favorite books, Feed by M.T. Anderson. In this story of a futuristic Earth, all people have social network data feeds installed into their minds, and live life through the lens of constant communication and advertisements. M.T. Anderson masterfully translates the eerie feeling Google knowing your search query into an entire society, which ends up being terrifying to all involved. After watching Do Not Track, it's horrifying to see how close Feed comes to being reality.

I am so excited that we are going to talk with Brett Gaylor. Do Not Track is fascinating, and terrifying, and I look forward to hearing what he has to impart to us.


Daily Digital Alchemies-- 1/16/18 through 1/22/18: