Combing Slowly but Surely Through the Internet Archives…

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving break (if you celebrate the holiday)! I celebrated by eating some turkey with the fam before getting back to work on this thesis it’s not going to write itself apparently.

research

Me over break 

Assembling my Thesis Proposal

So, since we last spoke, this girl has been hard at work on her thesis proposal! I have been digging through the EBR and New Horizons for thoughts and information on self-representation in the digital age as well as travelling the far reaches of the Internet for any and all research exploring the connection between new forms of digital content creation and Dadaism. The results of these long hours of research are a fairly developed annotated bibliography as well as a half-completed-ish proposal. I know, in my last post, I stated that I wanted to have a rough draft of my proposal completed during break. That may have been a bit overly ambitious. That said, while I acknowledge that I did not totally reach my intended goal, I believe I accomplished a lot of necessary work. Being able to focus on the research, also, helped renew my vigor.

I found many interesting articles drawing comparisons between new forms of digital content creation such as memes, shitposting, etc. and a reemergence of Dadaism in the twenty-first century. While not wholly academic articles, compelling points were made in them for viewing these new digital artifacts as representative of the Millennial sense of self and reality. Articles and posts by Megan Hoins, Charlie Scanlan, and Deirdre Olsen make a case for memes operating as a kind of lens through which the Millennial generation can view themselves as well as make sense of reality. Memes are essentially a response to the chaos and disorder that seems to have swept across the globe. If memes are nonsensical and nihilistic, it is because the world is nonsensical and nihilistic. Memes have become a new form of communication, have become the new mouthpiece of a generation that is sick of being silenced/having no say. More, they are becoming an essential part of the new self-portrait.

Further research by Shivani Gorle compares memes and shitposting to the rise of a so-called “Neo-Neo-Dadaism”. Gorle identifies these mediums as a contemporary kind of expression of Hugo Ball’s “this humiliating age has not succeeded in winning our respect” sentiment. These new digital forms of content creation are thus an emergent form of counter-art and counter-culture. Memes and shitposting, then, are how we as a generation respond to our world but are also the means through which we dismantle established logic and ideologies and so assert our own sense of self over our circumstances. It’s quite an interesting and compelling notion and one I definitely want to see represented in my own work. This kind of research is really getting at the heart of what I believe about new digital forms of content creation–that they are representative of a new kind of concept of the self. They contribute to the construction of an identity that is ideologically different than the processes of identity construction of the past, that occurred without media-intervention. Memes and shitposting and the like represent a kind of disillusionment with and fragmentation of the self that seems evolved from earlier conceptions of identity. At least, that is what I believe and hope to explore through my work.

Additional research on Elit found an interesting article on personal narrative and self-representation written by Dr. Ruth Page. In her research, Page discusses how the capabilities/affordances of Elit allow for an exploration of personal narrative that is not better than traditional literary forms but that is wholly different. Page states, “The medium-specific properties of electronic narratives aptly underscore the fragmentary nature of self representation, as the pixels on a flickering screen and the potential decay of hyperlinks give the lie to the illusion of textual permanence conferred by the printed page”. Essentially, the design of an Elit work can reinforce its themes. This is something that can be seen in works like Nelson’s This is How You Will Die, Davis’ Pieces of Herself and Ankerson and Sapnar’s CruisingAll of these works make use of interfaces that reinforce their themes or that reference some conceptual underpinning or underlying ideology. 

Overall, I think I’m making good progress with the literature. I feel like I have more of a grasp of my subject matter as well as a renewed focus, having read through research that explores similar ideas to my own. It is important, now, I think to explore some of the research counter to or different from my ideas. I will be working on incorporating that information into my draft this week as well as continue working on assembling my proposal. I have some questions about my introduction that I hope I will be able to go over in class this week. Mainly, I want to know if I’m going “in the right direction” so to speak. Since my work is a little more on the “creative” side, I’m not entirely sure what tone to take with my work. (I need to know how much of my style, let’s call it, can come through ^.^)

Speaking of style, I have also been working on the prototype of my Elit piece! Mostly, I’m working on adding textual information into the work right now as well as some hyperlinks. This weekend, I’m hoping to experiment a little more with incorporating audio into the work. I have some soundbites I would like to work into the piece. Some of these soundbites are more, shall we say, aesthetic in nature but some are more connected to the actual text or history, like Hugo Ball’s sound poems (examples 1 & 2).

Anyway, I will keep you updated on my progress! I’m hoping to have a workable thesis proposal as well as prototype of my accompanying Elit piece by the end of the semester!

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~Till next time~

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Short & Sweet (and #Suffering)

(Another brief update sorry)

So, this week, I have continued to read through the research surrounding my thesis topic. I’m still working on creating a developed and well-rounded annotated bibliography. To be honest, I think I need to focus more on the research aspect of my project. I have done a lot of research so far for my independent study (which is thesis adjacent) but, I definitely feel like I need to put more work into reading through sources for my thesis proper. I am finding that a lot of the sources in the Electronic Book Review are often specific to one work of Eliterature or to one rather specific, niche topic which is making culling research from the site slow-going. I am planning to look through Google Scholar and the library’s databases to see if I can find more articles that provide an overview of Eliterature and important, broader aspects of this emergent genre. (I have come across a lot of sources critiquing the genre, which ten to lead to other sources analyzing key aspects of it–which has been helpful. I still feel like I’m not finding the best sources though.)

As for the design and concept aspect of my thesis project, that’s going great. I was really nervous about developing a kind of prototype of my Elit piece. But, this week, I came across some programs that I think can help me assemble a decent prototype of my vision. Two of the programs I am really liking right now are PicMonkey and Thinglink. The former has proven to be a useful and very easy-to-use photo-editing tool while the latter shows promise for assisting me in creating a kind of hyperlink work. (Actually, I came across Thinglink while working on a training module just last week for my one of my jobs ^.^) Neither offers me the exact kind of functionality I want out of my final work but I think they provide me with a good starting point and a great place to “springboard” from. Like, I feel like I’m making some good progress with these programs. Last week, I wasn’t sure how any of the pieces I’ve been working on were going to come together. This week, I can see the pieces falling into place.

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*Here’s a sneak peek of what I’ve been working on~*

Anyway, I think I’m going to shift gears and focus more on the research specifically for my thesis. I’m hoping to complete my annotated bibliography before Thanksgiving so that I can work on writing a rough draft of my proposal over that extended break time. During break, I’m also planning to wrap up the prototype for my Elit piece.

Wish me luck~

~Till next time~

Trudging Through… #Suffering

Putting in the Work 

This week, I was tasked with starting my actual thesis proposal. A daunting task, let me tell you. Not because I’ve never written a research/thesis proposal but because I did not realize how much content I would have to comb through in order to assemble this monstrosity.

stressed to heck

Me this past week >.<

Currently, I am in the process of developing my annotated bibliography. Thus far, I’ve reviewed work by Scott Rettburg, Katherine Hayles, Illya Szilak, among others. I have so much more reading to do, though. I still need to include information on inspiring Elit pieces and digital art. Hopefully, by the time of our next class meeting, I will have that information incorporated into my annotated bibliography. When paired with everything that has been going on in my personal life as of recently, this project and its scope is just a bit overwhelming. I’m used to being “on top” of tasks and being able to keep to a strict schedule but, lately, I just have not been able to keep that usual standard–which is incredibly frustrating to me.

Sam stressed

I am trying to focus on moving at my own pace, though. I’m trying to appreciate what work I can get done–even if it is not necessarily the amount of work I had hoped to get done. The research I am finding on the Electronic Book Review site is, at least, relevant and interesting. In fact, I am finding quite a few articles exploring the artistic implications of Elit and new forms of digital content creation. Much of the research on this site, though, is concerned with the functions of Elit and the future of the genre. I’m trying to comb through information as best I can and in as timely a manner as I can. I may need until Thanksgiving break to develop a completed draft of my proposal. After then, I would like to focus on revision.

I feel slightly lucky that I have a fairly extensive annotated bibliography on new forms of digital content creation, like memes, that I have been developing in my additional independent study course. The information in that document may prove to be useful to my research when it comes to discussing self-representation and communication of the self in online spaces. Much of the research surrounding mimetics deals with the evolution of communication as well as with how online and digital spaces provide new affordances for expression of the self. I feel like this information is relevant to my own inquiries. Specifically, I think research by Shifman, Davison, Cannizzaro, Rintel, French, and many others may be applicable to my research.

Also, having a fairly fleshed-out concept for the Elit design and installation aspect of my work makes me feel slightly better about being behind in my reading. Writing my latest post on my other blog really encouraged me to keep going with my own research. I feel so…. honored(?) to be able to explore this line of inquiries. Because I am so invested in and inspired by my own topic, I feel blessed, in a way. I’m more encouraged to continue working on a project that I am looking forward to seeing realized.

*Finally pulled out the ol’ charcoal and sketch pad and got to drawing my design for my Elit work out~

Anyway, that’s this week’s progress update–I am bogged down in the research, trudging slowly but surely through it. I am planning to have a completed research proposal by the end of the month, if not sooner. Additionally, I should have a prototype for the Elit aspect of my work completed by the end of the semester. I’m not sure if I’m on the right path, time-wise, but I’m definitely moving and I feel like I’m making progress.

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~Till next time~

Update on My Progress

This is going to be brief but I hope that’s okay ^.^

So, this week, our cozy little thesis cohort was able to confer with each other about our work. This was a nice change of pace and I know I found it helpful to see what other people were doing for their thesis. Being earlier on in my thesis, it helped me better conceptualize my process by seeing where others were in their work.

Working with Katherine, especially, I found to be helpful as we are both attempting to approach unorthodox subject matter in creative, innovative ways. I enjoyed the tone and voice of Katherine’s work as well as the incorporation of personal experience. She revealed that this was a recent change and that she found it more comfortable to write in this voice. As a reader, I appreciated being able to hear her voice and thought it brought a personal dimension to her research that was absent before but certainly necessary. I’m excited to see where Katherine’s work will go from here!

thumbs up kid

Also, I’m excited to see where my own work will go from here. Katherine’s feedback on my little work so far was insightful and helpful. Katherine thought what I had so far in terms of a lit review was a good start. She thought the tone and subject matter matched. It was, also, easier to understand what I was discussing. That said, Katherine did mention I might want to include more information about the art perspective on digital content creation I want to use. Katherine recognized that that explanation may come further into the research, of course, but she did mention that it seemed to be something missing. This observation is, actually, similar to one I made about Katherine’s work. What she has written thus far seems to imply that she will be making a connection to mental health and art therapy but her research has yet to include that aspect. Similarly, my work mentions incorporating an art historical perspective but it has yet to explain its relevance nor any correlation to contemporary digital content creation. It’s on the list believe me.

Anyway, I think it was overall helpful to have this conversation with Katherine and the rest of our thesis cohort. Stephanie and Hope also provided me with some of their thoughts on my work. Mainly, they found it interesting but it definitely still needs some development (which, duh).

I look forward to working more closely with my fellow thesis writers! It’s helpful to have so many different perspectives to hear from!

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~Till next time~

….A Bit Unproductive

So….

This week I didn’t accomplish as many things as I had hoped. Largely, this was due to a sudden increase in my workload at my job.

computer throw

Work this week~

Sigh. Life happens. It’s no excuse but I just wanted to explain upfront why this week’s post may be lacking some its usual zeal~

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program!

The Lowdown

So, this week, I spent a lot of time thinking about the design of my piece. I’m rather concerned about creating the work. Though I appreciate a lot of the sources Jason Nelson shared with me, they still come across as very daunting at first. Maybe I need to spend more time perusing them? This week, I was unfortunately unable to do more than skim the coding site Dr. Nelson shared with me. I’m interested in coding but I’m also interested in exploring maybe other avenues of creating a work with the kind of functionality I want. On Twitter, Stevan Živadinovic mentioned checking out Twine to see if I could make a prototype of what I’m looking for. I have some experience with Twine so I may want to experiment more with its functionality. Zivadinovic also mentioned that I might just have to “bite the bullet” and dive into Unity. As Dr. Nelson also recommended Unity, I’m thinking I may have to really bite that bullet.

That said, I’ve reached out to some of my friends in the digital arts about what programs they recommend. I want to incorporate some of my own drawings and, maybe, even metalworks into this project. I’m waiting to hear back from these friends about what they recommend. Honestly, I want to see how much I can make in a program like Photoshop or Krita or, for audio, Protools or Audacity, before I have to delve into other sources.

As for the structure of the work I want to create, I’ve had some thoughts. This week, in another course, I looked into Juliet Davis’ Pieces of Herself. It’s a very powerful and compelling work of Elit that impacted me greatly. Both the work’s design and content really struck me. I love the superimposition of elements in the piece and how that technique can be used to convey meaningful messages. It inspired me to think more deeply about the design components of my own work as well as the kind of message I want to convey about self-representation and aesthetic presentation in our current digital age.

While I like my initial concept of the shattered mirror, I wonder if it might be more apt for my work to be centered around a silhouette of a face, neck, and shoulders with a collage/photo-montage of different elements slathered across its face. Each of these elements would be clickable and would take the user to another screen. Some of the elements may be tweets or memes or a Dada manifesto or a snippet of poetry. Maybe, I want to make this work ore about the self-representation aspect? I was very moved by Davis’ work and I find myself very moved by works that revolve around the construction, negotiation, and navigation of identity and self. I find art to be an offshoot of self-presentation, so maybe that’s how that subject would tie into the work. Maybe I could have a screen of silhouettes, formatted like a rogues gallery or a board of wanted posters or something too??? I really think I want to delve into how involved digital content has become in the construction of the self. But, I don’t necessarily want to convey that that’s a bad thing. It’s just a change, a difference.

I love all of the research I’ve done so far into Dadaism and into new ways of identity construction through digital media but, maybe, I should make this work more personal? Perhaps use a silhouette of my face and mix in digital content with other creative works. Kind of use an individual example of the evolution of navigating the self to apply to a larger whole, to make a larger statement. Maybe I should focus on just conveying the ambivalence of navigating and negotiating self-representation??? I don’t know.

As you can see, I’ve had a hell of a week caught up in my thoughts. I could definitely use some guidance and, really, someone to bound ideas off of. Hopefully, this week, I can get a more solid grasp of what I want to create and begin researching ways to create it.

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~Till next week~

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