Month: May 2013

Unearthing “Underbelly”

Christine Wilks’ piece “Underbelly” was truly amazing. The tie between women carving stone is an interesting one because the connection between those mining and those sculpting for art purposes is wavering. While both occupations require the same basic action, the thought and purpose (as well as the end result) of the work is vastly different. In this sense the piece make a connection with literature as well. While writing in a digital space as opposed to print is essentially the same action (making words into something) the finished product and how the reader experiences them is completely different. Also, like mining when writing for the intention of print the author is limited in what the piece can become. On the other hand a sculptor has a blank canvas that may be carved to assume any shape; much like the creation of digital literature.

The viewer is transformed into a miner themselves as they chip away at the piece discovering new snippets and gems hidden beneath the surface. At first the varying information is overwhelming, but as I continued the discoveries started to take on a rhythm. I especially liked the history and video clips included. The piece definitely makes a statement about the versatility and openness of new age media because it changes the way literature is practiced. Instead of merely reading and letting the author guide the reader through the story, “Underbelly” gives the viewer control.

The images used in “Underbelly” were something I really enjoyed as well. In some moments I felt as if there were perhaps some sexual undertones with the imagery of female reproductive organs and the repetitive sound of the video. I felt a combination of repression and empowerment. On one hand there is the sense of enslavement of the female minors performing back breaking work within the earth, but on the other is the artist expressing and freeing themselves through the creation of a sculpture. To me this progression represents the odd path the act of chipping away rock has taken, and the pride in women taking something as ugly as doing some manual labor and turning it into an art form.

With so many layers of hidden themes, and combinations of media types, “Underbelly” is a prime example of the benefits of E-literature. The creation of it opens up millions of new possibilities and collaborations between artists/authors.

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HoLoG Project

House of Leaves of Grass is such a mind blowing program, I wasn’t quite sure where to start. But, after playing around a bit I decided to create a video mapping my journey (and resulting poem) through it. Its interesting that any route you take results in a beautiful poem. At first I was upset about the shakiness, but then I decided I liked the rawness it adds.

What the Helvetica?

Words

Watching “Helvetica” this week was a very eye opening experience for me. I never realized before watching that the world of typeface was so vast, and so full of professionals truly fanatical about it. Choosing a font that meshes well with what I’m creating has always been a difficult process for me, but I never considered why that is until watching the film. One man in the movie said that “the meaning is the content of the text, not in the typeface,” which I both agree and disagree with; It doesn’t seem to be as simple as that. Type is used in many different places, and therefore serves many different purposes. In the context of typeface being used as content, (in things like books, journals, newspaper etc.) I would say this idea is spot on. What’s attractive about Helvetica is that the type is clean and does not distract away from the idea the writer is trying to get across. However, when it comes to titles a unique typeface can become part of the brand. The movie used the wonderful example of “Marvel” who creates all things superhero. As soon as someone sees that font they are reminded of “Marvel” even if it has nothing to do with them. In this sense, the typeface can be part of the uniqueness of a label. One thing that was brought up during discussion that I found interesting was whether typeface should be considered art, to which I would reply undoubtedly yes! In the words of Google art is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination.” “Helvetica” shows clearly that typeface is this result of human creative skill and imagination by showing the meticulous creation of each font, and just how passionate the creators are about their work. Not only that, but the typeface that is used in pieces created by others can greatly contribute to the impression it makes. How cool would it be to trace the evolution of different typefaces like Helvetica? Perhaps someday Google’s nehelveticaw tool in the making will be able to help with that.

The article entitled “In 500 Billion Words, New Window on Culture” was really great. I hadn’t heard of this new project Google is undertaking, and I must say I find it intriguing. What kept coming to mind for me, since I’m also in Shakespeare currently, is how interesting such a tool would be to trace the more than 1700 words he invented/changed. I think it would be fun to see how these words evolved and grew and to interpret the “why” of such changes. While I can understand why some humanists were concerned by the tool, I don’t think it poses any sort of threat; and would only provide another instrument in the study of words/history. I could also see how it could give linguists a view into language and its development that they never had before. Although in some ways I am reminded of “The Hermeneutics of Screwing Around; or What You Do with a Million Books” because there really is no way of interpreting or studying the billions upon billions of words that such studies would entail.