Labsome Task 1

Please write not more than 1000 (though probably not less than 500) words on why you are doing honours and what you hope to achieve as a result. What don’t you know about this year that you would like to? What are you afraid of this year? What are you looking forward to? Decide if you think this should be a blog entry?

This is not an essay, the important things are to get the words and ideas out, and not to fuss over expression, grammar, perfection. This task is to achieve two things:

  • to get you into the discipline of writing
  • to begin to think seriously about how to make labsome relevant to your future

Teaching Notes

I’ve placed teaching docs (course guides and so on) on various servers over the years. Servers that no longer exist, dom

ACTU Rally

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Integrated 1, AV01

Oh, don’t you love the title? Sounds either like a room in some institution, or a test model of some hi-tech thingie. No, it is just the first time based media task to be done as part of Int. Media (that’s short for Integrated Media because I’m getting tired of spelling it out).

So, here’s the task:

You are to make a 60 second video about whatever you did or were doing at 6:10pm (18:10) on Wednesday February 28th.

  • What equipment do you need to achieve this?
  • What are you being asked to do?
  • What steps do you need to do to complete this?

If you know how to get this into your blog do so, otherwise we will publish it in next week’s workshop.

Teaching, Again

Today was the first day of the semester. The usual long break between the end of last semester (when I was only running an honours workshop) and this semester’s which is lectures, labs and all the assessment stuff. An introductory lecture which seemed to be more about some teaching philosophy than anything else. Had one lab (computer lab) today, which I had wanted to be a conversation about participation but actually became much more teacher directed. A quick look at the blogs afterwards and it just really missed the mark. I think the problem is simple, and it is just me trying to make something simple more complicated than it needs to be. In the process instead of giving room to the students for them to take ownership and control of it I end up shaping it way too much. Let’s face it, I’ve developed an excellent participation model, it works. There’s no real need to dress it up more. (A useful thing to try and remember.)

Bachelardian Labels

In an earlier post I mentioned that each video episode in my proposed project will have three keywords, and that one of these will be a “Bachelardian” label. Sounds all mysterious really. Gaston Bachelard is/was a French phenomenologist who wrote some works that are seminal for me. The Poetics of Reverie, The Poetics of Space, The Psychoanalysis of Fire, The Poetics of Matter (you get the drift?). It is a long list.

So my labels, I don’t actually know what the words will be yet (the actual words are irrelevant, they’re just values in the system), but the paired terms are:

  • stasis – action (movement)
  • soft – hard (matter)
  • fire – ice (hearth)
  • high – low (space)
  • near – far (touch)

After compiling that list (which I just brainstormed) I realised that these are the only keywords I need in the project. Any project will probably have at least two of these, and if I build the project in such a way that it will first of all search for a match on any of the keywords, and then add a random connection half way through each episode (if it doesn’t find sufficient matches) then the structure should be fine.

However, that probably needs a bit of backstory, doesn’t it? The Korsakow Engine uses keywords. These are defined by the author and have the usual complement of Boolean conditions. Hence I can attach keywords to an episode (and impressively can have keywords attached to points in the timeline) and then for the current episode search for other episodes that on the basis of whatever keywords I wish. Hence the current episode might have the keyword ‘yes’, and I can get it to search for episodes that have the keyword ‘yes’ and ‘no’, for example. I can exclude terms, and so on. The way I am using the engine there is one episode which plays, and then three selections are made (on the basis of the keywords) and these appear as thumbnails across the bottom of the screen. Clicking any of these makes this the episode that plays, and in turn it uses the assigned keyword values to determine another three episodes to appear below.

Now a very common error in authoring systems that have such an architecture is to over script such a system. Assigning lots of keywords, lots of rules. This generally makes it hard to author (as you have so much to map or manage), or it makes the structure just irrelevant to the reader. After all, it is the reader who is crucial here, and if the reader can’t discern a pattern then the work will not be understood, and (as is usually the case) dismissed.

Hence in the project that I’m slowly piecing together I’ll just use the single set of keywords, assigning as many as are relevant per episode. Repetition is fine, and helps create the patterns that allow structure to emerge (repetition after all is fundamental to pattern). If there aren’t any relevant keywords, and to add a bit of noise into the system (to avoid building constrained loops that you can’t get out of), each episode when it makes a selection of related episodes can randomly select a third (if required). This happens half way through the current episode so won’t appear as a possible selection until some time interval.

I could make the structure much more, well, structured, but as I want to be able to continually and easily add new content I don’t have the advantage of a known body of episodes. So a very simple keyword system, combined with one random element, should generate enough connections to provide a navigable and intelligible structure. This is basically a constrained taxonomy, and while each episode may be highly self contained I think that once there is sufficient content in there connections will appear between the segments courtesy of the relations the system generates and the fact that all the work is mine. We’ll see.

The Hilton Pool

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Integrated Media Course Guide

RMIT has a proforma for course guides. Since this now also gets stuck online as a part A and part B thing (I think part A is public and part B is only available if RMIT knows who you are) the proforma has some redundancies. Anyway, this is the course guide for this semester’s course, which will have already begun by this time next week….

| Integrated Media One Course Guide 2007 (pdf) |

Small Pieces

This is self quotation or possibly self plagiarism. In drafting a post (not published yet) about the sort of media practice my

Looking for Anna

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Media Curriculum Map

Below you’ll find a link to a pdf which is the mapping task I did for the media program. This was used in a curriculum d

An Emerging Project

I have started on a Korsakow video project. Working title of ‘any-instant-whatever’. Basically each vog that I make from now on will appear in the videoblog (here) and it will also be included in this new project. I’ll write more about how the Korsakow Project works later, but what I’m interested in is a video practice that is open, ongoing, and allows structures or patterns to emerge. (The same qualities that draw me to writing in hypertext.) This is, in some ways, against the spirit of Florian’s original project, which is much more a system for building works that then get published as finished. Much like using Storyspace to write finished hypertexts. In each case they are made up of multiple parts, have multiple pathways, and a single reading or viewing may obscure as much as it reveals.

Since the Korsakow system relies on keywords I want to use a very simple keyword system. The patterns will look after themselves through the content of the vogs, and I don’t want to end up with some bizarre keyword list that is more taxonomy, or folksonomy, than a simple rule set facilitating emergent structures. (Many people when they come to these sorts of systems assume that complexity is the product of complex rules. It is not. Complexity results from simple rules iterated. It is this that produces complex structures, and it is these structures that we regard as intentional and meaningful.) My rules: each episode (Florian’s Smallest Narrative Unit, or a node) will have three keywords: the day on which the work was shot, or made, a sort of Bachelardian label (each of which expresses two possible positions), and a noun relating in some way to the content. Each episode will have these as keywords, and will rate more highly those with matching keywords. If that doesn’t work, I’ll change it. This work is not public yet, I only have four vogs in it, which is not nearly a critical mass for such a task.