Week 8 (Oct. 18)

Meme: "Yo dawgs, I heard you like digital stories, so let's discuss making stories out of stories so we can write while we read"Instructor: Amanda

Topic: What are the tools besides HTML you can use to write and visualize narrative in digital form? We’ll explore distant reading, text visualizations, and remix culture.

Pre-class Reading:

  1. Eric Faden’s “A Fair(y) Use Tale” explains copyright law entirely through remixing clips from Disney films:
  2. “Remix Culture” by the Center for Social Media
  3. Cory Doctorow on “Why Do You Give Away Your Books?”
  4. Cory Doctorow’s webpage listing ways readers have remixed his novel Little Brother
  5. Orson Whales
  6. Prometheus Smurf
  7. Don Draper Says What

Post-class Assignment (due by 4:00pm EST on 10/23/2012):

  1. Create a distant reading visualization using one of the tools we discussed during class (Wordle or any of the other tools on the TAPOR page or under “Text-Analysis” on this page; check with me first if you’ve found a different tool you’d like to use; you may use TextVoyeur, but the interface might be a bit confusing) and some piece of text you’ve read before, such as a reading from an earlier week of the course, your own writing (e.g. the narrative you wrote earlier in the term), or any of the tens of thousands of public domain books over at Project Gutenberg. The important thing is to have a digital copy of the text so that you can use it with a distant reading visualization tool, and to use a piece of text you’ve previously read (so that you can compare the whole txet to the visualization version). Try to use a text large enough so that you get an interesting visualization (e.g. if your short story is 300 words long, it’s going to have at the most 300 unique words, so you need to change the Wordle settings to use a maximum of some smaller number of words [e.g. 50] to get an interesting visualization).
  2. Create a blog post analyzing your visualization. Your blog post should follow the general directions for writing a blog postas well as:
    • contain at least one embedded image of the distant reading visualization you created
    • analyze the distant reading visualization you made: what does it suggest? what doesn’t it suggest? how accurate are the things it seems to say?
    • imagine in detail a new distant reading tool you wished existed (how would it work? what would it tell you?)
  3. Extra Credit. Extra credit if you includes images in your post that you created through remixed media music, images, or video. These don’t need to directly illustrate what you’re saying in the post; rather, they should show how you thought about some existing meme, iconic photograph, music video, etc. and changed it up to have a new meaning. Remixed media must be used in different ways than originally intended (think memes and new juxtapositions of different pieces of media) and must be properly cited if you use anything not your own (author, title, and public domain/Creative Commons license type or who owns the copyright). Don’t just use Meme Generator or an existing meme–change it up somehow, or make a new meme-style creation. More points for more creativity! You might think of what we read on Deena Larsen’s site back when we were talking about e-lit–for example, you can use images that comment on your text, or say something that’s the opposite of or more nuanced than what your text is saying, or add something that wasn’t there before… make your viewer think in a new way. You might also create a remixed mash-up, e.g. photoshopping a classic image into something different, mixing together two or more different tracks of music, cutting together clips from different movies or music videos to make a new one, or re-enacting a favorite scene from a movie or music video with friends but subtly changing it (e.g. using different costumes, etc. to change the meaning of the scene or the lyrics–like reshooting the video for a rap song dressed as cowboys. Or something). Use the remix readings from before class as examples of really good work (but you don’t have to spend that level of time/effort, of course–I’m not expecting anything longer than 3-5 minutes or a couple really good images). You might use some of the tools on the UCSB Toy Chest to make your remix (or your final project!).
  4. And! Don’t forget you have a separate deadline for your final project proposal.

Photo of distant reading manga wall

Images can be distant-read, too: here’s a project involving thousands of manga images. Photo via the Software Studies Initiative; www.neh.gov/news/humanities/2011-03/Graphing.html

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