Saturday, October 28, 2006

Diversity and Cultural Production Communities - Flow Conference

Moderator: Jean Lauer - Welcome to the very last panel and I want to invite everyone to the Dog & Duck Pub. How has television changed in the post network age and have various forms of diversity been addressed and ignored.

Vicki Mayer (Tulane University) - I will begin. Let me say straight out to be in panels talking about production and I do want to say that everyone who is sitting here has a different relation to all of this. Production in cultural studies becomes a veru relevant issue. The asy answer in the past was we don't have diverse people in production roles so we do not have diverse representations. But if we broaden our focus we may see diversity... on reality shows for example. Of course this is in a non-union non-guild manner. But this is problematic. In casting these shows, 99% of reality casting is done by women and gay men. It is emotional labor to get crazy people to do the labor to get people on Tv and say crazy stuff. So if you are a straight man it is hard to get into this, which is a challenge in an odd way. To what degree are these subjectivities determined by production roles.

Sharon Ross (Columbia College) - I am coming at thyis from a small media arts role and I do it froma a writing and production track. We have a very high percentage of minority and first gen college students. What is the way that we can pose a series of change. One thing that comes up over and over is what do we mean when we say diversity and our writers and producers don;t understand this issue. What is the relationship between diversity and choice? How can the classroom change this. You often get race in her where niches fold into choice. We get a terrible problematic of nicheing. Then you get the Wire which is brilliant but no one watches it. And these things are interested in it but often they are stymied by the roles that they see in production culture. How do we incorporate these tools at the production level -- critical theory in production -- so we can get ethics and cultural responsibility.

Belinda Acosta (Austin Chronicle) - I don'[t know why I am here and I am not an academic. However I get questions like this in many ways about diversity, because I have the brownest face in the room. And I get paid to watch TV. Ultimately for a number of reasons I am interested to have diverse people in the industry. I ahve a big thing with young people to look at TV and see the invisible structures that help us interpretp material such as class. No one wants to talk about class. And class exists. Class defines what we think is good, real, authentic and of quality. My personal viewing is interesting. I don't love "Ugly betty" -- maybe the only person in the US who doesn't love it. Those ABC and FOX are trying to find the "Brown Dollar" but I am sick of being treated as homogenous. We are not all bilingual, nor are we all "Mexican".

John Caldwell (University of California, Los Angeles) - In the last few years I have been doing cultural studies fieldwork and this started off with fruistration about high-level executive interviews. The higher you go up the food chain the least credible you get. I would gvet producers who speak in pre-crafted soundbites. This is in some ways about self-branding. But I have a better affinity with gaffers and grips and sometimes their truth is from the fact that they are more desperate than execs. There is a massive and accelerating supply of Labor in LA and this makes a problem for all kinds of diversity issues. Also, everyone wants to make you work for nothing in LA. I can't tell you how many people would work for nothing who were PAs. The stories are unbvelievable. The other part of this is that academics are part of this overproduction. We produce too many people to get kicked around at Viacom. I realize how one rises up in the indy and it starts with interning and moving on up. The class nature of universities in the US is a huge issue. What we could do is never place working class students on teh writer's staff of the Simpsons, but at other places lik UC Long Beach they are getting into things like "Hard Copy" and other "low" media.

Miranda Banks (USC) I want to say that one thing about issues of gender are key. Think about costume designers and this is interesting... it is below "the line:" and out of the 660 of these people 600 are women, about 50 are gay men. These are the lowest paid of the "Top" "Below the line" industries. On the other hand about 3% women in terms of cinematagraphers and they are at the "Top" of the pay level. And this is seen in salary differences. In the piece that i wrote was to stretch this term diversity. The amount that poeople are paid is going down, indeed, But more importantly you are doing the work of a number of different jobs. Think of costume designers and supervisors. No one wants to pay designers, but they want supervisors to do that in order to drive down costs and go against thye union rules. IATSE is losing camera operators because of HD digital. And someone holds that camera, just not a camera operator. And then, again, in Raelity Shows, what is "writing". People are writing but they are called producers. And in some cases these are editors.

Spencer Nutting (independent media producer) - I was able to get on this panel and as a gay male in the media who produces it as a gay male. There is a funny thing about this on 60 Minutes recently abou affectations whether or not they were gay. This is an interesting thing. Think about the Office and "Gay Witch Hunt". With that in mind and get a little more serious. But most people don't know that I am gay until I say it. And television is all about stereotypes. We are always going to tell us something "gay" will be on TV with a "Viewer Discretion Advised" telegraphs that something "gay" will be on TV (references famous "All in the Family" about gays on TV). The brunt of the joke about the Office is that the manager doesn't know how to deal with the issue of how to act appropriately with Gay people...

Moderator -- Let's open this up

Miranda -- One of the things about Producers is that they know how to "define" what they are doing, theior conceptual pitch. But people "below the line" are baffled by why people would want anyone to ask us about it since they then give us the most exciting conversation about these shows. This desire to to talk to the producer may actually be better suited to looking and thge "bleoiw the line:" aspect.

Elana Levine -- In my experience no one knows what to talk about when addressing scholars. This includes producers. The best way would be doing observational type of work.

LS Kim -- Could we pick up and talk about Sahron's query define diversity. If we are going to bother top deal with diversity, well, what does it mean?

Vicki -- For me this term.. I almost never ask people about it in this language since it seems to work on a liberal model and we are schooled in PC language. But when you ask what are the characteristics about "doing your job" then you begin to realize that everyone who did this work was female or a gay male. My next step is to study people and watching them do their job.

Sharon -- I have a similar experience with the word diversity and working with people in the industry and the word is incredibly overused. For my students it is a term that we try to unravel because the term seems useless. We essentially toss aside that word and talk about "Authenticity" and "authentic" representations. But I am seeking new tools and new vocab.

Belinda -- I am a Latina and I want our stories being told and that old line. I am looking for meaty and interesting stories. One of the shows I love to hate is "Grey's Anatomy" and I was thrilled about Snadra Oh's character and about how her story was complicated and she is driven but works hard and we do not see her this way... but that was in the pilot and Sandra Oh, though, is now just angry and driven in her work. I like to see how hgard it is to be a human being is represented.

John -- I am not certain I can name what diversity but I know I can name it when it doesn't exist. In a tradition where class is key, the workers are the key. In LA by many people who look at a highly paid cmaeraworker may be a problem and old people are sometimes seen as evil by young workers. I am interested in broader economic schemes here is a great way. But Postfordist anxieties and overproduction is a problem for "people" and great for "industry". Of course, I am giving you and example in Los Angeles and LA loves itself as being multiculti but class is a problem if you do not know how to "eat properly" or play "Golf" with the right people. You can get your ambitions beaten out of you so easily there

Miranda -- I think John is right and I think about how no guy wants to hire their Mom in tyhe writers room. This is one way to thionk of class and labor issues, but in gender. I think that there are those kinds of issues and their are diversity of cultures and what kinds of communities that you are suppoised to be involved in. The culture that one's surround themselves in in each level of production are very different. You need to piece apart production and how each subsection has its own politics.

LS -- Yeah, that;s why I thought that this would be useful.

Spencer -- I think diversity is a "tool that has been implemented by the gay mafia" you can ask Jerry Falwell and they will tell you that this is about tolerating those gays and the like. In Antidiscrimination policies based on race, gender and age... and then disabled and sexual orientation and the rainbow concept of diversity... and where does it all end? Well, diversity begins and ends with us and it is everywhere. Instead of the melting pot we are a salad... and this is a way of looking for us

Audience -- I am British and talkking about class in America makes me nervous. Look at Universities... in Britain it is about middle classing the profession. There are distinct ways of conducting ourselves and these alienate working class people. I think it is horrible that the working class are becoming the subjects rather than production... see Wife Swap.

John -- I like what you were saying on so many levels. Let us think about using a different word than "The Industry" and think about how there are many specifics and locals. There are many local and in-depth studies. I come from a rural whiote trash background and I do not feel that I fit in. Think about NYU and the working class students who take humungous loans at a place like that to make their calling card films.

Miranda -- I know many people who work as gaffers and electricians and they lead a solid job...

Audience -- In Britain that work would not be seen as a middle class job...

Miranda -- Yes, but this is about income. Writyers coming from Liberal Arts education and the issues of class are recomplicated and the issues have to do with background that is cultural.

Audience -- How do you teach diversity -- I teach that it doesn not exist and something that does not exist. And let us think about this at an international level. Is it possible to see homosexuality in CAmeroon as a mafia... well, it is criminalized there.

Spencer -- How many of you are familiar in The Wire. The show is incredible that there are Gay and Lesbian characters in both the police and the crime levels. One of the police commanders is a self-loathing gay man. What the show appears to be and what the show is and the city of Baltimore sets it up with the issue of class and how the criminal class is set up at a very young age. How do you break the cycle of crime. One of the interesting thinsg you do when you "come out" is breaking the cycle. What I am trying to say is that when I came out it came down to where do I want to go with my life?

Amanda Lotz -- Could we reflect on this on how it fits in the tradition of cultural studies and political economy?

Vicki -- It's a long history in sociology and cultural studies where we break apart cultural models. Many of the things that set up subcultuires that percolate up... you don't start with Badigkian and work your way down but you reframe them in many different ways. There is so much room out there to start. Where does it start and where does it start and does it start with the maker of the TV sets.

Audience -- We have heard about many of the barriers to production. I would like to think about this in terms of downward mobility and then go down from college to working on a cheap reality tv show. There is a strong parallel.

Spencer -- Think about Public Access TV. I am a producer here in Austin and have a license with them and it is the means of producing and ending up with production. We have to think about it in terms of wise use and the knowledge that takes me there. Resources are the key for me.

Vicki -- I want to address John's comment. There are so many people out there and people want to this

Audience -- I want to talk about this in such a way that maybe if a Minority who get into a position of power.

I make a pleas for studying popular music media

Audience -- Let us think about TV voting as a mode of interdisciplinarity

John -- Ok, work matters. I think in the terms of textual analysis that is done is short sighted work. One of the things that is celebrated in the system is something that works for profit. And then there is a textual economy... you move something un and where this is. And any time there is instability you have an opportunity.

Spncer -- There are more opportunities now than there were in the recent past. Many people can now create and distribute and there is a way of making a calling card and this is good.

Vicki -- Let us look at call centers though and in Maquilladoras where work is being more and more... dehumanized.

John -- Let us think about the critical activity and the wokr that is done -- this is something that is something that helps us think about it TV in this way.

Audience -- critical studies people and production department... there seems to be a way in which none of this is supported. Critical studies are not encouraged to do any production.

John -- And the MFA doesn't want to give us places for critical studies in many ways in allowing these courses that come about.

Jyotsna kapur -- Let us look at this in a post-fordist economies, which you have. We think about this in terms of a lot of working class and first gen studies and students come from a consumerist idea of getting a job that is, at the same time, have an interest in getting insights about political economic theory and the like.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Participatory Political Cultures - Flow Conference

Chuck Tryon (Fayetteville State University) - I entered this discussion by living in DC an d the political junkie culture that exists there. In particular the political blogosphere and how it relates to television, etc. This is something like these clips being placed in YouTube and Media Matters and Crooks and Liars. Think about Colbert's in character speech on C-span that got lifted onto the web and got as large an audience as Cspan... also think about Chris Wallace's interview with Clinton on Fox News. How are these clips being used and to what effect. The political blogs many of us read, at least I do, is reinforce my politics and there are questions of dealing with the public sphere. We often see these clips out of context in the context of online forums of discussion. And, of course, who gets to participate. You need broadband to work fully in it.

Todd Fraley (East Carolina University) -- I am also interested in this topic in how it defines participation and how alternative viewpoints can find their way into the discussion. Traditional forms of media is key here ... also what about public access and free speech tv. How do people use this technology? Who uses them and how they use them helps expand participation in politics.

Kelly Kessler (Queens College-CUNY) -- I came to this topic as a hostile lurker/poster. Think about this space as a place on network sponsored boards such as the L Word or American Idol. Yes, these boards give us a space that did not exist before and we get more of a "two way" conversation. But what I ultimately question is how "two way" and useful this conversation is. When I post something it is just because it is out of anger. I have a vitriolic moment and I have something to say... but how do these add something to the political discussion. Is this just a place to hear me talk. It's not providing us a two way conversation, or is it? I was also thinking of Douglas Gomery and the "made-for-tv" movie who say that this is a watered down way of thinking of it where Jarvik argues about the issue of accessibility. Is this the same as the boards for the L-Word or Amer Idol. Where are real issues in here. People are dealing with things here that are often "actually real" so these boards may be dealing with issues that are therapeutic. The "really real" is a place to think about these things that actually talk and have real crises. So what is going on here has stakes. SO what kinds of spaces are we creating?

Jonathan Nichols-Pethick (DePauw University)-- Most of my work is about mainstream issues and practices in TV. Think about NBC cancelling "The Book of Daniel" -- Terre Haute, Ind was one of the first affiliates to cancel it and after cancelling it had little to do with the religious right and mostly about institutional concenrs. And I want to think about it in terms of the level of affiliates. So let us think about the change in the relationship between nets and affiliates and these old relationships are breaking down. WTWO saw the "BOD" saw it a a place to push back at the nets as nets are placing pressure on them. Also, issues of localism are key in a new mainstream commercial television econ. It could go either way. If the stations are uberlocal we could have some real bad precedent such as the PTAR problems. BOD was replaced with the 700 Club but they had a lot of money and WTWO thought it was easy and luicrative. Also, issues of consolidation are something to consider.

John Turner (Goucher College) -- One of the things that interests me is the issue of niche marketing in participatory political issues. I am interested in issues of the panoptic. As we move into this convergence moment and we go into a "one platform" move, there is something abot the individual nets use the indy individual as a place to gather information. And this is key: at one of these levels in a political season the two major parties are collecting data on people in a moment where the country has been easily divided. The swing voter has diminished. To what degree are we all being jacked in and niched into where we fit. We couldn't really base any definitive idea in the old model, in the new models we get more surveillance every 15 minutes and take our pulse. I am paranoid of certain degree of what can be done as we identify through these particpatory channels.

Moderator: Katherine Haenschen -- The notion of politics is being talked about proudly. Is it hit counts or interacting.

Jonathan -- one of the position papers was interested in the myth of interactivity and what does this mean in mainstream media activities. In mainstream media it is to vote or cvonsume something for or from a program. Often the network will create their own site., I am troubled with this notion of participation... it may be a matter of branding

Kelly - After the succcess of the first year of Amer Idol they no longer just had their shops and began to dress to their contestant so that you could get their outfits. By last season the whole thing had been commodified. A great participatory moment?

Chuck -- Why do we measure interactivity in terms of media use rather than just general conversation about Amer Idol? Why does the technology count so much?

Kelly -- Well, we are limited and we are basing it in a way that has to do with the techs that we have. We change the technology and the conversations are key. I am often semi engaged and I may have nothing else to do and sometimes people develop relationships through these boards. It's not just about the medium and this is an important place.

Audience -- We are hitting up against an issue that is a particpatory model, but these may be benign and certainly not acivist in the mainstream sense. How can we build something with mainstream television that gives us Mainstream TV. Is this a dead end?

kelly -- I don't necessarily disagree with you. I think that this is possibly one way in which ...

Audience -- Is there any way to do it in TV and free speech TV seems not necc to make two-way TV...

Todd -- I think free speech tv is a way that deals with issues of protests that utilizes new forms. It is all combined and this is interesting that utilizes the media and creates more particpation and something eles.

Audience -- Participation creates a consciuous move -- in that sense it is a conscious move and this oten mobilizes something others time not

Todd -- how do we define participation? If you have soemthing that I want it to air, will it count

Kelly -- CNN is doing tyhis

Jonathan -- This is all participation and thsi is all about distribvution though and the distribution

I mention MYDD and Googlebombing

Moderator -- Is there something about the beauty of the niche gourp and preaching to the choir. Does this have an impact to mobilize viewers

Kelly -- This is about Television. And this seems to be a slothful medium ... the starting point is problematic.

Audience -- here is a pre-nich example and this is 1968 and I was a dropout and I would always have my radio on WBAI and I would listen and one night I heard about the Columbia bust and people just called in and I got on the train and it was mobilizing and the niche part was that WBAI FM was niche. Politics is about doing something and this is a high level activity. Who is that question to take it as a question and who is it? This is something

Audience -- What is more effective -- anti war protests or something like googlebombing. This is about creating the climate and it is a kind of protest. So is googlebombing and it is specific in its goal. There may not be one way. How about this happening in every different community and how you mobilize for different goals. Let us allow for change in different ways. Let us activate this and enrichen the landscape. We want a multiplicity -- virtual or real. This gets back to the idea of participation about movement.

Kelly -- I think Oxygen was trying to do this at the beginning. It was really connected to the web. The crawl was doing this in a representative way that was a mainstream media. By the time Oxygen got Fabio it seemed to go down the tube (but sex talk with Sue Johansen is still on). Zstill it was about driving people troward thinking about things.

Turner -- This is part of this cooptive model and frito lay will give a million dollars for YouTube users to create a commercial.

Audience -- It sounds like the more we participate the more we are inscribed?

Turner -- The minute I sent in money to the DNC I am bombarded.

Jonathan -- Yeah and there are people like you -- that's what advertisers want to do... find people like you.

Audience -- The other thing this seems to suggest is questioning the terms of participation. We are trained to be dutiful. And We understand how we question to reframe the terms of participation. Is it possibl;e

Chuck -- Googlebombing and posting commercials on YouTube (see Allen's Macaca) and this is key in reshaping the senate base. The Michael J Fox is also key as well. Media reporting is always key.

Audience -- The blogs are utilized to amplify it over and over. This is key.

Kelly -- How do we get people to make this a particpatory culture. Preaching to the choir is key throughout. How do we get people doing this.

Audience -- You can push this stuff out and piggyback the internet on top of TV.

Audience -- Is it key to get more politics?

Audience -- Dissemenation of knowledge is not the same as active participation

Chuck -- Is voting participation?

Audience -- Well, no, not in this sense.

Audience -- Another way of thinking about this is knowledge does not chnage the structures. What has changed structurally?

Kelly _- Who is seeking this information?

Audience -- But it also means we need other models about information. There needs to be other spaces of production, Revamp old models of participation. The luddites weren't anti tech but they were against losing their jobs. We need other modes. The other thing I want to talk about is as a human I need things I relate to. I am a desiring subject. How am I being reached?

Audience -- I want to go back to the issue of structure and the change of this in politics. the structure in this case was Dean and the ascension to the DNC chair. And he is financing his campaign through t-shirt sales. One mode of participation and there is a certain way that we can think about it.

Audience -- The Dean campaign made a lot of noise about how this also had to do with bottom up policy proposals. Did this actually happen?

Audience -- It is interesting to think about this in ways of e-mail and in terms of votes.

Audience -- I am thinking about why people have lost interest in politics. More access and information and entertainment is soemthing that may motivate people to participation. Information is not easy to control. When it can relate to your life.

Turner -- I want to respond to the Dean example and it deflates instantly. This is interesting since it has to deal with a significant change. I am reminded of Jodi Dean and her argument and the need to know people and the need to believe people. She looks at the belief as the difference maker that is key. Participation is ok, but to what extent when we walk down in the mall and the confluence of events. What are we left with to believe.

Audience -- In experiments a number os studies show that people who produce information and have a positive attitude toward information in general. The belief is generated here,.

Audience -- People's ability to believe has been disseminated by false information and people do not know what to believe.

Audience -- The consumerist model is key ...

Chuck -- Look the issue of representation is interesting. It also has to do with what is an issue of identity

Moderator -- All particpatrion leaves a trace of identity

Todd -- what participation is key to generator of identity and we need to look at the issue of information and how one generates information

Audience -- Think about packaging...

Jonathan -- Production is good and many of them want to look at this is in terms of production values are issues ... But LonelyGirl got called out as a hoax becuase it was clear that it was too good in production.

Chuck -- yeah it was a too good and people was shown for to be too good.

Audience -- yeah -- but niches are good in many ways. Think of the lesbian who lives in rural community v lesbians who live a city. There was a politics about that for a long time about getting those images out into communities that were not as accepting.

Kelly -- Yeah, but the L Word may be good, but they are still pretty and still feminine. The multiplicity of groups were key to the issue of mainstream television and politics. Niching works, but there are still many communities. The dearth of representtaions of all minority groups is huge.

Audience -- But there is an explosion of self representation on the web...

Kelly -- and we are back to issues of access and issues of finding myself.

Chuck -- Even the search tools are problematic. There was a commercial in Spanish on last night's world series

Kelly -- and it freaked it me out! (laughter)

Chuck -- Think about the rallies for promoting participation and the openly talking about the rallies and this was in Spanish Language Radio.

Patty Zimmerman -- What happens when the words political and participatory are put out in other parts of the world. Other countries such as in Hong King the use of cell phones to mobilize. Buenos Aries and club culture were key to politics. Let us think of the US in multiple ways and displacing ourselves as scholars that re-energize us. There are many places for us to have us listen to what it means to think of this. Some of these models come in public health or NGOs. I find them humbling and having people not understand us. And there is more of an emphasis on "We" and less of an empasis on "I" here. Heck, we only have one multisystem deck at Ithaca. This may be boring but it is a nodal point to make transnational vectors cause the internet isn't everything and de-authorising yourself.

Audience -- Anything that is marginal to the mainstream American culture. What gets shown and what gets taught is central to thinking and teaching.

Audience -- I have a student come in this year with a newsreel film as an exmaple of radical media

Jonathan -- I wnat to plug Williams book "Television Technology and Cultural Form" and he is attacking McLuhan. His last chapter of that book is about alternative media practices. The idea of silence and what Williams was saying was a case that has to deal with copyright for example in YouTube. Copyright is key since Google and YouTube has proprietary interests.

Audience -- How many classes talk about alternative media practices? How many people study it? This is really a major responsibility that communications departments are never met. There are classes in this at times, but this should always be the case --- alternative media need to always be included. It's central to me and any cinema studies class I teach is something that I make it as key.

Kelly - Pretty much in every class I teach some alternative media. But at the same time the repsonses I get from my students is that this is "alternative" and the students know what is and what isn't mainstream media. Their reaction can be problematic.

Patty Zimmerman -- I am going to show my age and we thought that cultural studies in the 1980s were sucking up to commercial media. And we were thinking that we were looking for resistance and we wanted the engagement. Erik Barnouw used to say if you are a professor you have job to be courageous, you need to bomb your students and then give them a cherry. We need to think about multiple media ecologies and we need to think about buying from independent media sources. There should be new heterogenous strategies. I am very disturbed by the lack of enagement that communication scholars have with independent media

Audience -- (Affirms)

I mention Popular Music studies as a place where cultural studies was beneficial and a place of alternative production practices.

Technologies of Transport and Communication

James Hay (University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign)
Paul Stekler (University of Texas at Austin),
Jeremy Packer (North Carolina State)
Sarah Sharma (University of North Carolina)
Brett Siegel (University of California-Santa Barbara),

Moderator- How were technologies of transport in communication allow us to think through television and media

James -- We were honored to know that our question was the first to be submitted. But Jeremy is really responsible for that. I have been interested in the relation of media to spatiality for a number of years. In particular to urban design and planning and geography;. I think of this as an intervention into critical media studies. This is one legacy of McLuhanism where media has a discreet history. One of the questions I wanted to pose come out of Jeremy's work who is working with Carey's work. Carey died over the summer and there all sorts of tributes and retrospectives at the Univ of Illinois and this is a kind of question about the question communication and transportation. The relation between technologies and media and transport have made this kind of pairing as resonant for research these days. This is in the case with social and behavioraol scientists. However we need to engage this more. The three questions to elaborate - wat does thinking about tv as transport help us think about tv studies? It asks us to think about it in terms of communication in terms of the hybridity of the televisual. The hardware and software has to the techs of present and in past. Telephonic, telegraphic -- tele meaning at a distance. This also has implications for thinking about the emergence of portable television. Here television is the beginning and end rather than say the car. Why would television be the best way of understanding TV and not looking at it through, say, the car -- why isn't that importrant when we think about portable screens. The second question has to do with the question of power. This is born out of two of the roundtables I went to yesterday. television and transport then puts together a sense of power. And this has to do with physical mobility and the power that one thinks about our environments that are designed to regulate movements. The last question has to do with the kind of reasoning where mobile teletechnologies are linked to "freedoms" and the "livberations" of populations. How has this gained traction through a neoliberal rhetoric of freedom and customization. I want to link televisual to transport and communication.

Jeremy -- I gave this example about hinking about comm and transport by thinking about cameras on SUVs. The thing I want to ask is thinking about Foucaults notion of problematization. One would be what problems are imagined that they can solve. If we bring cameras with television we can solve certain safety problems. What kind of accidents will this cause in the idea of the fact that there is too much going on as well as be on our salvation. So he starts with radio and traffic radio. It's far too much information to deal with. The formulation has to do with safety issues and they are imagined as problems and solutions.

Sarah - I am going somewhere completely different. I am thinking about Williams concept of "private mobilization" as a coherent idea. And how does this spatial practice in time open us up to think about a coherent treatment of space and time. Think about the airline or the taxicab negotiate the space. Let us think about how coherent this was in the first place. Think about automobility as it provides the same sort of function for these techs

Brett -- Communication and transport we often think about and take for granted assumptions about flow and mobility. Well, what would it mean if we took away issues of exchange or mobility? Let us flip it around and think about these whern they do not work and when there are accidents and technical difficulties and what would think about it if we took and put aside issues of movement and instead thought about issues of blockage and congestion. One of the ways that I hope to think about this in terms of accidents as noise in the system. Malfunction and mishap would be a good way of thinking about transportation away from utopia and again think of it in terms of when things break downs since these solve the problems of these failures. What were these? If we do this it would help us rethink issues of the accident and the everyday. By focusing on these moments it would help us. Also, communication helps us think about spatio-temporal collapse and in terms of what people were saying about transportation when this in terms of our thinking if this is distopic. What about the interdependencies of comm and transport? I have been looking at the black-box flight recorder in our discourse and computer simulations to help us reproduce crashes. How did ambulance services help us think about ambulatory transport co-exist with mapping and telegraphy and telephony... etc. The failure of communication systems after 9/11 are key as well.

Paul -- I thouyght about this and I don't know the literature, but as a filmmaker and American Studies and I think about how techs help us make things better and more efficient in the US. Think about the rapidity of this discourse and the commercials that exist in a vacuum. Campaigns, for example, is quick but not necc better. Campaign efficiency may make it worse for politics due to rapid response. I am willing to argue that the ease of editing material has worsened the material because the carft has deteriorated. Again, is it worse or better

Moderator -- I think some of the common threads that I heard had to do with techs of transport and freedom.

James -- i don;t want to ursurp your perogative as a moderator and I felt there wasn't a of engagement from audience. I hope to include the audience and I do not want to presume this. Please chime in.

Jeremy - before anyone else chimes in, one of the things about power is I go back to Foucault's notion of governing from a distance. Here this distance has to do with is how communication allows us to think about the issue because it has allowed this. The neoliberal aspect of this in the freedom of these kinds of movements is where we see this klind of governence to happen. The volume of Foucault and Political Freedom and it reiterates how power and freedom are intertwined. You need to make certain that people can be free to exert power over them.

Sarah -- So how do you think about this Dr. Siegel in your issue about breakdowns? (Hay affirms and notes let us look at Foucault as a dark comedy that looks at history in the history of failure in the history of the breakdown)

Brett -- I think it is absolutely bound up in terms of forensic engineering and the specificity of media in this and we think that the myth of the 20th century and progress continually goes out the window. Failure is necessary in this aspect in the success of progress and the way that the myth of progress works in this throughout experimentation. I am interested in how media specificity problematizes this. I am particularly interested in this in the issue of safety.

jeremy -- One of the weird things that this points out in the 20th century is the constant glossing over of the accident. I mean, if we paid enough attention to the accident the autombile may be untenable. The flipside of this is in looking at how safety campaigns work as a rhetorical moment of creating breakthroughs. This accident is used all over the place -- this rhetorical trope is key.

Brett -- One of the ways I am interested in is in how engineers can be used to know and how safety would sell. There is a new regime of the discourse.

Sarah -- Affective relationships and technology and the publics are fixed in space and they want to live in a place.

McMurria (audience) - Think about distance learning and how this has to do with neoliberal policies. There are certain nontraditional students to provide alternatives in new techs and in power and governmentality ...

James -- At the University of Illinois the new President wants to thionk about a 4th campus and this would be a distance learning campus that would be a way to reach out and help disadvantaged and needy students. But this is clear that this is a way to reinvent a state institution of connecting it to private long-distance learning initiatives in order to allow students to sanction the private universities. The mission of higher ed is key to reinvent to university of the "economy of the tour".

Jeremy -- At Penn State the idea of the grabbing the space and opens up education.

Paul -- OUr libraries our being able to close down because these are ways of thes because people are not utilizing libraries and this is the online territory for funding where people.

Sarah -- The needs of creating intersections to think about the media that is discussed throughout.

Audience -- What kind of subject is being produced through these types of subjects. is the neoliberal subject a stable construct?

james -- Going about the issue of physicality and materiality we see how physical aspects of places are understood this way through a geography of access and the neoliberal subject may not be as strong. History has materials. Transport has a regulating disciplining issue of work and programs of segregation that have prevented and regulated the movement of certain populations. The issue of racial segregation of the movie theater is the one of transport.

Jeremy -- One of the things that people talk about is a "spatial turn" that a group of Scandinavian scholars have put out and the idea of this as embodied space and the idea of the neoliberal space that is of spatial-temporal class. We need to have to deal with thinking of more "fixed classes"

Sarah -- which gets back to power dynamics

Audience -- let's go back to surveillance and the issue of television as a routine device of surveillance and monitoring and it seems that we do not think about how citizens monitor government. Frank Rich think about the change in the information management of the war and after Katrina journalists are placing people in the State and how the state of newsmedia and the sruveillance happened through the news media. And affective connection to the state is key to have us resonate with us.

Paul -- yeah, and that is key. Katrina is domestic. Domestic issues drive US politics and the tipping point has to do with domestic concerns. If Harold Ford loses in Tenn it will be because of domestic issues. And there is cognitive dissonance. And they see things on TV

Brett -- Think about embedded journalists and the importance of blogging. The soldiers blogs are key

Sarah -- let us think about techs with the idea of the need to bear witness to think about how satellites can take all these pictures and we need to learn to witness media. This is one way to be taught how to watch.

Patty Zimmerman -- I want to throw out the caution about the idea of people blogging and the soldiers where people are being on the ground and the miltary has a need of managing discontent and there are many articles to connect blogs and affective connections with family and to geography. The role of these techs may be to facilitate a kind of "better soldier" or at least "better soldiering".

Brett -- What do you think about the images of YouTube on the war? They are uncensored.

Jeremy -- Mobility adds a variable and when we think about communication we fit into an ideological model and in fact we may think about it in terms of affective articulation. Let us rethink this in many ways.

James -- of the questions of Empire and what the home is in this network and where it occurs. The homeland and the family may be betwixt and between these places. Empire in such big terms may be inappropriate -- let us cast light on klinds of networks that are part of empire.

Paul -- One thing you need to think about is that all of the impact on governing us -- does it have to deal with politcs.

Jeremy -- This has to do with political affectivity in this issue -- it isn't a mass comm question -- it is a question that is asked to keep people fighting and supporting the war.

Moderator -- How do you form a public sphere that is sustainable.

Sarah -- I don't think about this in the issue of publics.

Audience -- Classically the formation of publics is brought up through print.

Sarah -- Here we go with a new tech and a new public sphere.

Moderator -- Are there any other directions you would like to take this...

James -- I am happy to hear restless rambuctious people talk about Empire. Let us think about Homeland Security and we may think about Katrina and a kind of class immobility. What kind of design and architectonic in the domestic sphere and consumption of TV. How does this kind of massive mobilization after 9/11 moves us. Homeland security is a kind of accident. Mobility is always the key to power and security sometimes trumps this liberal conception of mobility and exchange.

Paul - Isn't that the debate about America in terms of pure freedom versus governance which goes back to the 19th century. One could look at the New Deal as restrictive governance in that way

Jeremy - What are the tactics that are being used in Homeland security. Let us think about an intelligent highway that gives you the freedom where you may want to go, but it is dependent on the networking of the system. This relationship between freedom and governance.

Audience -- This model which goes back to Liberalism is key and power and freedom in it are hybridized.

Paul -- The Mayor and the city council tried to push a surveillance bill of camera on corners and it was rejected as too constricting.

Moderator -- How about the breakdown in technology

Brett -- Think about ths shots buses and evacuation in KJatrina -- it made these issues arise about the material resources needed for mobility.

Audience -- Think about the expansion of governance in so many areas of our lives after 9/11 and this classic trope in American politics.

James -- I see this issue in terms in modern political governance with the accident... damn I lost the thought! Oh, let us think about this in making this in terms of order that invokes the accident as the legitimation for these restrictions as to what you do in airports. The penetration of the breakdown. So perhaps you cannot see this in terms of security has always been discussed in terms of freedoms but this is an accident. To think politically is to think historical and the present and the present rationlaizations of the present terms of technology as the basis of freedom help us

Jeremy -- The right to bare arms is a freedom tied to national securioty history

Paul -- Good bad whatever... if you do a political campaign was able to outmobilize people in Ohio ... Applebees America in Matthew Dowd's book is key. The information is astounding that is out there. And this is key to understand. But of course the issue of surveillance is also local (see Tester v Burns in 2006 campaign)

Audience -- We all have issues of information and the idea of this info is out there to restrict us.

Paul -- This is a real problem for democracy -- think about the life of an ideoloigical divide and nothing goes on there and there is nothing that is happening and there is no middle. And all of this is making governance impossible. Nothing about public health... nothing about middle issues,

Audience -- Narrowcasting may not help us at all. What is the difference between niche marketing and narrowcasting

Tara MacPherson -- We need to understand networks better and humanities scholars don't do this and things about network structure and this programming may need to be taught.

Patty Zimmerman -- This issue is so extreme now politically that you cannot have an americancentric set of issues for the endless sets of mobility. The Patriot Act is key here and how Carnivore operates in packet sniffing and EFF cannot find out how it gets at it. Issues of the VISA issue is key as you need to have time to get bodies and human networks to make. Let us think larger and to embrace the world transnationally is really tough to think about transnational capital and governance.

Jeremy -- I am in absolute agreement and we are comm scholars and world capital is built on this.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Television as 'Cultural Center' in an Age of Audience

Michael Kackman (University of Texas-Austin)- Professor at U of Texas and he is interested in television in US broadcast history. I would like to use this question to think through industrial modes of production and critical modes of analysis that we use. What would we use this as a place of thought. Most of this has been through through in terms of normativity and evn the popular terms of discuss is stll normative. This goes back to the mass society debates. What happens to this when audience segmentation happens and cultural moves happen -- is it still political in the old ways. What happens here as a culturally binding force and tv's normativity and these debates aren't happening in the ways of thinking about national identity and the like.

Hollis Griffith (Northwestern University)- A PhD student at Northwestern and is interested in a gender studiesn in media. My interest in this issue deals with citizenship are so frequently reductive and have to do with the national imaginary. When do we think about this in the terms of the issue of gay cable networks and what it means to be part of the consumer citizen at this point in time. How are the two intermingled in the opening window in the niche cable project.

Allen Larson - Media Policy and Religion. The slice of the project that he wants to think about thyis porject is how the idea of the consumer that is fundamentally different than when television began. Let's link this up to other issues in public media policy arguments and what kinds of policy issues work. One of the things I am interested in as well is the idea of nets being liberated from advertising regimes and the idea -- income streaming being the key here. I am also interested in the way that there is no more mass marketing everywhere and this is key in a way to have a new apparatus that works for some and not others. The Billboard and the web portal begins to be the key when each are dealing with captive audiences. The in-between place becomes the key (ed. note, the foyer). What would it mean to limit and fight over the "in-between" spaces". Local content then becomes the issue.

David Marc (Syracuse University) - Is interested in television in a number of television subjects in American culture. Is affilated with Syracuse. I have always been interested in democracy and the issue of exlusive and inclusivity. In particular the way that television allows for aesthetics to enter the audience. The chopping of the audience and the political gang war mentality seem to contribute to two different worlds. This is key to understanding to television, at least old tv, as a homogenizing force. Television becomes a compromised narrative and what you would think about it and take what you would want. In the old media you might have old tools like "objectivity" and this is not necessarily the case now. How is it putting us at war with each other.

David Thorburn (MIT)-- Teaching at MIT and is interested in romanticism. Television from a humanistic perspective. In the 1970s I was on a panel with Horace Newcomb and either he or me was that it would not be too long that people would feel nostalgia for things that others showered with contempt. One of this has to do with the consensus function that seems to be lost. However, one of the things that needs to happen is that we realize that this is a fact of old media. The system of consensus narrative is key. All societies have a space, typically centralized, where society makes itself. In earlier societies there were these things that happened and we should examine these earlier societies. For Thornburn in the past this was Shakespeare's cultural theater and this was a place of high contempt. Actors were equated to prostitutes and it was only after its time that we see how people looks at this. The prose narrative was a place of contempt, but now the narrative is showered with praise. The contempt in each case was that the systems of storytelling were accessible, and they created an aesthetics that was key. I believe that 200 years from now Television will be talked about as really great -- the MTM show, MASH, All in the Family. The same was true of film. Television had a consensus function and it was key that we acknowledge the consensus meanings of all media. The 20th century will be known as the era of film and television. BTW the Sopranos was the only cable program to generate larger audiences than broadcast counterparts. Television will play in a vestigial with the consensus system.

Horace Newcomb (University of Georgia)- A director of the Peabody awards, numerous books. It's the something that David Marc talks about the previous modes of consensus narrativs is key. The central factor begins for us to think about the transition period as more fragile. One of my concerns for the consensus narratives is that these new techs are so fragmentization is such a problem. Think about this we lost Jim Carey and George Gerbner who each celebrated the power of the consensus narrative. What these scholars knew was there was a way that worked to challenge us in a way that looks at each other. Gerbner's work on content analysis was something I didn;t agree with but we may not have been so far apart. Roger Silverstone was a major scholar that asked us to think about how we come together and that deal with moral and ethical questions. Television was important to me because it was dealing with a consensus narrativization. Still I don't think Tv rules our lives and I do not think that democracy hinges there. yet it strikes me that it changes from the idea of the forum and David Marc's essay on Melodrama is a key one. What are we movibng to now? Maybe a newsstand or a warehouse or a library. If I go to the food channel I am looking for specific things and specific items and we are moving to a literary model. The channel is now the key. I mean, I "Tivo" old issues of the New Yorker that I fall behind with. What does it mean to have 20 million people watching a show now that it did at the 3 net era. It doesn't mean the same thing. I also think that the programming is better than it has ever been. I leave aside the newer media... that's fo rthe students.

Victorial Johnson (University of California-Irvine) -- Film and media studies. Interested in the film and television in the Midwest. Is interested in hip hop aesthetics in ESPN. I am obsessed with the objects that are hugely popular thjat are never discussed. For instance you have an institutional way that allows broadcasters to move their products in economically less markets to access cultural producst like sports. You can read this in a way that allows us to invest into the media in a way that is classed and is geographic and these all too often fall to the wayside when new media is falling to the wayside. Another way that this is happening in reality TV as a cultural forum. Think about SCMS in a way that nobody knew about sports and this is a place of a way claiming identity. CBS and NBC havce explicitly claimed sport as a place where they claim to continue dominate. There is still a site that has a politics about class and territory.

Moderator -- A question for Horace -- What is at stake in a new decentered television . Does an open society need this consensus narrative

Horace -- I have never seen an open society. What does that mean? I mean, I always liked TV cause it gave me a common center and the one that Thornburn didn't talk about this is in terms of religion.

David Marc -- Wlat Whitman says we need a shared medium in Democratic Vistas and Whitman felt that we needed to create an aesthetics of excellence that reaches everyone

Thornburn -- There is no way to have a society without a consensus function. We look at this in the Bible and religion and, indeed, this is what happened with the theater (early theater reenacted the Bible). There is, of course, no true consensus and this key. Think of Williams in this way. The consensus is a place where the discussion about what we want is in play. One problem with our conceptualizations is that we always thought about this is that our systems were never truly democratic, however there was a responsibility played in this. There are all kinds of functions that work to aggregate the culture, sports is one of them. We will continue to see this continue to do this in television, but only in vestigial ways. People need ways to organize their sense of belonging

Allen -- I think it is possible that when people look at how this war support dwindled some credit will look at YouTube. The Major Nets lost their credibility on the war. Think about Alternative media. This doesn't always mean politics. It could be alternate means of creations. YouTube postings by military personnel are key here and we need to let it be ... let it grow and this key even for Mill and Locke and their politics of libertarianism.

Michael -- I think what you are saying is a reminder that this is not a thing but a process. Where is the anti-war movement? While we can say that there was a movement that penetrated TV in Vietnam, how do we map this onto this with Iraq. We are at a point of public opposition in roughly the same way. And it is not as visible on TV or in the street

David -- But look at Fox News and...(cross talk) Fox is somebody's center

Thornburn -- There is a key difference -- now political figure was against the war -- students were against the war

Horace -- yeah but we also had seen the Civil Rights movement on TV

Michael -- What is a mobilization? And there may be more blood in the streets

hollis -- Lets think about defining the center. The center for Fox is, yes, someone's center, and the idea of the center is key throughout. The television exists as a discursive generator and mythmaker. Minority groups will always been angling for a positionality in it

Horace -- Look at issues of being in the margin and pushing in and everyone will have a center -- look at this from an issue and fundamental changes are the key for making us think differently. How long does it take for the new model to come in.

Thornburn -- Let us think about the half life of platforms. Novels a couple hundred years, movies 50 until TV, TV 40 until cable... now this seems to be out of control -- and this is very unsettling.

Hollis -- so much of the local coverage is key here -- where is the

Audience -- Who noticed when Bill Maher was takien off ABC and how he is HBO. What happens is Viral now... this is key since the media and the news events ae key throughout and the people got in touch with me and the point is that there is a spiral here .... what is a news story... it is a soap opera story with hard news bars. Television may become the stimulus for a ricocheting effect. When new techs converge means we need a new issues here

Johnson --- As things go more global we get more local intensities. The issue of red and blue states for example is a gross oversimplification here and this is key. This brings us to if not TV what? Does it get back to face-to-face contact

Audience -- Hartley, you guys, Americans are in trouble here since this is an American example. You guys need to think about this. The next central forum has a name -- it is China,

Michael -- Citizenship and nationhood has a problem here. We are so different as to be citizens of different nations. Citizenship is always about alterity and it is a position of saying the center is not where you want it to be. If we overly celebrate this and invoke this. Asserting that the center is wrong

Horace -- yes but this is what the center allowed to happen. It was never deliberative. It was Hollywood. the first example of the vietnam vet returning was in 1963 in a tv episode dealing with PTSD. Nobody would suggest, though, a nostalgia and it was rotten but someone could define it in terms of a media created center. Elihu Katz may believe that the best media system would be one channel

Marc -- Let me think of a new model, not china. Bosnia herzogovinia -- Tito as the center and the net. Well, then you get a huge fragmentation. Communication systems are the key to governing these weird regions in a post Yugoslavic territory.

Moderator -- David Marc says that the category of general interest are no longer a priority in this discussion.

Audience -- I want to respond to Marc and this proliferation of channels is in relatively small hands. Take for instance about temporality -- we are all watching the same broadcast that shows a political differentiation,

Marc -- but this does hold in certain ways. The

Hartley -- yeah but everyon wants to leave yugoslavia -- again, china.

Thornburn --- It is hard to imagine this in a sense about TV and IRAQ - every institution failed

Mittel -- Lets think about Hollis and Victoria -- these people are thinking about microcentering. Fox news is someone's center. And this is a key moment here. Think about -- someone needs to think about that you need to be spoken to and how important to

ELana -- These things are not necc centers but niches and this is a key moment -- this is the sense of being spoken too.,

Thornburn -- one could talk about this in a spoken to in the multiplicity of characters in ALl in the Famioly

Victoria -- where does Niching fail and why and what are those? When does this happen topday with broadcast failure and one of these sports

Audience -- Where does this happen about with community and consensus. All in the Family national community -- centering and community

Audience -- Two observations -- how contested things were in the 1970s -- the nets happened to take over with culture being up for grabs. And this was up for grabs and the points of view were many people being at each others throats -- also, we watch TV -- did it then and do it now. TV is what we do and what we do to process what is important. And that happens today.

Alexander Russo - Look around this in the protests mobiolization that happened with Spanish radio and Mexican DJs.

Audience -- The G word of Globalization has not come up. And this would have been the case until the war came about. Sports brings up the broadcast function ... and the World Cup is the key

Audience -- Are we oversimplifying niches? I mean it's not like HBO is showing one viewpoint all of the time. There seems to be multiple gateway points.

Audience -- I want to problematize further the We aspect -- the We is American. Who is the consensus for? And in this case the point of time where the global consensus never happened. Are we lacking a lack of imganization by defining this as America. Let's think about this in terms of American stories. American stories are still told , but only on occasion.

Horace -- Consensus was Thornburns word -- But I set on Arena -- This is key. I don't put much stock in the news. With the niche communities there is no question that centering works there. There is something that is lacking on top of that. Where do we see our case here as something that was a historical accident and it transformed this country. Look radio is still the dominant form.

Audience -- Perhaps the term here is "classic text" and this is the serial text and how does this operate -- now it is on YouTube and where is this happening. The Colbert Roast has happened--- the text becomes the center that moves through time.

Moderator -- Ok -- we are done, let's drink!

What You Overhear Sometimes...

Here's the best two comments I have heard all day...

"What we are involved with here is 'operation Ding Dong Ditch'!" (Huh?)

here's the other

"We had everything in our relationship. It was perfect. The onlything we didn't do was date or have sex, but other than than it was a perfect romance." (I actually heard that and I had to physically bite my tongue so that this person would continue to talk --- she went on to note that even though he was over 30 she "wasn't, like, LOOKING for someone over 30")

I love life.

Flow Conference "New Technologies" Panel @ 12:45pm

BTW, these are roundtable discussions and my notes will be kind of odd, but I think it will be fun

This is a table moderated by American Studies student Carol Kocurek -- proposed by Ken McCallister.

The idea is to look at how media artifacts of the past are placed in future media arenas. Whnat are the implications of this

Caitlin Benson-Allott (Cornell, Ph.D. Candidate) - I wondered what goes these new media innovations are working towards and what is it that happens when we have a relentless pursuit of entertainment. Looking from Apparatus studies and reception studies. She is really interested in obsolete media, in particular the VCR and the effects it has on the reception of film. Concerned that there is a move away from technology and it came from certain set of problems. What is the value of newness and the value of newness in the position of thinking about the past and the present.

Christorpher Hanson (USC, Ph.D. Candidate) -- Interested in secondary and ancillary devices and how they influence the dominant forms of media (VCR for example, etc). This is an odd set of success and the success of VHS over Beta and this had to do with time one could record. Now he is looking at the influence of game consoles with PS2 is in 120 million homes. This has to do with the BluRay trojan horses and these secondary devices are key.

Lou Rutigliano (Ph.D. Student at UT Austin) - In reading the response papers I was looking at the new media and the idea of the weblog is key for him. He is interested in Weblogging in Journalism and how the industry is changing, The user generated content movement raises issues about the society. Quotes Carloynb Marvin in "When Old Technologies Were New" -- the idea of the historical developments that come about the utopia of decentralized power of blogs was also key in thinking about eletrification. We need to look at the rise for the rise of legislation and control of these for power and control.

Ken McCallister (Assoc Prof at University of Arizona in Rhetoric) - One of the cool things about a conference like this is that it is actually pleasurable and this is key. We have an emphasis on trasndisciplinarity looking at issues of power, identity and the like. And there is an emphasis on media specificity as well. But this key ... one of the things that got picked up where both multyipurpose and one needed to understand political economic questions as well.

Discussion --

Carol -- what makes something a new technology?

Ken -- Lou, you look at the subversive aspects of "new techs" - do we think that?

Lou -- yeah, I do think of it as that. And this seems to be up for grabs in some way. When that fades that tech loses its interest for me. It is in that early stage when you can participate in it

Audience -- What about when a tech is developed by a company like AT&T who set up cell phones. One of the things that picked this new tech up was the drug trade. Is this subversion in a way that is fostered by large institutions.

Lou -- Look at the use of YouTube right now and the way that this is being used to document what is happening in Iraq and the potential is part of the use of the technology.

(I make a comment on CDs)

Carol -- I have a problem thinking about this in terms of subversive. CDs and BETA is sold as subversive sometimes... these are not necc the case.

Chris -- Look at the YouTube

Ken -- What about repurposing? Look at Machinima [MashUps]

Caitlin -- again, what is new? Is it new techs? Is it new purposes?

I make a comment about User Generated Content

Audience - When do hit the point where we cross over and hit web2.0 is the key here

Caitlin-- Thinking of Canon formation -- indymedia did not generate the hype among scholars and it predated youtube.

Chris -- New Media are always informed by the old. CDs and Vinyl

Me -- I make a comment on stereo and 78rpm records

Ken -- Does New media generate new theories about old media

Caitlin - Well, sure, that is my research about the necessity about researching appartuis theory and VHS. What does that mean for us in the way we think about the "darkened room" aspect of apparatus theory

Chris -- Ok, the old media stakeholders care about repurposing in making a hit

Lou - How do we think about User-Generated content here?

(Cross talk about mash ups and machinima)

Ken -- Microsoft has sanctioned the use of Red Vs. Blue Team and this is interesting

Chris -- The Xbox 360 comes with a red vs blue episode -- this is interesting

Carly -- where is the line between the user and a producer?

Patty Zimmerman -- Many people argue that we need new ways of thinking and the user/producer argument is key here. The new media argue about issues and this odd - Let's goi back to Caitlin now and let us de-americanize this outside of this . Take an eexample of images of torture made possible through new techs and the institution of the military can kill the internet connections. Indymedia starts in 1999 that is after Seattle and this is key and the way of thinking about the world. Let us think about the use of technologies and cellphones and this is key in many cases.

I make a comment on rights

Audience -- About he user generated content abd it allows the uiser to generate copyright in their designs. These designs can be generated for real cash. However, Lingam Lab can control these.

Caitlin -- How can new media be a forefront in capitalism? Is this simply capitalism? Are we simply at the heart of empire. How can this work for us in the material success. Also, how do we use the terms new and obsolete. I mean, video isn't obsolete in South America. It isn't obsolete in Africa. This obsolescence of this is only cultural.

Lou -- Look we have a great digital divide in our culture. One of the issues I am interested is in the library and this is key when we look at the issue of blogging in a library. Well, in real world.

I mention the digital divide

Lou -- gentrification and this is key -- you get involve how when people move into condos that are digirati and they move into old issues of technology and real realities where real people can live

Audience -- i work with people and thinking about the issue of myspace and how do you teach kids how to use the media for more than ego purposes. CTC is a great tool for this and this is space for where people can think about how people can catch up and utilize these tools. How do you do this? What are the fears of the technology.Why didn't you focus on changing the library policies

Lou -- Changing the policies in a libary is time dependent. the semester ended. How can it work?

Ken -- The group that I work does a lot of work with low-income students in this place. People look at us and are simply resistant because people think about how something like digital tech can do. You have to build up trust. What is amazing here and if you wait two years and then you can do anything. It is a trust issue.

Carly -- The issue of intimacy is key here and we think about intimacy and trust and this is a key. The idea of this is face-to-face here and how does reputation function.

Patty Zimmerman -- This is key -- we think of ourselves of Western Imperialization and this is key for us to make a set of connections -- it sounds like a NGO ... it's about who talks to whom. You need to talk about trust throughout the world. This often jettisoned. What I am curious about is how did your group go about developing your trusting relationships? How do you do it? And Who is determining how the tech gets used?

Ken -- Well we have done this in Tucson and Cambodia and we listen. This is key as we listen to people and we offer to people and we listen to theirs. They really like to hear other peoples ideas. We are very interested in the repurposing of the analogue and the cell phone. The issue is really key for us as we find. And you have to listen to everyone, not just young people. And this is a staggering education. It is one thing to look at what games mean for tribal elders and what it means for people, the tribal nation and for different age groups. The most important thing is how to listen -- we had to learn how to listen for Cambodia for instance... We are working with an organization to stop grave robbing. This is complex system. the peopple buying are tourists and sellers are locals and Heritage Watch is about teaching both locals and tourists. How do you do this. In the local are a comic book was distributed. In the game developed the issue that was developed was the S9, a heinous prison and this prison got one picture in it and we thought it was in the past and it would have a meaning but that turned out for us in AZ to be safe. But for locals that was too much and its magnitude was to take it away. This was demanded that we take it out. And this was a moment where we not simply listening to consumers. We actually learned about people.

Caitlin and Carly -- How do new communications technologies develop and form connections over them. Miranda July for example.

Caitlin -- Intimacy is a great word and was thinking about media pleasure, especially visual pleasure. This seems to be key and perhaps we need to think about pleasure may come with too much baggage. Perhaps intimacy is a better word. I mean, community is trying to do too many things and this is trying to describe geography, etc. Intimacy is a very different approach. Think about IndieMedia. The goal of IndieMedia is to deliver political situations that are key. Is intimacy a potentially helpful category for new media.

Ken - Intimacy seems to work for me. For me, the new media that form would be hard pressed to call the relationships with new media pleasurable and they seem engaging. It seems to look at .

Audience - What about that term engaging? That seems to deal with many issues in the literature.

Ken - Intimacy it suggests an emotional attachment that engagement seems to not. A gamer

Audience -- What about Play -- this may be a better way to think about it. This is usercentric

ken -- It seems useful and it ties to play and this -

Chris -- Intimacy has physical and emotional investment.

Patty Zimmerman -- What would my 13 year old boy think about this and this is something that we were talking about with a friend. The friends playing video games and they do not interact with each other. And this is odd since he is into their controls and they would exchange machines. This is funny. My son tells me that IMing is for girls and Cellphones are used by boys to go to the Y and play basketball. I mean, I cannot imagine having this for me. Gender, race and class is key throughout. Differentials in regions are absolutely key. I don't want to get hypnotized by these transnational corporations. I find this whole thing baffling as a scholar and as a mom as I think we can lose the political urgency of careful thought.

Lou -- One example of looking at class and race -- indiemedia had its conference here and a debate was about who runs the indie media site. Look some people cannot do it as we don't have time to do this. We have to work.

Caitlin -- Let's think about the trans on transnational. Is it the same as the trans in transsexual? It is important to think about the ways that electronic media mediate gender formations. I have been really interested in current formations of gender are propagated by electronic engineering and design. So I decided to take apart a VCR and we think about how they are designed in a "sexualized" way. This is a way that media reproduces this.

Lou -- Let is think about this in the dialectic -- we take it as what Marx noted is the ruthless critique of everything existing. Look outside and inside. This is real praxis.

Chris -- Think about reconfiguring the world of the film culture and VCR -- the move is into the home. Or arcades into the home -- the arcade as a safe social space.

Caitlin -- Arcades were a form of independence as well. For me as well.

Caryl -- This is a place to let it wind down. Let's do that.

Pandora will happen, but, for now,

Hey, I had an amazing 45 minute interview with Tim Westergren on last night and I will blog about it later. But right now I am at the Flow Conference and I will be doing some liveblogging throughout the conference. Lotsa neat stuff to talk about. Let's rock!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Think Differently, Act Differently and Pranks!

Hey, I plan on posting about the Pandora event I went to on Monday but I have been swamped with work and obligations. Lest I forget, Tim Westergren and I may debate the whole folksonomy vs taxonomy thing all we want, but he is one of the good guys and his product is solid and can only get better. Look forward to giving you some insight into it in the next few days.

That said, last night Anita Waters and I screened Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst for the American Eccentricities film series for a handful of students, each of whom were moved by the political scenario depicted on the screen. I felt like our post screening conversation became very personal and I was touched by the sense of frsutration and desperation that many students had about apathy, in particular their own. I guess I am not that cynical since I think we live in a pretty privileged period where communication is abundant and the possibilities are many. As conservative as the US has become it has largely become that way because of smart communication in an environment of restricted resources. With electronic and digital media making the means much morer availabe than ever before I guess I get really upset with people saying that they feel like they can't have much of an impact. When I hear that I think most people are saying the equivalent of "Why can't I win the World Series with one swing"?

The short answer is, well, because you can't. Behind every World Series championship or world-changing campaign are a lot of small things. Let's continue with the baseball metaphor for a second. When I was a kid my coaches always cheered loudly for walks, singles and doubles as they knew that that was what would win a championship and wanted us to understand that, though we couldn't hit as many home runs, it didn't really matter: a run is a run and it is the TEAM that gets the most runs that wins. In short... get up to bat and take your best swing.

Apathetic behavior is deciding that it is not worth even swinging or playing the game. Great... if you don't want to play that game, play another. Just do something. Find something you love and your passion will lead you to your politics, if you have any. It doesn't matter if it is sewing, theater, swing dance, zoology, coin collecting.... your interests will make you not only more interesting, but more engaging and social, which means you will find political connections. You may or may not decide to campaign for your cause or causes, but that's your decision. Just choose something.

All of which leads me to the most important book of my undergraduate career, Pranks. This book literally changed my life. And it isn't just me. Here's an Amazon review,
A life-changing, perception-altering wonder! "Pranks!" is unlike anything I know. I discovered it by accident when I was working in a used bookstore, about 8 or 9 years ago. I was a teeneager just becoming aware of how repressed and stultifying suburbia was--and of the people over the decades who have tried to blast open our minds. Even so, I didn't quite know what to make of people like Joe Coleman, who geeked mice & blew himself up at performances (check out the photos, as well as the video "Mondo New York.") or Mal Sharpe & Jim Coyle, who tape-recorded some of the most absurd pranks ever. They walk into a pharmacy & ask the pharmacist for advice on home surgery! The pharmacist just freaks out after talking to them seriously for awhile--the whole transcript is here. Then there's Mark Pauline, with his Survival Research Laboratories (robots/machines he programs to destroy one another, often decorated with animal corpses) and the infamous Karen Finley. Of course there are the usual suspects--Tim Leary, Abbie Hoffman, Jello Biafra, plus a whole host of misfits, misanthropes, iconclasts, outcasts, and outlaws to round out this wildly in-depth work. Tons of pictures, millions of words. It really blew me wide open. I love this definition of pranks. They're exposing reality for the social construct it is, showing how easily people go along with it, how they adapt to even the most bizarre "set up" and often revealing the power structures that control our lives, and subvert them with not (only) political action, but humor, razor-sharp wit, sparkling, spiky intelligence--and a whole lot of balls.
Yeah, what he said... and, well, that is the best politics. Politics, as the addage goes, is the art of the possible. And if you cannot imagine beyond what is as the only thing possible, then you are stuck. If you believe that communication is only about social control, then, well, you have different politics than me. Why? Simply because communication has always been about creating multiple social imaginations, some of which have yet to be realized. And, well, it all started with that book, which two people decided to write with the intent of convincing that you could think differently about life in general. That's a pretty good political act if you ask me.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Sounds from Monster Chiller Horror Theaters of the Air

It's Holloweenie time and the good folks at the Boing Boing Emporium have posted an offer of veddy vveddy scarrry radio shows from the good old days. The cost in $1.99 for 31 shows. That's little more than a venti drip at your local Starbucks (tip not included). So what are you waiting for?


Meta Machine Music

Lately I have thinking a lot about Metadata, a term that is a fancy way to say "data about data", the kind of thing that makes libraries go. There are plenty of smart things to be said about this and the debates are many. I don't want to get into that now. Frankly, one of the things I like about blogging is it is a space to make quick and convenient observations. If you want the scholarship dig deep into my bookmarks and tags and you will get an idea of some of the debate. But what is cool abouy is that it is a metadata assembling machine. I am not the first to make this point, but one of the things I want to note is that it is a wonderful example of how metadata is not only folksonomically assembled but, like wikipedias, is an efficient manner in which cultural caital is assembled. One of the basic problems with metadata it is actually really ime consuming to create. The standards that are often debated by experts are quite wonderful, but they are also costly. For example, to gather a set of people who make these standards requires years upon years of collective education and expertise. The professionals who specialize in this spend thousands of dollars for their education just to get the right to enter into taxonomic debates. Put simply, you want to classify things in a library, you need an baccalaureaute and an MLS. Last time I looked, they weren't giving those degrees away.

The exact opposite is true when it comes to folksonomic formations of metadata. You have a computer, a general understanding of the term, and a mouse... you enter the game. The concern is accuracy, but early studies are beginning to reveal proof that this form of knowledge formation is fairly accuarate. From my perspective classifications are part of our work as humans and is always social. As I remind my students when studying genre, classifiying things is one of the powers God gives to man in Genesis. We have always understood this as a human task: men and women are interested in their nominalist potencies, indeed! Furthermore we like to do it. Making judgements and distinctions is a great social pleasure.

Which brings me to If you haven't tried it, go to it. It is a program that helps you design a "streaming radio station" by providing music and you provide rudimentary judgements. In essence, you are given a song which sounds like an artist or a song you have chosen. This "gift" is given to you based on musicological metadata which has been applied to the songs themselevs in what is called The Music Geome Project. You then make rudimentray "like it" or "don't like it" judgements These are then collected and your "station" is slowly assembled on the backend. It is a kind of collective enterprise between "experts" and us "folks" and produces an interesting compromise of sorts.

I find the whole experience with Pandora both oddly compelling but dissatisfactory: in many ways it runs counter to what I enjoy about being a fan, a facet that I will blog about later. That said, I look forward to talking with Tim Westerberg, the head of the Music Genome Project when he gets to Columbus in a couple of weeks. I can only see a project like this becoming more and more refined and interesting. It is, in many ways, one of the best examples of how music will be distributed through distributive networks.

Oh, and Pandora has a good beat and you can dance to it... I give it a 98.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

There's a lot of cool, weird media out there... this woud be among the coolest and the weirdest...

Arguably to coolest FM radio station in the US, WFMU has its own blog and Boing Boing noted that WFMU had posted this album of "product jingles". Yep, you can get all of these in MP3 form with no DRM. What does that mean? Download and burn baby burn.