As I read through the blog posts I’ve written, I notice an evolution in my approach to the works and concepts we discussed this semester. In my very early posts, I often found connections between recurring themes and real-world events, while subsequent posts often were very nitty-gritty and detailed to demystify works, following an approach that is more macroscopic and all-encompassing in my writing. In my August 30 blog post, for instance, my observations were very much tied to the concepts introduced in the reading. Here I attempted to connect the digital presence in our daily lives, through dating apps like Tinder, and how that might have game-like features described in Jeanne-Marie Ryan’s properties of digital environments.
I continue to find links and connections between our readings and my experiences in the real world. On September 11, I wrote my post just as I was beginning to play with different ideas and concepts of “chance movement” for a dance piece that I wanted to choreograph. In the post, I wrote, “[t]here is something attractive about the peculiarity of an “anti poetic” form of art that is generated when art is left to the vagaries of chance,” and I believe that this series of thoughts and impulses led me to create the piece that I now have, and will be showcased at the Duke Family Performance Hall in the spring. Connecting the theme of “The Random” with art in general helped me better approach (and create) non-traditional forms of art and literature.
These observations and my impulse to connect recurring themes in class with real-world issues and experiences resulted in the fruit of my first Tracery project. My blog post from September 17 is my artist statement on Make America Grate Again. I intended this to be a comment on the randomness, unpredictability, and entertainment-factor of President Trump’s speeches by using Tracery to randomize the words “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. … They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” This was all to show that even computer-generated text can create the same randomness and entertainment of the most captivating Trump speech, without the damaging real-world consequences.
I notice a continued trend of comparative analysis, but also an increased shift from concept and theory to specifics about the works that we looked at in class. My post from September 20 compares the works Dakota and Abra and comments on the opposing views presented in two other blog posts of the day. I consider this a big step forward, in breaking out of my sheltered brainspace and reflective analogies between the digital and real worlds. Here too, I notice connections between the works and some of our readings—between Abra and Gysin’s “The Cut-Up Method”—but I begin to apply these concepts to already existing works, the cut-up method applied to Dakota). As I begin to find interconnections between recurring concepts and new works, the intention behind the “final port” starts making sense.
My October 2 post is very detail-oriented. Here I notice an increasing tendency to look for meaning in very specific details of the work. My post reads almost as if it is trying to decode the work through a single “fake website”. I clearly did not get close to decoding it, but I once again followed my impulse to connect the work to real-world, and addressed the work as a commentary on the ubiquity ad “uncanny” nature of surveillance in America.
What I find interesting about my October 16 post on The Network Effect is how I connect the specifics of the work with the big picture in addressing the creator’s desired effect through the work. I said, “This work is both overwhelming and empowering as it speaks in a unique voice which is composed of thousands of voices (Rodley 86).” Here too I find myself itching to decode and find a way (The Network Effect’s Instagram) to satiate my anxiety from running out of time each time I tried to watch it. I have a much more big-picture-approach here where I comment on the patterns that emerge out of the data swirling around us that enables us to see the behaviors and emotions that bind all humans.
In my Oct 25 post on Her Story I begin to pay greater emphasis on the rules of notice, and the reader/player’s role in the work. I begin to score my own active listening and engagement with the work in uncovering the mystery and procedure in the story to reach a satisfactory end. I begin to notice how different versions of truth could exist simultaneously for different players.
In my November 8 post on Between the Page and Screen, I comment on the “in-between” world that exists between the physical space of the book and the virtual space of the text. I comment on the presence of both the affordances of books as well as the properties of digital environments in this work and how one could not exist without the other in this work.
Overall, there has been an evolution in my understanding of concepts of digital work and how they may intersect with and comment on our lives. I notice a level of sophistication in my writing and understanding of concepts in the later blog posts that was missing in the earlier ones. I tend to elaborate less on the readings and explanations of concepts but more on their implication and intersection in the works.