Thursday, April 23, 2015

One Year Update for the Smell Collection

Smell Collection Icon
The Smell Collection has been a year into the collecting process. Some of my research toward this collection content is about the cultural history of aroma. Smells are still distinguished by individual emotional responses usually related to social bonding or experiences.[1]
            During the 18th and 19th centuries, the modern West de-emphasizes the sense of smell. This is with the comparison to primitive senses and the reference of animals. Smells are an aspect to the history of human culture by social hierarchies, gender, and social manners. The concepts of modernity placed the sense of sight as dominant during those centuries.[2] Taking into to consideration these senses, I will be writing a future blog post about objects and my video clips representing smell, while referencing the Fluxus Movement.

View the recent additions (January and February 2015) of the Smell Collection

[1] Constance Classen, David Howes, and Anthony Synnott, Aroma The Cultural History of Smell (London; Routledge, 1994) 2
[2] Ibid 2 -4

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

#DietDH 06

Today is the final #DietDH reading group meeting for 2015 Spring  semester. After reviewing the four readings, I thought back to the previous discussions from the semester meetings. There are a couple of topics that reoccur from the reading groups conversation and shared experiences with projects, which are also current debates in digital humanities. They are: How is humanities research being represented or are the digital tools considered over the specific research?  Research and knowledge are continuously evolving over time and filtering is needed for web base research to produce a foundation for specific research/ project? 
            While the main objective of the reading group wasn’t to resolve these current debates, my perspective on this opportunity was the ability to contribute and listen to a diverse dialog on current theoretical writings and the use of the Internet with contemporary projects.  One of our readings, Open Thread: The Digital Humanities as aHistorical “Refuge” from Race/ Class/ Gender/ Sexuality/ Disability? is a virtual dialog from 2013. This thread has been condensed and posted on a new link, Room for Everyone at the DH Table?  I see this as another form of filtering information, but at least the original open thread is still intact to be reviewed. This enables a current analysis to be applied to the present dialogs pertaining to digital humanities. Of course depending on the perspective (subjective or collaborative) a depiction of what is lacking or the redundancies will be examined and evolve the traditional and digital humanities.  
            From my one-year perspective with the #DietDH reading group and today’s reading, especially the open thread, it has made me regard my research in a different manner. The practical means are in reference to the structuring and sustainability with the content, the use of digital tools, and Internet platforms. Also, It is absolutely necessary to continue the dialog whether virtual or in person to gain access to the varied perspectives of digital humanities.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

#DietDH 05

The Hermeneutics of Screwing Around; or What You Do with a Million Books by Stephen Ramsay is the reading that gets the #DietDH reading group started back from University of Delaware’s Spring Break. From Ramsay’s essay, I was reminded of a previous #DietDH reading on tinkering that was being explored with pedagogy. Ramsay’s reference was pertaining to methods of reading for research and the concept of browsing, which is what made me consider Jentery Sayers essay, Tinker-Centic Pedagogy in Literature and Language Classrooms. 
            Ramsey describes the two processes by stating research reading has various strategies for locating information; while the browsing approach is to walk into a library and I quote from Ramsey “…wander around in a state of insouciant boredom.” I have done a little browsing on the bookshelves near the area of a specific research book I was looking for, but still need to walk into a library with the boredom strategy. In addition, Ramsey relates the browsing idea to a useful activity, along with corresponding ideas of the Internet as a search engine.
             For this weeks reading group we are to bring an example of a very large digital collection. This is to continue our groups focus on discussing the visual and readily available informational content of various websites. So, I decided to use Ramsey’s browsing approach to find my example. I knew this would take me away from relying on my familiar art background. The screenshot that accompanies this blog post is the visual of the top hit of my search for “largest online collection.” The largest Meteorite Collection in the World(By Distinct Falls/ Finds) is a webpage with a list format of links to the meteorite collections of cultural/ science institutions. A very interesting find with a digital browsing tool. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Mouth Collection and Continued Investigation with Sound

           The March 2015 addition to the Mouth Collection is a single video clip focused on rapping, which is a genre of music. Bill Ferrell a.k.a Gentle Jones contributed not only his original vocals to the collection, but to my video as research concept.
            My inquiry to Gentle Jones was about the over all embodied experience with rapping and creating sound. Instead of doing a traditional question and answer interview format, I sent Gentle Jones my points of inquiry prior to our meeting for producing the video clip. I wanted him to consider his response and personal experiences.           

            My points of inquiry were:
- When using his vocals could he explain the motion or activity of his mouth
- Could he go into detail about the connection with the beat of the music and his vocals
- When he is rapping could he describe his overall experience

            This specific video as research includes the video clip that is included in the Mouth Collection and an over dub of Gentle Jones’ response. Instead of a close-up of his mouth area, I have selected a frontal pose for framing this video clip. This is to present a focus on his facial expressions in conjunction with the mouth movements. For the technical aspects of this video as research, I modified the video to play in half its original speed. This slows down Gentle Jones motion just enough to bring notice to the detail of the facial expressions, while excluding the original audio from the collection clip. 

            In my conversation with him about the overall content of the collection project, I was referring to his activity and that it did not involve another object – as in the activity of creating sound with his body. Gentle Jones shared his perspective with me that the object was the audience.  While working through the process of editing the video and audio, I have been thinking about our conversation. In the video as research, Gentle Jones references that he is aware of the audience in the room with him and “between us all it is magic.” The audience is consuming Gentle Jones’ vocals through the enjoyment or entertainment of the audio. This not only includes another perception to the collection, but to include how the element of sound expands the description of the dual functionality of the Mouth Collection, which pertains to individual consumption.

View the March 2015 Mouth Collection in the Recent Additions Section.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Anthropology News/ April Column

Preserving Visual Culture is the topic for my April Anthropology News column. The column considers examples of preserving cultural property from the Winterthur/ University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation.    
The text can be viewed at this link

Screenshot of April Column - Courtesy of Anthropology News
Link Disclaimer: This link is only active for 4 months. The monthly section of the column will be archived in AnthroSource a digital database of American Anthropological Association publications.