Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mashups make sense

Last week in Mashup Culture we read a chapter from a book by DJ Spooky where he discusses sampling. In this chapter he talks about sampling and mashups comparing them to a collage of sorts. By sampling, sounds from our environment, our experience are picked up here and there. They're crafted together in a mashup creating a combined memory, a sort of condensing of our experience.

Also touched on in the chapter is memory. We rely so much on outside sources for our memories that we don't store so much inside our heads anymore. National Geographic has a great article on memory. I love the article, have read it several times, cut up images from it and made a visual collage, and have recommended it to friends. As I returned to the online version to add the link to this post, I see that the author is also the author of a book I bought yesterday and started reading today, Moonwalking With Einstein. I love that Joshua Foer (author of both the article and book) is so astounded with memory that not only did he dig deeper but he trained for and won the U.S. Memory Championship.

One of the things stated on the bookflap for Moonwalking with Einstein is, "Foer found a vital truth we too often forget: In every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories." If this is true and our memories are spilled out of our heads into places such as our phones, Facebook, blogs, emails, and Flickr, what do we retain? Who have we become when we leave our memories online to become the collective memories of all who read them? Are we merging with others in ways that we didn't before due to the photos we share by tagging, calendars we share with others through Outlook and Google, shared events in Facebook? As small businesses saw their demise when chain stores moved in, are we on the verge of the demise of individuality? Are we returning to the time when artworks weren't signed because they represented a culture or group of people rather than solely the creator? Where we once merged with others based on location, with the connectivity of the internet we have new social groups based on shared interests no matter the physical location of each participant. Evolved social groups?

After beginning this post, I went on to read one of the readings for this week for Mashup Culture which is some way addresses my questions. Cory Doctorow discusses copyright and culture.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Photo Mashup

In Mashup Culture we are creating photo mashups in Aviary. We're playing a form of Photoshop Tennis where we take one of our images and combine it with pieces from someone else's image.

This is the image I created:

I started with an image of mine that was of a wedding cake:

I deleted the background, applied a filter, and added a new background using a classmate's image of wine corks. Here is my classmate Grey's image of corks:

After combining the layers and cropping the image, the result is the previous image.
Although I've manipulated images for work or other classes, mashing up one of my photos with someone else's was something new for me. It was a lot of fun!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The new newspaper?

This week in Mashup Culture we're looking at three websites that each have different perspective on the news - newsmap, Oamos, and Spectra Visual Newsreader.

Newsmap shows headlines in different font sizes. The bigger the font, the more coverage the story is receiving. Each headline is also surrounded by a block of color that categorizes the story by content. From these headline blocks you can click on the story to read more. This website was my favorite of the three as it was so well ordered.

Oamos is a search engine that mashes up info into an audio-visual response. It definitely has the magpie effect as you're assaulted by music or sounds and images flying across the screen. Definitely fun but not something I would use everyday.

Spectra Visual Newsreader is pretty practical and fun to use. You get to chose the categories in which you would like to see news articles. You are also able to make some adjustments to how the articles are presented. For me, there's just too much going on and therefore I prefer newsmap.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

And another semester begins

My last semester (hopefully, if I've got it all figured out correctly) began this week. I'm one class and an independent study away from completing grad school. It's going to be an amazing semester as I have Mashup Culture with Josephine Dorado and am doing an independent study project of creating a wiki about museum use of social media with Shannon Mattern as my advisor.

To go out with a bang, I'm planning on updating this blog more often with updates about the progress of my wiki. Yesterday I came up with a work plan based around the structure I plan to have in the wiki. After reviewing the plan, Shannon reminded me that I need to focus on research prior to production of the wiki. Taking a bit to look at the overall meaning and then breaking it down to publish it should make for a more meaningful product.

So, stay tuned for the final chapter in this grad school adventure of mine.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sound artists, sounds, music

In thinking about sound artists from different generations, I wondered how they fit within their eras, and despite some similarities how they are different from their contemporary musician peers. I began by choosing three artists (two of which we have discussed in class) plus an artist from a group we discussed in class. Each artist is primarily associated with a specific era but they have each continued to perform over several decades. The first artist I will discuss is Edgar (also referred to as Edgard) Varèse. He moved from Europe to the US in the early 1900s and experimented with sounds before he moved to America up until he died in the 1960s. The second artist I will examine is Allison Knowles of Fluxus. She wrote several scores in the Fluxus Performance Workbook that had been performed in the time period they were written, and again more recently. The third artist I will look at is Pamela Z. She began her performance career in the 1980s and continues to perform.