The discussion of nora was fine and I was grateful for the opportunity, though I found the rest of the conversation mixed: highlights were the contributions from Moretti himself, Steve Johnson, and Bob O’Hara, an evolutionary biologist with a penchant for narrative theory. Other responses were suffused with such a thick haze of snark that it was hard to justify the time needed to suss out a reasonable reply. I can’t help the feeling that The Valve enjoyed kicking Moretti and data mining around for a week or ten days and will now move on to fresh topics with equal verve and vigor, the discussion itself (and the venting of the snark) having been the main thing. I’d feel differently if I saw someone motivated to take up an actual project. Success of failure, that’s how we change the way we read and work.
Find Flickr images by drawing.
There have been scads of plugins and whatnot created for Flickr. There, right there, is a whole topic for someone to write about: the histories and genealogies of such phenomena—trends, influences, and the cultural work these artifacts are doing online. Why is no one doing work like that in new media studies?
Roy Rosenzweig and Dan Cohen from GMU’s Center for History and New Media were on our local NPR affiliate this afternoon. Wide ranging discussion on doing digital history and history that’s born digital. Well worth listening to.
The Media & Literature discussion group is arranging the following session for the MLA meeting in Philadelphia, December 2006:
Papers on the aesthetics, politics, and poetics of code; machine translation; relations between natural languages & programming languages; codework; protocols; genetic code and biomedia; operational text.
Abstracts and brief CVs by March 17 to Rita Raley, raley at english.ucsb.edu .
For those of you who follow our work on the nora project there is new content online. Of greatest interest perhaps is the ability to experiment with a Demo based on our work here at Maryland; there’s also significant new material under Screenshots, and slew of stuff now in Publications/Reports. (All of these are available under the Work In Progress section.) Enjoy, and questions or feedback welcome.
Nora is a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary Mellon-funded project to apply text mining and visualization techniques to large humanities-oriented digital library collections (starting with a 10,000-text corpus of 18th and 19th century British and American literature). An introduction is available here.
I’ll be posting some more about nora as part of The Valve’s upcoming discussion of Franco Moretti’s Graphs, Maps, Trees.
Two quick links:
The first, via Alan Liu on Humanist, Magic Book:
A Magic Book looks like a regular storybook with colorful pages and simple text. When readers look at the same pages wearing lightweight head mounted displays (HMD), the pictures pop off the page and come to life as three-dimensional animated virtual scenes. By touching a switch on the HMD, readers can fly into the virtual scene and freely explore the immersive environment. Several readers can gather around a single Magic Book and experience it together. Wearing HMDs, each reader can view AR scenes from their own perspective or fly into the immersive world and see each other represented as avatars in the same virtual scene. Readers that remain in the AR setting have a God’s eye view of their fellow readers as miniature avatars in the virtual scene before them.
The second is called Entertaible:
The Entertaible concept is a tabletop gaming platform that marries traditional multi-player board and computer games in a uniquely simple and intuitive way. Entertaible comprises a 30-inch horizontal LCD, sophisticated touch screen-based multi-object position detection, and all supporting control electronics. It allows the players to engage in a new class of electronic games which combines the features of computer gaming, such as dynamic playing fields and gaming levels, with the social interaction and tangible playing pieces, such as pawns and dies, of traditional board games.
What’s immediately striking about both devices, I suppose, is their appeal to an embodied, social dimension of computing. Is this a fundamental departure from life on the screen?
Whenever I talk about my blog and the role it plays in my work I always say something like, “My blog’s not about what I had for dinner last night.” Well, I’ve got to break that rule. I promised Kari I would cook every Friday night, and here’s my dish from earlier, my first Aloo Gobi. Served over basmati rice with a cold Foggy Bottom for the cook.
Came out very nice, if I say so. Lots of peeling and chopping in the prep, about two hours total but I was slow. And no, you don’t need all that oil in the recipe.
Man, last year at the MLA bloggers were still scarce enough that Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed furtively interviewed six of us in his hotel room, with questions like “How do you feel being a blogger at MLA?” This year the blog coverage is massive and intense. I had a good time at MLA: I gave a paper I was reasonably satisfied with, heard some other really good ones in my field, saw a bunch of friends, met some new people, and got introduced to a truly phenomenal Mexican restaurant in Adams Morgan to which I want to return, like, yesterday. That’s about it. I didn’t even spend as much time (or money) as usual at the book exhibit. I’m not sure I feel the need to produce nine theses on the MLA or three observations or whatever else. The Valve especially seems in need of a release.
The MLA is what the MLA is. Sometimes it’s big and alienating, sure. So what? But I felt a lot of the same connection to a “community” at my first MLA eight or nine years ago from meeting people I had previously known only through listserv email. A few of the accounts I’ve read of bloggers flashing their badges at other bloggers have been just a little bit precious, the kind of thing that would frankly make otherwise reasonable people think Ivan Tribble might have been on to something after all when he essentialized the lot of us.
Harrumph. Happy new year!