A note to visitors: this site documents “Media, Materiality, and Archives,” a course conducted in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech in Fall 2014. The content will remain up as a resource for future (and former) students, and other inquiring minds. Please contact me at lauren.klein@lmc.gatech.edu, if you have any questions about the material that appears on the site.

When I first opened the Humament book, I was really intrigued by the unique form of art. As I looked it up, I found that this was what they called “altered book” where someone would basically take a book and alter its meaning or appearance to make it into a new kind of media. The main purpose of “Wreck this Journal” is basically to draw/write/glue/paint/etc. on the book to make it your own. Each page has a prompt or an idea, and the rest is up to the owner of the journal. Just like the Humament, the author is able to make the book very unique, but the only difference is that the “Wreck this Journal”s are more personalized, and not sold for profit. Either way, I really admire the idea of altered books and forms of mixed media.

Tom Phillips’ postmodern technique is not new, but it is postmodern. One of my favorite works of this technique–appropriately named erasure–is by Jen Bervin. Her work takes Shakespeare’s sonnets and strips them down to just Nets. Her technique is very similar to a new take on the trend– black out poetry.

In fact there is a whole Instagram account dedicated to the art. @makeblackoutpoetry showcases some of the latest works. These are more similar to Phillips’ work with the art worked into the background.

I used this technique with middle school students this summer. The results were intriguing and do not take that much skill to be creative. I guess in Phillips’ case there is more thought involved in order to write an entire novel. But the art in itself? Interesting, but about as impressive as high-low technology.

The novel is very different from ordinary books. The text is difficult to comprehend because you really cannot tell which part is suppose to be read ahead of the other. Also each page has a different illustration, that I think go along with text. For example, page 23.

The page is covered with leaves. Textually, the page talks about the composition of the land which is doctored by the men. This concept is compared to the idea of a book and a novel. By doctored, I think Tom Philips means take care of or create. He says the audience doctors the books and novels. You could see the audience could be symbolized as the leaves since each leaf is different from the other. Each stem, creates a different leaf. My intuition about this page, is that we, the readers, are responsible for how the books are interpreted.  There are many ways you could connect the art to text. Also in this page and other pages, Philips uses words that are not defined. In this example, praved and pular are not actual words. What do you think is being symbolized in this page? or do you think Philips is not really drawing anything that connects to actual text?

 

Earlier in the class, we discussed the unearthing of the bad ET atari game and its implications to the archive. Now, it seems that these games are being traded around in EBay. This raises some interesting questions in my head. Does unearthing these cartridges somehow damage the authenticity of the idea of having a “bunch of bad games buried in sand”? Then again, what does it mean to be dispersing these cartridges again on EBay? Would these cartridges somehow have more value now that they’ve bit the dust (literally)?

http://www.wired.com/2014/11/atari-2600-et-ebay/?mbid=social_twitter

Exploring the website for the High-Low tech program at MIT allowed for us to explore the past and current projects that interweave technology and creativity. In these projects, technology is used to express creativity in innovative ways. But technology doesn’t just provide a new medium for the creative mind to use, it can also spur on creativity in ways previously unseen. In this line of thought, I cam across an article in Forbes that addresses how technology can enhance the creative process.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregsatell/2014/01/27/how-technology-enhances-creativity/

The article tries to explain how a society that is hurdling down the path of technological innovation is also creating more creative minds than ever before. I didn’t quite see this at first, but when the author used the comparison that the “gray suited business man is being replaced by the spiky haired hipster with tattoos,” I had to agree. If you look at the minds behind High-Low tech, would all of these minds have been in the creative business 25 years ago with their background in electronics? The article also goes on to explain how today’s fast paced culture can facilitate the creative mind in ways that used to be left up to chance. With a wealth of information at anyone’s fingertips whenever they want information, today’s artist will never be at a loss for information or worldly perspective. The ability to store past works and then take those files and “mix and remix” them has created a whole new genre of art– manipulation of the old into something new. With technology outlining the creative process, I have to say that I agree with the main statements of the article. I previously assumed that technology would inhibit creativity as it optimizes the everyday and brings in machines that have little to no room for error and the humanity that comes with it. However, this article shows that technology doesn’t just provide a medium to work with, but can actually spur on creative thought. Very interesting as we continue down this road to consider our own creative sides and whether our new found bond with the machine brings this out in us or suppresses it. What do you guys think? Is your creative mind helped or hindered?

Research Note #12: Audience Crossover: Media Participation and Attending Live Events (n.d.): n. pag. National Endowment for the Arts. Web. 4 Nov. 2014.

Our discussion on Between Page and Screen got me thinking about the way audiences interact with different media forms. The way we read books is different than the way we watch movies. Even the way we watch television is different than the way we watch movies. So, this train of thought led me to wonder about the connection between how likely a person is to consume certain types of media if they consume a different type of media. Thanks to the power of the internet, I found this handy PDF from the Research Division of the National Endowment for the Arts that relates the correlations between audiences at live performances and media consumption.

The link: http://arts.gov/sites/default/files/12.pdf

Correlation Between Media Activities and Attending Live Events

It goes through what a correlation means statistically for readers who don’t already know, but on the last page is the chart. It notes that while jazz and classical music audiences have a substantial correlation between attending live events and record sales, really no other genre has the same. It also notes market possibilities suggested by these numbers, like the shared audience of classical records and art museums.

It’s a little weird that listening to records of almost any of the given genres has a stronger correlation with attending an art museum than with attending a live event in the same genre. To me, this could indicate that live performance is becoming less a part of the experience of the arts as it is readily available through media formats. I think that the nostalgia of museums appeals to the loss of aura that a lot of music has experienced. Music and dramatic performances are mass marketed, but art museums have managed to retain an air of the sacred.

High-Low Tech is interesting in theory, but I am not sure what the real goal of the project is. I like the fact that the projects use paper, or “low technology”, and create something that is “high-tech.” But that is what I do not understand—there seems to be no “high tech” aspects of the project to me. Nor does the project seem like a new idea—is it really that different from a potato battery?

The project seems like it would most benefit children and interesting a younger generation in engineering. In fact, it reminds me of something that would be at a children’s museum.The website states that “Our primary aim is to engage diverse audiences in designing and building their own technologies by situating computation in new cultural and material contexts, and by developing tools that democratize engineering.” This idea reminds me a lot of Georgia Tech’s own WOVEN program, whose own mission is “to teach communication that emphasizes creating and integrating ideas in multiple modes: Written, Oral, Visual, Electronic, and Nonverbal.”

If one looks at the High-Low Tech project through the lens of the WOVEN and Georgia Tech’s Literature, Media, and Communication programs, it seems to make a bit more sense. The two are very similar in fact: combining what would normally be associated as non-technological with technology. What ideas or inspiration from the High-Low Tech project could be used at Georgia Tech?

Bringing art and engineering together is something that I have found go hand in hand at Georgia Tech—where many of our engineers are surprisingly creative. How could we apply some of the ideas of High-Low Tech to this class?

The ideas presented by Leah Buechley on combining traditional arts and crafts as well as other expressions of art and design with engineering, computer sciences and technology are not only exciting for their artistic implications but also for the yet imagined applications in education and how they may inspire new innovations. Manipulating physical art through shape memory alloy, using software and special pens to create interactive drawings, or creating living artwork with the use of sensors, circuit boards and light all were previously impossible ways to create art and explore the world. These new applications also stretch our ideas and previous constraints associated with certain medium. Interestingly, these techniques tend to promote an opposite effect to that of dematerialization. Instead of objects losing materiality as a byproduct of increased technology, these medium gain a richness and significance previously unavailable to them. They afford and encourage interaction and discovery of the piece. This interaction draws the medium to the forefront of the interaction — moving, touching, and bending the object are encouraged. Where with film, photography and digitization, there is no somatic engagement between user and artifact (often only passive listening or looking), to experience these pieces fully one must interact with them.

The concept that “any sketch can become an interface” is a tempting and exciting thought. Finally, the creativity and design that is integral to yet often under appreciated in engineering and technology can be highlighted. There are so many individuals who if only inspired and encouraged to use and learn about technology in an nonthreatening manner, will create incredibly important work and become the foundations necessary to continue to improve and advance our society. On a personal note, as a girl I was always interested in arts and crafts, and yet felt little interest in the different science kits my father would bring home. Now, I love and enjoy creating and working through the puzzles offered to me in computational media, design and the computer sciences. It took until my second year in college before I understood how these areas could be exciting and relevant to my life and my perceived strengths. Embedding technology and exploration of the aforementioned fields into mediums that make the topics relevant to individuals of varied skill levels and interests is a worthy and important venture, and a movement I am excited to see the fruits of as entirely new demographics begin to take ownership in the field.

 

When searching for more information about Amaranth Borsuk and her book Between Page and Screen, a lot of what came up was about page to screen adaptations. From what I could find, it does not appear that a between page and screen book has ever been done before. Her idea of between the page and screen is literal in that it seems that the text actually does appear between the reader and the computer, however it can only truly be seen on the screen. So why did she choose this title when it is sounds so similar to the idea of a page-to-screen adaptation?

Special Award for Overall Excellence Source: Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (1997-2007) Seven beloved books became eight blockbuster movies (the seventh book was split…

A page to screen adaptation occurs when a book is made into a movie, some of the most popular are listed in this article by Entertainment Weekly. Borsuk’s idea and the book to movie phenomenon have very similar names but have little in common. Borsuk’s “between page and screen” made me question what happens between what happens in the time between when a book is published and when it is made into a feature film. While it may not have been Borsuk’s intention to call into question the process of adapting a book into a movie, her book almost achieves the same goal. for Borsuk’s book can only be viewed on the screen. So if Between Page and Screen were to ever become a film (as it could since it does tell a story), would it be referred to as a screen-to-screen adaptation?

This article was successful in analyzing how successful a movie was in recreating a novel by focusing on both what was lost in the adaptation and what was gained. So what is gained and lost by Borsuk in her novel? It seems to me that some of the materiality of a book is lost when it can only be read on the screen, however since only words can be viewed is it really all that different from a text?