Enlarging the Sum – Project Proposal

For my project I would like to enhance the sum total of all of my data. Don Delillo contends that “You are the sum total of your data. No man escapes that.” Instead of trying to escape this debatable truth, I want to embrace it by recreating my life digitally through personal essays with visual and aural accompaniment. Three days ago I began writing a blog (http://thelockativecase.blogspot.com/) that I would like to continue to format and develop; the posts already up exemplify (albeit very, very succinctly) the style of the writing I intend to do, but not necessarily the subject matter or length. The posts will be illustrated namely with my own photography.

The blog will pair original content with some level regurgitation (e.g. songs) in order to create an existence online. It will certainly explore McLuhan’s ideas in “The Gadget Lover: Narcissus and Narcosis,” in which he theorizes that people become so fascinated with technological extensions of themselves that this amplification of the self leads to “self-amputation” or numbness to other ways of perceiving oneself and others. Can I amplify my existence so much that I will self-amputate? Perhaps, but then I wouldn’t have much to blog about. I would also like to probe the concept of online morality – Ong claims that when writing a diary the writer fictionalizes the reader, writing for some other self and creating one’s own fiction. Is recreating oneself online a method of building an unstable personal fiction? Do we, as Manovich suggests, have a moral responsibility to recreate ourselves and the world around us accurately?

The analytical essay component will be a page formatted to look like a paper essay, a sort of remediation of the paper essay to the electronic essay. However, the essay will attempt to avoid the drawbacks found in Manovich’s work – namely representing new media through an old medium. All of the terms I use will have examples, so the essay will be in a variable “Choose Your Own Adventure” format where it can be read differently every time and requires interactivity.

Check out http://thelockativecase.blogspot.com/ and let me know what you think of the idea. Thanks!

5 responses to “Enlarging the Sum – Project Proposal

  1. it seems like there are two steps to your blog, your actual blog, and then a place where you critique the process of blogging and what you have chosen to display. I think this will be really cool and an interesting way to express yourself as well as evaluating what you are actually getting at through your content. I am also excited for your choose your own adventure and look forward to seeing how you will incorporate that aspect into your site.

  2. Like Jori, I’m intrigued by the idea of taking a pretty standard blog form (the personal/”diary”-type blog) and pairing it with critical analysis. There are a couple of good essays about blogging that I’d recommend you read as you set out on your blog adventure (blogventure?): “Why I Blog” by Andrew Sullivan and “Exposed” by former Gawker editor Emily Gould.

    There’s one pretty crucial aspect of blogging that your proposal doesn’t address, though–the readers. Who do you envision being the readers of your blog? (Besides us, obviously.) Will you make an effort to publicize your blog, link to other blogs, or otherwise establish yourself as a “web presence”? Will you make an effort to create a dialogue with your readers?

    I’m also curious about the mp3-sharing aspect of your blog. Do you read many mp3 blogs, and if so, are there any that you particularly admire?
    As a college radio music director, mp3 blogs occupy a good 90% of my headspace at any given moment, so I’m mostly curious for personal reasons. However, I could see the mp3 aspect of your blog becoming more integrated into the project as it progresses, especially from the critical analysis standpoint. For instance, have you thought about copyright issues involved in online filesharing? As you might have heard, Google recently took down several popular mp3 blogs hosted on Blogspot based on claims of copyright violation.

  3. I’m really glad your deciding to use this method in presenting your project. I was actually considering doing something very similar to this. The idea that you’re using a variety of different mediums to talk about an extension of yourself is very much poststructural in that you’re using these electronic extensions of yourself in order to talk about them. The extremes of this self-amplification really delves into the idea of how media can change our cultures. I’m wondering, are you going to talk about the effects of this amplification? i.e. how much/were you were affected by the “self-amputation” syndrome?

  4. I’m quite excited by this project, but am a bit curious about how the essays/mp3 links will become an extension of “you.” Will you gradually accrete details about your life via these posts — what you’re listening to, what you’re eating, etc — in a systematic way? How will these various images, songs, thoughts become part of your data? I’m looking forward to seeing how you puzzle through that relationship…

  5. Sorry for my late comments. Your project sounds very interesting. I like the idea of including photographs and the actual photos of this blog (http://thelockativecase.blogspot.com/)
    As a postmodernist, I’m curious as to the direction or position you can take in regards to moral responsibility online and I was interested in exploring more of Ong’s questions regarding author’s responsibility.
    I think it would be interesting to take this project and contrast your data/identity in relation to the “others.” I would take more of an inductive versus deductive approach to this endeavor. Sounds very interesting!