Category Archives: assignment

Technology Reflection

Technology played an important role in this class – through the use of Google Wave, the Blog, as well as the electronic literature pieces that we read online.

Google Wave: When writing my appendix paper for my website, I was grateful to be able to read through our class notes throughout the semester. I think that the use of GW worked best when there was one “lead” note-taker, with everyone else adding small notes if necessary. I think it was also helpful to have the first few minutes of class to look over the reading, adding questions and comments to the wave.

The Blog: I think the blog worked well for this class. Many of the discussions we had in class are occurring simultaneously all over the Internet. By having one blog a week on a topic separate from the reading, I felt motivated to search other outlets for similar discussion threads and examples of what we were talking about in class. This made our discussions more relevant and up to date with current arguments and conversations. For example, watching Digital Nation or We Live in Public informed that way that I started to think about digital culture, surveillance, and online identity – topics that were mentioned in class, yet discussed without much background information. The blog post about the reading was helpful to articulate my own thoughts on the material, as well as read through other’s responses before coming to class to discuss.

Electronic Literature: While I understand the importance of the theory we discussed this semester, I loved the last section of this class. Reading through online projects such as Flight Paths and We Feel Fine opened up a whole new arena of artistic electronic pieces online that I was not aware of before. Because this class discusses the digital narrative, I feel that technology should play a larger role in the beginning of the class. Also, by the end, when it was more technology heavy, I found myself unable to really integrate the theory. Maybe in the future the theory readings could be more intermingled with examples of electronic literature pieces that show what the theory is talking about? For example, contrasting older pieces like Afternoon with newer pieces, side by side, instead of weeks later.

Lastly, I was happy to create an electronic piece in lei of a paper. I learned more about code, the functionality of a website, and was able to think through how the Internet changes narrative structure and literature – far more than would have been possible through a paper.

Project Draft

Here is the link to my project:

I am trying to create an environment where people can “deliberate” in the comment sections about the issues that I raise in each post. (sort of like Gamer Theory). If you have a chance to look at it, let me know what you think, or comment on any of the threads!

Rough draft: The Sprawl

The (partial) draft of my project is up here. Clio is my designated peer-editor, but if the rest of you have some free time between now and Wednesday, feel free to go through and make comments. I’ll continue to update and expand it (significantly, I hope) over the course of the next day or so.

Project Outline

After reading all the great suggestions posted by our classmates (and Prof. Fitzpatrick) I decided to switch my project around and take a (challenging for me) slightly different format, a more creative project. I plan to produce a website where I link resources for promoting social justice among the Maya communities. I want to include the theoretical and academic articles with the applied or practical applications, both in Chiapas and Los Angeles. I’ve been part of the Mesoamerican Network in CSLA and I’m also a member of a Chiapas networking community at Scripps College. I think that by being involved with these organizations, and by incorporating my extensive academic research on the Zapatistas, I can start a website where we link resources, including making announcements of events (such as protest marches) and provide a venue for networking for other social rights activists. I’m very nervious as I have never done this, but I feel very excited to have such resource available. Due to time constrains I have not started the website yet, but the following is an outline of some of the material I want to incorporate:

I. A Place Called Chiapas History of the state of Chiapas, the conditions of poverty and oppression experienced by indigenous Maya in Chiapas. I plan to include data from various scholars including (June Nash, George Collier, Tom Hayden, Michael Coe, and others).

  • Links to documentaries: include in this section a link to the documentary by Nettie Wild titled A Place Called Chiapas.

II. Who are the Zapatistas?- In this section I would like to explore the history of the development of the Zapatista movement. I plan to incorporate the paper I wrote last semester where I connect the movement with Marxist theory and relevance to other social justice movements.

  • Link this section to Zapatista videos available through You Tube, and the documentary titled Zapatista. As well as other online articles written on the Zapatistas, including Wikipedia (only after I revise some aspects there).

III. We are all Marcos- this section will explore where the Zapatistas are today and their international followers. This section will list the various organizations and international efforts to support the Zapatistas, including the chapters in the U.S. and the European communities of Zapatistas supporters.

  • Links to this section will include the Zapatista Official website Enlace Zapatista, as well as other organizations’ websites and information on how to get involved in promoting social justice among the indigenous Maya.

IV. Media Studies & Democracy- in this section I plan to bring in relevant scholarship from Media Studies to the exploration of the democratization effects of the media in the contemporary times. I plan to incorporate material from our class, the work of Media Studies scholars, including K. Fitzpatrick, K. Hayles, and Mc Luhan to mention a few.

  • Link this section to our discussions and articles we have read this semester.

Project outline: punk and cyberpunk

Since I posted my initial proposal, I’ve decided to back away from the creative option a little bit in order to stick to what I know: blogging. I had fantasies about concocting a hand coded and structured site to host my project, but based on time constraints and the amount of research and writing I’d like to be able to do to really get my ideas in order, it makes way more sense to let a machine handle the back-end. I still intend to get creative with the style and execution of the posts, and I hope that the more informal and flexible structure of a blog will reinforce the ideas I present in ways that a traditional academic essay couldn’t. Here are some of the topics I intend to address:

I. The Story So Far

  • Issues raised by the original punk moment in the 70s
    • nihilistic/dystopian aesthetic
    • connection to avant-garde tradition
    • Punk and politics, esp. anarchism and upset in the social order
    • Impact on the music industry: seizing the means of production?
  • “post-punk” era of the mid-late 80s
  • late 80s/early 90s: cyberpunk! a new mutation of the punk aesthetic or faulty appropriation of the punk discourse?
    • as it pertains to the literary/artistic aesthetic, the “punk” in cyberpunk is hard to decipher
    • Critics addressing aesthetic links between punk and cyberpunk tend to misrepresent the history/ideology of punk
  • the present: an (apparently) decentralized, semi-anarchic DIY media environment online presents the defining terms for contemporary music and subculture, aesthetically and economically

II. Case studies

I intend this to be a pretty significant part of my project, but as such I’m having a hard time nailing down the specifics. The media objects/events I address will vary greatly depending on how the overall gist of my argument takes shape. However, a lot of the examples I mentioned in my original proposal still stand as strong contenders.

III. Unifying Themes and Analysis

  • The Society of the Spectacle
    • Ties between punk and the Situationist International, esp. Debord’s notion of “the spectacle”
      • Debord’s influence on postmodern theorists like Baudrillard
    • Cyberpunk ostensibly fills an emerging need for artistic response to the “postmodern condition”
  • Noise
    • exploring the aesthetic possibilities of noise (in music and to some extent in subcultural “style”)
    • “culture jamming” and playful subversion/subversive play
  • DIY ethos
    • decentralized media production challenging centralized authority
    • the risk of reinventing the wheel, resultant issues of ahistorcism/mystification

Apologies if the outline is somewhat obscure. Since a lot of this is building off research I did last semester, it might be helpful to check out my original project proposal for my Marxism and Cultural Studies term paper, and the subsequent revised proposal.

Project Outline

I have started my website for my final project here:

To see an outline of what I plan to do, click on the images on the homepage. Each image will take you to a different section of the website with a short outline of what content will be there.

Let me know what you think or suggest that I add.

Ignore my previous proposal

The more that I have been thinking about my project, the more I want to change it. Originally, before my post about science fiction, I wanted to put my thesis online, in a format that would be more engaging that just reading a bound collection of text on paper. I was having a difficult time conceptualizing how I could successfully implement my thesis online, and felt that I might be sick of my topic if I focused on it for two classes. However, today I thought of a way that I might put it online and have decided to change my project back.

My thesis topic is on online deliberation. I am interested in a discussion of the public sphere outlined by Habermas, where in a successful implementation of the public sphere, individuals are able to speak freely with others, discussing issues and ultimately coming to a consensus. This type of public spheres allows for “deliberative democracy,” a type of democracy that is seen as more aligned with actual democracy than how we see democracy carried out today. The Internet is seen as a forum where deliberative democracy can materialize; the system of the internet, in theory, is open to everyone.

I wrote one chapter on online deliberation and e-democracy, a sort of lit review. My second chapter was on Twitter and Facebook and how users of social networks in devloping countries can use the internet as a medium for social change when organizing on the streets is prohibitive. I am working on a blogging chapter now where I am arguing that feminist blogs allow for women to participate in the public sphere with greater access and scope. My last chapter is on online education tools. I want to probe at the question of whether or not having educational tools available free and accesible online aids in online deliberation and more informed discussion.

SO, my project would be to put the text online available to read. However, the website would make the topic more interesting and engaging to a reader that didn’t want to sit down and read a 60+ page paper. Each section would have short “blog” type entries on the topic, links to my sources, links to similar websites with ideas on deliberation, and graphics. Finally, I would hope that I could set up an environment where online deliberation could take place about online deliberation and some of the theories and questions that I raise in my paper. This way instead of having a paper with a closed argument on deliberation, I could start an on-going discussion of ideas – sort of a free flowing of ideas about my topic.

My paper accompanying the website for Writing Machines would analyze how my topic changes from a paper in a traditional sense to being a paper published online. I want to analyze the differences and how as a writer I feel like my work changes when seen through different display mediums, using the readings of the semester as a tool to navigate these ideas.

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 ( 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 and let me know what you think of the idea. Thanks!

Project Proposal

So this is my working proposal, and I might adjust it a little bit.  My project is based around the idea of authorship and new media,  specifically focusing on blog content.  What I’m going to do is choose different blog at random each day – there’s a feature on blogspot that let’s you do so – and write a blog post based on their most recent blog post.  I’m going to mimic the form and style, and write commentary on the content of the blog.   Doing so, I hope look at the different ways that amateur “publishing” is achieved, while considering how we define the “author,” and how what creates legitimacy in writing.  Is it be published?  Are blogs consider a valid form of publishing?  etc

In essence, I’m making a blog about blogs; using the medium I’m analyzing as a tool of analysis itself.  I recognize that I’m partially limited by my lack of computer code skills.  However, this ties into what draws me to the blog.  Limited computer knowledge is necessary beyond the basic computer skills.  You don’t need to be a computer programmer or an academic to write a blog – it is accessible to anyone with a computer and the Internet.  The Internet is flooded with blogs about everything and anything, written by people ranging from all ages.  Through this I hope to gain a better understand of what compels people to write blogs, what they write about, and what makes us read specific blogs as well.

I’m probably going to expand on the form of my project over the next week, but as of now, this is my working idea.

A poetic freeway

For my project I was inspired, in fact, by the name of this course. Writing Machines—seeing as I consider myself a poet, I really wanted to incorporate my lyrical skills into this project. This aspect of my project reminded me of the idea that Landow brought up considering “poetic machines” and how they work according to analogy and association. Throughout the course, I’ve realized how much passive interaction is involved when it comes to machines and human beings—my goal in this project is to move away from that. I was also inspired by the website we had to explore for last class: “The Ballad of Sand and Harry Soot”.  I wanted to incorporate the idea of interaction yet not have it be one that’s as passive as clicking on links or pictures that lead to different sites. I wanted to use Landow’s idea that technology isn’t merely that which is digitally developed in today’s society.  

            For my project I plan to use a variety of different types of mediums, some of which we’ve come to disregard as mediums (writing) in order to compose a chain of poems that are all interconnected and linked together, although they won’t all be on the internet. I want my project to take my audience’s ideas and opinions into consideration. I will compose a series of poems, all of which are a part of one fluctuating and interconnected story, kind of like Afternoon: a Story , only they will all be written up in different forms of mediums. Think of it as one of those detective stories we all used to read as children, only instead of going on to a different chapter, you’ll either have to go onto a recording I did on tape, a site on the internet, a piece of paper I wrote a poem on, or a video. I wanted to come up with a project that’s almost “hyperinteractive”, if you will. After reading each poem, you’ll have to make a decision based off of your opinion on the poem that will lead you to a different one that will be on a different medium. By the end, hopefully, everyone will have gone through different readings of the story after having gone through different routes in my poetry. My goal is to see how the different mediums and different paths shaped my audience’s idea of the story.