Author Archives: amar12

VIDEO POST

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ognjFHA0mLg[/youtube]

Here is our video! It’s primarily an exploration of that fuzzy line between “real” and “virtual.” We imagined a few different scenarios (making friends, doing homework, etc.) and wondered how these would play out differently in the virtual world versus the real world. In making this video we realized that it’s very difficult to separate the two worlds–they really are an extension of each other. Even in the case of the person who longs to take on a new identity, the virtual world is really just the place for him to perform that identity ,which in the end is still very much a “real” part of him. 

Anyway, we hope this video made you think, or at the very least, LOL.

Off-Topic: NO-CHELLA

If you’re like me, you were shaking in anger when the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival decided they would only sell three-day tickets for their event and completely get rid of the one-day ticket option. While the people behind Coachella claim that they made the decision in order to create a “greater” experience for fans, I can’t help but think this was a way to get people who would usually only buy a one-day ticket to buy the much more expensive three-day ticket.

For me, and for many other people I knew, the price of a three-day ticket just didn’t seem worth it. So despite being totally psyched about a ton of the bands playing, I didn’t buy a ticket.

Thankfully, the same was true for a ton of other people working at KSPC and CCLA Live Arts. So now, we’re putting on our own FREE show the Friday that Coachella starts. On April 16th, 12 bands will be playing on the lawn right outside the SCC. There will be food, and even a moon bounce. In other words, it’ll be rad. If you’re not attending Coachella, this is probably thee best alternative.

For more info: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/event.php?eid=110106832342610&ref=ts

March 29th Response

To be prefectly honest, most of this week’s reading went over my head a bit… I don’t know anything about copyright laws, and I found it hard to stay interested in the discussion about them.

That being said, I think Bailey’s and Courtney Love’s pieces (agreeing with Courtney Love?? I never thought I’d see the day…) offered a lot of important ideas, some of which we’ve touched upon. Their is no question that the music industry is largely exploitative and incredibly outdated (for proof, see “Dinosaurs Will Die” by NOFX [yes, I still listen to NOFX–get off my case]). But maybe that’s the nature of an industry that treats artists simply like “producers of content” who “work for hire.” 

Readings these articles reminded me of the 2007 Radiohead album, “In Rainbows.” The band released the album sans label, after completing their contract with EMI (one of the four major labels Love talks about). They released the album online for free (or at least, they gave fans the choice to pay as much as they saw fit–even if that meant $0), and waited almost three months before putting the album out on CD and vinyl. I remember being incredibly excited about this when it all went down–it seemed to signal an end to the power of the major record label. If a big band like Radiohead could continue to make money and sellout arenas without a record label, why would anyone ever need one?

Clearly the record industry isn’t quite dead yet, but I’m hopeful.

COVERS NIGHT

This Saturday night, CCLA Live Arts is hosting Covers Night in Walker Lounge. About 20 Pomona student bands will play for a few minutes each, covering a wide range of artists and musical genres. Rumor has it this night will be ultra funkadelic… For more information, visit the FB page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=326318250949

The event will be open to all 5C students, so come enjoy!

Response to "The Long Tail"

My biggest problem with this piece is Anderson’s notion of “mass customization”. According to Anderson, large online companies like Amazon, Netflix, and iTunes, offer consumers a customized sample of material by using their previous purchases to lead customers to other material they might also enjoy (as demonstrated by the example of Amazon’s “Customers who bought this also bought…”).

Is this really customization? If these sites simply take tons of data and quantify people’s tastes so that it becomes easy to say that “if you liked that, you’ll really like this”, how does that translate into real, authentic choices for an individual? And if this is truly “customization”, does this come anywhere near liberating the individual from being marginalized into just another demographic for businesses to market to?

I agree with a lot of what Anderson writes, but I think maybe I’ll always remain a little suspicious about large companies that, in many ways, determine the value placed on different types of artists. In any case, this was a very interesting reading.

Pomona Workers

This morning I participated in a march from Frank Dining Hall to President Oxtoby’s office. I was one of many (maybe 100 or so?) students who joined Pomona College dining hall workers in their struggle to unionize, without fear of intimidation or interference by the college’s administration.

In class we’ve discussed whether or not the internet truly provides a space for open and democratic discourse, or whether it has become just another sector for mainstream corporations to sell their products. Though most users, myself included, might only ever use the net for FB and Youtube, there does exist the potential for the internet to be used in more productive ways. The group of workers and students who organized the march have also created a website to better explain their cause. Before the internet, this type of publicity would have been nearly impossible for students and workers without large sums of money to use on television campaigns or radio advertisements.

Here’s the site for anyone who wants to learn more about it:
http://workersforjustice.org/

Reading Response 3/1/10

Apparently the H-Bot bugs that Gitelman describes in “New Media < /Body>” have been fixed, or else I have no idea how to trick the system is the same way Gitelman does by asking about martians landing in New Jersey. In any case, the H-Bot’s inability to distinguish fact from fiction reminded me of something I read for another class.

In English 67, we’ve discussed the extent to which we can think of the world and text as separate. Text and language are undeniably a large part of how we communicate, but are also the only way in which we can make sense of our experiences. We use language to categorize and understand everything we come into contact with in our lives. “Fact” and “fiction” are terms in our language that we use to differentiate between events that “ocurred” and were “imagined” (I’ll use quotation marks here to avoid pretending like these terms are always concrete and definitive, or universally agreed upon).

Because the H-Bot does not use language in the same way that we do (it seems to be a search engine that simply matches your search entry with web sources that contain identical words, names, places, etc.), the H-Bot is not guided (and in some ways restrained) by contructs of language. “Fact” and “fiction” become irrelevant terms, not at all important in determining exactly when martians landed in New Jersey.

But if text and world cannot be separated, then would it really be fictitious to say that martians landed in 1938? Our world is shaped by texts, afterall. This example is particularly relevant to the question because the actual “landing”  in question was actually a radio broadcast, an example of media (albeit “modern”, not new media).

If anyone is interested in trying to trick the H-Bot, you can find it here:
http://chnm.gmu.edu/tools/h-bot/

Alice in Webland

I’ve known about this video for a while (as have most of you, in all likelihood), but I only recently realized how relevant it is to the types of things we’ve been discussing in class. We’ve already talked a bit about mashup culture, and how (whether?) authorship and copyright will continue to exist as something governable on the net.

The song used in this video was supposedly created using only the sounds found in the movie Alice in Wonderland. Technically, the DJ only cut-and-pasted parts of audio from something that already existed, without actually creating any “new” sounds. Still, I think this is incredily creative and original. To write this off as simple copyright infringement seems unfair. Or maybe not. What do you think? Is this experiment in mashup different from the kind we’re used to?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYGPigy3Xo8[/youtube]

P.S. Whatever your position on whether this constitutes original art or not, you have to admit it’s a pretty catchy song, right?

Response to Landow Reading

The thing I love most about taking a ton of Humanities courses (aside from the absence of math or science :]), is the fact that discussions and readings from one class will inevitably tie to the discussions and readings of my other classes. The Landow reading is a perfect example of this.

First off, the whole piece deals primarily with hypertext as a kind of “new frontier” for literature and academia. Landow argues that hypertext will “embody and test aspects of theory” just as “critical theory promises to theorize ‘hypertext'”. In my English 67 class, we are learning about the roots of literary criticism and critical theory.

Landow later argues that hypertext will allow for a breaking-down of hierchical systems of reading/writing/learning, as supported by his descriptions of the various types of hyptertext links, which he claims blur the line between writer and reader. As a member of Pitzer’s “Anrchist History and Thought” class, I can’t help but read this as an anarchist ideal.

These connections appear frequently, but this piece in particular felt special for bringing all these different concepts together. I really appreciated it.

Nakamura Response

I’d never really considered the possibility that the internet could erase racial boundaries, or that that was ever a goal of the internet. In my internet use (like I’ve noted before, comprised mostly just of using Myspace, FB, or Youtube) I haven’t really experienced much of what Nakamura is talking about–at least not consciously.

Which I guess is kind of the point. Stereotypes infiltrate our lives in a very under-the-radar sort of way. Why should cybertypes be any different?

However, Nakamura’s discussion of “otherness” did remind me of something I have seen on the web. The famous blog, Stuff White People Like, seems to me a perfect example of the highlighting of cybertypes. I’ve read through the list, and found that I enjoy most of the things on the list… but I’m not white. Though the blog is supposed to highlight the things that young hipster white kids like, it also works to highlight what “others” don’t like–even if that point is only implied.