This semester I’ve been thinking a lot about authority and power dynamics within the museum space. My thinking has been informed by a variety of sources: I took a class about museums at the RISD Museum, I did a practicum at a Chilean University that is working on opening a new museum, and I worked on a class project at a Historic House Museum in Providence. All these experiences had me exploring different ways in which museums—and other cultural institutions—both acquire and transmit cultural authority, which comes with the idea that they are the custodians of a secular truth.
My project took the form of a thought exercise and preliminary digital and web-hosted proof of concept for a front-facing digital archive and curation tool for New Urban Arts. I thought about what an archiving and exhibition tool might look like so as to be relevant to the needs and everyday operation of the organization, its staff, and the students and families it serves. Centering on a test run of the Omeka interface, I thought specifically about the types of users who will interact with the tool, as well as the kinds of information they would find most useful in an accessible, searchable presentation.
The “Concentration camps and torture centers in Chile during Pinochet’s dictatorship” mapping project consists in diagramming every place used by military agents and civilian supporters of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, which was held between September of 1973 and March of 1990. To accomplish this, I will use a list of centers, camps, and public buildings used for torture and systematic killings provided by Valech Report I.
Digital tools can be and are useful to scholars in the humanities, like myself, who work closely with various forms of text. I suggest that digital approaches to the field of literature can enhance our current practices greatly. I do understand the reluctance (to rely on data, to let computers “do the work for us”) but I also believe that digital tools do not necessarily replace our traditional analysis, but rather add another layer or dimension to the close-reading we have been taught and use. Continue reading “New Approaches in Digital Humanities – Digital Visualization Tools for Textual Analysis of Fan Fiction”
I graduated from high school at the United World College in Mostar, which is an international school that accepts students from all over the world based on their commitment to creating world peace. It’s kind of an absurdly idealistic mission, and the school itself is a bit absurd, too, housed in a huge, bright orange Ottoman-style building in the middle of a town which was in the middle of the armed ethnic conflict that happening in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1993 to 1996. I haven’t been back to Mostar since I graduated from school there in 2013, but this summer, I’ll be catching a plane and doing a project. Here’s basic the idea:
December 2015 marked twenty years since the formal end of the armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). But reading international media coverage about BiH, you might think the country was still at war. In the surface-level stories most commonly published, Bosnia is consistently connected with phrases like “war-torn,” and “impoverished,” and more in-depth pieces almost always focus on current ethnic tensions or memorials to genocide. Those issues are real and relevant in Bosnia and Herzegovina but they aren’t the whole story.
This past summer, I drove around the country for six weeks, attempting to meet and hang out with as many women and girls who skate as I possibly could, with the intention of conducting interviews and eventually producing a film with the resulting material. Instagram became a crucial means of connecting, communicating, and building a reputation as a legitimate and well-meaning outsider to the community I was aiming to connect with and document. In the process, I discovered the active and growing social media communities built up around women and girls’ skateboarding, a community whose online dimension illustrates a hopeful side of social media’s potential both for building supportive and connected communities, and for gaining knowledge and insight about how those communities function.
Social media are important in the Western world, they are a source of information, enable us to interact with other users and to become part of a social exchange that might primarily take place in a virtual environment but can also have wide-reaching consequences for our everyday lives. In this sense, participatory culture is embedded in the social media platform.
I started looking into the weird and messy fileworld of internet radio archives because I was trying to find my storytelling forebears.
Last winter, I started an audio storytelling project at Brown, Now Here This. At the time, there hadn’t been any outlet for podcasts or narrative-driven radio on campus. As far as my team knew, Brown students had never been making the same kind of content that we were. As soon as we launched our new radio project, though, we started hearing that yes, actually, there was a precedent for the kind of storytelling we were doing at Brown. A really high-quality, successful precedent. The only problem was that no one knew how to access their story archives.
In the summer of 2012, I participated in a group reading of William Gaddis’ JR that was organized by Lee Konstantinou for the Los Angeles Review of Books. Conversations of the book were held on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Goodreads, online literary magazines, and on the comments section of linked blogs.
As of April 3rd, Veteranas and Rucas (VaR), an Instagram-based photographic digital archive of the Chicano underground scene from the ‘90s, had 59.9K followers and over a 1.730 publications. Each post gets over 700 likes and a lot of them go over 1000. Beyond those numbers, what makes the Instagram account really interesting and, let’s say, relevant, are the comments and people’s reactions. Followers are not just liking and commenting on the pictures but are establishing personal relationships with them by tagging their friends and asking them to share their own pictures to the account, by inviting relatives to follow the feed, by remembering those they had lost, and by wanting to recreate those old moments—among others.
The Chicano underground scene from the ‘90s in LA has been for years an underrepresented community in the pop culture depictions of urban Latino culture. It has been mainly represented by its gang affiliations and, because of that, linked to violence and transgression. But it is more than that as it includes other subcultures, such as the party crew scene that began during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s as an alternative to gangs. Party crews found unity within its members and, through the listening of house and techno music, were able to create a sense of belonging that last until today.