Saturday, January 19, 2019

The Future is an Interactive Hologram Bree Who Reads Her Own Work (Digital Fiction, Blog Post 1, Part 3)

Disclaimer:
All of these questions and links were first posed by Dr. Mark America in his Digital Fiction class, Spring, 2019, at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Links and questions have been posted with his gracious permission.

!!!(Huzzah to you, Mark, for getting the brain noodles juiced)!!!

Articles:
Ted Nelson: "The Xanadu Project (An Overview on"The Future of Information)" - first conceived in 1960
Dick Higgins: "Intermedia" (February 1966, Something Else Press)
Dick Higgins with an Appendix by Hannah Higgins: "Intermedia" (1965, 1981 and 2001)

Questions for Consideration:
How can some of the ideas developed by Higgins over 50 years ago be translated into 21st century digital art and writing practices? To what degree do you operate as an intermedia artist and/or writers and/or performer? Does the advent of new media technologies make it easier to work “in between” media? What are the advantages and/or disadvantages to working as an intermedia practitioner or, to put a slightly different spin on the same question, what are the advantages and/or disadvantages to composing new work from an interdisciplinary versus discipline-specific practice?

Finally, how can we look at these initial readings as intellectual triggers to further develop our own creative investigation of digital fiction?

Penny for My Thoughts? (I read them to you this time) Click on the sound file below!




Thanks for reading and listening along, my lovelies! 

Until next time,

😼😼 ~Bree 😼😼

Who Needs a Magic 8-Ball When You Have Vannevar Bush? (Digital Fiction, Blog Post 1, Part 2)


Disclaimer:
All of these questions and links were first posed by Dr. Mark America in his Digital Fiction class, Spring, 2019, at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Links and questions have been posted with his gracious permission.

!!!(Huzzah to you, Mark, for getting the brain noodles juiced)!!!

Article: Vannevar Bush—“As We May Think” (July, 1945 Issue of The Atlantic)

Questions for Consideration: What are some specific sections or phrases that Bush uses that remind you of something we experience in our “always connected” lives today? Bush is writing as a scientist over 70 years ago, but you are encouraged to try and decode his language into today’s techno-jargon by pointing out things we know exist in the world today but that he was only projecting.

A Penny for My Thoughts?:
Okay. This Bush guy? He is like a 20 on a creepy scale that only goes 1-10. We’re talking like, Nostradamus creepy.


Rather than type out all the creepy digital-age things he predicted (Bush, not the guy with the Bush on his chin), here’s some screen shots of my notes: (BRACE YOURSELF)

1.

2.

3. 

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.


Okay. Take a look at those. Creeped out yet? If you aren’t, I need to check you for a pulse.
I’ll admit, dude lost me on all the math stuff. My eyes roll when I even READ the word math, but it’s really interesting that a dude from 1945 was able to foresee our current digital age when the rest of world still had their eyes on Hitler’s bunker and the images coming out of places like Auschwitz and Dachau… right?  I’ll leave it at that.

Thanks for reading, my lovelies!

Until next time,

😼😼 ~Bree 😼😼

Decay in the Age of Pokémon Go (Digital Fiction Blog Post 1, Part 1)


Disclaimer:
All of these questions and links were first posed by Dr. Mark America in his Digital Fiction class, Spring, 2019, at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Links and questions have been posted with his gracious permission.

!!!(Huzzah to you, Mark, for getting the brain noodles juiced)!!!

Article:

Questions for Consideration:
How is digital work composed? What is it made of? How does it get distributed? How is it received over the global net? What happens to the “aura” of art works distributed over the net? How does the digital apparatus at our disposal today alter the way we locate and engage with audiences? What about issues of remix, copyright, appropriation and so-called originality?

A Penny for My Thoughts?
You didn't really think I'd write about Pokémon Go, did you? Talk about decay ;) 

I suppose if we’re going the literal route, digital art is composed with fingers and brains, the same way it’s been composed for centuries. The difference being that digital art uses a completely different set of tools than painting, photography, film or architecture. So, it’s made of ideas and pixels and networks. It has to navigate firewalls and viruses and search filers before it ever finds an audience, and even then, it’s in competition with an increasingly flooded market of other folks’ art and ideas. It’s distributed through emails and ads and lists and search engines until it finally catches a consumer’s attention, and then it continues working to keep that attention. I think because of that, the “decay” Benjamin details happens infinity-fold for works of digital art. The aura attached to these works is created in a certain time and space, but isn’t limited to one time or one space, so the intent of the author or artist is always morphing, always changing—thus further removing the final project from one definite time or one definite space. Additionally, once the audience or viewer gets involved, those times and spaces of consumption are multiplied, causing further distance from the artist and the audience.

Mediation of a work’s meaning also further deludes a digital fiction’s “aura,” or uniqueness, because the method of delivery will automatically alter a viewer/audience’s perception. I mean, if I’m getting some multi-media story emailed to me by a professor, I’m already going to be worried that it’s going to be boring or over my head or … things. You know how it goes. But if my good buddy is like “Yo, Bree, check out this dope Vimeo essay” I’m going to be like “Hell yeah!”  Because my buddy knows me, knows what I’m into and what I’ll toss in the trash bin, so when I open that email, I’m already more excited and engaged with my buddy’s email. This means that now, more than ever, the platforms through which digital art is mediated matter more than ever. Feel me?

In terms of remix, copyright, appropriation and originality, my first thought is to take a look at the very first few lines of the link to this article. Especially the line that reads “Translated: by Harry Zohn.” Before I ever get into the beans and bullets of this article, I’m already being told that it’s been appropriated by an academic other than the one who wrote it, because it’s being translated, right? Which means that for every word that doesn’t translate from the original language into the translated language, the author’s original meaning is being appropriated by a translator. So already I’m like, huh. This is smart stuff. But is it this Walter dude’s smart stuff? Or is it someone translator’s smart stuff and he’s using Walter’s name to give himself a quick boost in the world. And what does it mean if something was lost in translation (as happens in all forms of translations, which is why language itself is an “aura”). And how does the fact that this article is 83 years old change the seriousness with which I critique it? How do I make relevance out of an artifact? And how does the fact that this is an article, which scholars normally write to engage and inform other scholars, change the way I feel about reproducing it, or sharing it, or remixing it?  The fact that it was shared with me digitally, and I printed it out and marked it up and made notes on it and am writing this blog post ABOUT it is evidence that it already exists in many times and places, which Benjamin would argue has decayed its originality and value to the point of uselessness. Interesting idea to try to wrap my noggin around!
These are all considerations for our lightning-paced digital age, and things I hope to dive further into as I navigate this class!

Thanks for reading, my lovelies!

Until next time,

😼😼 ~Bree 😼😼


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Dusting off the Ol' Blog for a New and Exciting Chapter!

Hi all, Just a quick note to let you know I'm dusting off this old blog to use for my Digital Fiction class in grad school! We've got some exciting stuff coming down the pipeline so be sure to stay tuned for all the things (including my very own attempts at digital fiction)!

Oh! And here's a recent photo of yours truly, because I just noticed I haven't posted in this thang since 2016!



While you're dying to read the next post, be sure to check out the Digital Fiction link so you can see what this hot mess is all about!

Can't wait to hear your thoughts.

TTFN!

😼~ Bree ~😼

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Advice for Millennials - from an Old, Army Salt

Put your cell phone down. Look at the world around you – it’s 365 degrees of screaming color, without a pixel count.  

Talk to strangers – the stranger the better. 

Get to know your neighbors, it will expand your community and help you find solid ground to stand on when the ground you’re standing on is shakier than you’d like. 

Interview your family members – their stories are already running through your veins so creating deeper ways of knowing them will only help you to know yourself better.

Hold the door for the person coming in behind you. 

Drink from a garden hose. 

Say “yes” instead of “yeah.” 

Go out to eat by yourself once in a while– you’ll find moments of quiet introspection and peace when you’re not always trying to be the you that you are in the presence of others. 

Practice random acts of kindness. 

Take your shoes off now and then and experience the world barefoot. 

Make sure the folks you love hear you say “I love you.” 

Get lost on purpose – you’ll be amazed at the perspective you gain from walking or driving around someone else’s neighborhood. 

Read a book – a real book – with the sort of pages you have to flip with a little bit of manual labor. In fact, read a book out loud to yourself or with friends – the art of storytelling takes on a life of its own when it isn’t restricted to a blinking cursor. 

Ask lots of questions. 

Chase down every last thing you’re curious about. 

Travel. 

Remember to say “thank you.” 

Drive with the windows down now and then – a little fresh air goes a long way and who knows how much fresh air we’ve got left. 

Don’t be afraid of me, the old salt – we’re really not as different as you might think. 

Try everything once. 

Okay – try everything legal once. 

On second thought, break a rule or two – it will help you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. 

After you’ve taken a drink out of that garden hose, drink lots more – much of what ails us can be cured by staying properly-hydrated (once a sergeant, always a sergeant). 

Memorize important numbers in case that cell phone of yours runs out of juice or gets dropped in a toilet. 

Be kind to animals. 

Put more joy into the world that you borrow from it. 

And above all – practice kindness in everything you do – there’s enough misery floating around the world, so a little love, laughter and joy goes a long way. 

And please, please put your cell phones, laptops, iPods, headphones, video games, and social media everything away long enough to look at the world around you. Humanity is holding your place in line – all you have to do is step up and join us. 



Friday, May 17, 2013

Loaded twice-baked potatoes with garlic-herb-butter, pesto and avocado.









Ingredients for 8 servings:
                   4 medium-sized russet potatoes
½  stick Kerrygold garlic and herb butter (found at Safeway, Albertsons etc…)
½ stick salted butter
½ cup Philadelphia cream cheese OR 3/4 cup sour cream
2 tbsp of your preferred store-bought pesto. (A table spoon is just your ordinary sized spoon for eating)
1 avocado.. 2 if you REALLY like avocado
1 bundle green onions
8 strips of thick-cut bacon (Alt: One portabella mushroom, halved, then cut into thin strips)
1 package of Colby-jack or Monterey-jack cheese (Tillamook is my favorite; cheese will be to taste… I like a dump-truck load)
Extra virgin olive oil
SPICES (and herbs): Salt, Pepper, Garlic-powder, Cumin, Thyme

Directions:
1.     Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
2.     Put a layer of aluminum foil over a baking / cookie sheet.
3.     Clean the potatoes then pierce with a fork about 6 times on each side of the potato.
4.     Lightly coat the skin of each potato with extra-virgin olive oil
5.     Sprinkle both sides of the potato with sea-salt, pepper and garlic powder)
6.     Place potatoes on your covered baking sheet and bake in the oven for 120 min.
7.     When the potatoes are half-way done, cut the slices of bacon into inch-sized squares and then cook on medium/high heat until crispy. (ALT: Sautee the portabella strips with a bit of butter or olive oil until tender).


8.     Crumble up bacon and put on a paper towel to de-grease. (ALT: Put portabella strips on a paper towel to de-grease.)
9.     When the potatoes are done baking for 120 min, pull out of the oven and let stand until cool enough to touch. LEAVE OVEN ON… Then slice the potatoes in half.
10.             Scoop potato flesh out of potato skins into a mixing bowl.
11.             Once you’ve scooped the potato flesh in a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese (sour cream), avocado, pesto, garlic-herb butter, salted-butter, herbs and spices (to taste) until well blended and creamy.
12.             Using a table spoon, scoop mix evenly into the potato skins.




13.             Place potatoes back in the oven at 375 degrees and bake for an     additional 20 minutes.
14.             Take potatoes out of oven, then top with cheese, green onions and EITHER bacon, OR portabella strips TO TASTE


15.             Place back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes. If you would like the cheese to be a bit browned, BROIL for an additional 45 seconds)
16.             ENJOY!  SALIVATE! DEVOUR! ENJOY!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dachau Concentration Camp... a Photo Blog.

A re-post. Of all the blogs I lost on my old myspace, this was, by far, the most important.

Originally posted on July 18th, 2007

__________________________________________________________________________


As many of you may or may not know, I have spent the last 2 and 1/2 weeks in Germany. For the record, I had an absolutely amazing time, and plan on posting blogs with plenty of pictures and stories concerning those times. There was one experience, however, which affected me much too deeply to clump it in with all the other stories and experiences.

I took so many pictures in Germany, it was hard to figure out which I should use for blogs, and which I should store for future remembrances.

In the end, I decided to tell the most important story first, and so it is that Dachau Concentration Camp gets its own blog...

A blog to be shared before all the others, that you all might take a small moment out of your day to reflect, and to mourn. To recognize and be thankful for all the freedoms we have today because so many people before us suffered unimaginable horrors.

My trip to Dachau Concentration Camp will haunt me for the rest of my life.

In memory of the thousands who died within the camp, as well as the thousands who died on their way there, this is Dachau, through my eyes.





Arrival






This is the gate every single prisoner walked through to begin their imprisonment. The inscription on the door was a popular saying among the SS. It reads "Work sets you free" The same inscription mounts the entrance gate to Auschwitz concentration camp.



Roll call grounds were a big open space of hard, rocky ground, between the prisoners barracks and the Jourhaus. The roll-call area was bordered by the maintenance building; to mock the prisoners its roof carried the following inscription: "There is one path to freedom. Its milestones are obedience, diligence, honesty, orderliness, cleanliness, sobriety, truthfulness, sacrifice and love of the fatherland." The prisoners were forced to look at this saying at every roll call.





Life in Dachau

Each prisoner was given a badge according to their offense or heritage, homosexual prisoners were marked with a pink triangle. If a prisoner was both homosexual AND Jewish, he would receive a badge that consisted of a pink triangle with an upside-down yellow triangle behind it, the two triangles forming the Jewish star.





This photo came out extreemly eerie, as the uniform in the locker deplicts a homosexual prisoner, and Tina is reflected in the window. A German boi reflects...



Punishment





The result:



Cruelty and Murder




The Toll






The barracks.
There were a total of 34 barracks buildings when Dachau was operational. Today, all that remains are 2 reconstructed barracks, and 32 numbered foundations.

Old photo of the barrack grounds, notice the road going through the middle of the barracks and the trees lining that road.


The same view of the tree-lined road as it stands today, with nothing more than numbered foundations behind it.


A numbered foundation of an old barracks building


Inside

Bunks: Toward the end of Dachau..s operation, the camp was so crowded that they often forced up to 5 grown men to sleep in one tiny bunk













Changing Room


Tina in front of a locker


Toilets


Murder in the camp

In the course of the war, the Dachau concentration camp increasingly became a site of mass murder: From October 1941 many thousands of Soviet prisoners of war were brought to Dachau and shot. Other prisoners, condemned for execution on Gestapo oders, were transported to Dachau and executed.

A large number of prisoners were abused by SS doctors for medical experiments; an unknown number of prisoners suffered agonizing deaths in the course of atmospheric pressure, hypothermia, malaria and many other experiments.

Beginning in January 1942, more than 3,000 prisoners were sent to the mental home at Hartheim Castle near Linz on the so-called invalid transports and murdered with poison gas.

Besides the 30,000 recorded dead, thousands of prisoners who were not registered lost their life at the Dachau concentration. They died of starvation, disease, exhaustion, degradation, from blows, and by torture. They were shot, hung and killed by injections and other experiments. reference

Crematoriums

The original, built in 1940


The crematoriums in "barracks X" otherwise known as the death chamber, build in 1942/1943



Barracks X, "The Final Solution"

The gas chamber was to be the final solution for prisoners at Dachau. It is widely beleived that the gas chamber (constructed in 1942/1943) was never put to use, but was instead, used as a model for other death camps, such as Auschwitz. There are, however, prisoner accounts which state that small, select groups of prisoners were , in fact, escorted to the "bathhouse" and executed with gas.

Prisoners never questioned the construction of Barracks X, as they were told that the new facility was an additional bath house for the increasing population of Dachau. The gas chamber is a series of 3 rooms. You enter the building from the left, and soon find yourself in a small, tidy waiting room, where SS soldiers were to explain to you the process for using the new "bubble showers"

A small door in the middle of the wall leads to the next room, which is the preperation room. Here, you were to remove all your clothing and await your turn for the "bubble bath"

The next room is the actual gas chamber. You would enter the gas chamber through another small door with the inscription "BRAUSEBAD" (bubble shower). The first thing you see when you enter the gas chamber are the numberous shower heads in the ceiling. Shower heads that will never spout running water. Shower heads with no other purpose other than to fool prisoners into herding themselves to death quietly.



GAS CHAMBER DIAGRAM AND EXPLINATION







Inside the chamber, errily enough, most of the pictures taken of me in the actual gas chamber came out blurry. Appropriate, all things considered.



Tina in the chamber


On the other side of the gas chamber there is another door. It is much bigger than the first two, as it leads into a large storage room which is connected to the cremetorium. After the mass murder in the gas chamber, prisoners were to be dragged out through that door, and thrown in one mass lump to await their cremation and anonymous burial.

Outside of "Barracks X" , there is a path that leads you through the tree line, to sites of mass execution, thousands of unknown graves, and memorials that leave you aching and raw.





above inscription


Tina, kneeling over an execution mound with a blood ditch beneath her. The point of this picture was to demonstrate what thousands of men had to face every day. A prisoner was forced to kneel over the ditch, with his hands behind his back, so an SS officer could stand behind him, point a gun at his head, and pull the trigger. The prisoners were forced to kneel with their heads down so that they would fall forward, into the blood ditch. Convenient. Of all the photos I took at Dachau, I beleive this one haunts me the most.



A boi mourns


Liberation

On April 26, 1945, as American forces approached, there were 67,665 registered prisoners in Dachau and its subcamps; more than half of this number were in the main camp. Of these, 43,350 were categorized as political prisoners, while 22,100 were Jews, with the remainder falling into various other categories. Starting that day, the Germans forced more than 7,000 prisoners, mostly Jews, on a death march from Dachau to Tegernsee far to the south. During the death march, the Germans shot anyone who could no longer continue; many also died of hunger, cold, or exhaustion. On April 29, 1945, American forces liberated Dachau. As they neared the camp, they found more than 30 railroad cars filled with bodies brought to Dachau, all in an advanced state of decomposition. In early May 1945, American forces liberated the prisoners who had been sent on the death march. reference



Memorial Sculpture at Dachau


Memorial plaque for U.S. Troops, who gave thousands back their freedom.


6 million people died during the Holocaust... all we have left are the shells of their prisons, and their ashes. Millions of unidentified ashes, that will forever serve as a reminder... NEVER AGAIN.





This photo blog was made in memory of those who lost their lives in Dachau, and those who survived, to share their stories with us, that we might never know their torment.

~Bree