Friday, September 30, 2016

Watermelone, In Trippy Fo'm


I Made Patrick Dempsey Ugly

Twitterbots Are Pretty Awesome

"Twitterbots" are exactly as they sound: bots that operate on Twitter. These bots, short for "robots," are emerging entities of new media that speak through tweets. They can follow other users, retweet other users' tweets, make tweets of their own, and post @replies to tweets that have certain words or phrases that they are coded to find. Many users follow bots because they tend to be humorous and entertaining.

Twitterbots are created with code by human authors to express a certain meaning. This often leads to the question: who gets the credit for tweets composed? Does the human who made the code or the code itself get the credit? The code follows its instructions to portray what the human wants; however, without the human, no code would have been made in the first place. This means that there is shared authorship with this type of new media.

A personal favorite twitterbot is the account @everyword. This bot has tweeted every single word in the English language. If you visit its page, you will see that they started this account way back in 2007 and finished in 2014. It took them seven years to finish this 109,000-tweet account! The reasons it is so interesting to the Hugh Manatees are that it has been made into a book and that it is "finished." It's not often that an account can be said to be "finished;" usually it just stops posting. It's not a typical twitterbot, and its uniqueness is pretty awesome.

Many people question if twitterbots are capable of making meaningful work. The definition for meaning is "what is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated; signification; import," according to At first it seemed like "no way, a computer just spits things out from a random code; there is no meaning behind it." However, after learning about different types of new media, the thought resolved that through a partnership of author and code, bots can be meaningful, even if that meaning comes solely from the author. The author crafts the code in such a way that it will produce what he or she wishes it to. Some forms of new media, such as self-generating poems, are still dubious sources of meaning, but twitterbots can definitely illustrate meaning as it was intended by the author.

Even after experiencing twitterbots for just the first time, it seems obvious that new media is thriving. There are innumerable ways in which to create, explain, and develop ideas with new media. Twitterbots are among our favorite varieties of new media because of their modern genesis and their home on a well-used recreational medium. They could prove highly influential in getting Millennials such as us interested in new forms of art.

Writer: Morgan Gleixner

Editor: Patrick Stahl

Imagery: Zack Tokosh

Hypertextuals: Molly Verostick

Friday, September 23, 2016

E-Poetry: A Second Gen Art Form

"Digital poetry is a conglomeration of forms that combine the semantic sugar of traditional poetry with the strong, lithe protein of binary visual mediums. Digital poems rely on one's attachment to various stimuli, such as the reading of words, the viewing of .gifs, and the sympathizing of man toward nature, to delve into new meanings which stand on the periphery of insights one has already acknowledged, at least on a subconscious level. Digital poetry is both a 'hot' and a 'cold' medium in that it bombards one's senses with information, yet it leaves interpretation largely to audience hands. Digital poems can utilize the visual plane in three and a half dimensions (length, width, time, and some depth), as well as the auditory plane." - Patrick Stahl, defining Digital Poetry for UPJ's new Digital Poetry course

There are many forms of e-poetry (aka "digital poetry"), but all of these forms stick close to this definition.  Sure, some poems are hotter or colder than others, but none of them are simple.  A spectrum exists for quality digital poems that runs from "traditional poetry with some digital enhancements" to "a digital experience with pretty words."  E-poetry is by no means a homogeneous art form.  Much of the variety in e-poetry is caused by its nature as a second generation art form.  Unlike other second gen forms (e.g. animated cartoons and films), e-poetry has yet to be boxed in by populist pressures.

Leonardo Flores, in his essay "What Is E-Poetry?", describes seven genres (or forms) of e-poetry.  These are actually lifted from a book by Christopher Funkhouser titled Prehistoric Digital Poetry.  The forms are: generative poetry, code poetry, visual digital poetry, kinetic poetry, multimedia poetry, interactive poetry, and hypertext poetry.  Like other so-called genres, these forms can overlap or be bred together for particular poems.  Still, it can be useful to understand what these forms are so as to help distinguish the various experiences drawn through e-poetry.

E-poetry, when done well, is stronger than traditional poetry, while maintaining at least most of its beauty.  Theme, imagery, and emotion are still important elements taken from its non-digital parent.
The incorporation of digital processes allows for interactivity, motion, and sound.  These attributes aim to improve upon traditional forms, though when implemented poorly, they can disrupt rather than embellish.  In certain cases, it is the traditional poetry that is blended into the electronic.  The same risks are taken here.

In the same way that animated cartoons transformed comic strips, e-poetry has transformed traditional poetry.  The comic strip was not replaced by animation, but it was outmuscled.  While the Peanuts comic strip may be consumed more on a weekly basis, it is the Charlie Brown holiday specials that many Millennials hold dear.  What the animated cartoons lose in spirit by their transition from newspaper to television they make up for in visual rapture and a truer representation of life as we experience it (at least when we aren't knee-deep in a comics page, comic book, or graphic novel).

Unlike the transition of the novel to film (though similar to adaptions of short stories or Biblical passages), digital poetry can expand the structure of traditional poetry.  While the epic poem shows digital poetry who wears the big boy pants in the family in almost all instances, the average digital poem is a more substantial experience than the average traditional poem.  That is not to say that short traditional poems cannot sometimes give their digital cousins a run for their money where depth of meaning is concerned.  Digital poems can fall flat quite easily and are always at risk of feeling gimmicky.  In a world of trade-offs for art, neither form can be said to be superior to the other as a general rule.

Only time can tell how e-poetry will fare compared to its first generation parents.  Thus far, adoption by the masses has been limited, starkly contrasting the historical rush to consume cartoons and films.  The gavel is yet high in the air.

Writer: Patrick Stahl

Editor: Molly Verostick

Imagery: Morgan Gleixner

Hypertextuals: Zack Tokosh

"my body": Insight

“my body: a Wunderkammer” is a beautiful piece of interactive electronic literature developed by Shelley Jackson. The piece is semi-autobiographical in nature, meaning that the author lived through a number of the stories and memories shared throughout, but also that some of the text is exaggerated or even entirely fictional. “my body” offers the opportunity for any person with Internet access to explore the emotional aspects of a woman’s body through her direct remembrances, thoughts, and feelings.

When the reader first begins “my body,” he or she sees a black-and-white drawing of a female body. Most of the body parts are labeled, and each body part is connected to a hyperlink that, when clicked on, will take the reader to a passage poeticizing that specific body part. Each passage explores a memory or feeling—though possibly a fictitious one—from the author. To give an example, when one clicks the woman’s neck, several paragraphs of text appear. Part of this passage refers to how the author used to draw princesses with “necks no wider than their chins.” Each passage contains hyperlinks that are connected to words or phrases in the passage. When activated, these will lead the reader to further insights.

Because this piece is navigated via hyperlinks, there cannot be a “right” or “wrong” order in which to study it in. It is highly unlikely that all readers will begin their journeys by clicking on the same body part, and it is even less likely that readers will read every part of the body and in the exact same order. As a result of this digital structure, as well as the personal perceptions and interpretations attributed to each reader, no two people will experience “my body” the same way. Some readers may be able to directly relate to what the author is offering, while others may feel at a loss for any significant empathetic connection. The absence of a solid order of interactions in this hypertext piece is a component shared with many other examples of e-literature and hypermedia; the personal adventure offered by the digital landscape of “my body” is what makes this piece beautiful in my eyes.

For readers struggling to make sense of “my body: a Wunderkammer,” Shelley Jackson embedded inside the piece a section titled “Cabinet.” There, Jackson explains to her audience what the essence of her creation is meant to be: her body is a “cabinet of curiosities,” a Wunderkammer, and any or all are invited to peer within. Each body part in the diagram represents a drawer, and in each drawer there are stories, memories, thoughts, and feelings. In the words of Jackson, if her audience members wish to truly understand her work, they must “feel their way in.”

Writer: Molly Verostick

Editor: Patrick Stahl

Imagery: Zack Tokosh

Hypertextuals: Morgan Gleixner

What is Digital Humanities

Digital humanities: it employs the use of technology for research of humanities and subjects technology for questioning. It is essentially a relationship between humanities and the digital. (DH) was once referred to as “Humanities Computing.” What it really bubbles down to is the intersection between the once normal humanities and now the new and improved digital form, which allows for more in depth research and computing into images and text. A playful way to use humanities in this modern era where everything is done through technology. Whether it is on your iPad, iPhone, laptop or many others, we can now teach and research new ways of digital humanities.

Another way of describing digital humanities is information in electronic form. We work through electronic literature in class going through different processes of clicking on one thing to take you to another. Also having a story or information brought to you through these games/works of art. Finally Digital humanities can be used as a way to answer many different research questions. The definition of Digital Humanities in my eyes has and will forever continue to formulate in to something truly amazing to be studied.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Digital Humanities: What is this stuff?

Digital Humanities is a spectrum that combines the newer concept of technology with the older study of the humanities. While the combination of these terms may sound simple, it is a broad term that has, in more recent years, become it's own field of study. Technology has become a vital aspect of human life. Due to it's vitality, it has essentially entered the realm of human studies, writings, culture, and understanding.

The study of Digital Humanities is said to have started in the late 1940s with the work of Roberto Busa, and continues to be heavily studied and researched to this day. Digital Humanities, often abbreviated as DH, allows people to use the tools that technology has to offer to study the humanities. By combining the digital world with the humanities, works involving digital mapping, hypermedia, e-literature, and other forms of art that scholars are continuing to study and create.

This is MY definition of digital humanities. However, a true definition is something that DH scholars across the world have been attempting to discover since the '40s. It's as if you're looking through a magnifying glass, attempting to find key aspects of the field and shortly summarize the term, in a way that most definitions are produced. When you look into this metaphorical magnifying glass when attempting to define digital humanities, however, you feel like you are looking into a kaleidoscope- there's so much there, and it can be difficult to make sense of it. It is a field that will, in my opinion, continue to develop and change as technology continues to advance.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Digital Humanities Makes Life Easier

Digital Humanities is a not-so-basic mix between the "digital" world and all of the humanities. You may be thinking that I’m about to explaining everything under the sun, but false. It explores the technological ways the human race has evolved. Digital humanities covers all types of experiments on how the internet and humans interact and how us humans us the internet to our fullest potential to conduct works of art such as electronic poetry and electronic literature. Also including humans making use of the technological tools for types of research, analyzing, studying, teaching, and understanding our world as a whole.

To evaluate on electronic literature and electronic poetry, it's more complex than the human brain can possibly wrap around. It's not simply literary works and poems written online. It's using the tools online to conduct amazing unique individual pieces. Works that sometimes are not even readable, but to get the reader thinking about what the author was trying to get across for creating such a unique piece.

Back to digital humanities, it explains how we humans make the humanities digitized. Anything that is “real” or alive in the world, is possible to be made digital. Once made digital, it is in easier access for everyone to have and use the information to learn about or learn with. In our generation, reaching things digitized is an option at any moment.

With our generation, and almost everyone having a smartphone, the internet is available all day every day right in our pockets. When there is a person questioning things, it takes approximately 30 seconds to get their phone out, bring up Safari, and typing in that question in the search bar. Bam, an answer to any question possible is available immediately.

Digital humanities makes life easier on our generation because it gives us impatient people what we want and what we are searching for or being plain out curious about right on the spot.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Total E-Glitch of the Heart

“Digital Humanities” (DH) is the field in which practitioners mock robots for being unable to feel. Formerly known as “humanities computing,” digital humanities blends modern binary technologies with the human essence. It inspects and expresses humanity through a lens of 1's and 0's. The field yearns to exploit the cold core of the digital realm to better understand the sapien soul. It is a total e-glitch of the human heart, though it is a good one.

Projects in the Digital Humanities take many shapes. All humanities branches can factor into the field, and some practices border the social sciences in their applications. Technologies like Voyant Tools perform "deep-reading" to analyze large (or small) bodies of text. E-literature brings the electric to literature (boogie, woogie, woogie). Data mapping and data visualization turn blocks of data into more palatable images. Archives and indexes like Google Books preserve knowledge and art for the future. These are just a few of the tree's branches.

Pinning the Digital Humanities down is a little like wrestling a mountain cat—you might get growled at. Scholarly opinion varies greatly regarding who belongs to the field. Some assert that virtually everyone belongs, while others would limit the honor to those fighting in the name of the squad. As Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Scholarly Communication of the MLA, notes in "The Humanities, Done Digitally," "every 'What Is Digital Humanities?' panel aimed at explaining the field to other scholars winds up uncovering more differences of opinion among its practitioners. Sometimes those differences develop into tense debates about the borders of the field and about who's in and who's out."

There are a few elements to DH that can generally be agreed upon. Digital Humanities is an interdisciplinary realm of study. It has some attributes of an independent discipline, but overall it carves out slices of many humanities disciplines, the discipline of computer science, and some social science disciplines to build a cohesive framework in which scholars and laypeople alike may work. Digital tools are used by digital humanists in most of their work. Those tools range as wide as the applications of the field. Though digital humanists can work alone, one of the hallmarks of the field is its dedication to the collective mind. Most projects, besides those in e-literature (and even some of those projects), are advanced by a group.

Defining the Digital Humanities is an onerous task. Perhaps someone in the field ought to use its technologies to study the body of literature on the subject and find a way to put it into words. Or maybe not. Isn't one of the concerns of the field the expansion of language through the non-linear? A digital poem may be able to define it better than I can here in black ink, even with all the hyperlinks. I am but one cog in the great clock of DH. I won't use up any more of your time, just now, blogging on the subject.