Friday, December 24, 2004

Have fun in New York

This is a link I took up from Cheesebikini and is a site well worth exploring.
Great theme looking at the various incarnations and scams on Kentucky Fried Chicken but the whole site is really worth a tour. Some of the photos remind me of Eggleston's work , such as this photo here. Browse the photos by clicking on the arrow buttons at the top right of the page.

Christmas tomorrow ... maybe away for a few days. But will try to update.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

New Literacies?

Thanks to Michele for the reminder that it is not just digital literacies which count as 'new literacies'.
I was wondering whether my new gadget counted? It is part bag/part notebook and very 'go ahead'. It can be used in many ways: fashion item; for making notes; as bag. It has a pen to match.


Is this a METABLOG? if so, is it a new literacy?

Guy and I met yesterday to discuss our new research project which is to be autoethnographic in its approach. It will be about blogging and about us and about what it is to blog and why. It will be so self-referential we may disappear. Which maybe a good thing.
We took photos of each other at the meeting



.... I was employing new literacies of course, while Guy left the meeting having written the agreed title for the site on his hand.

It's gonna be an uphill journey.

Some things never change.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

In the Pink

Sarah Pink has a web site on Visual Ethnography. Why did no one tell me?

One of her links is to a wonderful exhibition of photos looking at people involved in the fishing industry. The exhibition is called 'In the Net' so it is kind of relevant.

Thanks to Guy, for showing me this. Think I might do this soon. Watch the blog for results ...

Kevin Leander looks deeply happy on his website and I have ordered his book, written with Margaret Sheehy.

And this article is highly relevant to the work of those looking at adolescent practices on the net. Hooray

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I want to decorate my blog

in a Christmassy theme like this. (Have patience while it loads ... make a cup of warming Christmas punch...

Monday, December 20, 2004

Digital Obesity

Should I worry about this?

Gosh. I am so darned worried that I may end up looking like a great big fat robot.

And just a tip before I go .... NEVER type 'fat woman' into Google image.

What if .....

You write your blog when working at home?
Do you get the sack?

Although this flight attendant's blog got her the sack another MUCH saucier blog has turned into a book you may like to buy in January.
When Guy and I produce a publication based on our experiences of blogging, although it will be good, it will not be rampant.

Talking of which, go here and get a free game to play....

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Chill out for Christmas

Some people are reacting very badly about other people's enthusiasm for Christmas and even sending
I would be upset if I received this kind of response after decorating my house. Especially if it looked as good as this.

Self conscious displays like this are very interesting I think; a lot of us spend time making our homes look like a backdrop or stage set of some sort. Presumably trying to influence how we want people to read us through our environment. LIfestyle seems to be behind only some of the choices we make; other choices are about showing, expressing things we want people to see. (Diane Arbus was great at showing us both the stage set of people's homes and beyond ...You need to check out the pix of people in their homes...)

I wonder what these Christmas houses are saying and I wonder why so many people do it. Some people go for a 'tasteful' look, while others are into the full Blackpool illuminations thing.

And finally ....
if you wnt it to be a white chistmas, why not start doing your snow dance now?

Saturday, December 18, 2004

I believe I have apophenia

I keep seeing links between everything I read and see.
Maybe the link is my brain.
Or, maybe, just maybe .....

there is a link between everything and everything and apophenia is a superfluous term.

Think about it.

I saw Tracey Emin on tv last night and I love her.
Often referred to as

Mad Tracey from Margate

A few years ago she got very pisst before going on tv and then stalked out of the studio again saying she would prefer to talk to her Mum.

I love a lot of her work; she asks us to Look Again at everyday things. This is something I think ethnographic research is about. Whilst I am not well up on debates about Art,I am interested in looking at spaces and how we inhabit them. I think Tracey, like me, is interested in space and artefacts. She also uses aspects of her life in her work.

I am interested in understanding what cyberspace is and also at how technology is impacting on sense meatspace and our use of meatspace. I am interested in how the use of digital photography asks us to look again. I am interested in understanding how this Look Again mentality might affect our relationship with the world. Through visual blogs, through digital images everywhere we are increasingly looking close up at everyday items and somehow seeing something new in them; something exotic; or maybe we consider at length artefacts which we are given to examine in new locations. Thus, with Tracey, Tracey's bedroom in an art gallery is something we can examine out of sync, and think about, whether we want to or not. and on our blogs ... well, look at this food blog.
Visual literacy is developing with the new things that are possible.

Emin's work resonates with all of this stuff - in pryicular the idea of the ethnographic 'making the familiar seem strange'; and have come up with this on her.

And the fact that I have now found an put up an
art space
by and theory .org. definitely proves that if I have have apophenia, so have lots of people.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Globalisation does not scare me

I don't think we will all become a grey blur with all the cheap travel, the Internet links and mass scale imported products..
Look at this:

The Germans will never stop loving Wurst, and even though we in the UK might sell some bits of German food in the supermarket, the embedding of 'other' cultural behaviours is not as simple as importing a product. And the Germans certainly won't be giving up their Wurst.
This kind of thing, (below) I HAVE seen transported to England (Birmingham does a 'WeihnachtsMarkt' in its city centre every year ....

but even after it is brought here , it nevertheless remains a German thing. It is not now n English thing just because it has come here.

We seem determined to keep local identities very alive and very kicking, even where we want to adopt new artefacts and practices into our cultures. We put chips on our curry; we eat huge plates of pasta (unlike the Italians) we adapt as well as absorb.
And the same with language ... Ok I know some languages have disappeared and English is everywhere, but regional accents and dialects remain and I think people want to show allegiances to the smaller groups they belong to, as well as wanting to be part of a global group.

You can be both.

Look at 'English as an Asian language'.

In language, we usually keep the grammar intact while we add new words. Vocabulary tends to be 'dropped in' but does not change the structure.

I disagree that:
'Globalisation is a war on all other cultures'

The tendency seems to be to make new ideas, new items our own.

We develop in ways which suit the existing culture.

Just take a look at kids and popular culture ... whatever the manufacturers want the kids to do, they will discriminatively adapt to their own ends.Agreed they are seduced by new things, by colour, by e additives. But. It is not wholesale unthinking, mindless. Globalistion does not make people stupid. Kids manipulate computer programmes to play in the ways THEY want ... and so on and so on.
I think we like to make the global local.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Ich bin zuruck!! (I am back!)

The guilt of not writing in my blog and seeing the excitement in everyone else's is making me feel ill.

It is as if there is a gap in my thinking. I feel like if I do not blog my brain will go to jelly. I feel like I have to be 'OUT THERE' otherwise I will miss something. Is this Everyday Literacy practices gone out of control? (intertextual link).

When I was in Cologne at the weekend, (you know how it is...)

I saw a fab picture of Mary chasitising Jesus
Max Ernst

I love this kind of down to earthness. Here is the holy family having what we call 'a bit of a domestic'. All a bit harsh compared even to Caravaggio and his depiction of dirty feet. (See early December entries.)

Well anyway, while we were there, (my 'partner' and I) ordered coffee in a way we know to be problematic wherever we go. We like to drink 'Americanos'. We believe this to be an excellent coffee, (when you can get it) made initially as an Espresso, then with a large amount of hot water added. And it should be black. Yet in Italy we get a double Espresso with such an order; in Sardinia you get a blank look and any number of combination of water, coffee and possibly milk. (Quite frankly Iwould not dare order it in Paris, where I have been scolded more than once by waitresses etc.) In the States we get what we expect. But the word is Itlaian for 'American'. And the American's are using an Italian word to describe a coffee we (stupidly) thought to be Italian. But it is an Italian word to describe an American type of coffee, which has been copied recently by the English. Confused?
Well we are.
In Cologne, we described what we wanted in German when we ordered our American coffee which we refer to by the Itlaian word for American.

Gosh how global...... Or is it local?

Anyway, we got this:


Please note how the extra water was interpreted as 'on the side'.

And finally, for all you Manga fans, we found a bookshop where teenaged girls were clustered on easy chairs reading the Manga paperbacks. I bought one called 'Perfect Girl' (like me). The cover is in English, the format is Japanese, and the text is German. It is all so interlinguistic.

So glocal baby.

And finally ... here I am, in the international Hotel chain, reading my German novel .... (or am I?)

What a globe trotter, I'm telling you mate ...


Cheap travel blows my mind.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Visuals; ways of seeing; globalism

Apparently the word 'theory' comes from a Greek word, 'teorin' meaning to see.
So maybe 'Visual Culture can be regarded as a way of thinking, an intellectual discipline ...' say Schirato and Webb.

I am interested in contemporary visual culture in terms of production, spectatorship, interaction. What role does it play in gloalisation? What are the effects of technology and the consequent democratisation of production?
More importantly .....
Why does someone want to change their house into a Christmas artifact? How do different people read it? ( See blog entry yesterday)
(I had to carefully frame out the big yellow van parked in front of the house yesterday in oreder to take my photo.)
What different reading would you have had with the van in the frame?
Why did I frame it out?
What is the effect of putting that photo on my blog less than five minutes after I took the photo?
(I felt a thrill. The house became a digital image in my camera. It became a viusal joke to share in a new affinity space, away from my 'neighbourhood'.)

'We are experiencing an overwhelming globalization of economic and cultural exchanges. The speed of information movement, in what has become for many our global village, means that every human action or event involves others in the consequence of these actions and events. According to Hannerz (1996), 'Globalization is a matter of increasing long-distance interconnectedness'
(Art Education and Visual Culture in the Age of Globalization, Kevin Tavin, Jerome Hausman, in Art Education:Sep 2004. Vol. 57, Iss. 5, p. 47-52)(sorry you need an ATHENS password to see this link.)

Do we become more intimately connected because of the new affordances available to us?
Do we start to understand other perspectives through this facility, this possibility of sharing our views with others?

Globalisation might not just be about homogenisation as some fear.

It might be about seeing other people's realities - even if we do not want to live them. Hmmm.
I will leave that one with you.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Why be half hearted??

christmas house

Some folks LURVE Christmas.
This is a house in my neighbourhood.
In my neighbourhood, we really care.

Monday, December 06, 2004

OMG!!!!!!! My blog is on my blog!!!!!!

.....Talk about SELF REFERENTIAL ......

blog on my blog

And how uncanny!!

Do you think it is obsessive to blog your blog???

How my Sony laptop got even better
I spent Saturday wandering round my local shops (and beyond) looking for a lead which would connect my divine new Sony Vaio to a data projector lead. I felt very foolish and despondent on not managing to find one. Had I bought this Vaio to no avail? (My purpose was to make conferences a lightweight affair). Was I a half wit of the tallest order?? Would all my friends laugh at me?
No. The answer is no.

when I got home, guess what???
I realised that the cute little connector thingy (shown below with its mouse friend, to give you a sense of scale) was to connect parallel ports into. Thank God.

mouse and connector

What a waste of a Saturday afternoon. But somehow, I felt content.

Just me and my Vaio.

BUT. The joy of design is OK really.
We see it as shallow if we own the thing we adore. Especially if it s new.
Compare this:
roman staircase

This was in Rome ..... adored and admired by the well informed, it seems.
Design is more respectable when it is old. It becomes 'the real thing', 'authentic' this or that. (ha! Even seventies stuff is glorified with the word 'retro').

But back to the columns and the spiral staircase... Why do we love symmetry so much? We love this idea of balance I think, even in language, such as shown through rhyme. It seems neat, slick, tidy, satisfying.

And finally .... an appearance from Gulliver. This is my daughter's adopted bear who goes on holiday with anyone who goes anywhere. (Of course, this is Rome).He is soon to have his own website and will then be sent out to young people with ME for them to take his photo in their home or on their holiday .... The bear will travel where young people with ME cannot . I'll give you the url when we have one ....


Sunday, December 05, 2004

A Triangle

A three point entry:

Thank Goodness that
Colin and Michelle are OK. Thought they had disappeared for a minute. But they turned up here in San Antonio, much to the enjoyment of all those who matter.
Went to the gym today........

........ to terminate my membership. There was a list of boxes to tick, for you to explain why you might be leaving, e.g. moving away; pregnant; cost too high; etc. But they did not list my reason so I had to tick 'Other' and write'Am Lazy'.
Now I am no longer a member of the luxury Health and Fitness Suite, I will have a bit more time and money to go to the cake shop. I hve the sins of sloth and gluttony.
Le Patisserie a Toulouse

3. I know a lot of people love their i-pods. Just thought you might want this accessory.
You don't want to leave things lying about in a mess (like the one below), do you?

Happy Holidays (with feet)
This was a luxury holiday to Spain btw ...

(And of course I am sure you picked up the intertextual reference re dirty feet)

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Visual culture and the new canon

I have been thinking about images and their relocation to centre stage.
I went to Rome (Tra la la) and saw what the fuss is all about with Caravaggio.

The narrative around his work is that when he was first painting (at the end of the 1500s -start of 1600s), his pictures were seen as a threat to the old school of religious painting. Previously ecclesiastical artists had represented the great stars of the Bible in highly idealistic etheral paintings. Beauty was high on the agenda. Purity, majesty and a certain cleanliness around being holy. Even crucifixions were sanitised.
Entry stage left was Caravaggio with his paint brush - depicting images of Christ and the Madonna with filthy feet. CARA01 (This painting is almost life size)In some paintings he even depicted himself as onlooker. All very postmodern - an awareness of his own perspective within the piece.


Not only was he able to introduce techniques, where cloth seemed real, and use chiarascuro to render a sense of three dimensions using light and shade. IT ALL SEEMED SO REAL. These techniques brought in new ways of understanding the biblical stories - (their reality).
Churches were a central place for the getting of information; sharing of new ideas, passing on narrative etc. People looked at the art and 'read it'. (Obviously most could not read text.)
Are we becoming a culture which is turning again to visual images and placing them in a more central location? Again, there has been a step change in new techniques, allowing us to share our realities with others. And this is of course upsetting some people. We are able, to easily bring excellent representations of our world in close up detail of the basics of our lives. We have seen photo's of japanese packed lunches, of shoes, of people on the phone and even our dirty feet. It is a Look Again mentality. We make the everyday seem exotic. And we love our ability to do so.

This is to be my new fixation for a while ...

Blogging the mundane ... almost over and out.

Just one more thing ... have a cup of coffee on me....

1. Open this

2. Put a coin in the machine
3. Select what you want to drink
4. click on the cup, watch it fill up
5. Click on "apri"

Don't forget to click on "APRI" at the end!! This is the best part!

About Me

My photo
Sheffield, South Yorks, United Kingdom
I am an academic interested in New Literacies, Digital Lifestyles, Informal Online Learning.