Thursday, February 21, 2013

Real-Time Event Collaborations Across Mixed and Transmedial Realities (Workshop 2)


“Our age is the seculum of beautiful trifles, bagatelles or sublime chimeras.” - Kant (Remarks in the Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime) 1799
“While Kant could entertain the fantasy of chimeras, he could not foresee that they would one day exist as objects of experience.” – Howard Caygill (Stelarc and the Chimera: Kant’s critique of prosthetic judgment) 1997

Workshop Two, ‘Knowledge Economy’ will be practically based with the development of scenarios for staging events and working in the knowledge economy. In workshop two you will be asked to develop a plan for using digital tools and platforms in a planned event that you formulate. You will be working in small groups throughout the session, and this will be organized according to the feedback we received with your workshop submissions.

The goals of the workshops are
* To increase your practical knowledge of digital media as tools and platforms in event management
* To develop a working scenario for your own project/s
* To develop a network for support and cooperation that lasts beyond the workshops
* To integrate digital media into your own professional activities.


1. Participation and publication: A binary of the digital knowledge economy

Push- individual motivation

Pull – institution and career

Training is now replaced by use (e.g. ‘lifelong education’). There is no time to train and for this reason media must be integrated into daily life: In relation to the digital proliferation, ‘Professional Lifecasting’ is applicable to the situation created by social media today, Lifecasting is “a continual broadcast of events in a person’s life through digital media. Typically, lifecasting is transmitted through the medium of the Internet and can involve wearable technology” (Wikipedia). In Lifecasting, digital media, and particularly social media, become the means of interacting with your surroundings and experiences. The constant mediation that results from Lifecasting breaks up participation into an almost reflective exercise. In an economy where knowledge is produced and shared online, for academics tensions emerge between the traditionally valued role of publication and the totally necessary contemporary role of participation.

Of course the necessity of participation over the demands of publication makes for a large range of issues, ruptures, contradictions, conflicts and desires. These can be considered in relation to a few points:
  1. Performance is not measured by numbers online.
  2. Your professional identity is mediated by non-professionals.
  3. Everything is shared although it may not all be free (as in freedom not beer).
  4. You need to know who your audience is.
  5. You are an avatar.
Writing for the web is a basic element in negotiating the above five points. If writing is now 1. A performance, that is 2. Mediated by non-professionals and is 3. Shared, with an 4. Audience that is global and 24/7 and 5. With you as the author a presence not only in the text but in the comments, critique, and possible remix of it; what does it mean for your work?
“What does it mean to be a digital worker today? The Internet has become a simple-to-join, anyone-can-play system where the sites and practices of work and play increasingly wield people as a resource for economic amelioration by a handful of oligarchic owners. Social life on the Internet has become the “standing reserve,” the site for creation of value through ever more inscrutable channels of commercial surveillance.  This inquiry has important ramifications for struggles around privacy, intellectual property rights, youth culture and media literacy) Trebor Scholz, Why Does Digital Labor Matter Now? (Introduction – Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory).


2.     Tools for change: the digital components of professional life (branding, networks, readership)
Branding: How ‘what you do’ is related to ‘who you are’ in its presentation to your audience. This is bound up in relevance; how is what you do relevant to the people you are trying to communicate with. Personal branding is not necessarily a totally planned and conscious process. You are already doing most of what you are trying to present to people. You don’t need to (and should not) tailor your activities based on popularity or fame. But you need to package the presentation of your work and ideas in a way that makes it identifiable in an ocean of similar voices, images, texts and expressions. In this way design becomes relevant to how you work online. Interactive design, which according to Löwgren and Stolterman makes “ideas visible” (51) in “the process that is arranged within existing resource constraints to create, shape, and decide all use-orientated qualities (structural, functional, ethical, and aesthetic) of a digital artifact for one or many clients” (5). In considering your personal brand you should consider “use-orientated qualities (structural, functional, ethical, and aesthetic)” in the digital artifacts you are working with. In my own work I believe this considering is a form of reading.

Löwgren, Jonas, and Erik Stolterman. Thoughtful Interaction Design: A Design Perspective on Information Technology. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2004. Print.
The following are tools of personal branding:
  1. Business card
  2. General resume/cover letter/references document (Keep it online and public)
  3. Portfolio
  4. Blog/website http://mashable.com/2009/01/13/social-media-resume/
  5. LinkedIn profile
  6. Facebook profile
  7. Academia.edu profile
  8. Twitter profile
  9. Video resume/portfolio (can be a personal presentation of your work or a collection of presentations and projects as videos)
  10. Wardrobe
  11. Email
Details here.

Networks: “Whereas in postmodernism, being was left in a free-floating fabric of emotional intensities, in contemporary culture the existence of the self is affirmed through the network” – Kazys Varnelis http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2010-01-14-varnelis-en.html How do you acknowledge your own present position in a network? You are most likely part of several networks. Think about how you exercise or activate your own network identities. Are there strengths and weaknesses to these activates? Do you see any strategy, tendencies or patterns in how you participate in networks? Think about digitally mediated networks and how these are either part of your life or ways in which you would like to make particular networks part of your life.

Readership is one way of describing an audience or public. Tracking your public is of vital importance for the development and effectiveness of you participation in the knowledge economy as an academic. If you have websites and other content online outside the domain of your institution you run the risk of being singled out in some way. You must always remain conscious of this; keep sites up to date, monitor comments and contributions, do not allow links to die or even worse, descriptions of people and events to fall out of date. Living on the web is not a nine to five occupation, as these two contrasting examples illustrate from Facebook (the first in Swedish but translatable with Google – although badly). First the Scandinavian supermarket chain Coop keeps control over a online protest about it stocking endangered Yellow Fin Tuna over a weekend, despite it stating it will not sell endangered fish species in response to a photo being posted on Coop’s Facebook site of the Yellow Fin for sale. Secondly, retail giant H&M, which apologized for its delay in removing a Facebook posting that spiraled out of control with nasty and disparaging comments. It took a month for  H&M to address the violent and threatening comments. Paying daily, (even hourly if something is active) attention is important to keep your online project on track when dealing with networked and social media. Other tracking tools are Foller.me, StatCounter and Extreme Tracking. Google is the best of these but your details are not your own and they are being shared


3.     Working with digital tools creatively
The range of digital tools available for free, little cost or under license is huge. There is little point starting your investigation from the perspective of ‘finding the tools that can help me’. Rather, ask yourself what it is you want to do? Why are you considering adopting digital tools in your professional practice? Look to the examples of others; particularly in the field your work yourself and of people whose work you admire. Once again, building a network is extremely worthwhile.
Tools can be broken up into broader categories:
  1. Search (search engines, archive, tagging, storage, markup, )
  2. Visual (photo editing, photo creation, video- creation and editing, screen capture)
  3. Audio (recording, editing, creation, storage)
  4. Text (editing, markup, publishing)
  5. Sharing (P2P, file management, tagging, storage)
  6. Personal (email, website, creative, hobbies and pastimes, connections, avatars)

4.     Researching in the digital knowledge economy
By following many of the other points in this presentation you will get some idea of how it is to be a researcher in the digital knowledge economy. However there is a further dimension to this; researching on the digital knowledge economy. Many people work with digital subjects; cataloging cultures, behaviors, symbols and languages, critiquing the artistic products of the digital. Many of the tools I present here are useful in this work. The methods are still being developed but there is a lot of material already available from the work done so far. While it is an area unto itself, I would be happy to talk about it more if people are interested.


5.     Working across media in the creative digital knowledge economy
The catch cry of so much work in the digital knowledge economy is transdisciplinary or interdisciplinary. This is a fundamental of the so-called Digital Humanities. I spoke at the first workshop about team building and this is one approach to the problems created by projects and work that unite different themes and methods under the banner of mediation. The secondary area of this issue is the use of different media in working in the digital knowledge economy. A number of points need to be made in relation to working across media in the creative digital knowledge economy.

a)    Media should complement each other
b)   Each medium has its own affordances
c)   Specialize in one, but have a working knowledge of many
d)   Use technical support whenever possible

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