Transcriptions Research Slam

Transcriptions Research Slam
Friday, May 9, 2008
1:00 PM - 5:30 PM

UCSB South Hall 2635

Please join us on Friday, May 9th for a research event consisting of three sequential media poster sessions, followed by discussion and a reception.  RSVP to

Event Home Page

 Event Schedule

Jeremy Douglass
Tassie Gniady
Christopher J. Hagenah
Bola C. King and Amanda Phillips
Bola C. King
Kim Knight
Kris McAbee
Jessica Murphy
Eric Nebeker
Megan Palmer
Amanda Phillips
Shaun Sanders
Elizabeth Swanstrom
William Warner

Jeremy Douglass - PowerWall Presenter: Visual Rhetoric for Large Displays (Session III)
keywords: visual, rhetoric, software, image, display

Research into massively multi-monitor display walls such as HIPerWall and Varrier has created new opportunities for visual presentation.  How can such high-resolution displays be used as a medium for academic presentations, research, and teaching?  If the Powerpoint slide has become the stadard presentation technology for the current generation of single-screen displays, what new presentation strategies are possible on a 200 megapixel, 25x18 foot wall?

The PowerWall Presenter project is a collaboration with the HIPerWall (Highly Interactive Parallelized Display Wall) research team at Calit2 to develop presentation software oriented towards spatial juxtaposition rather than superimposition.  The Software Studies Initiative is currently working on software that controls simple automatic sequences of tile movements. We are also experimenting with exposing large data sets, the syncing of multiple videos with large geographic overviews of games, and the use of custom pointing devices.

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Tassie Gniady - Tannakin Skinker: A Case Study of a Hog-Faced Woman (Session III)
keywords:replication, monsters, cheap print, seventeenth century

At a time when monsters were readily available at Bartholomew Fair, Southwark Fair, and even minor street events as well as in coffee houses and taverns in London, what was it about a hog-faced woman that spurred a flurry of print? Was it her extraordinarily monstrous appearance? Probably not. Tannakin Skinker was a woman with the face of a pig, but a broadside depicting two monstrous pigs, one with hands instead of front hooves had been chronicled by Sir John Hayward in 1562. And while pigs have particular biological similarities with humans (early dissectors such as Vesalius often used them as substitutes for humans due to the similarity of their internal organs), the particular conjunction of details that make Skinker compelling are those that make her the perfect emblem for monster-culture of the seventeenth century. Thus, Tannakin Skinker becomes a positive center for previously marginal figures. Her story both has elements of the old flag of monstrosity in its didactic origin while also heralding a new kind of open signification in its secular, comic, literary and economic elements.

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Christopher J. Hagenah  - Jason Lutes' Berlin: A Deformance (Session II)
keywords: deformance, comics, form, popular culture

What is a "text"?  In the humanities, our definitions of the term seem to be expanding, not only beyond the limits of the canon, per se, but within our notions of formal properties inherent to “text.”  How then do we interpret new cultural “texts” that do not adhere to traditional definitions of a “text,” such as comics? In our project, entitled Berlin: A Deformance, we use Jason Lutes's Berlin: City of Stones to address these questions by isolating the aesthetic elements specific to comics so that we can distinguish this medium from literary text, film and the visual arts.  Can deforming the comic clarify its form? This deformative methodology via digital tools, according to Jerome McGann and Lisa Samuels, produces models that “bring to attention areas of the poetic and artifactual media that usually escape our scrutiny… we are brought to a critical position in which we can imagine things about the text that we didn’t and perhaps couldn’t otherwise know” (McGann and Samuels, “Deformance and Interpretration”).  By adapting the comic to a different medium, we model the function of the comics' page, panel sequence, and network.  What happens when the visual art is removed and only the text remains? On the other hand, what does the removal of all text, including word balloons and aural symbols, reveal about the structural form of the comic? How does the isolation of the gutter demonstrate the inner workings of the network on the comics' page? What are the differences between an animated model of the comic and the comic itself, and what conclusions can be drawn about comics' form from these differences?

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Bola C. King and Amanda Phillips - The Critical GeoWiki Experiment (Session I)
keywords: geowiki, interactive mapping

Inspired by Franco Moretti’s creation of maps from nonvisual texts, the aim of this project is to work with maps of virtual spaces and examine events and objects associated with them. While we are treating these maps as texts, it is important to note that virtual environments are visually rendered, as opposed to the malleable, imagined spaces created when engaging with "traditional" texts. For this project, maps were taken from two different virtual environments (Second Life and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past) and turned into "critical GeoWikis," publicly editable maps that correlate information to map locations. The ultimate goal of the project is the stimulation of scholarly interaction with and commentary on the GeoWikis.

Second Life maps: For this prototype, the source material is the maps of two regions. There are various applications, reviews, and other commentaries on certain spaces, but thus far none of this has been collected in a comprehensive manner. The maps were collected as .JPG-formatted screenshots for use in the GeoWiki application. The map data were collected from internet sources (including blogs, web reviews, and more). These were then connected to the GeoWiki to allow for multifaceted exploration.

A Link to the Past: The map source is the map of kingdom of Hyrule captured and assembled by Ian Albert.  For this project, only the main "overworld map" (featuring only the exterior areas of the kingdom) is used, and not maps of individual dungeons, in order to limit the scope of the data collection.  Initial data for placement on the GeoWiki include plot events, major item acquisitions, and boss battles. Ideally, entries from visitors to the wiki will flesh out critical observations, personal experiences, and the like.

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Bola C. King - Review and Campaign Analysis of Health Locations in Second Life (Session III)
keywords: health campaigns, virtual worlds, "Second Life"

The public communication campaign is a vital tool for social and behavioral change. The goal of this project is to examine health-related locations in Second Life (SL) specifically from the perspective of communication campaign theory.

A variety of health-related locations exists in SL. These include: venues for support groups; information centers and libraries for both public and private organizations; training sites for health personnel; and shopping and roleplay sites for both entertainment and identity enhancement.

There are, however, essentially no Second Life-based health campaigns. Those few campaigns that do have a presence in-world are basically composed of content imported from other media, mostly brochures and websites. In general, though, public health campaigns as such are not really underway. Cases in point are the CDC, American Cancer Society, and Red Cross sites; the best these have to offer is undirected information. This is symptomatic of corporate, government, and NGO presences in-world.

Second Life should be treated as a “place,” like a real-world region, with a distinct population and culture; this means that campaigns cannot necessarily be simply transplanted into the region from other, theoretically successful campaigns. Residents of SL spend time in-world for specific reasons, and their world has unique facets just like any culture does. An organization looking to create a successful campaign should start from scratch, looking to learn exactly what the characteristics of this population are and how best to engage them, perhaps beginning with an eye to utilizing the sense-making model. Only after this work is completed can specific theories be brought to bear with any hope of success.

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Kim Knight - Mutating Media: Transmissions of the Ringu Virus (Session I)
keywords: virus, transmission, media, adaptation, global flows

In 1991 Kadokawa Shoten published the novel Ringu by Koji Suzuki. In epidemiological terms, this novel was “Text 0,” the index case from which an entire media phenomenon spread.   The Ringu virus then mutated into many different forms: print sequels, television movies; feature films; manga; video games; television mini-series.  Through the 1990s, outbreaks of the virus were contained in Japan and functioned as part of the J-horror subculture.  In the first years of the new millenium, the virus began to spread internationally through a decentralized network onto which we can impose a narrative of word-of-mouth and subcultural dissemination.  However, once the U.S. studio system enters the picture, the media ecology of the virus shifts dramatically.  "Mutating Media" uses an interactive timeline to examine these patterns and the media ecologies which they reflect.

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Kris McAbee - The Sonnet Virus: The Sonneteer in History (Session I)
keywords: technology, reproduction, anxiety, gender, circulation

The project traces 16th C anxieties of reproduction through the technologies of reproduction informing the sonnet vogue.

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Jessica Murphy - Visualizing the "Advice to the Ladies of London": A Digital Humanities Approach to Early Modern Gender (Session II)
keywords: gender, early modern, sexuality, popular literature

Word frequency visualization offers a new way of reading that goes far beyond its former "at-a-glance" and concordance uses. Using word frequency visualization tools on a set of broadside ballads from the sixteenth and seventeenth century, I argue that while such critics as Pamela Allen Brown argue that popular literature offers only two choices for women, shrew or sheep, ballads in fact present a complicated spectrum of possible roles for women. The visualization techniques I use (tag clouds and word trees) help me conceptualize that spectrum while at the same time introducing a tool to literary analysis.

Tag clouds render word frequencies in a user-supplied text by size and word trees render both word frequency and word networks. Because my project centers on literary texts, I am most interested in the possibilities for tag clouds or word trees and literary analysis. Joe Lamantia, writing about what he calls the "text cloud," claims, "the growing use of text clouds hints at a (potential) deeper cultural shift in the way we go about reading and comprehension: a shift from linear modes based on reading words and sentences, to nonlinear modes based on viewing summaries of content in aggregate as a way of discovering concepts and patterns." The text cloud captures the non-linear elements of a text and makes them clear to the reader.

Someone once claimed that the tag cloud is "the mullet of web 2.0," and the significance of this project has a lot to do with that comparison. The hairstyle is one everyone loves to hate and mock; in the popular imagination it now stands for everything "Blue Collar Comedy." That is, the ridicule of the mullet is linked to classism and regionalism. When commentators fret over the tag clouds' "popularity," they are really fretting about the expansion of users' access to the technology to make tag clouds. Thus tag clouds are positioned in much the same way as close reading was in Post-World War II America—they have the potential to open up texts to people who may not have otherwise had access in this way to them before.

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Eric Nebeker - The English Broadside Ballad Archive - Today and Tomorrow (Session II)
keywords: text, art, music, TEI/XML, black-letter

[Under Construction]

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Megan Palmer - The EBBA Woodcut Archive (Session III)
keywords: images, woodcut, digitization

The 1,850 ballads in Samuel Pepys’ collection have long been studied for their textual, cultural, and musical significances. Less studied are these ballads’ woodcut illustrations, which have been described as crude, and have been difficult to access or categorize for all but the most specialized scholars. Fortunately, the digitization of these ballads by our Early English Ballad Archive (EBBA) includes unprecedented work on these woodcut illustrations: cataloguing, keywording, written descriptions, and linking between images. This presentation will showcase some of the Woodcut Archive’s features, discuss our philosophy about the woodcuts, and offer some possible scholarly uses of the archive.

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Amanda Phillips - The Narrative Data Stream: Database, Algorithm, and Spatialized Narrative at the Theoretical Limits (Session III)
keywords: narrative theory, print, sound, image, space

The image of the narrative data stream arises out of an attempt to frame the concept of narrative in such a way that it can account for the narrative experiences of "readers" who take in vastly different kinds of texts, from books to films to games and things in between and beyond. Taking as its starting point the phenomenon of spatial narratives in digital games, the project explores the relationships between narrative and database, database and interface, and reading and navigation.

At the core, a narrative text presents the reader/spectator/gamer/user with a combination of data streams that construct an account of the passage of a certain period of time. The creators of these texts work with both content and form (database and interface), hoping to develop an aesthetic experience compelling enough to induct the consumer into a narrated world with a particular story to tell.

Discussing narrative in terms of the data stream opens the vocabulary for a comparative discussion of the narrative strategies of different media objects without getting caught up in hardware particulars. The contents of a media object like a book might be described as a single, sequentially accessed narrative stream made up of textual data, whereas a video game might incorporate streams of audio, visual, and spatial data that may (or may not) encourage non-sequential access. Concepts developed by classical narrative theorists can be tested against nonstandard narrative texts using a common vocabulary.

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Shaun Sanders - Textones: Tonal Mapping of Literature. (Session II)
keywords: Shakespeare, sound, pattern recognition

Shakespearean Sonnets are parsed out into parts  of speech. Tonal values are then assigned to those parts, creating a sequence which can be analyzed for patterns inherent in the use of language.

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Elizabeth Swanstrom - Giselle Beiguelman's "esc for escape" (Session I)
keywords: code, error, language, transmission

Giselle Beiguelman's "esc for escape" (2004) is a multifaceted art project that solicits and archives error messages from computer users around the globe and re-expresses them in a variety of contexts and media. The project includes a public exhibition of error messages on electronic billboards in São Paulo, Brazil; a repository of selected error messages published on the web, entitled "The Book of Errors"; "The Monastery," an archive of all error messages related to the project; a dvd of the project; a project blog; as well as several "trailers," which offer ironic visualizations of various error messages by the artist.  In addition to providing a playful space for people to express their most "unforgettable" error messages, "esc for escape" offers a subtle commentary about the relationship between computer code and natural language.  In this presentation I will demo Beiguelman's project and offer some speculations about the function of error in her work.

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William Warner - Visualizing the American Revolution (Session II)
keywords: print, circulation, communication, visualization, community

[Under Construction]

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Document made with Nvu
Background image: Lego Door by Flickr user "Only Alice"
Utilized under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License.