Catching up and going places

January 31, 2008

My last semester of college has begun and I have been busy actually writing my thesis and working for classes that this little blog has been somewhat neglected. I promise that soon i will post some of the work I have done for the thesis itself but until then I would like to engage the blogosphere in a discussion of some of the other discussions being had around the digital world.

First I came across a post today regarding blogs and their ability to be critical. Kassia over at Booksquare has suggested in a recent post that blogs do not have the abilities print does to be critical and therefor are not a threat to print. I have posted a response to this suggestion and would encourage everyone out there to join in. What is important is that we identify where critical work is being done online and see how the blog is functioning to support or hinder that work.

Through technorati I found this post commenting on the rather long NY times article on the books on blogs. The author is giving a roundup of the Review of Books essay. This essay should prove very helpful in looking at the publication world’s response to blogs. A huge component of the thesis will focus on the literary community that exists between blogs and books.

Another blog has picked up the same article for review. Writing for the Web, has submitted a response to the tone of the article along with correcting a few of the gross generalities presented.  In general this author’s blog is very thoughtful and insightful when it comes to writing and the web 3.0.

The Blog Herald, a metablogging site that has proven very helpful with this thesis has just announced the expansion of Google’s Blogger into the Arabic World. Let the tools of the internet tear down the walls blocking communication.

Another post at The Blog Herald is in regards to blogging anonymously. It is a very good article and provides links to some very interesting posts where the authors describe their own struggles to be public about their online identity. It would appear as if the age old American debate of free speech has found a new forum in the blog world. Can someone be critical of their employer, professor, government and be honest and open about who they are as well? It would seem as though the answer to that is leaning towards the “no” with those fighting for it to be a “yes”. As being one who was personally effected by this fight when I decided to leave a class due to the professors misgivings about the blog world, I would like to see it lean towards the yes and end the days of digital silence.

if:book again provides us with updates on the progress of Grand Text Auto by announcing the completion of part 1, Expressive Processing. A meta-discussion is to follow in the next phase, check it out. Here is the meta of Grand Text Auto.

Another post on the if:book blog proved to take me back a few years, and I only mean a few as I find myself one who is pretty well in tune with my inner child. I love discussions of creativity, especially when the discussions themselves are creative. After all it is one thing to talk about the futurizer, it’s another to believe it, or believe in believing in it. For myself I am looking to one day invent my timechangeizerfying machine, perhaps I’ll do it for this blog, who knows.

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Thesis Update

January 13, 2008

So I finally cracked into the writing part of this and have secured an introduction, well part of an introduction. I still want to discuss intermediality in today’s world and look more closely at art productions such as The Pillow Book and the multimedia characteristics of the digital medium. But that will come once I finally watch The Pillow Book. Next I am going to move onto the first of three sections of my thesis, the blog and its dynamics. Here as I mentioned in my outline I will focus on describing the blog as both a new medium of artistic expression and a genre of literature. So before I begin crunching the words I wanted to give you all, the blogosphere, one last chance to submit to me blogs that may fall under the following category:

A blog that the author is using to publish creative content that would normally or rather historically be published in lit magazines or journals or books. The content does not have to be all that they publish but I am looking for in general blogs that use the blog medium to publish literature.

Or a blog that performs in what I guess is the traditional sense of a blog, a blog that acts as a public diary or journal for the author, well written and established blogs of this sort will help to describe how the blog may have developed an entirely new genre of literature.

Thanks in advance and expect an artistic discussion post soon, I recently got a Wii and well needless to say it has distracted me,

Huysmans


We’ve got blog

January 8, 2008

I am finally back from vacation and have finished the collection of essays titled We’ve got blog: how weblogs are changing our culture. It was a very interesting collection, very diverse, and will be very helpful in understanding more of the specifics in regards to the history of the blog. However the funny thing about anything in print in regards to this topic is that it becomes immediately dated. All the essays in here are from the late 90s through 2002, which makes sense since the book was published in 03 and for a book that’s recent. But still in regards to the “A-List” blogs they talk about in the book, well many don’t update anymore.

 

But the important part is that it gave me some good perspective on the blog’s development. It’s interesting to me, but yet not surprising, that it started as a filter, as a collection of interesting links within the internet, one could say that that purpose is still around today, in fact most probably would, if not through the posts and tags then through the blogroll, but the blogroll isn’t updated regularly like the original weblogs were. I know from the book that the debate on which is a real blog still exists, or at least it did then.

 

Something I find rather interesting about this collection of essays is that there is no discussion of art in the blogs, these writers don’t identify as authors, many as journalists and probably a few as strictly writers or bloggers, but what is interesting is that they don’t see their work as art.

 

Something that I have been toying with is the idea that the public journal aspect of a blog, the type of blog that has become the most popular form of blogging today is in fact a genre of literature, a theme for writing if you will. I believe that it is a hybrid of an autobiography with the essences of a collaborative work such as the Surrealists would do. I know or rather can imagine that there are bloggers out there that honestly write what really does happen to them in that given post but they are still adding opinion, interpretation, hopefully artistic exaggeration, and lets not forget style and format, all of which are artistic and literary themes so therefore I would almost venture to say that these blogs if they were to be found in say a Barnes & Nobel they would be found under the section of Blog Journal, which would be next to Magical Realism and Autobiographies.

 

Just my thoughts and I know it’s a week late but.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR and good luck in ‘08

 

Huysmans


Facebook as Literature

December 21, 2007

I used to think, and by used to I mean up until this week, that these new fangled applications on facebook were not just a waste of time but a disgrace to the essence of what is Facebook. Well that was back when I was elitist for being a college student and couldn’t get over the fact that now high schoolers had accounts. Though I wouldn’t say I am passed that phase of my Facebook relationship I have come to see some value in these applications.

 

I bring it up here because it is rather interesting to see how the literary world has utilized it. First I want to introduce a rather interesting and simply engaging application I found through Chris Joseph’s blog. The novel is called Why Some Dolls Are Bad and it is a graphic novel and is dynamically generated through a Facebook application by the same name. I highly recommend looking into it.

 

It is works like this that are key resources for reviewing the literary potential of blogs, though this app itself is not a blog it does use many of the unique blog features I plan on discussing, such as hypertext, mixmedia, and a community set up through the app users. But again it isn’t a blog in that we cannot directly communicate with the novel author, Kate Armstrong.

 

Anyway it is something worth checking out and thanks to Chris for pointing it out.

 

On another note on Facebook I have also added the scrabble game, a game I like to think helps stimulate writers and with it on Facebook I can enter multiple games at once with my friends that take place over a long period of time, a cute way to remind me about how bad my vocabulary is. For example below is my attempt at trying to make words with the letters I had, I have decided that it makes some rather interesting phonetic poetry, or just crap. You can decide for yourself.

 

Huysmans.

 

Dif tif dif nif wintow woodin wid

 

Woodint winotod

 

Windoo windot wondit wond windo woodi n tinwood nitwood woodnit inwood


Happy Birthday Blog World!

December 18, 2007

Yesterday marked the ten year anniversary of the blog. So in the language of the Wall Street Journal I too say Happy Blogiversary! The story is simple enough, starting with Jorn Barger and his weblog, a filter for web content on December 17th, 1997.

But now a blog has become so much more, maybe that’s good or bad, but regardless it is.

 

Now I can do this and run a muck of my own post.

There can also be still some very thoughtful web filtering. But as those who frequent my blog know, I am more interested in the literary merit that is coming out of them.

So in recognition of this 10th anniversary of the blog world and ten years of development, I present this:

Old New York

My city as it was seen in 1865. Why do I present this here? Because when it came out it wasn’t art. But where is it now, a museum, why? Because it is art today, it represents a world that doesn’t exist anymore, a green Manhattan. Its potential as an artistic representation has now been realized by the changed interaction it has undergone with us the viewers.

The irony is that it is still very much a tool for developers, a tool that lets people know where the water is hiding deep under our metro system and trump towers. I see the same with blogs, they aren’t all art. Hell most aren’t. But those other blogs are serving an extraordinary purpose today for the world. They are media checks, augmenters of the news world, critics, fans, friends, communities, and in general spreading the communication of our world farther than it has ever been able to go in the past.

Here is to the blogosphere, may it continue to establish itself in these next ten years.

Huysmans out.


Narratology enters the blogosphere

November 23, 2007

I would like to change gears a little bit here and delve into a conversation on Narratology, a relative new field dealing with narrative and its transmedial aspects. A leading author on the topic, Marie-Laure Ryan, defines a new definition of narratology for the contemporary transmedial world of today in her book Avatars of Story. I would like to start by quoting her definition of story and narrative:

 

“Story, like narrative discourse, is a representation, but unlike discourse it is not a representation encoded in material signs. Story is a mental image, a cognitive construct that concerns certain types of entities and relations between these entities. Narrative may be a combination of story and discourse, but it is its ability to evoke stories to the mind that distinguishes narrative discourse from other text types.” (p5, Avatars of Story)

 

Using this definition we can expand the concept of narrative to include more abstract media such as music, where the story is not specifically established but rather our absorption of the melodies are interpreted through narrative means. Ryan acknowledges this through identifying the terms we use to describe musical narrative such as exposition, complication, and resolution. What I find extremely intriguing about her approach to narrative is that she sees it more as a scalar rather than a binary feature. Basically she is of the mind that rather than being or not being a narrative, something (that being a musical score to a novel to a film) falls under a level of narrativity, basically it has a level of storiness that makes it more or less a narrative. What is useful about this definition, and this relates to a recent comment made on my Art or art post by Kaz, is that it removes the debate on whether something is or isn’t a narrative and places the emphasis on how different narratives relate.

            This will become extremely important when we start to look at how the internet functions as a medium of artistic expression. The internet will allow for the audience to become participants in a much more constructive and collaborative way. I bring this up because I think that the exploration of narratology, the storiness of a work of are despite the medium, will have a big impact in looking at how blogs will function as their own style of literature. It is the thesis of my thesis that blogs should be treated as a new genre of writing, something to be compared with poetry or pros. I believe that the largest element that differs the blog from other forms of literature is the blog’s ability to allow for collaborative creation. Unfortunately one only speaks in potentials at this stage and my research has yet to show me established artistic blogs, comparable to say the New York Times Best Seller List, but I doubt that that is entirely true so I ask my readership for help at this point. Show me the hidden treasures of the blogosphere.

 

Huysmans


Mapping the Blog

November 13, 2007

I believe that a blog is literature. As such I further believe that it does not fall under any preexisting genre, style, or form of literature. Thus what I mean to say is that a blog as it exists today represents the emergence of new literature. One that is self-referential, collaborative, autobiographical, fictional, political, critical, visual, and this could continue forever. But what is important is to focus on its creation.

(Historically my thesis right now lacks the factual elements of which blogs came first and what they were originally intended for, something I would love help with.)

In its original popularity a blog was an online diary, a journal of sorts one created and kept up to date in a public realm for others to not just read but to also comment on. This form of exchange existed previously in a very crude sense in journalism with columns, editorials, and letters to the editor. But nothing has existed to the instantaneous and collaborative extent that these online journals did. They have become a part of everyday activity and have thus incorporated everyday activity into their existence. It has been well documented and reported in regards to journalism. Blogs are changing the way we communicate political ideas. It has also had an effect on the literary community in its manipulation of the traditional book review in print. But these are not the facets of the blog’s existence that I want to look at. What interests me is that very core model, that online diary that may be political, may be literary, or just might be a conglomerate of events that may or may not have happened to the potentially anonymous writer.

What has been created here is a response to the overly celebritized world of pop literature. As Ana Vogrincic suggests in her essay “Literary Effects of Author-Stardom” the author has become the focus of societal interest and not the work this author creates. It’s that very commodity culture Benjamin warns us about when dealing with the death of the Aura, we are seeking an aura in the celebrity author. We cannot with blogs. But those who read blogs aren’t looking for it, and the writers aren’t trying to create it. These are not diaries, but they are not fiction either. They are public expressions with the theme of recording, autobiographically, the events of one’s life. It is written for the public and thus is aware of that in its creation, very different from the journal kept by the bedside to record the final thoughts of its master before that master dozes off into dream land. Even this very blog itself is aware that it is seeking to be read, but that is not all it is doing. After all as I write these thoughts I get a better understanding of how they interact and how to make my thesis more concrete. So it does have the effect of improving itself, it gets that from the classic diary, this is simply the reflections of one day’s work on this thesis.

Something else needs to be discussed as well. That of the response, for each post made there is the ability to comment. But before the comments are even posted there is the simple knowledge of an audience. Hosts can now tell us, as they have been able to do for some time now, how many hits our sites have received and thus how frequent our site is visited. This also influences that anonymous writer, who as another argument entirely can choose to stay anonymous or not, and if not they also have the choice of providing their true identity or a fake one, like Huysmans.

I will save a discussion of the comments for the next post.