CMS News Archives
From the MIT News Office:
An image taken by Eric Schmiedl, a senior in the Comparative Media Studies program, will be included as part of a web gallery for American Photography 25, one of the most prestigious photo competitions in the country. Fewer than 1 percent of the 10,000-plus images submitted were chosen for the honor. Schmiedl's image was originally taken for the cover of a student-driven calendar meant to raise money for an Institute scholarship.
MIT News Office, Awards and Honors: April 29, 2009
Ellen Hume, research director of the Center for Future Civic Media, discussed public media at prospect.org with Jessica Clark of American University, Kinsey Wilson of NPR, Rey Ramsey of One Economy, and Sascha Meinrath of the New America Foundation:
Ellen Hume: I totally disagree that there isn't a vibrant investigative journalism role that's being played. If you look at what local newspapers continue to do with their hands tied behind their backs, there are still people being exposed and going to jail. It's popular to say that investigative journalism is dying, but it's actually resurging in new ways in projects like ProPublica. Now, to say it's all well and good and financed, I wouldn't argue that. But I think that investigative work is really hard to do, and it's hard to imagine it's going to be done by flash mobs and that sort of thing. There is important investigative work that's being done, and sometimes it takes an institution to do it.
But are we going to have radio stations and licenses? Or are we going to be taking our audio bits, posting them using cell phones and other devices onto Web platforms and accessing them in whatever stream we want -- the way we do now with YouTube and other platforms? I think that the station is kind of history.
The influential arts website Rhizome, part of NYC's New Museum, is the latest to tout CMS grad students Kevin Driscoll's and Josh Diaz's collaboration on chiptunes, music inspired by videogame soundtracks.
Their paper "Endless loop: A brief history of chiptunes" appeared originally in the journal Transformative Works and Cultures.
At the end of the three-day Media in Transition conference, panelists swap impressions and reactions, offering some notional themes for future symposia.
Continue reading "Video: Media in Transition 6: "Summary Perspectives"" »
MiT6 Plenary 5
Mary Bryson, University of British Columbia
Marlene Manoff, MIT Libraries
John Durham Peters, University of Iowa
Thomas Pettitt, University of Southern Denmark
Moderator: James Paradis, MIT Writing and Humanistic Studies
Continue reading "Podcast: Media in Transition 6: "Summary Perspectives"" »
MiT6 Plenary 4 | Panel Questions
Gavin Grant, Small Bear Press
Jennifer Jackson, Donald Maass Literary Agency
Robert Miller, HarperCollins
Bob Stein, Institute for the Future of the Book
Moderator: Geoff Long, MIT
Continue reading "Podcast: Media in Transition 6: "The Future of Publishing"" »
Nostalgia, anxiety and optimism mix in this panel devoted to imagining what lies ahead for the book, as publishing professionals and others discuss the impact of digital technology on the business.
Continue reading "Video: Media in Transition 6: "The Future of Publishing"" »
European archivists grapple with the legal obligations, civic responsibilities and future prospects of their collections, which, thanks to the Internet and other new technologies, are increasingly awash in image and sound. As William Urichhio notes, "tradition-bound institutions know what we should be gathering: feature films, books, newspapers, political documents, but it's much harder to know what to do with things like social media...say, networks of interactions." Different organizations are evolving diverse strategies.
Continue reading "Video: Media in Transition 6: "Institutional Perspectives on Storage"" »
MiT6 Plenary 3 | Panel Questions
Claude Mussou, INA France
Pelle Snickars, Swedish National Archive
Richard Wright, BBC Research and Information
Moderator: William Uricchio, MIT and Utrecht University
Continue reading "Podcast: Media in Transition 6: "Institutional Perspectives on Storage"" »
From Joanna Weiss' "Yes, more thoughts on Susan Boyle" on the Boston Globe's Viewer Discretion TV blog:
I was discussing the Boyle phenomenon this morning with MIT professor Henry Jenkins, an expert on pop culture and fandom and the author of "Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide." He says the reaction might have been smaller without Twitter, a new way of spreading news more quickly than ever to communities with shared interest. (I personally first heard about her from a poster on our weekly "American Idol" chat.) And he thinks the YouTube video of Boyle's "Britain's Got Talent" audition -- 100 million views and counting -- wouldn't have the same weight on this side of the pond if we didn't already know Simon Cowell. Part of the thrill, he contends, is watching Cowell's reaction shift from trademark sneer to deep appreciation. He also notes that "Britain's Got Talent" has a tradition of finding true underdog talents; before Boyle, after all, there was Paul Potts. "You have a feeling that that show has a 'genre expectation' of finding that story," Jenkins told me. Boyle worked because "she was just so quirky and so good."
As old media die, new forms are emerging, but it's not clear they will serve such vital civic functions as "helping people form publics," as Pat Aufderheide puts it. These panelists point to promising experiments in "Public Media 2.0," but caution that new media are not guaranteed to shore up democracy or invigorate public culture.
Continue reading "Video: Media in Transition 6: "New Media, Civic Media"" »
MiT6 Plenary 2 | Panel Questions
Jessica Clark, Center for Social Media (American University)
Ellen Hume, Center for Future Civic Media (MIT)
Persephone Miel, Media Re:public and Internews Network
Respondents: Dean Jansen, Participatory Culture Foundation
Jake Shapiro, Public Radio Exchange (PRX)
Moderator: Pat Aufderheide, American University
Continue reading "Podcast: Media in Transition 6: "New Media, Civic Media"" »
Scholars of "dead tree technologies" feel increasingly uneasy in a culture overwhelmingly consumed with innovation. Although we may "live in a condition of perpetual flux," David Thorburn hopes that "we won't allow utopians and futurists to intimidate us." Moderator Peter Walsh poses a series of questions to the archivists and historians on this panel, who reflect the anxiety and exhilaration of a digital age that is constantly transforming their disciplines.
After a thousand years and the extinction of many written literatures, John Miles Foley views the oral tradition (OT) as "alive and well in highly literate societies, even in the wired West, and multifunctional: it does many more things for societies than literature is able to do." It has survived through its "ability to morph in support of morphing societies," such as in South Africa as it dissolved apartheid. And OT and IT (Internet technology) are quite alike: both performer driven, involved in emergent activities, partaking in distributed authorship. Indeed, OT may find robust expression on the Internet, with new journals and multimedia e-companions encouraging wider audiences and interactive users for performances and events.
A switch from physical to digital archives "will change historical knowledge," Lisa Gitelman says, because it means a change in the systems governing those archives. Whenever you open a Gmail account, says Gitelman, you're urged not to delete: "new media have always prompted new archival sensibilities." But, she warns, the emerging archive system "depends almost wholly on the alphanumeric character of objects and the metadata that describe them." A historian searching through archives is like a miner whose helmet light can only illuminate narrowly defined areas.
Rick Prelinger views archives as "culturally emergent. ...They're going retail." Once used mainly by specialists to produce books, TV shows, and exhibits, archives now attract ordinary users with home-based projects. YouTube -- which only resembles an archive -- has created unrealistic expectations of 24/7 archival access. But if archives rebuff users, "the social-cultural consensus that supports us and keeps archives open may fail." Prelinger sees possibilities for changing the perception of archives "as the place where documents go to molder and die." Archives could be "a point of departure ... for historical intervention," generating "opportunities for mainstreaming history and re-anchoring in the public sphere."
"Stewardship responsibility in a digital environment is essential," says Ann Wolpert, who believes "the odds that bits will survive in a shoebox in the attic are pretty small." She also points to a "yawning gap emerging between institutional archives and records ... and those archives (that are) a byproduct of normal human activities." She shows an MIT photo of a 1935 drama club performance, where the "winsome damsel" would one day become the president's wife. It's the "incidental archives that create the flavor, richness and texture of life at a point in time." What scrapbook items will people hold onto for future generations, as we record more and more "in media so ephemeral that we run the serious risk of losing ...these experiences"?
Download video (1.6gb)
Continue reading "Video: Media in Transition 6: "Archives and History"" »
MiT6 Plenary 1 | Panel Questions
John Miles Foley, Univ. of Missouri
Lisa Gitelman, Harvard Univ.
Rick Prelinger, Prelinger Archives
Ann Wolpert, MIT Libraries
Moderator: Peter Walsh, Andover Newton Theological School
Continue reading "Podcast: Media in Transition 6: "Archives and History"" »
This panel explored theoretical, methodological, and practical issues surrounding the study of media circulation in an age of increasing global connectivity. "Global media" often serves as a placeholder for media outside Anglo-American academic settings, with "global" gesturing towards "Other" media ecologies. This panel brought together scholars and practitioners who wrestle with the simultaneous indispensability and inadequacy of Anglo-American paradigms - both for media practitioners and scholars - in Asian, African, and Latin American contexts. In what ways can we move away from the "national" as the pre-eminent analytic frame? How do media producers in the global south grapple with the challenges and opportunities of globalization? What role are audiences playing in shaping media circuits? In tackling these and other questions, panelists Jonathan Gray, Communication and Media Studies, Fordham University; Carolina Acosta-Alzuru, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia; African filmmaker Abderrahamane Sissako; and CMS alum Aswin Punathambekar SM '03, Communication Studies, University of Michigan explored ways in which recent developments in diverse settings worldwide might inform and revitalize our understanding of how media circulates. Henry Jenkins will moderate this forum which kicks off the sixth Media in Transition conference at MIT.
Continue reading "Podcast: "Communications Forum: Global Media"" »
This panel explored theoretical, methodological, and practical issues surrounding the study of media circulation in an age of increasing global connectivity. "Global media" often serves as a placeholder for media outside Anglo-American academic settings, with "global" gesturing towards "Other" media ecologies. This panel brought together scholars and practitioners who wrestle with the simultaneous indispensability and inadequacy of Anglo-American paradigms - both for media practitioners and scholars - in Asian, African, and Latin American contexts. In what ways can we move away from the "national" as the pre-eminent analytic frame? How do media producers in the global south grapple with the challenges and opportunities of globalization? What role are audiences playing in shaping media circuits? In tackling these and other questions, panelists Jonathan Gray, Communication and Media Studies, Fordham University; Carolina Acosta-Alzuru, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia; African filmmaker Abderrahamane Sissako; and CMS alum Aswin Punathambekar SM '03, Communication Studies, University of Michigan explored ways in which recent developments in diverse settings worldwide might inform and revitalize our understanding of how media circulates. Henry Jenkins moderated this forum which kicked off the sixth Media in Transition conference at MIT.
Continue reading "Video: "Communications Forum: Global Media"" »
The annual Julius Schwartz Lecture, being held at MIT on May 22nd, now has tickets available for sale online: http://cms.mit.edu/juliusschwartz/tickets.html.
This year's speaker is J. Michael Straczynski, best known for his work on Babylon 5, Clint Eastwood's Changeling, Spider-Man, and Murder She Wrote.
Tickets are also available in person at Hub Comics in Somerville and Comicopia in Boston's Kenmore Square.
Buy yours today, as they're expected to go fast.
From the Washington Post, How a Villager Became the Queen of All Media:
To media observers, the speed and scope of Boyle's online ubiquity is a testament that the marriage between old media (her performance first aired on British television) and new media (it then made its way to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook) is broadening the reach of all media, from one channel to another, from person to person.
"There's a lot of talk about things going 'viral' online. But 'viral' suggests that someone has created a virus and that people are unknowingly transmitting it, as if they had no choice but to carry the virus. But that's not really what's going on with Susan Boyle," said Henry Jenkins, co-director of MIT's Comparative Media Studies program and author of "Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide." After watching Boyle's audition video on Wednesday, he sent an e-mail to a group of friends -- "Take a moment to feel warm and fuzzy," he wrote in the e-mail's subject line -- and logged on to Twitter to alert his 1,798 followers about Boyle.
"What we're really seeing with Susan Boyle in a very powerful way is the power of 'spreadability,' " Jenkins continued. "Consumers in their own online communities are making conscious choices to spread Susan Boyle around online."
Chris Claremont is best known for his 17 year unbroken run on the X-Men comic series -- a feat in world building that has supported many uses, from comics to movies to video games and more. Now Chris is returning to that world, with a new comics series titled X-Men Forever. This time, the rules are different. Mr. Claremont addressed thoughts and considerations that go into building a world that can support years of use, and variations. How has the concept of world-building changed over time? What is the purpose of continuity? Multiplicity? How to take into account growth and risk, and play outside the rules. Questions and answers followed.
Continue reading "Podcast: "Opening Doors, Building Worlds": The Origins of the X-Men" »
From the good things in unexpected places dept.: academic journal Transformative Works has devoted its latest issue to the subject of games, and chief amongst its best pieces is MIT students Kevin Driscoll and Joshua Diaz's exhaustive look at the history and rise of the chiptune genre.
From the earliest hardware hacking days of the Atari 2600, to the landmark creation of the SID chip (right, used most famously in the Commodore 64) to the concurrent Amiga cracking/tracking/demo scenes, Driscoll sets up the aesthetic roots of what would later be embraced by the likes of upstart (and still prolific) netlabel micromusic.net.
Read more at Offworld, "Endless Loop: TWC's academic study of chiptune history"
A discussion about the inducement of pleasure, fantasy fulfillment, and the mediation of
intimacy in a socially-networked gaming paradigm such as World of Warcraft (WOW) this event was held in conjunction with the exhibition SHADA/JAHN/VAUCELLE, "Hollowed," which includes the WOW Pod, a collaborative project by Cati Vaucelle & Shada/Jahn. Panelists included Jean-Baptiste Labrune, Postdoctoral Associate at the Tangible Media Group, MIT Media Lab; Raimundas Malasauskas, Curator, Artists Space (NYC); Henry Jenkins, Co-Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program; Marisa Jahn, Artist in Residence, MIT Media Lab; Steve Shada, artist collaborator; Cati Vaucelle, PhD candidate Tangible Media Group, MIT Media Lab; and Laura Knott, Curatorial Associate, MIT Museum.
Continue reading "Podcast: "On the WOW Pod: A Design for Extimacy and Fantasy-Fulfillment for the World of Warcraft Addict"" »
High-Tech Simulations Linked to Learning, from Education Week
Similarly, for a new Web-based prealgebra game aimed at middle school students called Lure of the Labyrinth, game developers from the Boston-based FableVision and researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology worked closely with a group of teachers to design and develop the game from start to finish.
Spearheaded by Maryland Public Television as part of the Learning Games to Go initiative, which aims to create learning games that support students' prealgebra and reading skills, the game is aligned with Maryland State Voluntary Curriculum standards as well as national standards.
"[Teachers] have every reason to be skeptical" of using games in the classroom," said Scot Osterweil, the creative director of the game at MIT's Education Arcade, a research initiative at the university that investigates learning through games. "From our perspective, the goal was to come up with something the teacher can adopt without taking a big risk," he said.
The widespread adoption of computer-based methods of digital recording technology has profoundly changed film scoring practices around the globe, not least in Hollywood. This panel will explore those changes with attention to current techniques compared to those of past generations. Our speakers, Paul Chihara of UCLA and Dan Carlin of the Berklee College of Music, are widely respected professional film scorers as well as teachers. Drawing on their own experiences in film production, they explored the decisive changes in personnel, economics, and stylistic values at work in Hollywood today. Moderator Martin Marks of MIT provided historical perspectives and guided the discussion with questions for the panelists concerning the music of landmark films past and present.
Continue reading "Podcast: Communications Forum: "Film Music and Digital Media"" »