Author: mcmorgan

Prof English. Digital rhetoric, digital humanities, fedwiki, weblogs, wikis.

for Thurs 17 April

Mentioned in Delagrange, chap 4: Pulling the Difference

examples. It’s not hard to argue that most blogs can be used or seen as wunderkammun, but some aim for the purpose. Here are two.

Borges’s List: Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge at Wikipedia

On-the-fly collections


for 11 – 14 April 2014

code poetics

Read what you can of mez’s datableed, explore it, and we’ll see what we can say about it Tuesday. Read closely. Near the beginning, mez gives you instructions on how to read her work.

“Attention, focus, presence, engagement, immersion, are essential qualities of powerful, compelling experience. Yet they’re hard to achieve in a world of click, click, click, next, next, next. No wonder so many marketing types jumped into the comments on your LinkedIn post. It sort of saddened me that they so quickly turned your insight on cyberculture into a new marketing angle. But whether it’s commerce or culture, attention, almost more than time, is the commodity that there’s never enough of.” from danah boyd Why Snapchat is Valuable: It’s All About Attention

wunderkammer. This will lead us to our look at collecting and arranging. Delagrange, Technologies of Wonder, chap 4 Visual Arrangement as Inquiry (PDF)

Any elements, no matter where they are taken from, can be used to make new combinations. The discoveries of modern poetry regarding the analogical structure of images demonstrate that when two objects are brought together, no matter how far apart their original contexts may be, a relationship is always formed. Restricting oneself to a personal arrangement of words is mere convention. The mutual interference of two worlds of feeling, or the juxtaposition of two independent expressions, supersedes the original elements and produces a synthetic organization of greater efficacy. Anything can be used. “détournement: a user’s guide”

digital art and aesthetics

Every reasonably aware person of our time is aware of the obvious fact that art can no longer be justified as a superior activity, or even as a compensatory activity to which one might honorably devote oneself. (Guy Debord and Gil J Wolman)

Pay Attention: Here is danah boyd on Snapchat. boyd considers how having 7 seconds to view something influences the way we look at and think about the artifact, the artist, and the way we look at artifacts.

For other instances, try Selfie ObsessedOlive Grey Frost, and notably, Fish. Created using Tapestry.

The works on Tapestry demand participation, and they create operations and action involving information structures and behaviors. Shopping, checking email, googling are information behaviors (New Media Arts). So are reading, browsing, viewing a snapchat image, reading a tweet. Fish and Tapestry place an unusual constraint on how we can work with the information structure: there is no back button.

Tapestry itself, and the works created with Tapestry, enacts a few new media aesthetic moves or strategies

  • open access to anyone
  • sampling
  • repurposing
  • collecting and arranging
  • détournement

There are other moves common in new media art, but these will do for now.

And I’m employing some of these strategies in this blog post. It’s not like they are new or unique to the media or the message. Pay Attention.

New media art is interested in how cultural objects and spaces organize data and how it structures the audience’s experience of the data.

For Tuesday, let’s start with some historical artifacts and some samples.

  • Laurie Anderson –  Home of the Brave (video, full performance). Watch the first 7 minutes or so, then skip to the end, Sharkey’s Night & Credit Racket. 1986. Not a lot of interaction here, but a lot of sampling (both audio and cultural), détournement, and reimagining the artist and the work of art at a right-on-the border-of-digital moment.
  • Radiohead, video for House of Cards. 2008. All information structure.
  • Frank Chimero – What Screens Want. 2013. An essay.  On the affordances of the screen. But also enacts a digital version of the traditional essay.
  • Fish. On Tapestry, or as a self-contained work for free on the iPhone
  • The Digital Aesthetic – What it and is not. Art Digital Magazine. Mar 2012.


Week of 31 Mar 2014

We’ll wrap up this stage of the crowdsourcing project this week by making the last few moves –

  • polishing the descriptions of the project at twitter and on the blog
  • prompting others to follow @springinbemidji by announcing
  • collaboratively drafting a short report

The document we’re working on is here. If we can wrap this up by Thursday, we can start Digital Aesthetics that day.

Update: For the Weekend of 4 Apr 2014

  • help out with the draft report here.
  • try favoriting as @springinbemidji. search for the # and favorite. post as self using the # and then favoriting … Try to push the mechanism to its limits.
  • check the page and blog regularly to see if things are working.
  • start mentioning the project in tweets, on FB, and f2f.



After break: for 20 March

For our first meeting after break

Read/consider/browse the sources below. They all go beyond the mechanical turk kind of collecting and focus on creation of new content.  No need to read everything in the two textbooks linked to. Better to get a good sense of what they are, what kind of stuff they include, and how they were done as projects. But numbers 1 and 4 are really worth digging into.

1. Digital Humanities and Crowdsourcing: An Exploration | MW2013: Museums and the Web 2013

“In our study, we took a different perspective to classify crowdsourcing, and we focused on the tasks that participants are asked to perform.

As the analysis of the thirty-six initiatives progressed, two main trends emerged:

  1. Crowdsourcing projects that require the “crowd” to integrate/enrich/reconfigure existing institutional resources
  2. Crowdsourcing projects that ask the “crowd” to create/contribute novel resources”

2. Hacking the Academy – as an example of how it’s done in the humanities.

3. Open Textbook Tweet – WikiEducator – another example of how it’s done in the humanities. The book itself is at

4. Essay on crowdsourcing the humanities curriculum | Inside Higher Ed  “Undergraduate students should join professors in selecting the content of courses taught in the humanities.”  Scan the comments, too.

Project Notes for 20 Mar: From these sources, develop some notes towards creating a crowdsourcing project for us to engage in.  Use this googe docs document.

For Thu 27 Feb – Thu 6 Mar: Crowdsourcing the Humanities

Sir James Murray – Crowdsourcing the OED


As is typical for an emerging area, this effort has appeared under many names, including peer production, user-powered systems, user-generated content, collaborative systems, community systems, social systems, social search, social media, collective intelligence, wikinomics, crowd wisdom, smart mobs, mass collaboration, and human computation. The topic has been discussed extensively in books, popular press, and academia. Crowdsourcing Systems on the World-Wide Web | April 2011 | Communications of the ACM

Video time in class: ▶ Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding Explained – YouTube. Navigation and the OED. Happy happy joy joy. Labor, solutions, finding info, gathering ideas.

For Tue 4 Mar

Wired 14.06: The Rise of Crowdsourcing

Below this point: We’ll review these and choose

James Surowiecki: The power and the danger of online crowds | Video on

Crowdsourcing: A Million Heads is Better than One – ReadWrite

Towards a characterization of crowdsourcing practices –

How Reddit Became A Hub Of The Crowdsourced Boston Marathon Bombing Investigation

The “Dumbness of Crowds”  Some limits of crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing — Digital Humanities Network

More than a business model: crowd-sourcing and impact in the humanities | Impact of Social Sciences

Stanford humanities scholars harness the power of crowdsourcing

AHRC Crowd Sourcing Study » A project of the AHRC’s Connected Communities Programme

Update: Debates in the Digital Humanities, one of the texts I use in this course, is now online as free and open, with crowdsourcing capabilities. The web app looks similar to the enhanced books we were looking at a couple of weeks ago.

for Tues 25 Feb – Thurs 27 Feb

We started with social media but our discussion has moved us towards social media and knowledge: knowledge as an institution and knowledge as a discussion.

For next Tuesday, a short article, a 60min video lecture, and a pamphlet.

From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-able, Michael Wesch

In continuing the discussion on Wikipedia and getting that kind of knowledge into the academy: What’s working against digital humanists?

One of the significant changes involves one of the practices humanists engage in: classifying stuff. It isn’t just Wikipedia that’s uprooting knowledge but tags.

Weinberger, Lecture on Too Big to Know. 60 minutes, but stay with it. Knowledge is what knowledge is when the medium is paper. If the medium is digital, then what knowledge is changes. Knowledge takes on properties of the medium. Linked difference, messiness, inclusive. The social starts to appear on the net.

▶ Authors at Google: David Weinberger – YouTube

And a brief intro to social bookmarking, where Weinberger’s messiness comes from: tagging. Bookmarking sites is the academic activity (See Pinboard Recents), but Pinterest, Tumblr and other sites make use of social categorization and ontology.

7 things about social bookmarking

Optional: Shirky goes headlong into a consideration of what knowledge is with a longish work on ontology:

Shirky: Ontology is Overrated — Categories, Links, and Tags

for Tues 18 Feb and next week

We’re shifting topic to social media: aka new media, Web 2.0, participatory media.

Where networked media meet people they go social. Which is to say, The networked text (book, wikipedia article, …) is social.

Twitter, yes.
FB, yes.
Wikipedia, blogging.

But also the social practices of tagging, remixing, commenting. Fan fiction. Plagiarism. Changes in the state of knowledge and knowing. A crises of knowledge? Distributed knowledge. Changes in ontology. Death of the expert.

Read 3, all starting with the letter B.

Brown and Duguid: The Social Life of Documents

boyd: Streams of Content, Limited Attention: The Flow of Information through Social Media

Bustillos: Wikipedia And The Death Of The Expert