Archive by Author

Sample Web Projects

14 Jun

I’ve been genuinely impressed by the web projects — here’s a samplin’ (in alphabetical order):

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The best part of breakin’ up is when you’re makin’ up . . .

29 May

Makeup blog postings are due by 5 on Friday, June 1st. Please follow these directions or I am likely not to see/record your posting:

  • Please blog on, or respond to a blog on, the correct topic. For example, if you were supposed to respond to a blog on Dracula, please be sure to do so. I’ve linked all of the blog topics at the right, where it says “Class Blog,” so they should be easy to track down. The topics are listed on the syllabus if you need a refresher.
  • Please drop me an email with a link to your blog posting and/or comment. This will make it much easier to track down.
  • You only get to make up one posting/comment. (Can’t make up 9 weeks of work all at once!) If you’ve missed more than one, and have to choose between doing a comment and doing a posting, I’d prefer you to do a posting.

Thanks for your hard work on these blogs!

Last round!

19 May

Last blogs! By 5 p.m. on Friday, May 25th:

  • Bloggers R-Z post new blogs.
  • Bloggers A-H reply to last week’s blogs. Go to the posting and leave a comment!

This week’s topic, obviously, is Under Milk Wood. You’re free to discuss any angle on it; you might, for example, want to think about linking it to last week’s conversations about the BBC. This would also be a good time to start comparing/contrasting/synthesizing/tying up threads; you might go back to the opening lecture, for example, and think about how we could apply it to Thomas’s text.

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease tag your blogs “Blog 7.”

Also remember that if you’ve missed a blog or reply at some point, you may make up one posting by June 2nd.

For Friday, May 18th

14 May

Due by 5:

  • Bloggers I-Q: post new blogs. (You’ve had several in a row, I realize, but this is your last one — make it count!) Please tag your post “Blog 6.”
  • Bloggers R-Z: reply to last week’s blogs by going to the post and leaving a comment.

You have pretty much free rein for this blog; you may want to consider how, for example, both Avery and Blake, albeit in very different ways, are interested in how the radio creates or complicates a national ethos or a public (counterpublic?) sphere of communication. (This will be an issue of some importance with Under Milk Wood.)

You could also, if you like, look at how a primary document (the BBC Listener insert; the sound files auxiliary to Blake’s article) helps us to rethink Blake’s/Avery’s/Reith’s claims or ambitions.

Brenna’s blog post: “A Collective Lens”

12 May

Benjamin offers a black and white argument that criticizes sound and art reproduction yet fails to see the advances that reproduction allows. Benjamin argues that when you make copies of an original, you are detracting from the “aura” of the single work and the uniqueness will deteriorate with reproduction. Mechanical reproduction is especially problematic for Benjamin because the replicas are exact and offer no distinction. Benjamin argues that the antidote to this phenomenon of reproduction is “cult” art, or art that is unseen. The opposite of cult art, in Benjamin’s definition, is cinema because cinema is produced specifically for the masses.
I found Benjamin’s argument to be extremely black and white and, therefore, appreciate Adorno’s criticism of it. Adorno thinks Benjamin underestimates the value of exhibition art and overestimates the value of art for art’s sake. I agree with Adorno’s criticism of Benjamin. While I see Benjamin’s argument that copies detract from an original’s value, the alternative would be unseen art. This seems like an oxymoron to me, as the benefits of art is that others can be exposed to it.
The Adorno/Benjamin dichotomy brings Katz to mind as well, since it poses the argument of democratizing art (in Katz’s case, music) versus commodifying it. The shortfall of Benjamin’s argument is that he fails to see the possibility of a middle ground. While Katz addresses the positives of sound production (accessibility) and negatives (less value on live performance), Benjamin’s “cult art” concept is too limiting because it leaves no room for the possibility of art to be seen. Still, both Katz and Benjamin argue that copied art lacks the presence of “space and time”. Their arguments of the value of this element are understandable and plausible.
In relation to Katz, Adorno’s claims also parallel those in “Capturing Sound” regarding tangibility. Both are concerned with making the intangible tangible and the consumer implications of this. In “Form of the Phonograph”, Adorno argues that records and phonographs become possessions. Tangibility, thus, replaces musical functionality. The phonograph records music that would otherwise be lost. While this is valuable, the downfall is that music (an intangible art form) is now a commodity. Live performance is no longer needed to hear music. This marks a huge shift, both in technology and culture. Sterne’s argument, for example, addresses the cultural implications of sound technology becoming “crystallized” into our everyday lives. Still, the shortcomings of phonographs include the lack of variance in sound. Though music is available to all, the nuances do not exist. Adorno discusses the phonograph’s difficulty with recording pitch. If pitch is varied, the phonograph has trouble picking it up. This limits the type of sounds that can be recorded and narrows the range and genre of music.
The phonograph had huge implications on daily lives of people in every class, as it was found in many homes and brought people of different statuses together in terms of phonograph parlors and the music they were now all exposed to. Reading the works of all these theorists is important to understand the overall development of the technology. While all are similar, each draws on different examples and alternatives to the problem that comes when you attempt to mass produce what is unique.

Brenna Bozigian

The Blog is Back

9 May

For Friday, May 11th: bloggers A-H post new blogs; bloggers I-Q reply to the last set.

New Bloggers: please tag your postings “Blog 5.”

In terms of topics, you may think about linking the Morton reading to our sadly un-blogged Adorno/Benjamin readings. Another option is to look around for some primary documents to think about these technological developments (Marconi, Fessenden, DeForest), their marketing (e.g. Sarnoff’s “Radio Music Box” memo), or specific examples (the War of the Worlds or Hindenberg broadcasts).

Due 5/11 by 5 p.m.

Blog Breather!

30 Apr

No blogs this week — we’ll have our hands more than full with Benjamin and Adorno, and with our little exam next week. You are welcome to continue the conversation in the comments section, however.