Research Highlights

Scholarly Profile

I am a digital media scholar whose research draws upon the fields of media, literary, cultural, and film studies. My interests center on the relationships between media, technologies, and subjects, both in the ways that they interact in “real life” and in the ways they are represented in cultural texts. Thus, my work simultaneously addresses the circulation and effects of media and technologies and vehicles of representation – digital texts, film, print fiction – in contemporary Western publics that are situated within networked, global contexts.

My research and teaching methodologies can be situated under the umbrella of the Digital Humanities, the intersection of information technologies with the study of the humanities. As a hybrid theorist / practitioner, I produce research that includes traditional written analysis along with visualizations and other digital objects. I incorporate technological platforms for writing and discussion into the classroom and encourage students to express critical thinking through assignments that explore the productive possibilities and limitations of multiple media forms.

My work, a type of scholarly media convergence, is further enhanced through my participation in collaborative projects and I have a proven track record as a designer of projects, a project leader, and an active project participant.

Viral Structures Book Project

Overview of Viral Structures in Literature and Digital Media: Networked Counterpublics and Participatory Capitalism.

Forthcoming from Routledge Research in Digital Humanities.

In Viral Structures in Literature and Digital Media: Networked Counterpublics and Participatory Capitalism I examine the way digital networks facilitate new dissemination models for information, aesthetic texts, and amateur media by tracing the proliferation of “viral structures” beginning in 1990s network society. A viral structure can be a text, video, internet joke, computer virus, game, blog post, or technological platform that represents or relies upon a paradigm of infectiousness, i.e. operation outside of control structures, obscured paths of transmission, and an engagement in production and reproduction via unconventional means. Though viral structures are subject to manipulation by institutions of power, ultimately the viral media object fosters awareness of new structural formations of the subject (a la Benjamin in “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”) and opens up space for participation by media makers from underrepresented groups.

In my examination of viral structures, I engage with a variety of “texts,” both representational (texts such as literature, film, etc. that “represent” the viral) and operational (media and technologies that operate virally) as they are situated within contemporary media ecologies. The concept of the media ecology is critical to my work as I analyze viral transmission across texts, genres and technologies. For instance, in the chapter “The Work of the Viral Structure in the Age of Networked Transmission,” I perform close readings of William Gibson’s 2003 novel Pattern Recognition as well as analysis of the 2010 “iamamiwhoami” video series found on YouTube. By addressing the variety of viral structures that co-exist in a media ecology, Viral Structures attempts to trace a more full account of viral operations than would be possible if the objects of analysis were limited along more traditional disciplinary lines.

In addition Viral Structures is experimental in blending traditional scholarly expression with more unconventional modes. The addition of visual media and interactive components as part of my research project uses the telescopic research methods outlined by Franco Moretti in Graphs, Maps, and Trees. Each chapter has a digital companion piece that is a critical part of the argument made therein. The chapter “Mutating Media: Transmission of the Ring Virus” includes an interactive timeline that visually maps the transmission of the collection of Ring texts, beginning with the 1991 novel Ring by Koji Suzuki, through the 1998 release of the Japanese film Ringu, and ending with the 2005 release of the American film The Ring Two. Through the timeline I illustrate the viral operating at different scales–in the transmission of individual texts and in the way that the imperative to profit infects the institutions of textual production. I then connect this timeline to a close reading of Suzuki’s novel along with the film versions Ringu and The Ring, in which I conclude that the transmission of the Ring texts on a global distribution scale enacts the viral transmission patterns that occur in representation of transmission in the texts. At both scales, viral transmission is subtly made compulsory, suggesting that institutions of power may use viral paradigms to mask the extent of their influence. The convergence of language-based with visual and interactive scholarly expression invites various modes of reader interaction with the project.

Chapter One Overview: “Introduction: Strange Signal, Standard Object”

Chapter One, Introduction.

In the chapter-length introduction, I define the viral structure and situate it within a theoretical context that includes theories of contagion (biological and social), media ecologies, participatory culture, digital activism, and agency.

The viral structure is an assemblage that includes not just the text or idea that is circulating, but also the discourse networks and technological platforms that facilitate distribution. Circulation occurs through accidental or intentional social contact via discussion boards, sharing, commenting, and so forth. Critical to the theory of the viral structure is the concept of the media ecology. There are many theories of media ecologies but my work on the viral structure is most closely guided by those of Matthew Fuller as found in Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture. For Fuller, the media ecology is infinitely zoom-able and thus may be analyzed at an infinite variety of scales. Central to my analysis is Fuller’s concept of the “standard object.” Standard objects are situated within media ecologies in relation to multiple scales – to other objects, to subjects, to social institutions, to global entities. Any object can have multiple purposes and relations within the media ecology. However, “standard objects” become thus through processes of abstraction that imbue them with “misplaced concreteness,” i.e. standardized editions and standardized uses. To use one of Fuller’s examples, a street lamp is an object that has been abstracted into a standard object and most people to not give much thought to its function. However, when the artist Jakob Jakobson adds a light switch to a street lamp, the process of misplaced concreteness is challenged by the new possible ways of operating and understanding the lamp, which results in new social organizations.

I theorize the operations of the viral structure as challenging the misplaced concreteness of the standard object in one way or another. They often become unauthorized, sub-microscopic, and self-replicating. These characteristics are drawn from the operations of the biological virus but in the Introduction I explain how they can apply to the viral structure, which often challenges top down distribution, hyper-visible media strategies, and one-to-many production models. I additionally address two areas which seem to trouble discussions of viral media: scale of distribution and authenticity.  I situate my theories of the viral structure in relation to other theories of media viruses or spreadable media.

I then turn my attention to a case study on  the operations of the most recognizable form of viral structure: the viral video. I suggest here that the viral structure itself has become subject to misplaced concreteness. The viral video as standard object can best be described as video directed at an audience of jaded adolescent males, produced with amateur equipment, and featuring grotesque humor or other shock effects. One of the primary signals that the viral video has become standard object is that the standardized definition has evolved from descriptive to being productive. Amateur and professional video makers all over the world attempt to replicate the formula of the standard object in hopes of widespread distribution. I examine the productive nature of the standard object by analyzing cultural parodies that center on the conventions of “viral video,” as well as marketing and professional discourses that advise how to produce “viral video.” I also examine viral structures that challenge the standardized definition examine in order to demonstrate that the abstraction that contributes to misplaced concreteness is reductive. This is done by zooming out to perform analysis and visualization of patterns of data about 100 of the most popular videos of the last eight years. The slippages and misalignments between the standard object and videos-in-circulation suggest that the standard object is not an accurate index of the video-based viral structure. However, I uncover other functions performed by the process of standardized definition and uses of “viral video.” Among these other functions is the making visible of “strange signals” that suggest that the video-based viral structure has multiple affordances that are suppressed by the standard object. The strange signal operates in contrast to the standard object to amplify the exceptional nature of the viral structure. Further, because video acts as synecdoche for all forms of the viral structure in our media ecology, the possibilities of the strange signal has potential application to the viral structure in general.

The introductory chapter also includes a section on my methodology. Though a methods section is unusual for a Humanities book, I take the opportunity to explain certain decisions I have made, such as the approach that combines analysis of viral structures in operation as well as representations of viral structures in film, literature, and other art forms. In addition, I explain my approach to analyzing  large collections of media objects, such as the 100 videos I address in Chapter One. This approach is influenced by Franco Moretti’s “helicopter” approach in Graphs, Maps, and Trees but I label this approach “subjective data.” Subjective data, which is small and undeniably grounded in the perspective of the researcher, is defined in distinction to big data. Though the term “subjective data” seems to be an oxymoron, it is a mode of systematizing and quantifying one’s subjective readings of large collections of text, in an attempt to identify patterns.  I combine subjective data with targeted close readings to perform my analysis of media systems. Finally, in the methodologies section I theorize the role of the digital companions to the chapters as part of the argument, but also an attempt to destabilize the author-function.

The introductory chapter concludes with an overview of each chapter and digital companion.

an old, red television set featuring the image of a hamster; surrounded by a word cloud made of words that describe viral videos

Chapter One Digital Companion

Chapter Two Overview: “Mutating Media: Transmission of the Ring Virus”

Chapter Two, “Mutating Media: Transmission of the Ring Virus,” examines viral transmission at various scales of the media ecology in relation to the Ring multi-media franchise. The franchise begins with the publication of the Koji Suzuki novel Ring*  in Japan in 1991 and expands through various televisual, filmic, manga, and print adaptations, as well as the production of various sequels, and extends to the series reboot with the global distribution of the film Sadako 3D in 2012.

The first task in the chapter is an operational examination of the transmission of the franchise’s twenty-one different texts in a global film and publishing market. By mapping the release dates and locations of the early texts, primarily the Japanese books and films, patterns of viral transmission are made visible. The dates, locations, and choice of texts released are erratic, indicating that the studio that distributes the film lacks a structured global marketing program. In these patterns, I read a meta-narrative of a viral structure transmitted around the globe, functioning in excess of the standard definitions of objects within the J-Horror media ecology. With the release of the American film adaptations (The Ring and The Ring Two), which attempts to veil itself as a viral structure, the transmission pattern shifts substantially. An examination of the shift reveals the potential for the viral structure to be co-opted by powerful institutions when strategies of the viral are used to compel transmission. The infectious texts of the J-horror genre invade the U.S. studio system and the point of contact between the two systems results in a mutated cultural assemblage of film production. I then shift gears in the chapter, and turn my attention to the representational objects of the franchise. I examine the role of standard objects in the media ecology of Text 0, Suzuki’s 1991 novel Ring and also draw from film and manga adaptations of this text. Through the representations of these texts, I trace the fictionalized operations of standard objects (video tape, screen, and female subject) that exceed the standardized definitions and uses of the text’s media ecology. These (non) standard objects intersect to form new dimensions of relationality in which media objects circulate as viral structures. However, this is a perverted model of the viral structure in which transmission becomes compulsory. I argue that viral structures that reproduce under threatening conditions (capitalist movie studio profit imperatives or death as a plot device etc.) become mechanisms of power.

white rings against a black background with text "Mutating Media: Transmission of the Ring Virus"

Chapter Two Digital Companion

Chapter Three Overview: “The Work of the Viral Structure in the Age of Networked Transmission”

Chapter Four is entitled “The Work of the Viral Structure in the Age of Networked Transmission.” In this chapter, I examine the viral structure as meaningful media encounter. I take as my objects of study, two viral structures, one representational, and one operational. For the representational object, I examine William Gibson’s 2003 novel Pattern Recognition, which centers on a viral structure known as “the footage.” The media ecology in which the footage circulates is one in which faulty communication processes and the structures of global capitalism produce a standard media object that is banal, low-fidelity, and prohibitive of affect. In contrast, the footage is rich in information, inspiring of affect, and constructive of communities centered on prosthetic memory. I use Walter Benjamin’s seminal media theory essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” to argue that the footage reintroduces aura into the media object through its viral characteristics, its unique location in the network, and processes of refiguring distance through modes of participation. I argue for a similar reintroduction of aura with an operational viral structure: a series of YouTube videos released in 2010 by the anonymous user iamamiwhoami. The iamamiwhoami viral structure breaks with the conventions of the recording industry to release content freely on the internet and to cultivate a relationship of closeness with its fans. Aura is enabled by the unique presence of iamamiwhoami on the internet as well as the closeness that results from modes of participation upon which it relies for circulation. In both Pattern Recognition and the iamamiwhoami viral structure, the return of aura results in a heightened connection to the media object itself, but also in a validation of the authentic experience of the participating subject. The viral structure that reinserts aura into the media ecology is transformative in that it enables processes of apperception that reveal the structural formation of subjects in a networked media ecology and trains subjects through processes of distraction for alternative engagements with their media.

Cake floating in murky golden liquid surrounded by words "iam" "ami" "whoami"

Chapter Three Digital Companion

Chapter Four Overview: “Making Viral Structures and Counterpublics”

Chapter Four, “Making Viral Structures and Counterpublics” (in progress), addresses the subject who is engaging with media through the production of viral structures. In earlier chapters, the characters Sadako (Ring/Ringu), Samara (The Ring), and Nora Volkova (Pattern Recognition), along with Jonna Lee, the singer behind iamamiwhoami, are the subject of anxiety and curiosity as the producers of viral media objects. However, none of them is referred to as a “hacker,” the figure most often associated with viral contagion. One might argue that this is because they do not operate through self-replicating computer code. However, the logic of “hacking” has been widely applied in other non-computational areas, such as lifehacking. Perhaps, it is no small part due to the fact that they do not fit the prototypical hacker profile: a young, middle-class, white male. If this model of the hacker is the norm, then this is a cultural practice from which many may feel excluded.

However, in recent years, a more inclusive figure has emerged that operates alongside the hacker: the maker. The maker is often associated with many of the same principles as a hacker: appreciation for elegant and novel solutions, openness, and do-it-yourself learning. Though technological maker culture has often been critiqued for being firmly grounded in the upper middle class, the maker identity connects to traditions of communal craft and amateur production that are historically more inclusive of women and people of color. For a number of reasons, a maker identity might be more comfortably appropriated than the more intimidating moniker of “hacker.” Thus makers have the possibility to be more diverse and inclusive.

The modes and strategies of being a maker can be problematic and subject to marginalization, but at times the makers of viral media engage in discursive expression that can contribute to counterpublic formation. This chapter includes analysis of the discourse surrounding makers, as well as analysis of representational texts such as Cory Doctorow’s novel Pirate Cinema, the plot of which revolves around youth with low socioeconomic status in London who use viral structures to challenge oppressive copyright regimes. For an operational text, this chapter focuses on the Issa Rae web video series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. Rae, the writer, producer and star of the series, creates representations of black women that challenge harmful media stereotypes and engage a variety of audiences. Pirate Cinema and Awkward Black Girl offer case studies in the possibility that makers can destabilize media norms. However, I argue that the potential disruption of any such endeavor is limited by definitions of success that remain grounded in more traditional media production models designed to continue the dominance of these models. I use Nancy Fraser and Michael Warner’s theories of counterpublics to assess the potential for counterpublic formation through alternative models of media production and alternative definitions of success.

The chapter four digital companion is in progress.

Fashioning Makers and Counterpublics Book Project

Overview of Fashioning Makers and Counterpublics: Critical Making and Public Humanities

Under review with University of Iowa Press for the Humanities and Public Life series.

In Spring 2011, the Dallas Museum of Art announced an upcoming exhibit on the clothing of Jean Paul Gaultier, which would open the following Fall. The exhibit had only one other U.S. location scheduled – San Francisco. Given the sparse touring schedule, this was a unique opportunity to involve students in the program in Emerging Media and Communication at UT Dallas with an event in the local arts community. The first node of connection originated in an image of a Gaultier dress that was designed for Kylie Minogue (below).

Kylie Minogue in an elaborate crocheted dress designed by Jean Paul Gaultier

Kylie Minogue in Jean Paul Gaultier. Source: Kylie.com. Photographer: Unknown.

The crochet elements of the dress are reminiscent of the traces on a circuit board and prompted the basic idea for Fashioning Circuits. The project originally took the form of an independent study on fashion and media with topics of study such as embodiment, gender identity, and the historical relationship between fashion and media. The original group of participants, one professor and four graduate students, read and discussed theories of fashion, technology, identity, and globalization. They blogged annotated bibliography entries and critical analysis of wearable media. Perhaps most unusual for a Humanities context, they used sewing machines, soldering irons, and microcontrollers to create wearable media objects.

It quickly became evident that the most significant potential of Fashioning Circuits was not in the connection to the local arts community but in the way it challenged students to engage in sewing, electronics, and coding as new forms of scholarly production. Students with little to no experience in this area became empowered in new modes of expressing ideas. The project in its current iteration still contains all of those original elements (blogging, criticism and making) but now also includes multiple ways of operating beyond the bounds of the traditional classroom. These are workshops with community partners to introduce young women to coding and making in a Humanities context, Creative Labs that are open to the campus community, and the ongoing work on the blog. Through all of these activities, Fashioning Circuits attempts to empower students as makers, which in turn contributes to counterpublic formation.

The book Fashioning Makers and Counterpublics: Critical Making and Public Humanities explores the theoretical foundations of the project and shares detailed information on its genesis and operations, including perspectives from project partners and the successes and challenges of this kind of scholarly activity. Chapters include theoretical foundations (including the ways in which it contributes to counterpublic formation and its status as a humanist project interfacing with issues in STEM fields), a detailed project narrative, perspectives on university coursework, perspectives on community engagement, the project’s impact on educational technology (authored by Laura Pasquini), future directions and the wider context of the project. A companion website will include tutorials, teaching materials, a workshop planning toolkit, a bibliography, links to suppliers, and other resources.

Publications

Forthcoming in The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities

Image of a white woman cyborg

“Wearable Interfaces, Networked Bodies, and Feminist Sleeper Agents.” In The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities

“Wearable Interfaces, Networked Bodies, and Feminist Sleeper Agents”

In this invited and peer-reviewed essay, I argue that one must account for the materiality of the body in the wearable interface. The wearable interface is a process enacted within an assemblage of dress-body-technology, with the potential to construct a radical cyborg subject. However, the current most ubiquitous form of wearable technology, the fitness tracker, fails to fulfill the cyborg’s promise of kinship and affinity. Instead it facilitates the myth of self-reliant neoliberal subjectivity. I examine alternative landscapes in which wearables might contribute to counterpublic formation through arts and design, as well as feminist epistemologies and critical making in the university classroom.

“No description of this device would be complete without attention to the body that forms part of the wearable technology interface. The device marks the techno-body as one that is interested in health and/or understanding the self. But this assemblage is also shaped by the gender, race, class status, and relative fitness of the wearer. Consider, for instance, how the interface may morph on the body in relation to norms regarding which bodies are constructed as already “fit” vs. those that are othered in some way, via age, gender, race, or ability. The device interfaces with the body on which it is worn to inscribe a relationship to “fitness,” but the body also inscribes the device itself. Depending on the body now which it is situated, the tracker may be read as an effective management tool, laudable aspiration, or, in a negative reading, as a useless accessory. In other words, the device is affected by the bodily presence of the specific body on which it is worn. Because of the bodily presence of touch, the interface can never be actualized before the device is worn. Once the device is donned, the assemblage of dress-body-technology begins to enact the ongoing process of interface effect.”

Table of Contents

In electronic book review

Map showing illness reports and walgreens locations

“Sublime Latency and Viral Premediation.” Invited contribution to electronic book review. 05 July 2015

“Sublime Latency and Viral Premediation.”

This peer-reviewed article is an invited contribution for a special cluster of essays on the topic of “digital eco-poetics.” I examine antivirus software, crowdsourced health mobile applications, and an art installation centered on the late 1990s ILoveYou virus in order to illuminate the desires and fears of the viral.

“In contrast, antiviral technologies situate premediation as an “affective prophylactic” (Grusin 46). They deploy algorithmic actors in response to anxieties about the viral, whether it be digital or biological. As part of a viral structure, these technologies address anxiety anxiety with a claim to stop unauthorized reproduction. In fact, they reproduce themselves. The premediation of antivirus software ensures the need for expanded suites of security software and reinforces conservative habits of internet usage that produce legible data. The premediation of flu forecasting software capitalizes on two of the largest commodities in global capitalism: attention and data. The effect of which is a constant low level of anxiety that produces responsible citizens and remediates future affective states. In addition, both kinds of antiviral technology extend sociotechnical networks into the future, thereby ensuring the continued health of systems of capital and securitization.”

electronic book review

 

In The Projector

a woman's face, decorated with vegetables with an overlay of a phrase net

“The Work of iamamiwhoami in the Age of Networked Transmission.” Published in The Projector. 15.1 (2015): 8 – 46.

“The Work of iamamiwhoami in the Age of Networked Transmission”

In this peer-reviewed essay I blend methodologies, combining strategies of close reading and interpretation with computer-driven analysis of large collections of text, in order to show how participatory digital media enables a refiguring of Walter Benjamin’s concept of aura.The object of study here is the production, release strategies, and audience response to a series of music videos that were published anonymously online beginning in January 2010. The videos, now known to be the product of the Swedish music collective iamamiwhoami, inspired intense affective responses as music fans worked together to solve the mystery of their source. I argue that the videos function as part of a viral structure that produces auratic engagements that entrain subjects to alternative engagements with media.

The Projector

In The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media

two lego robot figures with pink and blue accents

“Gender Representation.” Invited and peer reviewed contribution to The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2014.

“Gender Representation”

“This return to the 19th century might suggest a full circle return to the 19th century association of Mary Shelley and technology. However, one might expect that as new technologies develop and others obsolesce, they will continue to be appropriated for gender play while corporate or mainstream uses will continue to reinforce those gender representations that are already culturally dominant.”

The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media

 

17 avatars of various races and genders

“Race and Ethnicity.” Invited and peer reviewed contribution to The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2014.

 

“Race and Ethnicity”

“The relationship between digital media/textuality and race/ethnicity is a complex interplay of multi-directional influences that must take into account both how race and ethnicity are given concrete expression in digital environments, as well as how digital texts and environments are shaped by racial formations. This multi-directional relationship is exemplified in discourses about race and digital technology, digital expressions of racial meaning (including racist expressions), and global labor practices that underlie digital media and textuality.”

The Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media

In The International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments

Pie chart showing distribution of tweets among class participants

“What Do They Really Think? Students’ Perceptions on Using Facebook and Twitter in Formal Higher Education Learning.” (with Jenny Wakefield, Scott J. Warren, Metta Alsobrook). In The International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments. 1.4 (2013): 330 – 54.

“What Do They Really Think? Students’ Perceptions on Using Facebook and Twitter in Formal Higher Education Learning.” (with Jenny Wakefield, Scott J. Warren, Metta Alsobrook).

“Among the affordances was noted that social media helps shy students get voice in the classroom, i.e., the shy students can share their thoughts with the larger group. Instructors and instructional designers are encouraged to consider strategies to alleviate privacy concerns, cultivate student input, and make transparent their reasons for choosing certain platforms as possible ways to increase student buy-in.”

International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments

In Cases on Educational Technology Implementation for Facilitating Learning

lime green cover of the book with a picture of a young woman on a computer

“Learning and Teaching as Communicative Actions: A Case of Twitter as Educational Tool.” (with Jenny Wakefield, Scott J. Warren, Metta Alsobrook). Cases on Educational Technology Implementation for Facilitating Learning. Hershey: IGI Global, 2013.

 

“Learning and Teaching as Communicative Actions: A Case of Twitter as Educational Tool.” (with Jenny Wakefield, Scott J. Warren, Metta Alsobrook).

“It is important to facilitate student “buy in” of tweeting requirements by involving them in decision-making processes and modelling how to use the platform. However, educators need to be prepared that just as some students do not like speaking up in class discussion or writing response questions, not every student will see the value in the medium. Alternatively, some students will feel so comfortable on Twitter that they may over rely on it and habitually avoid verbal class discussion. Finally, the use of Twitter in class requires that an instructor be comfortable with a certain amount of class activity that cannot be monitored in real-time.”

Cases on Educational Technology Implementation for Facilitating Learning

In In Media Res

screenshot of curated video showing images of students working

“In Media Res in the Crowdsourced Classroom.” Invited contribution to In Media Res. March 17, 2013.

In Media Res in the Crowdsourced Classroom” (invited contribution)

“The journal’s openness, collaborative nature, and commitment to alternative forms of scholarship align with many of the values that are foundational for Fashioning Circuits. In addition, curating for IMR fit nicely with the strategy of learning through making. The writing that we were doing on the group blog was another form of us making things together. Everyone writing together on one curated piece seemed like a natural extension of those principles.”

In Media Res in the Crowdsourced Classroom

 

 

Cartoon image of a woman's legs with video screen cap of Rick Perry between them

“Get in My Vagina! Language and Power in Online Comedy Videos.” In Media Res. January 16, 2013.

“Get in My Vagina! Language and Power in Online Comedy Videos.”

“In 2011, more than 1100 provisions to regulate reproductive health and rights were introduced in the U.S. (up 16 percent from 2010). We are witnessing a marked increase in juridic discourse regarding women’s bodies. Yet certain events indicate that women’s bodies are simultaneously unspeakable within juridic spaces.”

“Get in My Vagina! Language and Power in Online Comedy Videos”

 

screenshot of curated video showing contestants from America's Next Top Model

“The Multiply Mediated Voice of the America’s Next Top Model All-Star.” (with graduate students Brianni Nelson, Amy Pickup, Tameka Reeves, Mattie Tanner). In Media Res. January 9, 2012.

“The Multiply Mediated Voice of America’s Next Top Model All Star” (with graduate students)

“This cycle’s focus on multi-media literacy aligns with the performance of identity through multiple platforms in today’s media ecology. We see an interesting tension between the contrived, pre-assigned brand and the contestants’ ability to express something deemed “authentic.” Ultimately, the show fails to take full advantage of social media to augment these performances.”

The Multiply Mediated Voice of America’s Next Top Model All Star

 

For The Transliteracies Project

Screenshot showing GoodReads Social Reading Site

“Social Book Cataloging: Humanizing Databases” with Renee Hudson. The Transliteracies Project. August 2009.

“Social Book Cataloging: Humanizing Databases” (with Renee Hudson)

“In reference to early internet communities, Mark Poster writes, “many areas of the Internet extend preexisting identities and institutions” (266). In the case of social book cataloging, the pre-existing identities are those of readers. By joining a site or installing a Facebook application, a subject is first and foremost declaring him or herself a “reader.” The user may then, as noted above, begin to narrow and customize that subject position into a particular type of reader.”

“Social Book Cataloging: Humanizing Databases”

The Spiral Dance Blog

Rainbow swirls surrounding the site name, "The Spiral Dance"

The Spiral Dance. Editor and contributor. Spring 2011 – present.

“Twenty years later, we are continuing to separate the dual strands and liberate the cyborg from the embrace of the goddess. Our media continue to draw both extremes into the spiral, pushing them to dance out of control, with the goddess often attempting to lead.

The goal of this blog is to examine the spiral dance in our contemporary media landscape, including social media, emerging platforms and devices, and representations of gender in pop culture.”

The Spiral Dance

Fashioning Circuits Blog

Logo for Fashioning Circuits; Project name on a background of circuit boards and sequins

Fashioning Circuits. Project leader, editor, and contributor. A research and public Humanities project blog that explores intersections between fashion and digital media. Fall 2011 – present.

“This blog is one of the ways in which the work of the project is articulated. The blog content includes

  • Annotated Bibliography – annotated entries describing and analyzing books, articles, film, etc.
  • Coursework – resources from university courses, both independent study and formal classes.
  • Emerging Media – examples and analysis of blogs, social media, mobile applications, etc. as they pertain to fashion.
  • High Fashion – information and analysis of haute couture and runway iterations of wearable media.
  • History – historical impact of science, technology, and media on fashion.
  • Identity – analysis of the impact of fashion and emerging media on identity, including raced, classed, gendered, differently abled and sexualized bodies.
  • Project News – information about Fashioning Circuits activities and press coverage of the project
  • Representations – representations of fashion in media, including art, media, games, social avatars, etc.
  • Wearables – analysis of developments in wearable media, smart textiles, etc.
  • Workshop – descriptions of wearable media projects and detailed tutorials.”

Fashioning Circuits

Projects

Danger, Jane Roe!

LilyPad ArduinoDanger, Jane Roe! is a research-oriented design project (in progress) that uses a LilyPad Arduino,  a micro-computer developed specifically for wearable applications. The LilyPad is sewn to a t-shirt, using conductive thread. It is accompanied by hand embroidered decorative elements and LEDs that light up in correlation to data related to Twitter activity around the topic of reproductive health. Danger, Jane Roe! signifies on its own as a design object, but it is also the subject of more traditional scholarly work. It forms the centerpiece of arguments I propose to make for the collection Feminist Debates in Digital Humanities, in which I will address the potential for feminist digital humanities to detourn scientific methods via play, provocation, and interrogation. The wearable project is also the subject of a second presentation that I will give in January 2016 at the meeting of the Modern Language Association.

WomenLikeYouand.Me

image of a woman standing in front of a television storefront

WomenLikeYouand.Me. Project leader, site designer. Summer 2013 – present.

A forthcoming non-funded public humanities project that will allow users to rate and discuss representations of women in media. The project takes its inspiration from “the Bechdel test,” three questions used to evaluate the roles of women in film and television. Though the Bechdel test is a good baseline indicator, it is somewhat limited in what it can tell us about a particular media object. WomenLikeYouand.Me expands those three questions for a more complex evaluation of characters and plot. WomenLikeYouand.Me will be a meeting place and resource for feminists interested in popular culture as well as parents and caretakers looking for positive media representations for young women. The project website is being developed in Ruby and Sinatra, with MongoDB.

Coming Soon!

Fashioning Circuits

a lilypad arduino sewn to a black fabric wrist band

Fashioning Circuits Project leader, site designer, community liaison. Fall 2011 – present.

A public Humanities project (conducted with students) that investigates the intersection between fashion and digital media. Activities include a blog, university coursework, and workshops on campus and in the community that introduce underserved populations to coding and making in a Humanities context.

In Fashioning Circuits “fashion” functions not just as a noun to describe cultural trends, but also as a verb, “to fashion,” to indicate the experiential and problem based learning strategies of the project as well as the potential for a diverse range of participants to fashion themselves as members of the publics and counterpublics of the future.

Fashioning Circuits

Digital Textuality Tools Repository

old tools pread out on a wooden table

Digital Textuality Tools Repository. Project leader, site designer, editor. Spring 2011 – present.

An ongoing, publicly available student-produced repository of tool reviews. Reviews are organized by media type: text production, data and text visualization, still image, sound, and video and animation. The repository contains over 200 reviewed tools and lists others that are awaiting review. Anyone can suggest tools to be added to the list by emailing me or using the twitter hashtag, #digitaltext.

Digital Textuality Resource Pages

The Transliteracies Project

Logo showing three floating page icons

Project coordinator, New Reading Interfaces Lead RA, General RA. Fall 2005 – Spring 2010.

An NEH-funded University of California Multi-campus Research Group to study the technological, social, and cultural practices of online reading. I worked as Coordinator for the entire project as well as Lead RA with the New Reading Interfaces Group and Project Planner and Designer with the History of Reading Group. Responsibilities included conference planning, site design and management, coordinating all RAs, and writing, recording, and editing written and visual content.

The Translieracies Project

Transcriptions Studio

Poster for 2012 Transcriptions Research Slam: a network map with presenter names on a red background

Transcriptions Studio. Research assistant, project leader. Fall 2005 – Spring 2008

A University of California, Santa Barbara Department of English research center. I worked as a Research Assistant managing the lab, which included support for classroom and research initiatives as well as planning and publicity for events. Events ranged from workshops on building websites, to guest speakers, to film viewings and discussions. In addition, I founded the annual Transcriptions Multimedia Research Slam event, which brings together the best parts of an academic conference, a poetry slam, and a poster session, with an emphasis on new models of sharing and discussing academic work.

The Transcriptions Studio

The Agrippa Files

screenshot of The Agrippa Files site

Editor, animation designer, image editor. Summer – Fall 2005.

A non-funded research project to compile resources related to the scarcely-available multimedia artwork, Agrippa (a book of the dead) by William Gibson and Dennis Ashbaugh. As part of the editorial team I contributed to site development and designed multiple aspects of the site, in addition to performing general editorial work.

The Agrippa Files

Design

“In the Beginning was the Word” Animation. (with Bill Warner)

Screenshot of the website showing animation in transition

In the Beginning was the Word: A Visualization of the Page as Interface.” With Bill Warner. March 2008.

An animation that traces the historical page as interface. The animation was designed for the History of Reading Working Group as part of The Transliteracies Project. From the Introduction to the animation:

“We are guided by two suppositions: 1. The concept of the “interface,” developed within computer science to describe hardware or software that allows human-computer communication, can be fruitfully applied to understand those material forms — the page, the book, or the print — that have mediated so much human access to information in the long age of the codex. 2. Changes in the page interface have reflected and supported change in reading practices.”

“In the Beginning was the Word”

Animations and Images for The Agrippa Files

Image of Advertisement overprint: a camera flash shaped like a pistol

Agrippa: Simulation of Dennis Ashbaugh’s Fading Ink Concept

“Agrippa: Simulation of Dennis Ashbaugh’s Fading Ink Concept.”

“Artist Dennis Ashbaugh intended to print antique newspaper and photographic equipment catalog advertisements of technological artifacts (TV, phone, magic lantern, etc.) in “disappearing” ink over his copperplate aquatint etchings featuring DNA-gel motifs (not actual DNA stain patterns but aesthetic renderings). Exposing the pages to light or air were to have made these “overprints” gradually vanish, leaving behind just the underlying etchings. The art would thus have matched William Gibson’s disappearing poem, which disappears into encrypted code when played.

However, while some extant copies of the book contain overprints created in uncured photocopy toner as a gesture toward the original idea, technical problems prevented the implementation of the fading ink. The uncured-toner images blur over their base etchings and stain facing pages, but they remain.”

This animation simulates the original intended effect.

Fading Ink Simulation

 

screen capture of the logo from The Agrippa Files

The Agrippa Files animated logo. Summer 2005.

The Agrippa Files Animated Logo

Animated logo that scrolls through the DNA sequence included in the William Gibson / Dennis Ashbaugh artwork, Agrippa (a book of the dead).

The Agrippa Files Logo

 

Image of animated page interface showing various aspects of the deluxe edition

“Animated Page Interface” and Page Images. The Agrippa Files. Summer – Fall 2005.

The Agrippa Files Animated Page Interface and Viewer”

High resolution images of the different types of pages found in the William Gibson / Dennis Ashbaugh artwork, Agrippa (a book of the dead). Images are captured from The Deluxe Edition and The Small Edition. The animated interface showcases a variety of images over a background drawn from other visuals from the art object.

The Agrippa Files Animated Page Interface and Page Viewer

MediaWiki

Logo for the English Department Knowledge Base

English Department Knowledge Base MediaWiki

Software implementation, site development, and management of a MediaWiki site for the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The Knowledge Base was developed as a dynamic, collaboratively authored resource for faculty and graduate students.

UCSB English Department Knowledge Base

Media

Theories of Emerging Media MediaWiki

Software implementation, site development, and management of a MediaWiki site for an undergraduate course. One example of multiple course-related wikis that I have developed. The site is currently password protected. Login credentials are available upon request.

EMAC 2322 MediaWiki

WordPress and Custom CSS

Software implementation, site development, custom CSS, and  management of WordPress installations.

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