My head is spinning a bit, getting back into the swing of teaching (a lot) and writing about what I’m reading–and, moreover, creating more abstract representations of thoughts (i.e. diagrams). Thus, I’m going to be quick about this reflection and address my interests, concerns, and thoughts on media, culture, media culture, and how any of those might intersect with this class.
ARGs/transmedia (I don’t like the second term for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into at the moment) have steadily become my focus over the last year. I see this assertion of interest as a growth from long-time interests in authorship/interactivity, participatory texts, artifice and the intersection of realism and fantasy, transgeneric writing, and digital media. My interest in media, therefore, is expansive, in that I’m interested in multimedia/transmedia. Knowing more about many media is a goal. Culturally, I’m interested in the positioning between writer/reader–relationships of agency, power, collaboration, and interactivity populate this space for me. As far as media culture is concerned, participation and interactivity certainly apply, perhaps through less traditional approaches, such as hacking and circuit-bending, but certainly through remix (of multiple media).
I also have a growing interest in simulation, which I have tried (unsuccessfully? unconvincingly?) to explore in conjunction with my interest in metafiction. I see both as being conscious of rules–and willing to make those rules dynamic. For simulation, this is a “feature”; for metafiction, this can often be subversive to literary expectations. So, video games (as games, as simulations, as interactive narratives) have become an interest, as well.
For this initial assignment (the creation of a diagram that seeks to explain a medium), I decided to explore a medium about which I know and have thought very little. This medium was sculpture. I find it potentially interesting due to its three dimensionality–a trait not many contemporary mediums seem to offer. Sculpture, for whatever reason, has always been something I’ve been drawn to and have been affected by when I’ve browsed museums. Specifically, viewing the Laocoon Group at the Vatican is one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had with any work of art in the past decade.
Another small part of this equation is my interest in transmedia. In a brief twitter conversation with one of my favorite video game scholars, the genre limitations of popular transmedia came up and she asked why don’t transmedia narratives use sculpture (among other media). That possibility has stuck in my head, especially with a bit of reading on Kryptos, a cypher/sculpture that explores interesting multimedia possibilities in sculpture.
From looking at others’ posts, I’m glad I didn’t attempt one of the many wonderful historical approaches, as I know nothing about sculpture, really. Part of me wishes I would have given in to the urge to use more text as a tool for exploration, as many of the diagrams that used text for explication were successful in being meaningful and clear. But, I did want to force myself to use a more graphical approach, to see how I might construct an argument through mostly images. Next time, I would love to have more knowledge about sculpture before I commit to such a rough understanding and be able to synthesize thoughts of myself and others. I’d also be intrigued by the challenge of attempting a three dimensional representation of this exercise.
This is the first post, a visual diagram of my understanding of the medium of sculpture, for English 742 Media Culture at UWM. These class-related posts can be found in the “ENG742” category.
I should note that I know very little about sculpture, but am interested in the physicality and multimedia possibilities offered through what I understand of the medium. The diagram and notes below make the assumption of what I might refer to as “fine art” sculpture: expensive and displayed primarily at large institutions. Of course, there are many varieties of sculpture, from cars buried in the desert to roadside dinosaurs made of welded and rusted metal scrap.
three-dimensional, tactile, visual. can incorporate other media (Kryptos). can be readymade. metal, wood, wax, granite, marble, anything pliable or malleable.
viewer must occupy same time/space as sculpture (read), but usually the sculptor (write) does not occupy same space as viewer.
sculpture can be displayed in/outside, usually housed by institution (cultural, commercial)
expensive to own
can be protest/subversive (street art, readymade)
Image credits (all via Flickr): Laocoon (sethschoen); Kryptos (wanderingYew2); I.M. Pei Louvre (Nelson Minar), Paik (C-Monster), Banksy (Ben Gunn Baker). Duchamp’s Fountain via Wikipedia.