I explore media in transition. My research encompasses film, video, print, digital arts, and the web. I'm interested in what artists and writers are doing and in what critics and scholars are saying.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Persistence of Memory: Dr. Eric Kandel’s Interests in the Mind

Dr. Eric Kandel, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2000, gave a fascinating interview on The Charlie Rose Show last night. With Dr. Harold Varmus (Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 1989), who was filling in for Charlie Rose, Kandel discussed his latest book, In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind (W. W. Norton, 2006). Passionate about his work, articulate, and full of life, this seventy-six-year-old neurobiologist interwove personal and cultural memories while explaining his professional quest: to understand human memory. He traced his story back to his childhood in Nazi-occupied Vienna and to his subsequent immigration to New York in 1939 when he was nine. In the autobiography Kandel presented to the Nobel Committee, he stated:

“My last year in Vienna was, in a way, a defining year, and it fostered the profound sense of gratitude I came to feel for the life I have led in the United States. It is probably futile, even for someone trained in psychoanalytic thinking as I am, to attempt to trace the complex interests and actions of my later life to a few selected experiences of my youth. Nevertheless I cannot help but think that the experiences of my last year in Vienna helped to determine my later interests in the mind, in how people behave, the unpredictability of motivation, and the persistence of memory. Over the years I have returned to these subjects repeatedly as my professional interests evolved from a youthful interest in European intellectual history at Harvard, where I studied the motivation of German intellectuals during the Nazi era, to an interest in psychoanalysis with its more systematic approach to mental processes, and finally to my interests in the biology of conscious and unconscious memory.” (The complete autobiography is available online.)

Last night’s broadcast of The Charlie Rose Show (March 29, 2006; 56 min, 40 sec) can be viewed on Google Video.

P.S. Charlie Rose underwent heart surgery in Paris on Wednesday.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Musings: Orchestrating Life Narratives

It seems to me that when people think about who they are and what they’ve done, they often tend to compartmentalize. Of course there are times when this is appropriate, but too often this tactic masks synergistic relationships among the parts that are awaiting discovery. By connecting the dots, so to speak, and bringing into relation disparate elements, individuals may change the way they see themselves and at the same time recharge the set of skills on which they draw in their personal and professional lives. To put it another way, they could expand their repertoires.

I’m particularly interested in the implications such a relational approach has for the production of autobiographical and biographical texts, and I wonder how this model, when applied, affects the work of human memory. In my own case, whether I’m creating a self-portrait or portraying someone else, I like to orchestrate dynamic compositions.

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Approaching Videoblogs (Vlogs): Initial Stages

I've been researching videoblogs, or vlogs. Here are some relevant links:

Braintrust dv Roundtable: Video iPod, November 30, 2005

"How will the new video iPod change video content in cyberspace? What does it suggest or promise as a cultural model? How will it affect independent media makers and corporate media providers? Is the video iPod good or bad for cinema—or is the term "cinema" no longer applicable in such a context?"

Jen's Videoblogging Resources Page, Jen Simmons (from a course on videoblogging Simmons taught at Temple University, Spring 2006)

Mefeedia (the first video aggregator)

"The Mefeedia directory is focused on videoblogs: people with real voices, who make interesting short videos for their blogs."

"Networked Storytelling: A research blog on narrative forms and alternative media production in Videoblogs," Kristoffer Gansing

Videoblogging Resources, Deirdre Straughan

"What is videoblogging? Depends who you ask, but let's accept as a working definition: 'Distributing personal video over the Internet.' By 'personal' I mean that you're probably not a big name or working in Hollywood, though perhaps you aspire to. 'Distributing' usually includes having an RSS feed so that people can easily watch your video in their preferred aggregator."

Videoblogs, Steve Garfield

"I've been video blogging since January 1, 2004 when I made a New Years resolution to try and figure out how to make it easy to put video on a blog. Since then, it's gotten a lot easier. "My video blog features a couple of regular shows, The Carol and Steve Show and Vlog Soup."

"Videoblogs as 'Collective Documentary' " Jon Hoem, (pdf, presented at Blog Talk 2004)

Vlog, Wikipedia

"Vlogger (noun): Blogger With Video Camera," DIONNE SEARCEY, Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, December 16, 2005; Page B1

VlogTheory Wiki (initiated by Adrian Miles in December 2005; written and maintained by Vlog Theory Discussion Group); see also "Media Rich Versus Rich Media," by Miles for Blogtalk Downunder, 2005

We Are the Media: News from the Vlogosphere

"XWhaves: Where is The Digital Wave Taking Us?" (video, 2:11: 27), WGBH lecture, August 1, 2005, in conjunction with Woods Hole Film Festival (participants: Jonathan Wells, executive producer, WFXT; Bob Lyons, director, radio and new media initiatives, WGBH; Sam Weisman, television director, filmmaker; Steve Garfield, correspondent,; Chuck Olsen, documentary filmmaker; Tony Khan, moderator, host, producer, WGBH Radio)

"Join members of the new media revolution in an active, open discussion of citizen journalism, personal media, video blogging and the convergence of digital storytelling methods with a new era of novel, inexpensive worldwide distribution and other aspects of the ever-changing landscape of how content gets delivered."

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