Tuesday Links

Blogging from the Java Divine coffeehouse in Holly Springs while waiting for my girlfriend.  I’ve been planning some longer posts about some of my summer research projects, but will start with a few links:

  • I continue to be interested in watching how film and music festivals are adapting to the emergence of online video.  Via the editor’s blog at Film in Focus, I’ve just learned that Sundance will be hosting a virtual screening room of original short films by Sundance Directors Lab alumni, including Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden, and Tamara Jenkins. Sundance, of course, is now much more than a festival and is, instead, a cable channel, a trining ground, and even an institution responsible for participating in the ongoing redefinition of “independent” filmmaking.  Worth noting: the Sunance Institute defines the Screening Room in pedagogical terms, with Director of the Feature Film Program at the Michelle Satter emphasizing that she hopes the YouTube videos will “provide a window into the creative process of our new discoveries and showcase the early work of leading independent filmmakers who have emerged from the Labs in previous years.”
  • Via Matt Dentler, I learned about Jim Killeen’s documentary, Google Me, which uses the hook of vanity Googling to explore the significance of sharing a name with another human being, possibly someone on the other side of the world.  All of the Jim Killeens (including the film’s director) featured in the film are charming, interesting guys, but I’m not sure that Google Me covered any ground that wasn’t already addressed in Alan Berliner’s superior The Sweetest Sound.  Although the latter was made before Google became such a ubiquitous part of contemporary culture, Berliner’s film seemed more adept at navigating the relationship between names and identity.  That being said, Killeen’s film does gesture toward the ways in which Google functions to help us imagine a global “community.”
  • One of the richest texts I’ve encountered in a while is the video of Michael Wesch’s Personal Democracy Forum lecture, “Toward a New Theory of…Whatever.”  In addition to tracing shifts in the linguistic uses of “whatever,” Wesch offers a useful theory of community as it plays out on YouTube, including the impediments to true community, and the structurings of community through direct address of an implied audience (the idea that although YouTube vloggers often refer to their potentially universal audience, they speak to an essentially lifeless camera, often in an otherwise empty room).  I feel like I need to watch the lecture again to tease out all of the key details, but Wesch’s video is well worth the time.
  • I’ve been trying to squeeze in some time to read Scott Rosenberg’s Say Everything, his astutely titled book that sounds like an important contribution to the literature on blogging, but for now, here’s a quick pointer to his recent blog entry on how Twitter makes blogging “smarter.”  I tend to agree that Twitter’s focus on the immediate has led to fewer “link and (no) comment” posts on blogs, such as quick links to viral videos.  Of course, given that Twitter’s archives are often hard to search, I still tend to use these short links posts as a quick “first draft” for thinking about ideas I want to address either in essays or other longer texts.

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