Journal articles: 'San Francisco Contemporary Music Players' – Grafiati (2024)

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Author: Grafiati

Published: 4 June 2021

Last updated: 13 February 2022

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1

Marty, Eric. "San Francisco Contemporary Chamber Players and CNMAT in Concert." Computer Music Journal 22, no.4 (1998): 76. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3680895.

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STEIGERWALD ILLE, MEGAN. "Negotiating Convention: Pop-Ups and Populism at the San Francisco Opera." Journal of the Society for American Music 14, no.4 (November 2020): 419–50. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s1752196320000322.

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AbstractTwenty-first-century North American opera houses have attempted to bring in new audiences to make up for a declining and aging population of subscribers through means both traditional and unorthodox. The San Francisco Opera's SF Lab Initiative (2015–2018) was created with such goals in mind. Alternative forms of programming, which I categorize as auxiliary programming, have gained traction as a marketing and aesthetic strategy in recent years, and ultimately signal a dramatic shift in approaches to regional opera production in the United States. While scholars have explored the creation and funding of contemporary operatic productions in the United States, little attention has been given to forms of programming beyond the operatic mainstage. Using interviews with company members and analysis of advertising and reception of the events, I examine the SFO Lab programming as a site of negotiation between operatic convention and experimentation. Based on a populist vision of operatic access, the SF Opera Lab re-contextualized rather than eliminated class and intellectual hierarchies. More broadly, this application of experimental performativity contributes to discourses about Pan-American experimentalism(s) and demonstrates the ways in which a focus on local encounters can yield broad applications for genres and/or scenes beyond opera in the United States.

3

Hensley, Douglas. "Guitar Forum: The Flute, Viola, Guitar Trio: Its History, Literature and Performance." American String Teacher 36, no.4 (November 1986): 73–76. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/000313138603600433.

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Douglas Hensley has been an active chamber musician ever since he took up serious study of the classical guitar. He received bachelor and master's degrees under the direction of David Tanenbaum from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and he has studied with many other musicians in private lessons and master classes. Over the past ten years he has premiered close to fifty new compositions, performed numerous U.S. premieres and the West Coast premiere of Elliott Carter's “Changes” for solo guitar. For Opus One Records in New York he has recorded Larry Polansky's “Hensley Variations” and David Loeb's “Trois Cansos” with flautist Kenneth Kramer and violist John Casten. He has also recorded a collection of duets with Japanese shakuhachi master Masayuka Koga, “Autumn Mist,” for Fortuna Records of Novato, California. His principal activities are as cofounder (with violist/violinist John Casten) and guitarist of the San Francisco-based contemporary performance ensemble ISKRA, which is made up of flute, clarinet, guitar, violin/viola, doublebass and soprano voice. Anyone with additional information about flute, viola, guitar trios (or other chamber music with guitar), or queries, is urged to contact him at 607-A Frederick St., San Francisco, CA 94117.

4

FIORE, GIACOMO. "Reminiscence, Reflections, and Resonance: The Just Intonation Resophonic Guitar and Lou Harrison's Scenes from Nek Chand." Journal of the Society for American Music 6, no.2 (May 2012): 211–37. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s1752196312000041.

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AbstractUpon accepting a commission for a solo guitar piece from the 2002 Open Minds Music Festival in San Francisco, Lou Harrison decided to write Scenes from Nek Chand for a unique instrument: a resonator guitar refretted in just intonation. Harrison's last completed work draws inspiration from the sound of Hawaiian music that the composer remembered hearing in his youth, as well as from the artwork populating Nek Chand's Rock Garden of Chandigarh, India.Based on archival research, oral histories, and the author's insights as a performer of contemporary music, this article examines the piece's inception, outlining the organological evolution of resophonic guitars and their relationship to Hawaiian music. It addresses the practical and aesthetic implications of the composer's choice of tuning, and examines the work of additional artists, such as Terry Riley and Larry Polansky, who have contributed to the growing repertoire for the just intonation resophonic guitar.

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Rickards, Guy. "Music by women composers." Tempo 59, no.234 (September21, 2005): 66–72. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0040298205300325.

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HOWELL: Violin Sonata in F minor; Rosalind for violin & piano; Piano Sonata in E minor; Humoresque for piano; 5 Studies for piano. Lorraine McAslan (vln), Sophia Rahman (pno). Dutton Epoch CDLX 7144.BACEWICZ: Violin Sonatas Nos. 4–5; Oberek No. 1; Sonata No. 2 for violin solo; Partita; Capriccio; Polish Capriccio. Joanna Kurkowicz (v;n), Gloria Chien (pno). Chandos CHAN 10250.MARIC: Byzantine Concerto1; Cantata: Threshold of Dream2,3,6; Ostinato Super Thema Octoïcha4–6; Cantata: Song of Space7. 1Olga Jovanovic (pno), Belgrade PO c. Oskar Danon, 2Dragoslava Nikolic (sop, alto), 3Jovan Milicevic (narr), 4Ljubica Maric (pno), 5Josip Pikelj (hp), 6Radio-TV Belgrade CO c. Oskar Danon, 7Radio-TV Belgrade Mixed Choir & SO c. Mladen Jagušt. Chandos Historical 10267H.MUSGRAVE: For the Time Being: Advent1; Black Tambourine2–3; John Cook; On the Underground Sets1–3. 1Michael York (narr), 2Walter Hirse (pno), 3Richard Fitz, Rex Benincasa (perc),New York Virtuoso Singers c. Harold Rosenbaum. Bridge 9161.KUI DONG: Earth, Water, Wood, Metal, Fire1; Pangu's Song2; Blue Melody3; Crossing (electronic/computer tape music); Three Voices4. 1Sarah Cahill (pno), 2Tod Brody (fl), Daniel Kennedy (perc), 3San Francisco Contemporary Music Players c. Olly Wilson, 4Hong Wang (Chinese fiddle), Ann Yao (Chinese zither), Chen Tao (bamboo fl). New World 80620-2.FIRSOVA: The Mandelstam Cantatas: Forest Walks, op. 36; Earthly Life, op. 31; Before the Thunderstorm, op. 70. Ekaterina Kichigina (sop), Studio for New Music Moscow c. Igor Dronov. Megadisc MDC 7816.KATS-CHERNIN: Ragtime & Blues. Sarah Nicholls (pno). Nicola Sweeney (vln). Signum SIGCD058.CHAMBERS: A Mass for Mass Trombones. Thomas Hutchinson (trb), Ensemble of 76 trombones c. David Gilbert. Centaur CRC 2263.

6

Krause, Till. "‘Amerrrika ist wunderrrbarrr’: promotion of Germany through Radio Goethe’s cultural export of German popular music to North America." Popular Music 27, no.2 (May 2008): 225–42. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0261143008004042.

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AbstractMuch has been written about the cultural, social and political impact of German popular music within the country, but the role of German popular music outside of Germany has not been sufficiently examined. The research presented here is designed to investigate an example of Germany’s export of contemporary popular music as state-sponsored promotion of its national (pop) culture. San Francisco’s weekly radio programme Radio Goethe – The German Voice, which distributes popular music from German-speaking countries to English-speaking audiences, is explored. The main purposes of this programme are to portray a modern Germany to a foreign audience and to arouse interest in the country. The weekly 60-minute series began airing in 1996 and is sponsored by the German federal government. Radio Goethe is carried by over thirty college radio stations in the USA, Canada and New Zealand, and in 2004 the German creator and host of the series received a Federal Cross of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz) for his intercultural work. This article briefly documents the history of the series and critically examines the presentation, style and language of the music. The results of qualitative research on the meanings that listeners assign to the music – based on questionnaires and focus group interviews with American members of the show’s audience – are presented. This case study is framed within existing debates about the relationships between popular music, national identity, cultural representation, and state-supported music export. Data from interviews with the founder of the show and the cultural ambassador of Germany in San Francisco are analysed to clarify the goals of and assumptions behind the radio series.

7

Tornero, Paz. "Relationships between Art, Science and Epistemology: The Earth as a Laboratory and the “Intruder Artist”." Leonardo 51, no.2 (April 2018): 191–92. http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/leon_a_01538.

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This article is a brief review on the contemporary artistic epistemology and its use of the transdisciplinary practices as a form of developing artwork. The main objective is to analyze the artist’s interest and creativity on scientific issues and their peculiar view on new scientific and ecological paradigms to generate new knowledge, critical thinking, creative processes or new innovations. The author also explains his experience as researcher in the Institute of Microbiology at San Francisco University of Quito, Ecuador, where perhaps his presence could have been viewed as an “invasion” of the laboratory. For that reason, he uses the expression “intruder artist”—“the scientific spaces” foreign visitor who tries to understand technical considerations on processes and experiments, so they could produce inspiration on new “hybrid” artworks.

8

Mirza, Romana. "Contemporizing Modesty." Fashion Studies 1, no.2 (2019): 1–17. http://dx.doi.org/10.38055/fs010204.

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Contemporary Muslim Fashions, September 22, 2018 – January 6, 2019 was organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, shown in the de Young Museum and curated by Jill D’Alessandro and Laura Camerlengo, both curators at the museum, and consulting curator Reina Lewis, a scholar at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. The aim was to represent contemporary Muslim fashions. To this end, they assembled and exhibited a collection of garments from the most popular fashion designers of the day, chosen from a series of shows at modest fashion weeks around the world. Supplemented by key pieces that have gained traction in the news such as the Burkini™ and Nike®’s sport hijab, this exhibit elevated perceptions and highlighted a global view by showing designs from around the globe, honouring the African-American, Muslim-American, Arab, and South East Asian cultures and aesthetics. Supporting the sartorial narrative was a display of visual and multimedia art from hip hop music videos, film, Instagram feeds, photography, magazine covers, and prints. The multimedia “exhibit within an exhibit” complemented the sartorial narrative by providing a contemporary context for the clothing. It reminded the observer that the exhibit was not merely about fashion history or the evolution of modesty in dress but about a contemporary moment. The relationship between fashion and the body was explored through designs that cover the body and intentionally hide the often objectified and sexualized female figure to reveal a contemporary approach to fashion that is empowering.

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Stetsiuk,R.A. "Saxophone in jazz: aspects of paradigmatics." Problems of Interaction Between Arts, Pedagogy and the Theory and Practice of Education 53, no.53 (November20, 2019): 177–99. http://dx.doi.org/10.34064/khnum1-53.11.

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Objectives, methodology and innovation of the study. The research aim is to identify of specifics of the saxophone “image” in light of esthetical and communicative paradigms of jazz. The paradigmatic approach to the objects of musical composition, including the art of jazz, allows reviewing the most general aspects of its development, including varietal instrumental (in particular, saxophone) stylistics. The appearance and strengthening of the position of saxophone in jazz that took place in the first decades of the 20th century heralded the general flourishing of this type of instrumental art, elevating it to the level of the most in-demand ones in the public music practice. This article puts forward and proves the thesis that the course of evolution of saxophone in jazz – traditional (before bebop) and modern (after it) – has synchronized, in terms of esthetical and communicative features, with the general movement and the changes of its paradigms: from realistic and transitional (conventional-autonomous), in terms by Aleksandr Soloviev (1990) to radical-phenomenal. This study outlines, for the first time, the path of movement of jazz saxophone from collective (ensemble and orchestral) forms toward free improvisation in the spirit of esthetics of the newest free jazz, which does not rule out retrospection of former paradigms realized via the styles of outstanding jazz saxophone players: from Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and Charlie Parker to John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and Sonny Rollins. The results of the study. It was noted that the sound image of saxophone, distinguishable for a paradoxical combination of certain “sweetness” and extremely expression, turned out to be the most consonant with the stylistics of jazz instrumentalism, where a number of aerophones tested by European academic practice, such as trumpet, clarinet, trombone and other, appeared in a fundamentally new light. The sources of saxophone’s penetration into jazz were entertainment dancing genres that were popular both in Europe and in the United States at the turn of the 20th century. The solo practice of saxophone improvisation, typical for jazz, was not used back then. An ensemble featuring several saxophones was used either in dance orchestras or in jazz bands that appeared later (the first example is the sweet-band founded by Arthur Hickman in San Francisco in 1914). The ensemble practice helped bring saxophone to the leading positions in solo instrumental jazz concerting. The first virtuoso jazz saxophone players were representatives of Chicago school of the 1920s: Lawrence “Bud” Freeman, Sidney Bechet, Benny Carter, Joe Poston, Don Redman, Jimmy Strong and Frankie Trumbauer. Decades later, saxophone improvisations in swing style became an unalienable component of swing choruses, an example of which is the works by such outstanding musicians as Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young who prepared the ground for bebop with its free improvisations of original tunes (an example is the works by Charlie Parker). The article notes that the taking of front stage by an improvising saxophone player in esthetical and communicative aspect was reflected in the formation of a sort of object paradigms (according to A. Soloviev), the first among which were “realistic” ones based on the syncretism (inseparable unity) of musicians and listeners. The “interchangeability” principle applied there, when any participant of communication was poly-functional in terms of the ruling function (the examples include saxophone sweet bands of the 1920s, communicatively related to blues). The conventional-autonomous paradigmatics in saxophone jazz art began developing in the bebop era, which saw the appearance of a clear demarcation line between musicians and the audience. Saxophone improvisations of such musicians as Charlie Parker and his followers heralded formation of the saxophone concert style, which in many aspects is close to academic practice. “Phenomenologization” of saxophone jazz performance became a direct continuation of “autonomization”, walking off via the complete freedom from any stylistic norms (an example is the works and esthetics by Ornette Coleman with his “no any wave” principle). In these conditions, the esthetics of the complete “freedom from…” were joined by the radical demand for “otherness”, i.e. the quality of a unique order when a jazz musician shows something new, something that “never existed” before in almost every improvisation. However, as we know, anything “new” most often means well-forgotten “old”, which is reflected in saxophone jazz stylistics via the combination of the “free” and “fusion” principles. Jazz, including its saxophone version, went quite a long way of development, and along this way, its paradigms were not historical “milestones” per se, but rather logical principles potentially preserved in the memory of jazzmen who think in the language of their art. There is another important point: continuous struggle that took place (and which still takes place) between elite and mass culture, concerning the language of this art in which one can expect the appearance of the most diverse elements, from the improvisation techniques created by the traditional folk cultures towards the academic avant-garde esthetics and writing techniques marked as collage and polystylistics. Such a “splitting” in saxophone jazz stylistics allows to identify a whole complex of means and techniques mirroring esthetical-communicative paradigms of jazz in their separate and interrelated combination: 1) the “free” principle that has appeared within the framework of jazz “realism”; 2) the idea of dramatization typical for “conventions”; 3) the category of “freedom from…” denying previous paradigms but at the same time having direction toward genetic origins. Conclusions. The saxophone in jazz has gone through a rather complicated path of formation, but has retained the status of one of the “title” instruments symbolizing this art. Like jazz in general, its saxophone “branch” developed in line with a kind of aesthetic “splitting”, in which the instrument was thought as belonging to pop culture (pop jazz), then used as part of an elitist style close to academic avant-garde (free jazz). The path of the saxophone in jazz is traced in connection with aesthetically communicative paradigms, in the context of which the attitude to this instrument was formed among the jazzmen themselves and the public. In the early stages (“realistic” paradigms), the “pop” role of the saxophone was cultivated; then there was “autonomy”, the main feature of which was the selection of virtuoso soloists; under the latest phenomenological paradigms, saxophone art is divided into various stylistic movements, from folk and funk trends to complete freedom from any style standards in individual solo improvisations. The prospects for further research of this theme are seen in the study of individual styles and patterns of jazz saxophone improvisation, both “schoolish” (the paradigm of a particular school of saxophone playing) and “personal” (the work of leading jazz saxophonists). The stylistic approach will make it possible to single out and correlate the “general” and “individual” in the sound image of this instrument, which has become one of the personifications of modern music.

10

Brown,AndrewR. "Code Jamming." M/C Journal 9, no.6 (December1, 2006). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2681.

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Jamming culture has become associated with digital manipulation and reuse of materials. As well, the term jamming has long been used by musicians (and other performers) to mean improvisation, especially in collaborative situations. A practice that gets to the heart of both these meanings is live coding; where digital content (music and/or visuals predominantly) is created through computer programming as a performance. During live coding performances digital content is created and presented in real time. Normally the code from the performers screen is displayed via data projection so that the audience can see the unfolding process as well as see or hear the artistic outcome. This article will focus on live coding of music, but the issues it raises for jamming culture apply to other mediums also. Live coding of music uses the computer as an instrument, which is “played” by the direct construction and manipulation of sonic and musical processes. Gestural control involves typing at the computer keyboard but, unlike traditional “keyboard” instruments, these key gestures are usually indirect in their effect on the sonic result because they result in programming language text which is then interpreted by the computer. Some live coding performers, notably Amy Alexander, have played on the duality of the keyboard as direct and indirect input source by using it as both a text entry device, audio trigger, and performance prop. In most cases, keyboard typing produces notational description during live coding performances as an indirect music making, related to what may previously have been called composing or conducting; where sound generation is controlled rather than triggered. The computer system becomes performer and the degree of interpretive autonomy allocated to the computer can vary widely, but is typically limited to probabilistic choices, structural processes and use of pre-established sound generators. In live coding practices, the code is a medium of expression through which creative ideas are articulated. The code acts as a notational representation of computational processes. It not only leads to the sonic outcome but also is available for reflection, reuse and modification. The aspects of music described by the code are open to some variation, especially in relation to choices about music or sonic granularity. This granularity continuum ranges from a focus on sound synthesis at one end of the scale to the structural organisation of musical events or sections at the other end. Regardless of the level of content granularity being controlled, when jamming with code the time constraints of the live performance environment force the performer to develop succinct and parsimonious expressions and to create processes that sustain activity (often using repetition, iteration and evolution) in order to maintain a coherent and developing musical structure during the performance. As a result, live coding requires not only new performance skills but also new ways of describing the structures of and processes that create music. Jamming activities are additionally complex when they are collaborative. Live Coding performances can often be collaborative, either between several musicians and/or between music and visual live coders. Issues that arise in collaborative settings are both creative and technical. When collaborating between performers in the same output medium (e.g., two musicians) the roles of each performer need to be defined. When a pianist and a vocalist improvise the harmonic and melodic roles are relatively obvious, but two laptop performers are more like a guitar duo where each can take any lead, supportive, rhythmic, harmonic, melodic, textual or other function. Prior organisation and sensitivity to the needs of the unfolding performance are required, as they have always been in musical improvisations. At the technical level it may be necessary for computers to be networked so that timing information, at least, is shared. Various network protocols, most commonly Open Sound Control (OSC), are used for this purpose. Another collaboration takes place in live coding, the one between the performer and the computer; especially where the computational processes are generative (as is often the case). This real-time interaction between musician and algorithmic process has been termed Hyperimprovisation by Roger Dean. Jamming cultures that focus on remixing often value the sharing of resources, especially through the movement and treatment of content artefacts such as audio samples and digital images. In live coding circles there is a similarly strong culture of resource sharing, but live coders are mostly concerned with sharing techniques, processes and tools. In recognition of this, it is quite common that when distributing works live coding artists will include descriptions of the processes used to create work and even share the code. This practice is also common in the broader computational arts community, as evident in the sharing of flash code on sites such as Levitated by Jared Tarbell, in the Processing site (Reas & Fry), or in publications such as Flash Maths Creativity (Peters et al.). Also underscoring this culture of sharing, is a prioritising of reputation above (or prior to) profit. As a result of these social factors most live coding tools are freely distributed. Live Coding tools have become more common in the past few years. There are a number of personalised systems that utilise various different programming languages and environments. Some of the more polished programs, that can be used widely, include SuperCollider (McCartney), Chuck (Wang & Cook) and Impromptu (Sorensen). While these environments all use different languages and varying ways of dealing with sound structure granularity, they do share some common aspects that reveal the priorities and requirements of live coding. Firstly, they are dynamic environments where the musical/sonic processes are not interrupted by modifications to the code; changes can be made on the fly and code is modifiable at runtime. Secondly, they are text-based and quite general programming environments, which means that the full leverage of abstract coding structures can be applied during live coding performances. Thirdly, they all prioritise time, both at architectural and syntactic levels. They are designed for real-time performance where events need to occur reliably. The text-based nature of these tools means that using them in live performance is barely distinguishable from any other computer task, such as writing an email, and thus the practice of projecting the environment to reveal the live process has become standard in the live coding community as a way of communicating with an audience (Collins). It is interesting to reflect on how audiences respond to the projection of code as part of live coding performances. In the author’s experience as both an audience member and live coding performer, the reception has varied widely. Most people seem to find it curious and comforting. Even if they cannot follow the code, they understand or are reassured that the performance is being generated by the code. Those who understand the code often report a sense of increased anticipation as they see structures emerge, and sometimes opportunities missed. Some people dislike the projection of the code, and see it as a distasteful display of virtuosity or as a distraction to their listening experience. The live coding practitioners tend to see the projection of code as a way of revealing the underlying generative and gestural nature of their performance. For some, such as Julian Rohrhuber, code projection is a way of revealing ideas and their development during the performance. “The incremental process of livecoding really is what makes it an act of public reasoning” (Rohrhuber). For both audience and performer, live coding is an explicitly risky venture and this element of public risk taking has long been central to the appreciation of the performing arts (not to mention sport and other cultural activities). The place of live coding in the broader cultural setting is still being established. It certainly is a form of jamming, or improvisation, it also involves the generation of digital content and the remixing of cultural ideas and materials. In some ways it is also connected to instrument building. Live coding practices prioritise process and therefore have a link with conceptual visual art and serial music composition movements from the 20th century. Much of the music produced by live coding has aesthetic links, naturally enough, to electronic music genres including musique concrète, electronic dance music, glitch music, noise art and minimalism. A grouping that is not overly coherent besides a shared concern for processes and systems. Live coding is receiving greater popular and academic attention as evident in recent articles in Wired (Andrews), ABC Online (Martin) and media culture blogs including The Teeming Void (Whitelaw 2006). Whatever its future profile in the boarder cultural sector the live coding community continues to grow and flourish amongst enthusiasts. The TOPLAP site is a hub of live coding activities and links prominent practitioners including, Alex McLean, Nick Collins, Adrian Ward, Julian Rohrhuber, Amy Alexander, Frederick Olofsson, Ge Wang, and Andrew Sorensen. These people and many others are exploring live coding as a form of jamming in digital media and as a way of creating new cultural practices and works. References Andrews, R. “Real DJs Code Live.” Wired: Technology News 6 July 2006. http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,71248-0.html>. Collins, N. “Generative Music and Laptop Performance.” Contemporary Music Review 22.4 (2004): 67-79. Fry, Ben, and Casey Reas. Processing. http://processing.org/>. Martin, R. “The Sound of Invention.” Catapult. ABC Online 2006. http://www.abc.net.au/catapult/indepth/s1725739.htm>. McCartney, J. “SuperCollider: A New Real-Time Sound Synthesis Language.” The International Computer Music Conference. San Francisco: International Computer Music Association, 1996. 257-258. Peters, K., M. Tan, and M. Jamie. Flash Math Creativity. Berkeley, CA: Friends of ED, 2004. Reas, Casey, and Ben Fry. “Processing: A Learning Environment for Creating Interactive Web Graphics.” International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques. San Diego: ACM SIGGRAPH, 2003. 1. Rohrhuber, J. Post to a Live Coding email list. livecode@slab.org. 10 Sep. 2006. Sorensen, A. “Impromptu: An Interactive Programming Environment for Composition and Performance.” In Proceedings of the Australasian Computer Music Conference 2005. Eds. A. R. Brown and T. Opie. Brisbane: ACMA, 2005. 149-153. Tarbell, Jared. Levitated. http://www.levitated.net/daily/index.html>. TOPLAP. http://toplap.org/>. Wang, G., and P.R. Cook. “ChucK: A Concurrent, On-the-fly, Audio Programming Language.” International Computer Music Conference. ICMA, 2003. 219-226 Whitelaw, M. “Data, Code & Performance.” The Teeming Void 21 Sep. 2006. http://teemingvoid.blogspot.com/2006/09/data-code-performance.html>. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Brown, Andrew R. "Code Jamming." M/C Journal 9.6 (2006). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0612/03-brown.php>. APA Style Brown, A. (Dec. 2006) "Code Jamming," M/C Journal, 9(6). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0612/03-brown.php>.

11

Collins, Steve. "Amen to That." M/C Journal 10, no.2 (May1, 2007). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2638.

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In 1956, John Cage predicted that “in the future, records will be made from records” (Duffel, 202). Certainly, musical creativity has always involved a certain amount of appropriation and adaptation of previous works. For example, Vivaldi appropriated and adapted the “Cum sancto spiritu” fugue of Ruggieri’s Gloria (Burnett, 4; Forbes, 261). If stuck for a guitar solo on stage, Keith Richards admits that he’ll adapt Buddy Holly for his own purposes (Street, 135). Similarly, Nirvana adapted the opening riff from Killing Jokes’ “Eighties” for their song “Come as You Are”. Musical “quotation” is actively encouraged in jazz, and contemporary hip-hop would not exist if the genre’s pioneers and progenitors had not plundered and adapted existing recorded music. Sampling technologies, however, have taken musical adaptation a step further and realised Cage’s prediction. Hardware and software samplers have developed to the stage where any piece of audio can be appropriated and adapted to suit the creative impulses of the sampling musician (or samplist). The practice of sampling challenges established notions of creativity, with whole albums created with no original musical input as most would understand it—literally “records made from records.” Sample-based music is premised on adapting audio plundered from the cultural environment. This paper explores the ways in which technology is used to adapt previous recordings into new ones, and how musicians themselves have adapted to the potentials of digital technology for exploring alternative approaches to musical creativity. Sampling is frequently defined as “the process of converting an analog signal to a digital format.” While this definition remains true, it does not acknowledge the prevalence of digital media. The “analogue to digital” method of sampling requires a microphone or instrument to be recorded directly into a sampler. Digital media, however, simplifies the process. For example, a samplist can download a video from YouTube and rip the audio track for editing, slicing, and manipulation, all using software within the noiseless digital environment of the computer. Perhaps it is more prudent to describe sampling simply as the process of capturing sound. Regardless of the process, once a sound is loaded into a sampler (hardware or software) it can be replayed using a MIDI keyboard, trigger pad or sequencer. Use of the sampled sound, however, need not be a faithful rendition or clone of the original. At the most basic level of manipulation, the duration and pitch of sounds can be altered. The digital processes that are implemented into the Roland VariOS Phrase Sampler allow samplists to eliminate the pitch or melodic quality of a sampled phrase. The phrase can then be melodically redefined as the samplist sees fit: adapted to a new tempo, key signature, and context or genre. Similarly, software such as Propellerhead’s ReCycle slices drum beats into individual hits for use with a loop sampler such as Reason’s Dr Rex module. Once loaded into Dr Rex, the individual original drum sounds can be used to program a new beat divorced from the syncopation of the original drum beat. Further, the individual slices can be subjected to pitch, envelope (a component that shapes the volume of the sound over time) and filter (a component that emphasises and suppresses certain frequencies) control, thus an existing drum beat can easily be adapted to play a new rhythm at any tempo. For example, this rhythm was created from slicing up and rearranging Clyde Stubblefield’s classic break from James Brown’s “Funky Drummer”. Sonic adaptation of digital information is not necessarily confined to the auditory realm. An audio editor such as Sony’s Sound Forge is able to open any file format as raw audio. For example, a Word document or a Flash file could be opened with the data interpreted as audio. Admittedly, the majority of results obtained are harsh white noise, but there is scope for serendipitous anomalies such as a glitchy beat that can be extracted and further manipulated by audio software. Audiopaint is an additive synthesis application created by Nicolas Fournel for converting digital images into audio. Each pixel position and colour is translated into information designating frequency (pitch), amplitude (volume) and pan position in the stereo image. The user can determine which one of the three RGB channels corresponds to either of the stereo channels. Further, the oscillator for the wave form can be either the default sine wave or an existing audio file such as a drum loop can be used. The oscillator shapes the end result, responding to the dynamics of the sine wave or the audio file. Although Audiopaint labours under the same caveat as with the use of raw audio, the software can produce some interesting results. Both approaches to sound generation present results that challenge distinctions between “musical sound” and “noise”. Sampling is also a cultural practice, a relatively recent form of adaptation extending out of a time honoured creative aesthetic that borrows, quotes and appropriates from existing works to create new ones. Different fields of production, as well as different commentators, variously use terms such as “co-creative media”, “cumulative authorship”, and “derivative works” with regard to creations that to one extent or another utilise existing works in the production of new ones (Coombe; Morris; Woodmansee). The extent of the sampling may range from subtle influence to dominating significance within the new work, but the constant principle remains: an existing work is appropriated and adapted to fit the needs of the secondary creator. Proponents of what may be broadly referred to as the “free culture” movement argue that creativity and innovation inherently relies on the appropriation and adaptation of existing works (for example, see Lessig, Future of Ideas; Lessig, Free Culture; McLeod, Freedom of Expression; Vaidhyanathan). For example, Gwen Stefani’s 2004 release “Rich Girl” is based on Louchie Lou and Michie One’s 1994 single of the same title. Lou and One’s “Rich Girl”, in turn, is a reggae dance hall adaptation of “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof. Stefani’s “na na na” vocal riff shares the same melody as the “Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum” riff from Fiddler on the Roof. Samantha Mumba adapted David Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes” for her second single “Body II Body”. Similarly, Richard X adapted Tubeway Army’s “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ and Adina Howard’s “Freak Like Me” for a career saving single for Sugababes. Digital technologies enable and even promote the adaptation of existing works (Morris). The ease of appropriating and manipulating digital audio files has given rise to a form of music known variously as mash-up, bootleg, or bastard pop. Mash-ups are the most recent stage in a history of musical appropriation and they epitomise the sampling aesthetic. Typically produced in bedroom computer-based studios, mash-up artists use software such as Acid or Cool Edit Pro to cut up digital music files and reassemble the fragments to create new songs, arbitrarily adding self-composed parts if desired. Comprised almost exclusively from sections of captured music, mash-ups have been referred to as “fictional pop music” because they conjure up scenarios where, for example, Destiny’s Child jams in a Seattle garage with Nirvana or the Spice Girls perform with Nine Inch Nails (Petridis). Once the initial humour of the novelty has passed, the results can be deeply alluring. Mash-ups extract the distinctive characteristics of songs and place them in new, innovative contexts. As Dale Lawrence writes: “the vocals are often taken from largely reviled or ignored sources—cornball acts like Aguilera or Destiny’s Child—and recast in wildly unlikely contexts … where against all odds, they actually work”. Similarly, Crawford argues that “part of the art is to combine the greatest possible aesthetic dissonance with the maximum musical harmony. The pleasure for listeners is in discovering unlikely artistic complementarities and revisiting their musical memories in mutated forms” (36). Sometimes the adaptation works in the favour of the sampled artist: George Clinton claims that because of sampling he is more popular now than in 1976—“the sampling made us big again” (Green). The creative aspect of mash-ups is unlike that usually associated with musical composition and has more in common with DJing. In an effort to further clarify this aspect, we may regard DJ mixes as “mash-ups on the fly.” When Grandmaster Flash recorded his quilt-pop masterpiece, “Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel,” it was recorded while he performed live, demonstrating his precision and skill with turntables. Modern audio editing software facilitates the capture and storage of sound, allowing mash-up artists to manipulate sounds bytes outside of “real-time” and the live performance parameters within which Flash worked. Thus, the creative element is not the traditional arrangement of chords and parts, but rather “audio contexts”. If, as Riley pessimistically suggests, “there are no new chords to be played, there are no new song structures to be developed, there are no new stories to be told, and there are no new themes to explore,” then perhaps it is understandable that artists have searched for new forms of musical creativity. The notes and chords of mash-ups are segments of existing works sequenced together to produce inter-layered contexts rather than purely tonal patterns. The merit of mash-up culture lies in its function of deconstructing the boundaries of genre and providing new musical possibilities. The process of mashing-up genres functions to critique contemporary music culture by “pointing a finger at how stifled and obvious the current musical landscape has become. … Suddenly rap doesn’t have to be set to predictable funk beats, pop/R&B ballads don’t have to come wrapped in cheese, garage melodies don’t have to recycle the Ramones” (Lawrence). According to Theodor Adorno, the Frankfurt School critic, popular music (of his time) was irretrievably simplistic and constructed from easily interchangeable, modular components (McLeod, “Confessions”, 86). A standardised and repetitive approach to musical composition fosters a mode of consumption dubbed by Adorno “quotation listening” and characterised by passive acceptance of, and obsession with, a song’s riffs (44-5). As noted by Em McAvan, Adorno’s analysis elevates the producer over the consumer, portraying a culture industry controlling a passive audience through standardised products (McAvan). The characteristics that Adorno observed in the popular music of his time are classic traits of contemporary popular music. Mash-up artists, however, are not representative of Adorno’s producers for a passive audience, instead opting to wrest creative control from composers and the recording industry and adapt existing songs in pursuit of their own creative impulses. Although mash-up productions may consciously or unconsciously criticise the current state of popular music, they necessarily exist in creative symbiosis with the commercial genres: “if pop songs weren’t simple and formulaic, it would be much harder for mashup bedroom auteurs to do their job” (McLeod, “Confessions”, 86). Arguably, when creating mash-ups, some individuals are expressing their dissatisfaction with the stagnation of the pop industry and are instead working to create music that they as consumers wish to hear. Sample-based music—as an exercise in adaptation—encourages a Foucauldian questioning of the composer’s authority over their musical texts. Recorded music is typically a passive medium in which the consumer receives the music in its original, unaltered form. DJ Dangermouse (Brian Burton) breached this pact to create his Grey Album, which is a mash-up of an a cappella version of Jay-Z’s Black Album and the Beatles’ eponymous album (also known as the White Album). Dangermouse says that “every kick, snare, and chord is taken from the Beatles White Album and is in their original recording somewhere.” In deconstructing the Beatles’ songs, Dangermouse turned the recordings into a palette for creating his own new work, adapting audio fragments to suit his creative impulses. As Joanna Demers writes, “refashioning these sounds and reorganising them into new sonic phrases and sentences, he creates acoustic mosaics that in most instances are still traceable to the Beatles source, yet are unmistakeably distinct from it” (139-40). Dangermouse’s approach is symptomatic of what Schütze refers to as remix culture: an open challenge to a culture predicated on exclusive ownership, authorship, and controlled distribution … . Against ownership it upholds an ethic of creative borrowing and sharing. Against the original it holds out an open process of recombination and creative transformation. It equally calls into question the categories, rifts and borders between high and low cultures, pop and elitist art practices, as well as blurring lines between artistic disciplines. Using just a laptop, an audio editor and a calculator, Gregg Gillis, a.k.a. Girl Talk, created the Night Ripper album using samples from 167 artists (Dombale). Although all the songs on Night Ripper are blatantly sampled-based, Gillis sees his creations as “original things” (Dombale). The adaptation of sampled fragments culled from the Top 40 is part of Gillis’ creative process: “It’s not about who created this source originally, it’s about recontextualising—creating new music. … I’ve always tried to make my own songs” (Dombale). Gillis states that his music has no political message, but is a reflection of his enthusiasm for pop music: “It’s a celebration of everything Top 40, that’s the point” (Dombale). Gillis’ “celebratory” exercises in creativity echo those of various fan-fiction authors who celebrate the characters and worlds that constitute popular culture. Adaptation through sampling is not always centred solely on music. Sydney-based Tom Compagnoni, a.k.a. Wax Audio, adapted a variety of sound bytes from politicians and media personalities including George W. Bush, Alexander Downer, Alan Jones, Ray Hadley, and John Howard in the creation of his Mediacracy E.P.. In one particular instance, Compagnoni used a myriad of samples culled from various media appearances by George W. Bush to recreate the vocals for John Lennon’s Imagine. Created in early 2005, the track, which features speeded-up instrumental samples from a karaoke version of Lennon’s original, is an immediate irony fuelled comment on the invasion of Iraq. The rationale underpinning the song is further emphasised when “Imagine This” reprises into “Let’s Give Peace a Chance” interspersed with short vocal fragments of “Come Together”. Compagnoni justifies his adaptations by presenting appropriated media sound bytes that deliberately set out to demonstrate the way information is manipulated to present any particular point of view. Playing the media like an instrument, Wax Audio juxtaposes found sounds in a way that forces the listener to confront the bias, contradiction and sensationalism inherent in their daily intake of media information. … Oh yeah—and it’s bloody funny hearing George W Bush sing “Imagine”. Notwithstanding the humorous quality of the songs, Mediacracy represents a creative outlet for Compagnoni’s political opinions that is emphasised by the adaptation of Lennon’s song. Through his adaptation, Compagnoni revitalises Lennon’s sentiments about the Vietnam War and superimposes them onto the US policy on Iraq. An interesting aspect of sampled-based music is the re-occurrence of particular samples across various productions, which demonstrates that the same fragment can be adapted for a plethora of musical contexts. For example, Clyde Stubblefield’s “Funky Drummer” break is reputed to be the most sampled break in the world. The break from 1960s soul/funk band the Winstons’ “Amen Brother” (the B-side to their 1969 release “Color Him Father”), however, is another candidate for the title of “most sampled break”. The “Amen break” was revived with the advent of the sampler. Having featured heavily in early hip-hop records such as “Words of Wisdom” by Third Base and “Straight Out of Compton” by NWA, the break “appears quite adaptable to a range of music genres and tastes” (Harrison, 9m 46s). Beginning in the early 1990s, adaptations of this break became a constant of jungle music as sampling technology developed to facilitate more complex operations (Harrison, 5m 52s). The break features on Shy FX’s “Original Nutta”, L Double & Younghead’s “New Style”, Squarepusher’s “Big Acid”, and a cover version of Led Zepplin’s “Whole Lotta Love” by Jane’s Addiction front man Perry Farrell. This is to name but a few tracks that have adapted the break. Wikipedia offers a list of songs employing an adaptation of the “Amen break”. This list, however, falls short of the “hundreds of tracks” argued for by Nate Harrison, who notes that “an entire subculture based on this one drum loop … six seconds from 1969” has developed (8m 45s). The “Amen break” is so ubiquitous that, much like the twelve bar blues structure, it has become a foundational element of an entire genre and has been adapted to satisfy a plethora of creative impulses. The sheer prevalence of the “Amen break” simultaneously illustrates the creative nature of music adaptation as well as the potentials for adaptation stemming from digital technology such as the sampler. The cut-up and rearrangement aspect of creative sampling technology at once suggests the original but also something new and different. Sampling in general, and the phenomenon of the “Amen break” in particular, ensures the longevity of the original sources; sampled-based music exhibits characteristics acquired from the source materials, yet the illegitimate offspring are not their parents. Sampling as a technology for creatively adapting existing forms of audio has encouraged alternative approaches to musical composition. Further, it has given rise to a new breed of musician that has adapted to technologies of adaptation. Mash-up artists and samplists demonstrate that recorded music is not simply a fixed or read-only product but one that can be freed from the composer’s original arrangement to be adapted and reconfigured. Many mash-up artists such as Gregg Gillis are not trained musicians, but their ears are honed from enthusiastic consumption of music. Individuals such as DJ Dangermouse, Gregg Gillis and Tom Compagnoni appropriate, reshape and re-present the surrounding soundscape to suit diverse creative urges, thereby adapting the passive medium of recorded sound into an active production tool. References Adorno, Theodor. “On the Fetish Character in Music and the Regression of Listening.” The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture. Ed. J. Bernstein. London, New York: Routledge, 1991. Burnett, Henry. “Ruggieri and Vivaldi: Two Venetian Gloria Settings.” American Choral Review 30 (1988): 3. Compagnoni, Tom. “Wax Audio: Mediacracy.” Wax Audio. 2005. 2 Apr. 2007 http://www.waxaudio.com.au/downloads/mediacracy>. Coombe, Rosemary. The Cultural Life of Intellectual Properties. Durham, London: Duke University Press, 1998. Demers, Joanna. Steal This Music: How Intellectual Property Law Affects Musical Creativity. Athens, London: University of Georgia Press, 2006. Dombale, Ryan. “Interview: Girl Talk.” Pitchfork. 2006. 9 Jan. 2007 http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/feature/37785/Interview_Interview_Girl_Talk>. Duffel, Daniel. Making Music with Samples. San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 2005. Forbes, Anne-Marie. “A Venetian Festal Gloria: Antonio Lotti’s Gloria in D Major.” Music Research: New Directions for a New Century. Eds. M. Ewans, R. Halton, and J. Phillips. London: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2004. Green, Robert. “George Clinton: Ambassador from the Mothership.” Synthesis. Undated. 15 Sep. 2005 http://www.synthesis.net/music/story.php?type=story&id=70>. Harrison, Nate. “Can I Get an Amen?” Nate Harrison. 2004. 8 Jan. 2007 http://www.nkhstudio.com>. Lawrence, Dale. “On Mashups.” Nuvo. 2002. 8 Jan. 2007 http://www.nuvo.net/articles/article_292/>. Lessig, Lawrence. The Future of Ideas. New York: Random House, 2001. ———. Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. New York: The Penguin Press, 2004. McAvan, Em. “Boulevard of Broken Songs: Mash-Ups as Textual Re-Appropriation of Popular Music Culture.” M/C Journal 9.6 (2006) 3 Apr. 2007 http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0612/02-mcavan.php>. McLeod, Kembrew. “Confessions of an Intellectual (Property): Danger Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Sonny Bono, and My Long and Winding Path as a Copyright Activist-Academic.” Popular Music & Society 28.79. ———. Freedom of Expression: Overzealous Copyright Bozos and Other Enemies of Creativity. United States: Doubleday Books. Morris, Sue. “Co-Creative Media: Online Multiplayer Computer Game Culture.” Scan 1.1 (2004). 8 Jan. 2007 http://scan.net.au/scan/journal/display_article.php?recordID=16>. Petridis, Alexis. “Pop Will Eat Itself.” The Guardian UK. March 2003. 8 Jan. 2007 http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/critic/feature/0,1169,922797,00.html>. Riley. “Pop Will Eat Itself—Or Will It?”. The Truth Unknown (archived at Archive.org). 2003. 9 Jan. 2007 http://web.archive.org/web/20030624154252 /www.thetruthunknown.com/viewnews.asp?articleid=79>. Schütze, Bernard. “Samples from the Heap: Notes on Recycling the Detritus of a Remixed Culture”. Horizon Zero 2003. 8 Jan. 2007 http://www.horizonzero.ca/textsite/remix.php?tlang=0&is=8&file=5>. Vaidhyanathan, Siva. Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity. New York, London: New York University Press, 2003. Woodmansee, Martha. “On the Author Effect: Recovering Collectivity.” The Construction of Authorship: Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature. Eds. M. Woodmansee, P. Jaszi and P. Durham; London: Duke University Press, 1994. 15. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Collins, Steve. "Amen to That: Sampling and Adapting the Past." M/C Journal 10.2 (2007). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0705/09-collins.php>. APA Style Collins, S. (May 2007) "Amen to That: Sampling and Adapting the Past," M/C Journal, 10(2). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0705/09-collins.php>.

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Marino, Gabriele. "The Form of Life of Sanctity in Music Beyond Hagiography: The Case of John Coltrane and His “Ascension”." International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue internationale de Sémiotique juridique, February16, 2021. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11196-021-09829-7.

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AbstractThe paper investigates the cultural unit of “sanctity” in the light of the notion of “form of life”, in order to show how jazz master John Coltrane (1926–1967) pursued sanctity as a regulative model with regards both to personhood and musicianship, so as to translate his existential quest into music. Firstly, the paper briefly summarizes: what we mean today by sanctity (focusing on Catholicism and distinguishing between a traditional view and a contemporary, post-Conciliar one); what are the relationships interweaving music and sanctity (the latter mainly providing the former with imagery and narrative—e.g. hagiographic—model); what we mean by form of life—a notion (Lebensform) brought into philosophical discourse by Ludwig Wittgenstein—in semiotic terms (Jacques Fontanille) and why we can apply it to sanctity. Afterwards, the paper addresses Coltrane’s musical career, relying both on hagiographic discourse built around him (e.g. John Scheinfeld’s documentary Chasing Trane, 2016) and his discography, with special focus on three game-changers among his albums: Giant Steps (1960), A Love Supreme (1965), and Ascension (1967, published posthumously). Coltrane headed a twofold conversion: he abandoned his native Methodist faith to embrace a personal form of syncretic pantheism; he abandoned the language of traditional jazz to embrace the avant-garde technique of modal composition (in the line of George Russell, Bill Evans, Miles Davis) and the once despised free jazz (Ornette Coleman). Not only Coltrane wanted to be a saint, not only was he regarded as such to the extent that a “St. John William Coltrane Church” was established in San Francisco (by 1969, with official recognition in 1982), but he tried to be one through music; namely, by conveying his spiritual journey via sonic means: proposing a musical catechism (Giant Steps), a musical mass (A Love Supreme), and his own mystique (Ascension). Consistently with the process of selection any saintly figure—and mystiques especially—undergoes in order to be canonized stricto sensu, only some tokens within Coltrane’s body of work were included in the canon (both of the musical and religious kind), while his later works were left out due to their radicalism.

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Wilken, Rowan. "Walkie-Talkies, Wandering, and Sonic Intimacy." M/C Journal 22, no.4 (August14, 2019). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1581.

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IntroductionThis short article examines contemporary artistic use of walkie-talkies across two projects: Saturday (2002) by Sabrina Raaf and Walk That Sound (2014) by Lukatoyboy. Drawing on Dominic Pettman’s notion of sonic intimacy, I argue that both artists incorporate walkie-talkies as part of their explorations of mediated wandering, and in ways that seek to capture sonic ambiances and intimacies. One thing that is striking about both these works is that they rethink what’s possible with walkie-talkies; both artists use them not just as low-tech, portable devices for one-to-one communication over distance, but also—and more strikingly—as (covert) recording equipment for capturing, while wandering, snippets of intimate conversation between passers-by and the “voice” of the surrounding environment. Both artworks strive to make the familiar strange. They prompt us to question our preconceived perceptions of, and affective engagements with, the people and places around us, to listen more attentively to the voices of others (and the “Other”), and to aurally inhabit in new ways the spaces and places we find ourselves in and routinely pass through.The walkie-talkie is an established, simple communication device, consisting of a two-way radio transceiver with a speaker and microphone (in some cases, the speaker is also used as the microphone) and an antenna (Wikipedia). Walkie-talkies are half-duplex communication devices, meaning that they use a single radio channel: only one radio on the channel can transmit at a time, but many can listen; when a user wishes to talk, they must turn off the receiver and turn on the transmitter by pressing a push-to-talk button (Wikipedia). In some models, static—known as squelch—is produced each time the push-to-talk button is depressed. The push-to-talk button is a feature of both projects: in Saturday, it transforms the walkie-talkie into a cheap, portable recorder-transmitter. In Walk That Sound, rapid fire exchanges of conversation using the push-to-talk button feature strongly.Interestingly, walkie-talkies were developed during World War Two. While they continue to be used within certain industrial settings, they are perhaps best known as a “quaint” household toy and “fun tool” (Smith). Early print ads for walkie-talkie toys marketed them as a form of both spyware for kids (with the Gabriel Toy Co. releasing a 007-themed walkie-talkie set) and as a teletechnology for communication over distance—“how thrilling to ‘speak through space!’”, states one ad (Statuv “New!”). What is noteworthy about these early ads is that they actively promote experimental use of walkie-talkies. For instance, a 1953 ad for Vibro-Matic “Space Commander” walkie-talkies casts them as media transmission devices, suggesting that, with them, one can send and receive “voice – songs – music” (Statuv “New!”). In addition, a 1962 ad for the Knight-Kit walkie-talkie imagines “you’ll find new uses for this exciting walkie-talkie every day” (Statuv “Details”). Resurgent interest in walkie-talkies has seen them also promoted more recently as intimate tools “for communication without asking permission to communicate” (“Nextel”); this is to say that they have been marketed as devices for synchronous or immediate communication that overcome the limits of asynchronous communication, such as texting, where there might be substantial delays between the sending of a message and receipt of a response. Within this context, it is not surprising that Snapchat and Instagram have also since added “walkie-talkie” features to their messaging services. The Nextel byline, emphasising “without asking permission”, also speaks to the possibilities of using walkie-talkies as rudimentary forms of spyware.Within art practice that explores mediated forms of wandering—that is, walking while using media and various “remote transmission technologies” (Duclos 233)—walkie-talkies hold appeal for a number of reasons, including their particular aesthetic qualities, such as the crackling or static sound (squelch) that one encounters when using them; their portability; their affordability; and, the fact that, while they can be operated on multiple channels, they tend to be regarded primarily as devices that permit two-way, one-to-one (and therefore intimate, if not secure) remote communication. As we will see below, however, contemporary artists, such as the aforementioned earlier advertisers, have also been very attentive to the device’s experimental possibilities. Perhaps the best known (if possibly apocryphal) example of artistic use of walkie-talkies is by the Situationist International as part of their explorations in urban wandering (a revolutionary strategy called dérive). In the Situationist text from 1960, Die Welt als Labyrinth (Anon.), there is a detailed account of how walkie-talkies were to form part of a planned dérive, which was organised by the Dutch section of the Situationist International, through the city of Amsterdam, but which never went ahead:Two groups, each containing three situationists, would dérive for three days, on foot or eventually by boat (sleeping in hotels along the way) without leaving the center of Amsterdam. By means of the walkie-talkies with which they would be equipped, these groups would remain in contact, with each other, if possible, and in any case with the radio-truck of the cartographic team, from where the director of the dérive—in this case Constant [Nieuwenhuys]—moving around so as to maintain contact, would define their routes and sometimes give instructions (it was also the director of the dérive’s responsibility to prepare experiments at certain locations and secretly arranged events.) (Anon.) This proposed dérive formed part of Situationist experiments in unitary urbanism, a process that consisted of “making different parts of the city communicate with one another.” Their ambition was to create new situations informed by, among other things, encounters and atmospheres that were registered through dérive in order to reconnect parts of the city that were separated spatially (Lefebvre quoted in Lefebvre and Ross 73). In an interview with Kristin Ross, Henri Lefebvre insists that the Situationists “did have their experiments; I didn’t participate. They used all kinds of means of communication—I don’t know when exactly they were using walkie-talkies. But I know they were used in Amsterdam and in Strasbourg” (Lefebvre quoted in Lefebvre and Ross 73). However, as Rebecca Duclos points out, such use “is, in fact, not well documented”, and “none of the more well-known reports on situationist activity […] specifically mentions the use of walkie-talkies within their descriptive narratives” (Duclos 233). In the early 2000s, walkie-talkies also figured prominently, alongside other media devices, in at least two location-based gaming projects by renowned British art collective Blast Theory, Can You See Me Now? (2001) and You Get Me (2008). In the first of these projects, participants in the game (“online players”) competed against members of Blast Theory (“runners”), tracking them through city streets via a GPS-enabled handheld computer that runners carried with them. The goal for online players was to move an avatar they created through a virtual map of the city as multiple runners “pursued their avatar’s geographical coordinates in real-time” (Leorke). As Dale Leorke explains, “Players could see the locations of the runners and other players and exchange text messages with other players” (Leorke 27), and runners could “read players’ messages and communicate directly with each other through a walkie-talkie” (28). An audio stream from these walkie-talkie conversations allowed players to eavesdrop on their pursuers (Blast Theory, Can You See Me Now?).You Get Me was similarly structured, with online players and “runners” (eight teenagers who worked with Blast Theory on the game). Remotely situated online players began the game by listening to the “personal geography” of the runners over a walkie-talkie stream (Blast Theory, You Get Me). They then selected one runner, and tracked them down by navigating their own avatar, without being caught, through a virtual version of Mile End Park in London, in pursuit of their chosen runner who was moving about the actual Mile End Park. Once their chosen runner was contacted, the player had to respond to a question that the runner posed to them. If the runner was satisfied with the player’s answer, conversation switched to “the privacy of a mobile phone” in order to converse further; if not, the player was thrown back into the game (Blast Theory, You Get Me). A key aim of Blast Theory’s work, as I have argued elsewhere (Wilken), is the fostering of interactions and fleeting intimacies between relative and complete strangers. The walkie-talkie is a key tool in both the aforementioned Blast Theory projects for facilitating these interactions and intimacies.Beyond these well-known examples, walkie-talkies have been employed in productive and exploratory ways by other artists. The focus in this article is on two specific projects: the first by US-based sound artist Sabrina Raaf, called Saturday (2002) and the second by Serbian sound designer Lukatoyboy (Luka Ivanović), titled Walk That Sound (2014). Sonic IntimaciesThe concept that gives shape and direction to the analysis of the art projects by Raaf and Lukatoyboy and their use of walkie-talkies is that of sonic intimacy. This is a concept of emerging critical interest across media and sound studies and geography (see, for example, James; Pettman; Gallagher and Prior). Sonic intimacy, as Dominic Pettman explains, is composed of two simultaneous yet opposing orientations. On the one hand, sonic intimacy involves a “turning inward, away from the wider world, to more private and personal experiences and relationships” (79). While, on the other hand, it also involves a turning outward, to seek and heed “the voice of the world” (79)—or what Pettman refers to as the “vox mundi” (66). Pettman conceives of the “vox mundi” as an “ecological voice”, whereby “all manner of creatures, agents, entities, objects, and phenomena” (79) have the opportunity to speak to us, if only we were prepared to listen to our surroundings in new and different ways. In a later passage, he also refers to the “vox mundi” as a “carrier or potentially enlightening alterity” (83). Voices, Pettman writes, “transgress the neat divisions we make between ‘us’ and ‘them’, at all scales and junctures” (6). Thus, Pettman’s suggestion is that “by listening to the ‘voices’ that lie dormant in the surrounding world […] we may in turn foster a more sustainable relationship with [the] local matrix of specific existences” (85), be they human or otherwise.This formulation of sonic intimacy provides a productive conceptual frame for thinking through Raaf’s and Lukatoyboy’s use of walkie-talkies. The contention in this article is that these two projects are striking for the way that they both use walkie-talkies to explore, simultaneously, this double articulation or dual orientation of sonic intimacy—a turning inwards to capture more private and personal experiences and conversations, and a turning outwards to capture the vox mundi. Employing Pettman’s notion of sonic intimacy as a conceptual frame, I trace below the different ways that these two projects incorporate walkie-talkies in order to develop mediated forms of wandering that seek to capture place-based sonic ambiances and sonic intimacies.Sabrina Raaf, Saturday (2002)US sound artist Sabrina Raaf’s Saturday (2002) is a sound-based art installation based on recordings of “stolen conversations” that Raaf gathered over many Saturdays in Humboldt Park, Chicago. Raaf’s work harks back to the early marketing of walkie-talkie toys as spyware. In Raaf’s hands, this device is used not for engaging in intimate one-to-one conversation, but for listening in on, and capturing, the intimate conversations of others. In other words, she uses this device, as the Nextel slogan goes, for “communication without permission to communicate” (“Nextel”). Raaf’s inspiration for the piece was twofold. First, she has noted that “with the overuse of radio frequency bands for wireless communications, there comes the increased occurrence of crossed lines where a private conversation becomes accidentally shared” (Raaf). Reminiscent of Francis Ford Coppola’s film The Conversation (1974), in which surveillance expert Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) records the conversation of a couple as they walk through crowded Union Square in San Francisco, Raaf used a combination of walkie-talkies, CB radios, and “various other forms of consumer spy […] technology in order to actively harvest such communication leaks” (Raaf). The second source of inspiration was noticing the “sheer quantity of non-phone, low tech, radio transmissions that were constantly being sent around [the] neighbourhood”, transmissions that were easily intercepted. These conversations were eclectic in composition and character:The transmissions included communications between gang members on street corners nearby and group conversations between friends talking about changes in the neighbourhood and their families. There were raw, intimate conversations and often even late night sex talk between potential lovers. (Raaf)What struck Raaf about these conversations, these transmissions, was that there was “a furtive quality” to most of them, and “a particular daringness to their tone”.During her Saturday wanderings, Raaf complemented her recordings of stolen snippets of conversation with recordings of the “voice” of the surrounding neighbourhood—“the women singing out their windows to their radios, the young men in their low rider cars circling the block, the children, the ice cream carts, etc. These are the sounds that are mixed into the piece” (Raaf).Audience engagement with Saturday involves a kind of austere intimacy of its own that seems befitting of a surveillance-inspired sonic portrait of urban and private life. The piece is accessed via an interactive glove. This glove is white in colour and about the size of a large gardening glove, with a Velcro strap that fastens across the hand, like a cycling glove. The glove, which only has coverings for thumb and first two fingers (it is missing the ring and little fingers) is wired into and rests on top of a roughly A4-sized white rectangular box. This box, which is mounted onto the wall of an all-white gallery space at the short end, serves as a small shelf. The displayed glove is illuminated by a discrete, bent-arm desk lamp, that protrudes from the shelf near the gallery wall. Above the shelf are a series of wall-mounted colour images that relate to the project. In order to hear the soundtrack of Saturday, gallery visitors approach the shelf, put on the glove, and “magically just press their fingertips to their forehead [to] hear the sound without the use of their ears” (Raaf). The glove, Raaf explains, “is outfitted with leading edge audio electronic devices called ‘bone transducers’ […]. These transducers transmit sound in a very unusual fashion. They translate sound into vibration patterns which resonate through bone” (Raaf).Employing this technique, Raaf explains, “permits a new way of listening”:The user places their fingers to their forehead—in a gesture akin to Rodin’s The Thinker or of a clairvoyant—in order to tap into the lives of strangers. Pressing different combinations of fingers to the temple yield plural viewpoints and group conversations. These sounds are literally mixed in the bones of the listener. (Raaf) The result is a (literally and figuratively) touching sonic portrait of Humboldt Park, its residents, and the “voice” of its surrounding neighbourhoods. Through the unique technosomatic (Richardson) apparatus—combinations of gestures that convey the soundscape directly through the bones and body—those engaging with Saturday get to hear voices in/of/around Humboldt Park. It is a portrait that combines sonic intimacy in the two forms described earlier in this article. In its inward-focused form, the gallery visitor-listener is positioned as a voyeur of sorts, listening into stolen snippets of private and personal relationships, experiences, and interactions. And, in its outward-focused form, the gallery visitor-listener encounters a soundscape in which an array of agents, entities, and objects are also given a voice. Additional work performed by this piece, it seems to me, is to be found in the intermingling of these two form of sonic intimacy—the personal and the environmental—and the way that they prompt reflection on mediation, place, urban life, others, and intimacy. That is to say that, beyond its particular sonic portrait of Humboldt Park, Saturday works in “clearing some conceptual space” in the mind of the departing gallery visitor such that they might “listen for, if not precisely to, the collective, polyphonic ‘voice of the world’” (Pettman 6) as they go about their day-to-day lives.Lukatoyboy, Walk That Sound (2014)The second project, Walk That Sound, by Serbian sound artist Lukatoyboy was completed for the 2014 CTM festival. CTM is an annual festival event that is staged in Berlin and dedicated to “adventurous music and art” (CTM Festival, “About”). A key project within the festival is CTM Radio Lab. The Lab supports works, commissioned by CTM Festival and Deutschlandradio Kultur – Hörspiel/Klangkunst (among other partnering organisations), that seek to pair and explore the “specific artistic possibilities of radio with the potentials of live performance or installation” (CTM Festival, “Projects”). Lukatoyboy’s Walk That Sound was one of two commissioned pieces for the 2014 CTM Radio Lab. The project used the “commonplace yet often forgotten walkie-talkie” (CTM Festival, “Projects”) to create a moving urban sound portrait in the area around the Kottbusser Tor U-Bahn station in Berlin-Kreuzberg. Walk That Sound recruited participants—“mobile scouts”—to rove around the Kottbusser Tor area (CTM Festival, “Projects”). Armed with walkie-talkies, and playing with “the array of available and free frequencies, and the almost unlimited amount of users that can interact over these different channels”, the project captured the dispatches via walkie-talkie of each participant (CTM Festival, “Projects”). The resultant recording of Walk That Sound—which was aired on Deutschlandradio (see Lukatoyboy), part of a long tradition of transmitting experimental music and sound art on German radio (Cory)—forms an eclectic soundscape.The work juxtaposes snippets of dialogue shared between the mobile scouts, overheard mobile phone conversations, and moments of relative quietude, where the subdued soundtrack is formed by the ambient sounds—the “voice”—of the Kottbusser Tor area. This voice includes distant traffic, the distinctive auditory ticking of pedestrian lights, and moments of tumult and agitation, such as the sounds of construction work, car horns, emergency services vehicle sirens, a bottle bouncing on the pavement, and various other repetitive yet difficult to identify industrial sounds. This voice trails off towards the end of the recording into extended walkie-talkie produced static or squelch. The topics covered within the “crackling dialogues” (CTM Festival, “Projects”) of the mobile scouts ranged widely. There were banal observations (“I just stepped on a used tissue”; “people are crossing the street”; “there are 150 trains”)—wonderings that bear strong similarities with French writer Georges Perec’s well-known experimental descriptions of everyday Parisian life in the 1970s (Perec “An Attempt”). There were also intimate, confiding, flirtatious remarks (“Do you want to come to Turkey with me?”), as well as a number of playfully paranoid observations and quips (“I like to lie”; “I can see you”; “do you feel like you are being recorded?”; “I’m being followed”) that seem to speak to the fraught history of Berlin in particular as well as the complicated character of urban life in general—as Pettman asks, “what does ‘together’ signify in a socioeconomic system so efficient in producing alienation and isolation?” (92).In sum, Walk That Sound is a strangely moving exploration of sonic intimacy, one that shifts between many different registers and points of focus—much like urban wandering itself. As a work, it is variously funny, smart, paranoid, intimate, expansive, difficult to decipher, and, at times, even difficult to listen to. Pettman argues that, “thanks in large part to the industrialization of the human ear […], we have lost the capacity to hear the vox mundi, which is […] the sum total of cacophonous, heterogeneous, incommensurate, and unsynthesizable sounds of the postnatural world” (8). Walk That Sound functions almost like a response to this dilemma. One comes away from listening to it with a heightened awareness of, appreciation for, and aural connection to the rich messiness of the polyphonic contemporary urban vox mundi. ConclusionThe argument of this article is that Sabrina Raaf’s Saturday and Lukatoyboy’s Walk That Sound are two projects that both incorporate walkie-talkies in order to develop mediated forms of wandering that seek to capture place-based sonic ambiances and sonic intimacies. Drawing on Pettman’s notion of “sonic intimacy”, examination of these projects has opened consideration around voice, analogue technology, and what Nick Couldry refers to as “an obligation to listen” (Couldry 580). In order to be heard, Pettman remarks, and “in order to be considered a voice at all”, and therefore as “something worth heeding”, the vox mundi “must arrive intimately, or else it is experienced as noise or static” (Pettman 83). In both the projects discussed here—Saturday and Walk That Sound—the walkie-talkie provides this means of “intimate arrival”. As half-duplex communication devices, walkie-talkies have always fulfilled a double function: communicating and listening. This dual functionality is exploited in new ways by Raaf and Lukatoyboy. In their projects, both artists turn the microphone outwards, such that the walkie-talkie becomes not just a device for communicating while in the field, but also—and more strikingly—it becomes a field recording device. The result of which is that this simple, “playful” communication device is utilised in these two projects in two ways: on the one hand, as a “carrier of potentially enlightening alterity” (Pettman 83), a means of encouraging “potential encounters” (89) with strangers who have been thrown together and who cross paths, and, on the other hand, as a means of fostering “an environmental awareness” (89) of the world around us. In developing these prompts, Raaf and Lukatoyboy build potential bridges between Pettman’s work on sonic intimacy, their own work, and the work of other experimental artists. For instance, in relation to potential encounters, there are clear points of connection with Blast Theory, a group who, as noted earlier, have utilised walkie-talkies and sound-based and other media technologies to explore issues around urban encounters with strangers that promote reflection on ideas and experiences of otherness and difference (see Wilken)—issues that are also implicit in the two works examined. In relation to environmental awareness, their work—as well as Pettman’s calls for greater sonic intimacy—brings renewed urgency to Georges Perec’s encouragement to “question the habitual” and to account for, and listen carefully to, “the common, the ordinary, the infraordinary, the background noise” (Perec “Approaches” 210).Walkie-talkies, for Raaf and Lukatoyboy, when reimagined as field recording devices as much as remote transmission technologies, thus “allow new forms of listening, which in turn afford new forms of being together” (Pettman 92), new forms of being in the world, and new forms of sonic intimacy. Both these artworks engage with, and explore, what’s at stake in a politics and ethics of listening. Pettman prompts us, as urban dweller-wanderers, to think about how we might “attend to the act of listening itself, rather than to a specific sound” (Pettman 1). His questioning, as this article has explored, is answered by the works from Raaf and Lukatoyboy in effective style and technique, setting up opportunities for aural attentiveness and experiential learning. However, it is up to us whether we are prepared to listen carefully and to open ourselves to such intimate sonic contact with others and with the environments in which we live.ReferencesAnon. “Die Welt als Labyrinth.” Internationale Situationiste 4 (Jan. 1960). International Situationist Online, 19 June 2019 <https://www.cddc.vt.edu/sionline/si/diewelt.html>Blast Theory. “Can You See Me Now?” Blast Theory, 19 June 2019 <https://www.blasttheory.co.uk/projects/can-you-see-me-now/>.———. “You Get Me.” Blast Theory, 19 June 2019 <https://wwww.blasttheory.co.uk/projects/you-get-me/>.Cory, Mark E. “Soundplay: The Polyphonous Tradition of German Radio Art.” Wireless Imagination: Sound, Radio, and the Avant-garde. Eds. Douglas Kahn and Gregory Whitehead. Cambridge, MA: MIT P, 1992. 331–371.Couldry, Nick. “Rethinking the Politics of Voice.” Continuum 23.4 (2009): 579–582.CTM Festival. “About.” CTM Festival, 2019. 19 June 2019 <https://www.ctm-festival.de/about/ctm-festival/>.———. “Projects – CTM Radio Lab.” CTM Festival, 2019. 19 June 2019 <https://www.ctm-festival.de/projects/ctm-radio-lab/>.Duclos, Rebecca. “Reconnaissance/Méconnaissance: The Work of Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller.” Articulate Objects: Voice, Sculpture and Performance. Eds. Aura Satz and Jon Wood. Bern: Peter Lang, 2009. 221–246. Gallagher, Michael, and Jonathan Prior. “Sonic Geographies: Exploring Phonographic Methods.” Progress in Human Geography 38.2 (2014): 267–284.James, Malcom. Sonic Intimacy: The Study of Sound. London: Bloomsbury, forthcoming.Lefebvre, Henri, and Kristin Ross. “Lefebvre on the Situationists: An Interview.” October 79 (Winter 1997): 69–83. Leorke, Dale. Location-Based Gaming: Play in Public Space. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.Lukatoyboy. “Walk That Sound – Deutschlandradiokultur Klangkunst Broadcast 14.02.2014.” SoundCloud. 19 June 2019 <https://soundcloud.com/lukatoyboy/walk-that-sound-deutschlandradiokultur-broadcast-14022014>.“Nextel: Couple. Walkie Talkies Are Good for Something More.” AdAge. 6 June 2012. 18 July 2019 <https://adage.com/creativity/work/couple/27993>.Perec, Georges. An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris. Trans. Marc Lowenthal. Cambridge, MA: Wakefield Press, 2010.———. “Approaches to What?” Species of Spaces and Other Pieces. Rev. ed. Ed. and trans. John Sturrock. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1999. 209–211.Pettman, Dominic. Sonic Intimacy: Voice, Species, Technics (Or, How to Listen to the World). Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2017.Raaf, Sabrina. “Saturday.” Sabrina Raaf :: New Media Artist, 2002. 19 June 2019 <http://raaf.org/projects.php?pcat=2&proj=10>.Richardson, Ingrid. “Mobile Technosoma: Some Phenomenological Reflections on Itinerant Media Devices.” The Fibreculture Journal 6 (2005). <http://six.fibreculturejournal.org/fcj-032-mobile-technosoma-some-phenomenological-reflections-on-itinerant-media-devices/>. Smith, Ernie. “Roger That: A Short History of the Walkie Talkie.” Vice, 23 Sep. 2017. 19 June 2019 <https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/vb7vk4/roger-that-a-short-history-of-the-walkie-talkie>. Statuv. “Details about Allied Radio Knight-Kit C-100 Walkie Talkie CB Radio Vtg Print Ad.” Statuv, 4 Jan. 2016. 18 July 2019 <https://statuv.com/media/74802043788985511>.———. “New! 1953 ‘Space Commander’ Vibro-Matic Walkie-Talkies.” Statuv, 4 Jan. 2016. 18 July 2019 <https://statuv.com/media/74802043788985539>.Wikipedia. “Walkie-Talkie”. Wikipedia, 3 July 2019. 18 July 2019 <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkie-talkie>.Wilken, Rowan. “Proximity and Alienation: Narratives of City, Self, and Other in the Locative Games of Blast Theory.” The Mobile Story: Narrative Practices with Locative Technologies. Ed. Jason Farman. New York: Routledge, 2014. 175–191.

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Flynn, Bernadette. "Towards an Aesthetics of Navigation." M/C Journal 3, no.5 (October1, 2000). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1875.

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Abstract:

Introduction Explorations of the multimedia game format within cultural studies have been broadly approached from two perspectives: one -- the impact of technologies on user interaction particularly with regard to social implications, and the other -- human computer interactions within the framework of cybercultures. Another approach to understanding or speaking about games within cultural studies is to focus on the game experience as cultural practice -- as an activity or an event. In this article I wish to initiate an exploration of the aesthetics of player space as a distinctive element of the gameplay experience. In doing so I propose that an understanding of aesthetic spatial issues as an element of player interactivity and engagement is important for understanding the cultural practice of adventure gameplay. In approaching these questions, I am focussing on the single-player exploration adventure game in particular Myst and The Crystal Key. In describing these games as adventures I am drawing on Chris Crawford's The Art of Computer Game Design, which although a little dated, focusses on game design as a distinct activity. He brings together a theoretical approach with extensive experience as a game designer himself (Excalibur, Legionnaire, Gossip). Whilst at Atari he also worked with Brenda Laurel, a key theorist in the area of computer design and dramatic structure. Adventure games such as Myst and The Crystal Key might form a sub-genre in Chris Crawford's taxonomy of computer game design. Although they use the main conventions of the adventure game -- essentially a puzzle to be solved with characters within a story context -- the main focus and source of pleasure for the player is exploration, particularly the exploration of worlds or cosmologies. The main gameplay of both games is to travel through worlds solving clues, picking up objects, and interacting with other characters. In Myst the player has to solve the riddle of the world they have entered -- as the CD-ROM insert states "Now you're here, wherever here is, with no option but to explore." The goal, as the player must work out, is to release the father Atrus from prison by bringing magic pages of a book to different locations in the worlds. Hints are offered by broken-up, disrupted video clips shown throughout the game. In The Crystal Key, the player as test pilot has to save a civilisation by finding clues, picking up objects, mending ships and defeating an opponent. The questions foregrounded by a focus on the aesthetics of navigation are: What types of representational context are being set up? What choices have designers made about representational context? How are the players positioned within these spaces? What are the implications for the player's sense of orientation and navigation? Architectural Fabrication For the ancient Greeks, painting was divided into two categories: magalography (the painting of great things) and rhyparography (the painting of small things). Magalography covered mythological and historical scenes, which emphasised architectural settings, the human figure and grand landscapes. Rhyparography referred to still lifes and objects. In adventure games, particularly those that attempt to construct a cosmology such as Myst and The Crystal Key, magalography and rhyparography collide in a mix of architectural monumentality and obsessive detailing of objects. For the ancient Greeks, painting was divided into two categories: magalography (the painting of great things) and rhyparography (the painting of small things). Magalography covered mythological and historical scenes, which emphasised architectural settings, the human figure and grand landscapes. Rhyparography referred to still lifes and objects. In adventure games, particularly those that attempt to construct a cosmology such as Myst and The Crystal Key, magalography and rhyparography collide in a mix of architectural monumentality and obsessive detailing of objects. The creation of a digital architecture in adventure games mimics the Pompeii wall paintings with their interplay of extruded and painted features. In visualising the space of a cosmology, the environment starts to be coded like the urban or built environment with underlying geometry and textured surface or dressing. In The Making of Myst (packaged with the CD-ROM) Chuck Carter, the artist on Myst, outlines the process of creating Myst Island through painting the terrain in grey scale then extruding the features and adding textural render -- a methodology that lends itself to a hybrid of architectural and painted geometry. Examples of external architecture and of internal room design can be viewed online. In the spatial organisation of the murals of Pompeii and later Rome, orthogonals converged towards several vertical axes showing multiple points of view simultaneously. During the high Renaissance, notions of perspective developed into a more formal system known as the construzione legittima or legitimate construction. This assumed a singular position of the on-looker standing in the same place as that occupied by the artist when the painting was constructed. In Myst there is an exaggeration of the underlying structuring technique of the construzione legittima with its emphasis on geometry and mathematics. The player looks down at a slight angle onto the screen from a fixed vantage point and is signified as being within the cosmological expanse, either in off-screen space or as the cursor. Within the cosmology, the island as built environment appears as though viewed through an enlarging lens, creating the precision and coldness of a Piero della Francesca painting. Myst mixes flat and three-dimensional forms of imagery on the same screen -- the flat, sketchy portrayal of the trees of Myst Island exists side-by-side with the monumental architectural buildings and landscape design structures created in Macromodel. This image shows the flat, almost expressionistic trees of Myst Island juxtaposed with a fountain rendered in high detail. This recalls the work of Giotto in the Arena chapel. In Joachim's Dream, objects and buildings have depth, but trees, plants and sky -- the space in-between objects -- is flat. Myst Island conjures up the realm of a magic, realist space with obsolete artefacts, classic architectural styles (the Albert Hall as the domed launch pad, the British Museum as the library, the vernacular cottage in the wood), mechanical wonders, miniature ships, fountains, wells, macabre torture instruments, ziggurat-like towers, symbols and odd numerological codes. Adam Mates describes it as "that beautiful piece of brain-deadening sticky-sweet eye-candy" but more than mere eye-candy or graphic verisimilitude, it is the mix of cultural ingredients and signs that makes Myst an intriguing place to play. The buildings in The Crystal Key, an exploratory adventure game in a similar genre to Myst, celebrate the machine aesthetic and modernism with Buckminster Fuller style geodesic structures, the bombe shape, exposed ducting, glass and steel, interiors with movable room partitions and abstract expressionist decorations. An image of one of these modernist structures is available online. The Crystal Key uses QuickTime VR panoramas to construct the exterior and interior spaces. Different from the sharp detail of Myst's structures, the focus changes from sharp in wide shot to soft focus in close up, with hot-spot objects rendered in trompe l'oeil detail. The Tactility of Objects "The aim of trompe l'oeil -- using the term in its widest sense and applying it to both painting and objects -- is primarily to puzzle and to mystify" (Battersby 19). In the 15th century, Brunelleschi invented a screen with central apparatus in order to obtain exact perspective -- the monocular vision of the camera obscura. During the 17th century, there was a renewed interest in optics by the Dutch artists of the Rembrandt school (inspired by instruments developed for Dutch seafaring ventures), in particular Vermeer, Hoogstraten, de Hooch and Dou. Gerard Dou's painting of a woman chopping onions shows this. These artists were experimenting with interior perspective and trompe l'oeil in order to depict the minutia of the middle-class, domestic interior. Within these luminous interiors, with their receding tiles and domestic furniture, is an elevation of the significance of rhyparography. In the Girl Chopping Onions of 1646 by Gerard Dou the small things are emphasised -- the group of onions, candlestick holder, dead fowl, metal pitcher, and bird cage. Trompe l'oeil as an illusionist strategy is taken up in the worlds of Myst, The Crystal Key and others in the adventure game genre. Traditionally, the fascination of trompe l'oeil rests upon the tension between the actual painting and the scam; the physical structures and the faux painted structures call for the viewer to step closer to wave at a fly or test if the glass had actually broken in the frame. Mirian Milman describes trompe l'oeil painting in the following manner: "the repertory of trompe-l'oeil painting is made up of obsessive elements, it represents a reality immobilised by nails, held in the grip of death, corroded by time, glimpsed through half-open doors or curtains, containing messages that are sometimes unreadable, allusions that are often misunderstood, and a disorder of seemingly familiar and yet remote objects" (105). Her description could be a scene from Myst with in its suggestion of theatricality, rich texture and illusionistic play of riddle or puzzle. In the trompe l'oeil painterly device known as cartellino, niches and recesses in the wall are represented with projecting elements and mock bas-relief. This architectural trickery is simulated in the digital imaging of extruded and painting elements to give depth to an interior or an object. Other techniques common to trompe l'oeil -- doors, shadowy depths and staircases, half opened cupboard, and paintings often with drapes and curtains to suggest a layering of planes -- are used throughout Myst as transition points. In the trompe l'oeil paintings, these transition points were often framed with curtains or drapes that appeared to be from the spectator space -- creating a painting of a painting effect. Myst is rich in this suggestion of worlds within worlds through the framing gesture afforded by windows, doors, picture frames, bookcases and fireplaces. Views from a window -- a distant landscape or a domestic view, a common device for trompe l'oeil -- are used in Myst to represent passageways and transitions onto different levels. Vertical space is critical for extending navigation beyond the horizontal through the terraced landscape -- the tower, antechamber, dungeon, cellars and lifts of the fictional world. Screen shots show the use of the curve, light diffusion and terracing to invite the player. In The Crystal Key vertical space is limited to the extent of the QTVR tilt making navigation more of a horizontal experience. Out-Stilling the Still Dutch and Flemish miniatures of the 17th century give the impression of being viewed from above and through a focussing lens. As Mastai notes: "trompe l'oeil, therefore is not merely a certain kind of still life painting, it should in fact 'out-still' the stillest of still lifes" (156). The intricate detailing of objects rendered in higher resolution than the background elements creates a type of hyper-reality that is used in Myst to emphasise the physicality and actuality of objects. This ultimately enlarges the sense of space between objects and codes them as elements of significance within the gameplay. The obsessive, almost fetishistic, detailed displays of material artefacts recall the curiosity cabinets of Fabritius and Hoogstraten. The mechanical world of Myst replicates the Dutch 17th century fascination with the optical devices of the telescope, the convex mirror and the prism, by coding them as key signifiers/icons in the frame. In his peepshow of 1660, Hoogstraten plays with an enigma and optical illusion of a Dutch domestic interior seen as though through the wrong end of a telescope. Using the anamorphic effect, the image only makes sense from one vantage point -- an effect which has a contemporary counterpart in the digital morphing widely used in adventure games. The use of crumbled or folded paper standing out from the plane surface of the canvas was a recurring motif of the Vanitas trompe l'oeil paintings. The highly detailed representation and organisation of objects in the Vanitas pictures contained the narrative or symbology of a religious or moral tale. (As in this example by Hoogstraten.) In the cosmology of Myst and The Crystal Key, paper contains the narrative of the back-story lovingly represented in scrolls, books and curled paper messages. The entry into Myst is through the pages of an open book, and throughout the game, books occupy a privileged position as holders of stories and secrets that are used to unlock the puzzles of the game. Myst can be read as a Dantesque, labyrinthine journey with its rich tapestry of images, its multi-level historical associations and battle of good and evil. Indeed the developers, brothers Robyn and Rand Miller, had a fertile background to draw on, from a childhood spent travelling to Bible churches with their nondenominational preacher father. The Diorama as System Event The diorama (story in the round) or mechanical exhibit invented by Daguerre in the 19th century created a mini-cosmology with player anticipation, action and narrative. It functioned as a mini-theatre (with the spectator forming the fourth wall), offering a peek into mini-episodes from foreign worlds of experience. The Musée Mechanique in San Francisco has dioramas of the Chinese opium den, party on the captain's boat, French execution scenes and ghostly graveyard episodes amongst its many offerings, including a still showing an upper class dancing party called A Message from the Sea. These function in tandem with other forbidden pleasures of the late 19th century -- public displays of the dead, waxwork museums and kinetescope flip cards with their voyeuristic "What the Butler Saw", and "What the Maid Did on Her Day Off" tropes. Myst, along with The 7th Guest, Doom and Tomb Raider show a similar taste for verisimilitude and the macabre. However, the pre-rendered scenes of Myst and The Crystal Key allow for more diorama like elaborate and embellished details compared to the emphasis on speed in the real-time-rendered graphics of the shoot-'em-ups. In the gameplay of adventure games, animated moments function as rewards or responsive system events: allowing the player to navigate through the seemingly solid wall; enabling curtains to be swung back, passageways to appear, doors to open, bookcases to disappear. These short sequences resemble the techniques used in mechanical dioramas where a coin placed in the slot enables a curtain or doorway to open revealing a miniature narrative or tableau -- the closure of the narrative resulting in the doorway shutting or the curtain being pulled over again. These repeating cycles of contemplation-action-closure offer the player one of the rewards of the puzzle solution. The sense of verisimilitude and immersion in these scenes is underscored by the addition of sound effects (doors slamming, lifts creaking, room atmosphere) and music. Geographic Locomotion Static imagery is the standard backdrop of the navigable space of the cosmology game landscape. Myst used a virtual camera around a virtual set to create a sequence of still camera shots for each point of view. The use of the still image lends itself to a sense of the tableauesque -- the moment frozen in time. These tableauesque moments tend towards the clean and anaesthetic, lacking any evidence of the player's visceral presence or of other human habitation. The player's navigation from one tableau screen to the next takes the form of a 'cyber-leap' or visual jump cut. These jumps -- forward, backwards, up, down, west, east -- follow on from the geographic orientation of the early text-based adventure games. In their graphic form, they reveal a new framing angle or point of view on the scene whilst ignoring the rules of classical continuity editing. Games such as The Crystal Key show the player's movement through space (from one QTVR node to another) by employing a disorientating fast zoom, as though from the perspective of a supercharged wheelchair. Rather than reconciling the player to the state of movement, this technique tends to draw attention to the technologies of the programming apparatus. The Crystal Key sets up a meticulous screen language similar to filmic dramatic conventions then breaks its own conventions by allowing the player to jump out of the crashed spaceship through the still intact window. The landscape in adventure games is always partial, cropped and fragmented. The player has to try and map the geographical relationship of the environment in order to understand where they are and how to proceed (or go back). Examples include selecting the number of marker switches on the island to receive Atrus's message and the orientation of Myst's tower in the library map to obtain key clues. A screenshot shows the arrival point in Myst from the dock. In comprehending the landscape, which has no centre, the player has to create a mental map of the environment by sorting significant connecting elements into chunks of spatial elements similar to a Guy Debord Situationist map. Playing the Flaneur The player in Myst can afford to saunter through the landscape, meandering at a more leisurely pace that would be possible in a competitive shoot-'em-up, behaving as a type of flaneur. The image of the flaneur as described by Baudelaire motions towards fin de siècle decadence, the image of the socially marginal, the dispossessed aristocrat wandering the urban landscape ready for adventure and unusual exploits. This develops into the idea of the artist as observer meandering through city spaces and using the power of memory in evoking what is observed for translation into paintings, writing or poetry. In Myst, the player as flaneur, rather than creating paintings or writing, is scanning the landscape for clues, witnessing objects, possible hints and pick-ups. The numbers in the keypad in the antechamber, the notes from Atrus, the handles on the island marker, the tower in the forest and the miniature ship in the fountain all form part of a mnemomic trompe l'oeil. A screenshot shows the path to the library with one of the island markers and the note from Atrus. In the world of Myst, the player has no avatar presence and wanders around a seemingly unpeopled landscape -- strolling as a tourist venturing into the unknown -- creating and storing a mental map of objects and places. In places these become items for collection -- cultural icons with an emphasised materiality. In The Crystal Key iconography they appear at the bottom of the screen pulsing with relevance when active. A screenshot shows a view to a distant forest with the "pick-ups" at the bottom of the screen. This process of accumulation and synthesis suggests a Surrealist version of Joseph Cornell's strolls around Manhattan -- collecting, shifting and organising objects into significance. In his 1982 taxonomy of game design, Chris Crawford argues that without competition these worlds are not really games at all. That was before the existence of the Myst adventure sub-genre where the pleasures of the flaneur are a particular aspect of the gameplay pleasures outside of the rules of win/loose, combat and dominance. By turning the landscape itself into a pathway of significance signs and symbols, Myst, The Crystal Key and other games in the sub-genre offer different types of pleasures from combat or sport -- the pleasures of the stroll -- the player as observer and cultural explorer. References Battersby, M. Trompe L'Oeil: The Eye Deceived. New York: St. Martin's, 1974. Crawford, C. The Art of Computer Game Design. Original publication 1982, book out of print. 15 Oct. 2000 <http://members.nbci.com/kalid/art/art.php>. Darley Andrew. Visual Digital Culture: Surface Play and Spectacle in New Media Genres. London: Routledge, 2000. Lunenfeld, P. Digital Dialectic: New Essays on New Media. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT P 1999. Mates, A. Effective Illusory Worlds: A Comparative Analysis of Interfaces in Contemporary Interactive Fiction. 1998. 15 Oct. 2000 <http://www.wwa.com/~mathes/stuff/writings>. Mastai, M. L. d'Orange. Illusion in Art, Trompe L'Oeil: A History of Pictorial Illusion. New York: Abaris, 1975. Miller, Robyn and Rand. "The Making of Myst." Myst. Cyan and Broderbund, 1993. Milman, M. Trompe-L'Oeil: The Illusion of Reality. New York: Skira Rizzoli, 1982. Murray, J. Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997. Wertheim, M. The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: A History of Cyberspace from Dante to the Internet. Sydney: Doubleday, 1999. Game References 7th Guest. Trilobyte, Inc., distributed by Virgin Games, 1993. Doom. Id Software, 1992. Excalibur. Chris Crawford, 1982. Myst. Cyan and Broderbund, 1993. Tomb Raider. Core Design and Eidos Interactive, 1996. The Crystal Key. Dreamcatcher Interactive, 1999. Citation reference for this article MLA style: Bernadette Flynn. "Towards an Aesthetics of Navigation -- Spatial Organisation in the Cosmology of the Adventure Game." M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 3.5 (2000). [your date of access] <http://www.api-network.com/mc/0010/navigation.php>. Chicago style: Bernadette Flynn, "Towards an Aesthetics of Navigation -- Spatial Organisation in the Cosmology of the Adventure Game," M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 3, no. 5 (2000), <http://www.api-network.com/mc/0010/navigation.php> ([your date of access]). APA style: Bernadette Flynn. (2000) Towards an aesthetics of navigation -- spatial organisation in the cosmology of the adventure game. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 3(5). <http://www.api-network.com/mc/0010/navigation.php> ([your date of access]).

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Taylor, Steve John. "The Complexity of Authenticity in Religious Innovation: “Alternative Worship” and Its Appropriation as “Fresh Expressions”." M/C Journal 18, no.1 (January20, 2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.933.

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The use of the term authenticity in the social science literature can be rather eclectic at best and unscrupulous at worst. (Vanini, 74)We live in an age of authenticity, according to Charles Taylor, an era which prizes the finding of one’s life “against the demands of external conformity” (67–68). Taylor’s argument is that, correctly practiced, authenticity need not result in individualism or tribalism but rather a generation of people “made more self-responsible” (77).Philip Vanini has surveyed the turn toward authenticity in sociology. He has parsed the word authenticity, and argued that it has been used in three ways—factual, original, and sincere. A failure to attend to these distinctives, mixed with a “paucity of systematic empirical research” has resulted in abstract speculation (75). This article responds to Taylor’s analysis and Vanini’s challenge.My argument utilises Vanini’s theoretical frame—authenticity as factual, original, and sincere—to analyse empirical data gathered in the study of recent religious innovation occurring amongst a set of (“alternative worship”) Christian communities in the United Kingdom. I am drawing upon longitudinal research I have conducted, including participant observation in digital forums from 1997 to the present, along with semi-structured interviews conducted in the United Kingdom in 2001 and 2012.A study of “alternative worship” was deemed significant given such communities’s interaction with contemporary culture, including their use of dance music, multi-media, and social media (Baker, Taylor). Such approaches contrast with other contemporary religious approaches to culture, including a fundamentalist retreat from culture or the maintenance of a “high” culture, and thus inherited patterns of religious expression (Roberts).I argue that the discourse of “alternative worship” deploy authenticity-as-originality as essential to their identity creation. This notion of authenticity is used by these communities to locate themselves culturally (as authentically-original in contemporary cultures), and thus simultaneously to define themselves as marginal from mainstream religious expression.Intriguingly, a decade later, “alternative worship” was appropriated by the mainstream. A new organisation—Fresh Expressions—emerged from within the Church of England, and the Methodist Church in Britain that, as it developed, drew on “alternative worship” for legitimation. A focus on authenticity provides a lens by which to pay particular attention to the narratives offered by social organisations in the processes of innovation. How did the discourse deployed by Fresh Expressions in creating innovation engage “alternative worship” as an existing innovation? How did these “alternative worship” groups, who had found generative energy in their location as an alternative—authentically-original—expression, respond to this appropriation by mainstream religious life?A helpful conversation partner in teasing out the complexity of these moves within contemporary religious innovation is Sarah Thornton. She researched trends in dance clubs, and rave music in Britain, during a similar time period. Thornton highlighted the value of authenticity, which she argued was deployed in club cultures to create “subcultural capital” (98-105). She further explored how the discourses around authenticity were appropriated over time through the complex networks within which popular culture flows (Bennett; Collins; Featherstone; McRobbie; Willis).This article will demonstrate that a similar pattern—using authenticity-as-originality to create “subcultural capital”—was at work in “alternative worship.” Further, the notions of authenticity as factual, original, and sincere are helpful in parsing the complex networks that exist within the domains of religious cultures. This analysis will be two-fold, first as the mainstream appropriates, and second as the “alternative” responds.Thornton emerged “post-Birmingham.” She drew on the scholarship associated with the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, glad of their turn toward popular culture. Nevertheless she considered her work to be distinct. Thornton posited the construction of “taste cultures” through distinctions created by those inside a particular set of signs and symbols. She argued for a networked view of society, one that recognised the complex roles of media and commerce in constructing distinctions and sought a more multi-dimensional frame by which to analyse the interplay between mainstream and marginal.In order to structure my investigation, I am suggesting three stages of development capture the priority, yet complexity, of authenticity in contemporary religious innovation: generation, appropriation, complexification.Generation of Authenticity-as-OriginalityThornton (26, italics original) writes:authenticity is arguably the most important value ascribed to popular music … Music is perceived as authentic when it rings true or feels real, when it has credibility and comes across as genuine. In an age of endless representations and global mediation, the experience of musical authenticity is perceived as a cure both for alienation … and dissimulation.Thornton is arguing that in this manifestation of youth culture, authenticity is valued. Further, authenticity is a perception, attached to phrases like “rings true” and “feels real.” Therefore, authenticity is hard to measure. Perhaps this move is deliberate, an attempt by those inside the “taste culture” to preserve their “subcultural capital,”—their particular sets of distinctions.Thornton’s use of authentic slides between authenticity-as-sincerity and authenticity-as-originality. For example, in the above quote, the language of “true” and “real” is a referencing of authenticity-as-sincerity. However, as Thornton analysed the appropriation of club culture by the mainstream, she is drawing, without stating it clearly, on both authenticity-as-sincerity and authenticity-as-originality.At around the time that Thornton was analysing club cultures, a number of Christian religious groups in the United Kingdom began to incorporate features of club culture into their worship services. Churches began to experiment with services beginning at club times (9.00 pm), the playing of dance music, and the use of “video-jockeying.” According to Roberts many of these worshipping communities “had close links to this movement in dance culture” (15).A discourse of authenticity was used to legitimise such innovation. Consider the description of one worship experience, located in Sheffield, England, known as Nine o’Clock Service (Fox 9-10, italics original).We enter a round, darkened room where there are forty-two television sets and twelve large video screens and projections around the walls—projections of dancing DNA, dancing planets and galaxies and atoms … this was a very friendly place for a generation raised on television and images … these people … are doing it themselves and in the center of the city and in the center of their society: at worship itself.This description makes a number of appeals to authenticity. The phrase “a generation raised on television and images” implies another generation not raised in digitally rich environments. A “subcultural” distinction has been created. The phrase “doing it themselves” suggests that this ‘digital generation’ creates something distinct, an authentic expression of their “taste culture.” The celebration of “doing it for themselves” resonates with Charles Taylor’s analysis of an age of authenticity in which self-discovery is connected with artistic creation (62).The Nine o’Clock Service gained nationwide attention, attracting attendances of over 600 young people. Rogerson described it as “a bold and imaginative attempt at contextual theology … people were attracted to it in the first instance for aesthetic and cultural reasons” (51). The priority on the aesthetic and the cultural, in contrast to the doctrinal, suggests a valuing of authenticity-as-originality.Reading Rogerson alongside Taylor teases out a further nuance in regard to the application of authenticity. Rogerson described the Nine o’Clock Service as offering “an alternative way of living in a materialist and acquisitive world” (50). This resonates with Charles Taylor’s argument that authenticity can be practiced in ways that make people “more self-responsible” (77). It suggests that the authenticity-as-originality expressed by the Nine o’Clock Service not only appealed culturally, but also offered an ethic of authenticity. We will return to this later in my argument.Inspired by the Nine o’Clock Service, other groups in the United Kingdom began to offer a similar experience. According to Adrian Riley (6):The Nine O’clock Service … was the first worshipping community to combine elements of club culture with passionate worship … It pioneered what is commonly known as “alternative worship” … Similar groups were established themselves albeit on a smaller scale.The very term “alternative worship” is significant. Sociologist of religion Abby Day argued that “boundary-marking [creates] an identity” (50). Applying Day, the term “alternative” is being used to create an identity in contrast to the existing, mainstream church. The “digitally rich” are indeed “doing it for themselves.” To be “alternative” is to be authentically-original: to be authentically-original means a participant cannot, by definition, be mainstream.Thornton argued that subcultures needed to define themselves against in order to maintain themselves as “hip” (119). This seems to describe the use of the term “alternative.” Ironically, the mainstream is needed, in order to define against, to create identity by being authentically-original (Kelly).Hence the following claim by an “alternative worship” organiser (Interview G, 2001):People were willing to play around and to say, well who knows what will happen if we run this video clip or commercial next to this sixteenth century religious painting and if we play, you know, Black Flag or some weird band underneath it … And what will it feel like? Well let’s try it and see.Note the link with music (Black Flag, an American hard core punk band formed in 1976), so central to Thornton’s understanding of authenticity in popular youth cultures. Note also the similarity between Thornton’s ascribing of value in words like “rings true” and “feels real,” with words like “feel like” and “try and see.” The word “weird” is also significant. It is deployed as a signifier of authenticity, a sign of “subcultural capital.” It positions them as “alternative,” defined in (musical) distinction from the mainstream.In sum, my argument is that authenticity-as-originality is present in “alternative worship”: in the name, in the ethos of “doing it themselves,” and in the deploying of “subcultural capital” in the legitimation of innovation. All of this has been clarified through conversation with Thornton’s empirical research regarding the value of authenticity in club culture. My analysis of “alternative worship” as a religious innovation is consistent with Taylor’s claim that we inhabit an age of authenticity, one that can be practiced by “people who are made more self-responsible” (77).Mainstream AppropriationIn 2004, the Church of England produced Mission Shaped Church (MSC), a report regarding its future. It included a chapter that described recent religious innovation in England, grouped under twelve headings (alternative worship and base ecclesial communities, café, cell, network and seeker church models, multiple and mid week congregations, new forms of traditional churches, school and community-based initiatives, traditional church plants, youth congregations). The first innovation listed is “alternative worship.”The incoming Archbishop, Rowan Williams, drew on MSC to launch a new organisation. Called Fresh Expressions, over five million pounds was provided by the Church of England to fund an organisation to support this religious innovation.Intriguingly, recognition of authenticity in these “alternative” innovations was evident in the institutional discourse being created. When I interviewed Williams, he spoke of his commitment as a Bishop (Interview 6, 2012):I decided to spend a certain amount of quality time with people on the edge. Consequently when I was asked initially what are my priorities [as Archbishop] I said, “Well, this is what I’ve been watching on the edge … I really want to see how that could impact on the Church of England as a whole.In other words, what was marginal, what had until then generated identity by being authentic in contrast to the mainstream, was now being appropriated by the mainstream “to impact on the Church of England as a whole.” MSC was aware of this complexity. “Alternative worship” was described as containing “a strong desire to be different and is most vocal in its repudiation of existing church” (45). Nevertheless, it was appropriated by the mainstream.My argument has been that “alternative worship” drew on a discourse of authenticity-as-originality. Yet when we turn to analyse mainstream appropriation, we find the definitions of authenticity begin to slide. Authenticity-as-originality is affirmed, while authenticity-as-sincerity is introduced. The MSC affirmed the “ways in which the Church of England has sought to engage with the diverse cultures and networks that are part of contemporary life” (80). It made explicit the connection between originality and authenticity. “Some pioneers and leaders have yearned for a more authentic way of living, being, doing church” (80). This can be read as an affirmation of authenticity-as-originality.Yet MSC also introduced authenticity-as-sincerity as a caution to authenticity-as-originality. “Fresh expressions should not be embraced simply because they are popular and new, but because they are a sign of the work of God and of the kingdom” (80). Thus Fresh Expressions introduced authenticity-as-sincerity (sign of the work of God) and placed it alongside authenticity-as-originality. In so doing, in the shift from “alternative worship” to Fresh Expressions, a space is both conflated (twelve expressions of church) and contested (two notions of authenticity). Conflated, because MSC places alternative worship as one innovation alongside eleven others. Contested because of the introduction of authenticity-as-sincerity alongside the affirming of authenticity-as-originality. What is intriguing is to return to Taylor’s argument for the possibility of an ethic of authenticity in which “people are made more self-responsible” (77). Perhaps the response in MSC arises from the concern described by Taylor, the risk in an age of authenticity of a society that is more individualised and tribal (55-6). To put it in distinctly ecclesiological terms, how can the church as one, holy, catholic and apostolic be carried forward if authenticity-as-originality is celebrated at, and by, the margins? Does innovation contribute to more atomised, self-absorbed and fragmented expressions of church?Yet Taylor is adamant that authenticity can be embraced without an inevitable slide in these directions. He argued that humans share a "horizon of significance" in common (52), in which one’s own "identity crucially depends on [one’s] dialogical relations with others" (48). We have already considered Rogerson’s claim that the Nine o’Clock Service offered “an alternative way of living in a materialist and acquisitive world” (50). It embraced a “strong political dimension, and a concern for justice at local and international level” (46). In other words, “alternative worship’s” authenticity-as-originality was surely already an expression of “the kingdom,” one in which “people [were] made more self-responsible” (77) in the sharing of (drawing on Taylor) a "horizon of significance" in the task of identity-formation-in-relationships (52).Yet the placing in MSC of authenticity-as-sincerity alongside authenticity-as-originality could easily have been read by those in “alternative worship” as a failure to recognise their existing practicing of the ethic of authenticity, their embodying of “the kingdom.”Consequent ComplexificationMy research into “alternative worship” is longitudinal. After the launch of Fresh Expressions, I included a new set of interview questions, which sought to clarify how these “alternative worship” communities were impacted upon by the appropriation of “alternative worship” by the mainstream. The responses can be grouped into three categories: minimal impact, a sense of affirmation and a contested complexity.With regard to minimal impact, some “alternative worship” communities perceived the arrival of Fresh Expressions had minimal impact on their shared expression of faith. The following quote was representative: “Has had no impact at all actually. Apart from to be slightly puzzled” (Interview 3, 2012).Others found the advent of Fresh Expressions provided a sense of affirmation. “Fresh expressions is … an enabling concept. It was very powerful” (Focus group 2, 2012). Respondents in this category felt that their innovations within alternative worship had contributed to, or been valued by, the innovation of Fresh Expressions. Interestingly, those whose comments could be grouped in this category had significant “subcultural capital” invested in this mainstream appropriation. Specifically, they now had a vocational role that in some way was connected to Fresh Expressions. In using the term “subcultural capital” I am again drawing on Thornton (98–105), who argued that in the complex networks through which culture flows, certain people, for example DJ’s, have more influence in the ascribing of authenticity. This suggests that “subcultural” capital is also present in religious innovation, with certain individuals finding ways to influence, from the “alternative worship” margin, the narratives of authenticity used in the complex interplay between alternative worship and Fresh Expressions.For others the arrival of Fresh Expressions had resulted in a contested complexity. The following quote was representative: “It’s a crap piece of establishment branding …but then we’re just snobs” (Focus group 3, 2012). This comment returns us to my initial framing of authenticity-as-originality. I would argue that “we’re just snobs” has a similar rhetorical effect as “Black Flag or some weird band.” It is an act of marginal self-location essential in the construction of innovation and identity.This argument is strengthened given the fact that the comment was coming from a community that itself had become perhaps the most recognizable “brand” among “alternative worship.” They have developed their own logo, website, and related online merchandising. This would suggest the concern is not the practice of marketing per se. Rather the concern is that it seems “crap” in relation to authenticity-as-originality, in a loss of aesthetic quality and a blurring of the values of innovation and identity as it related to bold, imaginative, aesthetic, and cultural attempts at contextual theology (Rogerson 51).Returning to Thornton, her research was also longitudinal in that she explored what happened when a song from a club, which had defined itself against the mainstream and as “hip,” suddenly experienced mainstream success (119). What is relevant to this investigation into religious innovation is her argument that in club culture, “selling out” is perceived to have happened only when the marginal community “loses its sense of possession, exclusive ownership and familiar belonging” (124–26).I would suggest that this is what is happening within “alternative worship” in response to the arrival of Fresh Expressions. Both “alternative worship” and Fresh Expressions are religious innovations. But Fresh Expressions defined itself in a way that conflated the space. It meant that the boundary marking so essential to “alternative worship” was lost. Some gained from this. Others struggled with a loss of imaginative and cultural creativity, a softening of authenticity-as-originality.More importantly, the discourse around Fresh Expressions also introduced authenticity-as-sincerity as a value that could be used to contest authenticity-as-originality. Whether intended or not, this also challenged the ethic of authenticity already created by these “alternative worship” communities. Their authenticity-as-originality was already a practicing of an ethic of authenticity. They were already sharing a "horizon of significance" with humanity, entering into “dialogical relations with others" that were a contemporary expression of the church as one, holy, catholic and apostolic (Taylor 52, 48). ConclusionIn this article I have analysed the discourse around authenticity as it is manifest within one strand of contemporary religious innovation. Drawing on Vanini, Taylor, and Thornton, I have explored the generative possibilities as media and culture are utilised in an “alternative worship” that is authentically-original. I have outlined the consequences when authenticity-as-originality is appropriated by the mainstream, specifically in the innovation known as Fresh Expressions and the complexity when authenticity-as-sincerity is introduced as a contested value.The value of authenticity has been found to exist in a complex relationship with the ethics of authenticity within one domain of contemporary religious innovation.ReferencesBaker, Jonny. “Alternative Worship and the Significance of Popular Culture.” Honours paper: U of London, 2000.Bennett, Andy. Popular Music and Youth Culture: Music, Identity, and Place. New York: Palgrave, 2000.Cronshaw, Darren, and Steve Taylor. “The Congregation in a Pluralist Society: Rereading Newbigin for Missional Churches Today.” Pacifica: Australasian Theological Studies 27.2 (2014): 1-24.Day, Abby. Believing in Belonging. Belief and Social Identity in the Modern World. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011.Collins, Jim, ed. High-Pop. Making Culture into Popular Entertainment. Oxford: Blackwells, 2002.Cray, Graham. Mission-Shaped Church: Church Planting and Fresh Expressions of Church in a Changing Culture, London: Church House Publishing, 2004.Featherstone, Mike. Consumer Culture and Postmodernism. London: Sage, 1991.Fox, Matthew. Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1996.Guest, Matthew, and Steve Taylor. “The Post-Evangelical Emerging Church: Innovations in New Zealand and the UK.” International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church 6.1 (2006): 49-64.Howard, Roland. The Rise and Fall of the Nine o’Clock Service. London: Continuum, 1996.Kelly, Gerard. Get a Grip on the Future without Losing Your Hold in the Past. Great Britain: Monarch, 1999.Kelly, Steven. “Book Review. Alt.Culture by Steven Daly and Nathaniel Wice.” 20 Aug. 2003. ‹http://www.richmondreview.co.uk/books/cult.html›.McRobbie, Angela. Postmodernism and Popular Culture. London: Routledge, 1994.Riley, Adrian. God in the House: UK Club Culture and Spirituality. 1999. 15 Oct. 2003 ‹http://www.btmc.org.auk/altworship/house/›.Roberts, Paul. Alternative Worship in the Church of England. Cambridge: Grove Books, 1999.Rogerson, J. W. “‘The Lord Is here’: The Nine o’Clock Service.” Why Liberal Churches Are Growing. Eds. Ian Markham and Martyn Percy. London: Bloomsbury T & T, 2006. 45-52.Taylor, Charles. The Ethics of Authenticity. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1992.Taylor, Steve. “Baptist Worship and Contemporary Culture: A New Zealand Case Study.” Interfaces: Baptists and Others. Eds. David Bebbington and Martin Sutherland. Carlisle: Paternoster, 2013. 292-307.Thornton, Sarah. Club Cultures. Music, Media and Subcultural Capital. Hanover: UP New England, 1996.Vanini, Philip. “Authenticity.” Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture. Ed. Dale Southerton. Los Angeles: Sage, 2011. 74-76.Willis, Paul E., et al. Common Culture. Symbolic Work at Play in the Everyday Cultures of the Young. Milton Keynes: Open UP, 1990.

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Landay, Lori. "Digital Transformations." M/C Journal 4, no.2 (April1, 2001). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1899.

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In the age of digital transformations of images, communications, and storytelling, Marshall McLuhan's insight that "the medium is the message" can be augmented with the corollary that the media is the mix. Digital forms of narrative are not only characterized by their mixed, hybrid forms and content, but their recombinations 1 draw the spectator into the mix in unforeseen ways. By mixing varying degrees of non-linearity and interactivity in what are ultimately animations, digital narratives create new kinds of digital spectatorship. The examples I'll explore here are three films, Conceiving Ada, Gamer, and Time Code. In different yet interconnected ways, each privileges the mix of media over content, or rather, foregrounds the mix as content. These digital narratives divert the reader/spectator/ participant from the traditional ways of making meaning--or at least sense--of narrative. One way to illuminate the examples is to explore how they mix linearity and interactivity. In teaching The Theory and Practice of Digital Narrative, my students and I developed a model for analyzing how different works create new modes of storytelling, and fresh relations of looking at and within the frame.2 Extending some of the terms that Janet Murray develops in Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace, the diagram posits an x axis of linearity and a y axis of agency.3 Click here for an animated version of this graph. The linearity axis spans narratives from most linear (one plot line that progresses chronologically through time and space to one outcome through a series of cause and effect occurrences represented from a singular point of view) to non-linear (narratives that could be circular, rhizome-shaped, achronological, synchronic, multiple plotlines, multiple points of view, multidimensional).4 The agency axis spans media that call for very little active participation from the reader/spectator/listener to media that demands a high level of interaction. Of course, all "reading" is in some way active, both in the physical acts of seeing and turning pages/clicking a mouse 5 and in comprehending, imagining, remembering, and making meaning. Nevertheless, there is a distinction between page-turning and making choices in a hypermedia work, and Murray uses the term agency to suggest an "active creation of belief" (as opposed to Coleridge's "willing suspension of belief"). Digital environments require that belief be created and reinforced; as William Gibson posited in Neuromancer, the imagined place of cyberspace is a "consensual hallucination," a social agreement to act as if the places in cyberspace exist. The willing creation of belief is a social agreement that relies on a like-minded community. The more self-reflexive and unconventional the narrative, the more it calls for the will to believe. These examples of digital cinema "interpellate," or hail, their spectators as willing agents in the common project of the creation of belief. The subjectivity that these films seek to create for their viewers is one of being an active, technologically-savvy spectator. Instead of encouraging participation in, to use Guy Debord's phrase, the society of the spectacle, these digital narratives perform a Brechtian function in a distinctly technological manner that derives from the mix of media that is digital cinema. The term "digital cinema" has acquired many meanings, ranging from movies shot on digital video in a manner we associate with film (i.e.: single camera) to digital exhibition of media in digitally-equipped movie theaters and streaming video on the web. Lev Manovich defines digital cinema as "a particular case of animation which uses live action footage as one of its many elements."6 Manovich's historical argument suggests commonalities between the earliest moving images and current developments in digital media; animation was marginalized in the development of cinema, and although some of its techniques were adopted by the avant garde, only now animation returns at the very center of digital cinema.7 Lynn Hershman Leeson's film Conceiving Ada explores digital media in both form and content. In the film Emmy, a contemporary computer software engineer, uses technology to make contact with Ada Lovelace, who invented the first computer language in Victorian England. The narrative moves between Emmy in the present day and Ada in the past as Emmy figures out how to send a software agent into the past to retrieve information. Although the plot doesn't really make sense scientifically, it resonates emotionally; despite the 150 years separating their lives, Emmy and Ada face some of the same issues as women working with technology. Instead of building sets, Leeson developed a technique of blending live action footage shot against a blue screen with digitized photographs of Victorian inns. As she explains in the technical notes of the DVD of the film (and also on the Conceiving Ada website): I felt it important to use the technology Ada pioneered. Virtual sets and digital sound . . . provided environments in which she moves freely through time, becomes liberated and, ultimately, moves into visibility. The actors and filmmaker collaborated in what amounts to a consensual hallucination: On the set, these images were maneuvered through several computers where mattes were added and images were put into perspective or enlarged. They were then laid onto digital videotape while the actors were performing. Actors could reference their location through a monitor that showed them their "virtual" environment. . . . The immediacy of shooting live action while simultaneously manipulating digitized backgrounds in real time was, remarkably, exhilarating. By mixing past and present, fact and fiction, personal and professional, digital and analog, live action and animation, Conceiving Ada tells its powerful story in both form and content. Although it is not immediately obvious that the sets are virtual rather than actual, much of the story takes place in front of and inside Emmy's computer equipment. There are many shots of Emmy gazing into the computer, trying to make her programs work, and when she does make contact with Ada, she can see her memories and talk with her on the computer screen. The film frame often encompasses the computer screen, so we too see the graphic interfaces Emmy designs and animates. By mixing some of the techniques of video art with film style and the malleability of the digital image, Leeson extends her trailblazing career in many directions at once in a work that is a mix about mix. A representation of intense digital interactivity, Conceiving Ada's heroines, creators, and spectators use technology, and specifically digital imaging technology, to create agency. Like Conceiving Ada, Time Code is also an example of digital cinema that calls attention to the digital techniques used in its production, and enlists its spectators as accomplices in creating the narrative. Time Code is itself the product of improvisation, and uses digital technology to capture "real time." Director Mike Figgis divides the screen into four frames; each quadrant contains a continuous 90-minute take of an unscripted, improvised performance, all shot simultaneously with four Sony Dvcam DSR-130s; the film was blocked out on music paper. Figgis describes his movie as a "black comedy about a 90-minute slice of life in Hollywood," and it takes filmmaking as one of its subjects along with jealousy, infidelity, and a fin-de-siecle philosophical and artistic exhaustion. The audio mix of the theatrical release of the film shifts its emphasis between the quadrants, thus directing the spectator's attention to a certain quadrant. Choosing to focus on a quadrant is a kind of spectator-editing. Looking at the entire frame means seeing a new kind of animation, created by multiple screens, encompassing multiple points of view. (See Time Code clip here.) The film folds in on itself self-reflexively. The plot centers around the intersecting lives of four characters involved personally and/or professionally with Red Mullet, Inc., a movie studio (which is the real-life name of Figgis's production company; see www.red-mullet.com), and becomes increasingly Brechtian as the movie builds to the climactic scene in which a hot young independent filmmaker pitches a movie that, like the one we are watching, splits the screen and follows the interactions between four characters. In what could be taken as a manifesto for digital cinema that counters the "chastity" of DOGME 95 with the passionate embrace of technology, the filmmaker announces, "Montage has created a fake reality. . . . Technology has arrived, digital video has arrived, and is demanding new expressions, new sensations. . . . It's time to say again: Art, Technology: a new union." She shows the studio executives storyboards of how four cameras will follow four characters, who are really four aspects of the same character at different points in their lives. But the filmmaker's passionate and theoretical speech is undercut by the context of black comedy that infuses the film: artistic praxis clashes with business practice, and all the plotlines peak as Stellan Skarsgard's Alex bursts into laughter and exclaims, "This is the most pretentious crap I've ever heard. . . . Do you think anybody around this table has a clue about what you're talking about?" Figgis assumes his audience does, that Bauhaus, Soviet montage, and Guy Debord are not as foreign to his spectators as they are to the executives; the filmmakers both within and outside the frames show their theoretical orientation. Time Code is the first major work of digital cinema. It creates a new kind of animation based on subjectivity and point of view, and calls for an active creation of belief from the spectator-editor who takes in and ultimately creates the narrative of the film. The DVD extends the spectator's agency even further. Among its special features is a documentary about how the film was shot 15 times, all four cameras operating simultaneously around the actors' improvisation. Figgis chose the fifteenth version for the theatrical release, but also includes the first version on the DVD. Because the making of the film, and how it uses digital technology, is so central to the spectator's experience, the director's commentary and interviews with the cast reinforce the spectator as an active creator of belief and meaning in the film. Moreover, by including a special audio mixing feature, the DVD gives the medium a new level of interactivity. Using the remote control of a DVD player, the spectator/participant can switch between the audio of the different quadrants. Because the audio is a major aspect of directing the spectator's attention (in addition to visual elements such as movement and stasis), being able to make choices in the audio mix is, to use the music metaphor that the film is based on conceptually, to become the conductor of the film.8 The medium is the mix. Like Time Code and Conceiving Ada, the new French film Gamer is also a particularly digital mix. Gamer moves between live action and digital environments as its main character Tony gets the idea for, designs, and then is swindled out of a computer game. The first time the film environment switches to the game environment is when the hero is in a car chase and his car morphs into a game graphic of a car. The shift between a reality created by conventional film style and the unconventional use of game graphics style reveals the main character's subjectivity, for his reality (and other characters' as well) are constructed through their interaction in the playing and making of games. Gamer is aesthetically and viscerally ambitious in the range of live action and computer graphic interfaces it moves between. The adrenalized state of game-playing mixes with a fictionalized account of game design. Gamer succeeds in creating an immersive text about two differently immersive mediums, film and computer games. When the film depicts how live action can be made digital, and both shows and denies the indexicality of the digital image, it explores the nature of digital cinema in a way that is complementary to the projects of Conceiving Ada and Time Code. In addition to fostering new relations of looking, these digital narratives make forays into nonlinearity. Conceiving Ada and Gamer both have discursive plots that revise the conventions of the linear plot, moving between nested narrative frames in time, space, and subjectivity. Time Code is in one way relentlessly linear, but its synchronic depiction of multiple physical and emotional points of view ruptures the cinematic conventions of time and space constructed by the dominant style of continuity editing. Taken separately, these three films hover around the center point of my diagram, raising the issues of agency and linearity that will continue to be at the center of digital narrative. Taken together the films offer a model of digital transformation that points the way to what is bound to be a medium that increasingly involves its audience in thinking about and then participating in increasingly immersive, nonlinear, and interactive experiences. Notes 1. In the “renew” issue of M/C, David Marshall suggests that one of the areas Cultural Studies can look to is how the culture industries that produce “recombinant culture,” make efforts “to incorporate new technologies into different forms in order to reconstitute audiences in ways that in their distinctiveness produce value that is exchangeable as capital.” This essay is part of a larger work that attempts to open up some of the avenues suggested by Marshall. P. David Marshall. "Renewing Cultural Studies." M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 3.6 (2000). [22 February 2001] . 2. This diagram is a work in progress. My students and I have had much discussion about what to term the bottom of the agency axis. “Passive” seems too simple, yet other terms we’ve come up with such as structured, controlled, limited, voyeuristic, or (my favorite) enslaved don’t seem to work. Special thanks to my students Elliott Davis, Tom Mannino, and John O’Connell, for such discussions. 3. Janet H. Murray, Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace, MIT Press, 1999, esp. 128. 4. For an interesting discussion and diagramming of story shapes, see Katherine Phelps, “Story Shapes for Digital Media.” [3/7/01] < http://www.glasswings.com.au/modern/shapes/>. Steven Johnson’s assertion that the hyperlink is the “first significant new form of punctuation to emerge in centuries” is an intriguing one for thinking about the connections possible in hypermedia. (Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate (San Francisco: HarperEdge, 1997), 110-111). 6. Lev Manovich, “What Is Digital Cinema?” http://jupiter.ucsd.edu/~manovich/text/digital-cinema.html 7. In a footnote, Manovich makes an interesting point on avant-garde strategies such as collage, painting on film, combining print with animation and live action footage, and combining many images in a single frame: “what used to be exceptions for traditional cinema became the normal, intended techniques of digital filmmaking, embedded in technology design itself.” Innovative forays into the mix of digital media like my examples illuminate not only the emergence of exceptional techniques but also of innovative narrative and spectatorial strategies. 8. Figgis is using the quadrant method once again in a new film, Hotel, which recently finished production in Florence. During the filming, there was a brilliant site that every day had a new page with the four-quadrant split. In addition to quicktimes of footage of the shoot and the actors in the hotel where the film is set, there were some of the cleverest animations I have ever seen on the web. Unfortunately the site shut down after the shoot finished, but it will be up again in May, most likely at www.filmfour.com/hotel, but check www.red-mullet.com as well.

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Humphreys, Lee, and Thomas Barker. "Modernity and the Mobile Phone." M/C Journal 10, no.1 (March1, 2007). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2602.

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Abstract:

Introduction As the country with the fifth largest population in the world, Indonesia is a massive potential market for mobile technology adoption and development. Despite an annual per capita income of only $1,280 USD (World Bank), there are 63 million mobile phone users in Indonesia (Suhartono, sec. 1.7) and it is predicted to reach 80 million in 2007 (Jakarta Post 1). Mobile phones are not only a symbol of Indonesian modernity (Barendregt 5), but like other communication technology can become a platform through which to explore socio-political issues (Winner 28). In this article we explore the role mobile phone technology in contemporary forms of social, intimate, and sexual relationships in Indonesia. We argue that new forms of expression and relations are facilitated by the particular features of mobile technology. We discuss two cases from contemporary Indonesia: a mobile dating service (BEDD) and mobile phone p*rnography. For each case study, we first discuss the socio-political background in Indonesia, then describe the technological affordances of the mobile phone which facilitate dating and p*rnography, and finally give examples of how the mobile phone is effecting change in dating and p*rnographic practices. This study is placed at a time when social relations, intimacy, and sexuality in Indonesia have become central public issues. Since the end of the New Order whilst many people have embraced the new freedoms of reformasi and democratization, there is also a high degree of social anxiety, tension and uncertainty (Juliastuti 139-40). These social changes and desires have played out in the formations of new and exciting modes of creativity, solidarity, and sociality (Heryanto and Hadiz 262) and equally violence, terror and criminality (Heryanto and Hadiz 256). The diverse and plural nature of Indonesian society is alive with a myriad of people and activities, and it is into this diverse social body that the mobile phone has become a central and prominent feature of interaction. The focus of our study is dating and p*rnography as mediated by the mobile phone; however, we do not suggest that these are new experiences in Indonesia. Rather over the last decade social, intimate, and sexual relationships have all been undergoing change and their motivations can be traced to a variety of sources including the factors of globalization, democratization and modernization. Throughout Asia “new media have become a crucial site for constituting new Asian sexual identities and communities” (Berry, Martin, and Yue 13) as people are connecting through new communication technologies. In this article we suggest that mobile phone technology opens new possibilities and introduces new channels, dynamics, and intensities of social interaction. Mobile phones are particularly powerful communication tools because of their mobility, accessibility, and convergence (Ling 16-19; Ito 14-15; Katz and Aakhus 303). These characteristics of mobile phones do not in and of themselves bring about any particular changes in dating and p*rnography, but they may facilitate changes already underway (Barendegt 7-9; Barker 9). Mobile Dating Background The majority of Indonesians in the 1960s and 1970s had arranged marriages (Smith-Hefner 443). Education reform during the 70s and 80s encouraged more women to attain an education which in turn led to the delaying of marriage and the changing of courtship practices (Smith-Hefner 450). “Compared to previous generations, [younger Indonesians] are freer to mix with the opposite sex and to choose their own marriage,” (Utomo 225). Modern courtship in Java is characterized by “self-initiated romance” and dating (Smith-Hefner 451). Mobile technology is beginning to play a role in initiating romance between young Indonesians. Technology One mobile matching or dating service available in Indonesia is called BEDD (www.bedd.com). BEDD is a free software for mobile phones in which users fill out a profile about themselves and can meet BEDD members who are within 20-30 feet using a Bluetooth connection on their mobile devices. BEDD members’ phones automatically exchange profile information so that users can easily meet new people who match their profile requests. BEDD calls itself mobile social networking community; “BEDD is a new Bluetooth enabled mobile social medium that allows people to meet, interact and communicate in a new way by letting their mobile phones do all the work as they go throughout their day.” As part of a larger project on mobile social networking (Humphreys 6), a field study was conducted of BEDD users in Jakarta, Indonesia and Singapore (where BEDD is based) in early 2006. In-depth interviews and open-ended user surveys were conducted with users, BEDD’s CEO and strategic partners in order to understand the social uses and effects BEDD. The majority of BEDD members (which topped 100,000 in January 2006) are in Indonesia thanks to a partnership with Nokia where BEDD came pre-installed on several phone models. In management interviews, both BEDD and Nokia explained that they partnered because both companies want to help “build community”. They felt that Bluetooth technology such as BEDD could be used to help youth meet new people and keep in touch with old friends. Examples One of BEDD’s functions is to help lower barriers to social interaction in public spaces. By sharing profile information and allowing for free text messaging, BEDD can facilitate conversations between BEDD members. According to users, mediating the initial conversation also helps to alleviate social anxiety, which often accompanies meeting new people. While social mingling and hanging out between Jakarta teenagers is a relatively common practice, one user said that BEDD provides a new and fun way to meet and flirt. In a society that must balance between an “idealized morality” and an increasingly sexualized popular culture (Utomo 226), BEDD provides a modern mode of self-initiated matchmaking. While BEDD was originally intended to aid in the matchmaking process of dating, it has been appropriated into everyday life in Indonesia because of its interpretive flexibility (Pinch & Bjiker 27). Though BEDD is certainly used to meet “beautiful girls” (according to one Indonesian male user), it is also commonly used to text message old friends. One member said he uses BEDD to text his friends in class when the lecture gets boring. BEDD appears to be a helpful modern communication tool when people are physically proximate but cannot easily talk to one another. BEDD can become a covert way to exchange messages with people nearby for free. Another potential explanation for BEDD’s increasing popularity is its ability to allow users to have private conversations in public space. Bennett notes that courtship in private spaces is seen as dangerous because it may lead to sexual impropriety (154). Dating and courtship in public spaces are seen as safer, particularly for conserving the reputation young Indonesian women. Therefore Bluetooth connections via mobile technologies can be a tool to make private social connections between young men and women “safer”. Bluetooth communication via mobile phones has also become prevalent in more conservative Muslim societies (Sullivan, par. 7; Braude, par. 3). There are, however, safety concerns about meeting strangers in public spaces. When asked, “What advice would you give a first time BEDD user?” one respondent answered, “harus bisa mnilai seseorang krn itu sangat penting, kita mnilai seseorang bukan cuma dari luarnya” (translated: be careful in evaluating (new) people, and don’t ever judge the book by its cover”). Nevertheless, only one person participating in this study mentioned this concern. To some degree meeting someone in a public may be safer than meeting someone in an online environment. Not only are there other people around in public spaces to physically observe, but co-location means there may be some accountability for how BEDD members present themselves. The development and adoption of matchmaking services such as BEDD suggests that the role of the mobile phone in Indonesia is not just to communicate with friends and family but to act as a modern social networking tool as well. For young Indonesians BEDD can facilitate the transfer of social information so as to encourage the development of new social ties. That said, there is still debate about exactly whom BEDD is connecting and for what purposes. On one hand, BEDD could help build community in Indonesia. One the other hand, because of its privacy it could become a tool for more promiscuous activities (Bennett 154-5). There are user profiles to suggest that people are using BEDD for both purposes. For example, note what four young women in Jakarta wrote in the BEDD profiles: Personal Description Looking For I am a good prayer, recite the holy book, love saving (money), love cycling… and a bit narcist. Meaning of life Ordinary gurl, good student, single, Owen lover, and the rest is up to you to judge. Phrenz ?! Peace?! Wondeful life! I am talkative, have no patience but so sweet. I am so girly, narcist, shy and love cute guys. Check my fs (Friendster) account if you’re so curious. Well, I am just an ordinary girl tho. Anybody who wants to know me. A boy friend would be welcomed. Play Station addict—can’t live without it! I am a rebel, love rock, love hiphop, naughty, if you want proof dial 081********* phrenz n cute guyz As these profiles suggest, the technology can be used to send different kinds of messages. The mobile phone and the BEDD software merely facilitate the process of social exchange, but what Indonesians use it for is up to them. Thus BEDD and the mobile phone become tools through which Indonesians can explore their identities. BEDD can be used in a variety of social and communicative contexts to allow users to explore their modern, social freedoms. Mobile p*rnography Background Mobile phone p*rnography builds on a long tradition of p*rnography and sexually explicit material in Indonesia through the use of a new technology for an old art and product. Indonesia has a rich sexual history with a documented and prevalent sex industry (Suryakusuma 115). Lesmana suggests that the country has a tenuous p*rnographic industry prone to censorship and nationalist politics intent on its destruction. Since the end of the New Order and opening of press freedoms there has been a proliferation in published material including a mushrooming of tabloids, men’s magazines such as FHM, Maxim and Playboy, which are often regarded as p*rnographic. This is attributed to the decline of the power of the bureaucracy and government and the new role of capital in the formation of culture (Chua 16). There is a parallel p*rnography industry, however, that is more amateur, local, and homemade (Barker 6). It is into this range of material that mobile phone p*rnography falls. Amongst the myriad forms of p*rnography and sexually explicit material available in Indonesia, the mobile phone in recent years has emerged as a new platform for production, distribution, and consumption. This section will not deal with the ethics of representation nor engage with the debate about definitions and the rights and wrongs of p*rnography. Instead what will be shown is how the mobile phone can be and has been used as an instrument/medium for the production and consumption of p*rnography within contemporary social relationships. Technology There are several technological features of the mobile phone that make p*rnography possible. As has already been noted the mobile phone has had a large adoption rate in Indonesia, and increasingly these phones come equipped with cameras and the ability to send data via MMS and Bluetooth. Coupled with the mobility of the phone, the convergence of technology in the mobile phone makes it possible for p*rnography to be produced and consumed in a different way than what has been possible before. It is only recently that the mobile phone has been marketed as a video camera with the release of the Nokia N90; however, quality and recording time are severely limited. Still, the mobile phone is a convenient and at-hand tool for the production and consumption of individually made, local, and non-professional pieces of p*rn, sex and sexuality. It is impossible to know how many such films are in circulation. A number of websites that offer these films for downloads host between 50 and 100 clips in .3gp file format, with probably more in actual circulation. At the very least, this is a tenfold increase in number compared to the recent emergence of non-professional VCD films (Barker 3). This must in part be attributed to the advantages that the mobile phone has over standard video cameras including cost, mobility, convergence, and the absence of intervening data processing and disc production. Examples There are various examples of mobile p*rnography in Indonesia. These range from the p*rnographic text message sent between lovers to the mobile phone video of explicit sexual acts (Barendregt 14-5). The mobile phone affords privacy for the production and exchange of p*rnographic messages and media. Because mobile devices are individually owned, however, p*rnographic material found on mobile phones can be directly tied to the individual owners. For example, police in Kotabaru inspected the phones of high school students in search of p*rnographic materials and arrested those individuals on whose phones it was found (Barendregt 18). Mobile phone p*rnography became a national political issue in 2006 when an explicit one-minute clip of a singer and an Indonesian politician became public. Videoed in 2004, the clip shows Maria Eva, a 27 year-old dangdut singer (see Browne, 25-6) and Yahya Zaini, a married 42 year-old who was head of religious affairs for the Golkar political party. Their three-year affair ended in 2005, but the film did not become public until 2006. It spread like wildfire between phones and across the internet, however, and put an otherwise secret relationship into the limelight. These types of affairs and relationships were common knowledge to people through gossip, exposes such as Jakarta Undercover (Emka 93-108) and stories in tabloids; yet this culture of adultery and prostitution continued and remained anonymous because of bureaucratic control of evidence and information (Suryakusuma 115). In this case, however, the filming of Maria Eva once public proves the identities of those involved and their infidelity. As a result of the scandal it was further revealed that Maria Eva had been forced by Yayha Zaini and his wife to have an abortion, deepening the moral crisis. Yahya Zaini later resigned as his party’s head of Religious Affairs (Asmarani, sec. 1-2), due to what was called the country’s “first real sex scandal” (Naughton, par. 2). As these examples show, there are definite risks and consequences involved in the production of mobile p*rnography. Even messages/media that are meant to be shared between two consenting individuals can eventually make their way into the public mobile realm and have serious consequences for those involved. Mobile video and photography does, however, represent a potential new check on the Indonesian bureaucratic elite which has not been previously available by other means such as a watchdog media. “The role of the press as a control mechanism is practically nonexistent [in Jakarta], which in effect protects corruption, nepotism, financial manipulation, social injustice, and repression, as well as the murky sexual life of the bureaucratic power elite,” (Suryakusuma 117). Thus while originally a mobile video may have been created for personal pleasure, through its mass dissemination via new media it can become a means of sousveillance (Mann, Nolan and Wellman 332-3) whereby the control of surveillance is flipped to reveal the often hidden abuses of power by officials. Whilst the debates over p*rnography in Indonesia tend to focus on the moral aspects of it, the broader social impacts of technology on relationships are often ignored. Issues related to power relations or even media as cultural expression are often disregarded as moral judgments cast a heavy shadow over discussions of locally produced Indonesian mobile p*rnography. It is possible to move beyond the moral critique of p*rnographic media to explore the social significance of its proliferation as a cultural product. Conclusion In these two case studies we have tried to show how the mobile phone in Indonesia has become a mode of interaction but also a platform through which to explore other current issues and debates related to dating, sexuality and media. Since 1998 and the fall of the New Order, Indonesia has been struggling with blending old and new, a desire of change and nostalgia for past, and popular desire for a “New Indonesia” (Heryanto, sec. Post-1998). Cultural products within Indonesia have played an important role in exploring these issues. The mobile phone in Indonesia is not just a technology, but also a product in and through which these desires are played out. Changes in dating and p*rnography practices have been occurring in Indonesia for some time. As people use mobile technology to produce, communicate, and consume, the device becomes intricately related to identity struggle and cultural production within Indonesia. It is important to keep in mind, however, that while mobile technology adoption within Indonesia is growing, it is still limited to a particular subset of the population. As has been previously observed (Barendregt 3), it is wealthier, young people in urban areas who are most intensely involved in mobile technology. As handset prices decrease and availability in rural areas increases, however, no longer will mobile technology be so demographically confined in Indonesia. The convergent technology of the mobile phone opens many possibilities for creative adoption and usage. As a communication device it allows for the creation, sharing, and viewing of messages. Therefore, the technology itself facilitates social connections and networking. As demonstrated in the cases of dating and p*rnography, the mobile phone is both a tool for meeting new people and disseminating sexual messages/media because it is a networked technology. The mobile phone is not fundamentally changing dating and p*rnography practices, but it is accelerating social and cultural trends already underway in Indonesia by facilitating the exchange and dissemination of messages and media. As these case studies show, what kinds of messages Indonesians choose to create and share are up to them. The same device can be used for relatively innocuous behavior as well as more controversial behavior. With increased adoption in Indonesia, the mobile will continue to be a lens through which to further explore modern socio-political issues. 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Mann, Steve, Jason Nolan, and Barry Wellman. “Sousveillance: Inventing and Using Wearable Computing Devices for Data Collection in Surveillance Environments.” Surveillance and Society 1.3 (2003): 331-55. Naughton, Philippe. “Video Sex Scandal Claims Indonesian MP.” The Times Online 8 Dec. 2006. Pinch, Trevor J., and Wiebe E. Bijker. “The Social Construction of Facts and Artifacts: Or How the Sociology of Science and the Sociology of Technology Might Benefit Each Other.” The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Direction in the Sociology and History of Technology. Eds. W. E. Bijker, T. P. Hughes and T.J. Pinch. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987. 17-51. Smith-Hefner, Nancy J. “The New Muslim Romance: Changing Patterns of Courtship and Marriage among Educated Javanese Youth.” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 36.3 (2005): 441-59. Suhartono, Harry. “Mobile Penetration to Drive Market Leader’s Profit Gain.” Reuters News 27 Oct. 2006. Sullivan, Kevin. “Saudi Youth Use Cellphone Savvy to Outwit the Sentries of Romance.” The Washington Post 6 Aug. 2006: A01. Suryakusuma, Julia. “The State and Sexuality in New Order Indonesia.” Fantasizing the Feminine in Indonesia. Ed. Laurie J. Sears. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1996. 92-119. Utomo, Iwu Dwisetyani. “Sexual Values and Early Experiences among Young People in Jakarta: Youth, Courtship and Sexuality.” Coming of Age in South and Southeast Asia. Eds. Lenore Manderson and Pranee Liamputtong. Surey: Curzon, 2002. 207-27. Winner, Langdon. “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” Social Shaping of Technology. 2nd ed. Eds. Donald MacKenzie and Judy Wajcman. Buckingham, UK: Open UP, 2002. 28-40. World Bank. 2004 Indonesia Data & Statistics. 4 Jan. 2006. http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/ EASTASIAPACIFICEXT/INDONESIAEXTN/0,,menuPK:287097~pagePK: 141132~piPK:141109~theSitePK:226309,00.html>. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Humphreys, Lee, and Thomas Barker. "Modernity and the Mobile Phone: Exploring Tensions about Dating and Sex in Indonesia." M/C Journal 10.1 (2007). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0703/06-humphreys-barker.php>. APA Style Humphreys, L., and T. Barker. (Mar. 2007) "Modernity and the Mobile Phone: Exploring Tensions about Dating and Sex in Indonesia," M/C Journal, 10(1). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0703/06-humphreys-barker.php>.

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Dutton, Jacqueline. "Counterculture and Alternative Media in Utopian Contexts: A Slice of Life from the Rainbow Region." M/C Journal 17, no.6 (November3, 2014). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.927.

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Introduction Utopia has always been countercultural, and ever since technological progress has allowed, utopia has been using alternative media to promote and strengthen its underpinning ideals. In this article, I am seeking to clarify the connections between counterculture and alternative media in utopian contexts to demonstrate their reciprocity, then draw together these threads through reference to a well-known figure of the Rainbow Region–Rusty Miller. His trajectory from iconic surfer and Aquarian reporter to mediator for utopian politics and ideals in the Rainbow Region encompasses in a single identity the three elements underpinning this study. In concluding, I will turn to Rusty’s Byron Guide, questioning its classification as alternative or mainstream media, and whether Byron Bay is represented as countercultural and utopian in this long-running and ongoing publication. Counterculture and Alternative Media in Utopian Contexts Counterculture is an umbrella that enfolds utopia, among many other genres and practices. It has been most often situated in the 1960s and 1970s as a new form of social movement embodying youth resistance to the technocratic mainstream and its norms of gender, sexuality, politics, music, and language (Roszak). Many scholars of counterculture underscore its utopian impulses both in the projection of better societies where the social goals are achieved, and in the withdrawal from mainstream society into intentional communities (Yinger 194-6; McKay 5; Berger). Before exploring further the connections between counterculture and alternative media, I want to define the scope of countercultural utopian contexts in general, and the Rainbow Region in particular. Utopia is a neologism created by Sir Thomas More almost 500 years ago to designate the island community that demonstrates order, harmony, justice, hope and desire in the right balance so that it seems like an ideal land. This imaginary place described in Utopia (1516) as a counterpoint to the social, political and religious shortcomings of contemporary 16th century British society, has attracted accusations of heresy (Molner), and been used as a pejorative term, an insult to denigrate political projects that seem farfetched or subversive, especially during the 19th century. Almost every study of utopian theory, literature and practice points to a dissatisfaction with the status quo, which inspires writers, politicians, architects, artists, individuals and communities to rail against it (see for example Davis, Moylan, Suvin, Levitas, Jameson). Kingsley Widmer’s book Counterings: Utopian Dialectics in Contemporary Contexts reiterates what many scholars have stated when he writes that utopias should be understood in terms of what they are countering. Lyman Tower Sargent defines utopia as “a non-existent society described in considerable detail and normally located in time and space” and utopianism as “social dreaming” (9), to which I would add that both indicate an improvement on the alternatives, and may indeed be striving to represent the best place imaginable. Utopian contexts, by extension, are those situations where the “social dreaming” is enhanced through human agency, good governance, just laws, education, and work, rather than being a divinely ordained state of nature (Schaer et al). In this way, utopian contexts are explicitly countercultural through their very conception, as human agency is required and their emphasis is on social change. These modes of resistance against dominant paradigms are most evident in attempts to realise textual projections of a better society in countercultural communal experiments. Almost immediately after its publication, More’s Utopia became the model for Bishop Vasco de Quiroga’s communitarian hospital-town Santa Fe de la Laguna in Michoacan, Mexico, established in the 1530s as a counterculture to the oppressive enslavement and massacres of the Purhépecha people by Nuno Guzmán (Green). The countercultural thrust of the 1960s and 1970s provided many utopian contexts, perhaps most readily identifiable as the intentional communities that spawned and flourished, especially in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand (Metcalf, Shared Lives). They were often inspired by texts such as Charles A. Reich’s The Greening of America (1970) and Ernest Callenbach’s Ecotopia (1975), and this convergence of textual practices and alternative lifestyles can be seen in the development of Australia’s own Rainbow Region. Located in northern New South Wales, the geographical area of the Northern Rivers that has come to be known as the Rainbow Region encompasses Byron Bay, Nimbin, Mullumbimby, Bangalow, Clunes, Dunoon, Federal, with Lismore as the region’s largest town. But more evocative than these place names are the “rivers and creeks, vivid green hills, fruit and nut farms […] bounded by subtropical beaches and rainforest mountains” (Wilson 1). Utopian by nature, and recognised as such by the indigenous Bundjalung people who inhabited it before the white settlers, whalers and dairy farmers moved in, the Rainbow Region became utopian through culture–or indeed counterculture–during the 1973 Aquarius Festival in Nimbin when the hippies of Mullumbimby and the surfers of Byron Bay were joined by up to 10,000 people seeking alternative ways of being in the world. When the party was over, many Aquarians stayed on to form intentional communities in the beautiful region, like Tuntable Falls, Nimbin’s first and largest such cooperative (Metcalf, From Utopian Dreaming to Communal Reality 74-83). In utopian contexts, from the Renaissance to the 1970s and beyond, counterculture has underpinned and alternative media has circulated the aims and ideals of the communities of resistance. The early utopian context of the Anabaptist movement has been dubbed as countercultural by Sigrun Haude: “During the reign of the Münster (1534-5) Anabaptists erected not only a religious but also a social and political counterculture to the existing order” (240). And it was this Protestant Reformation that John Downing calls the first real media war, with conflicting movements using pamphlets produced on the new technology of the Gutenberg press to disseminate their ideas (144). What is striking here is the confluence of ideas and practices at this time–countercultural ideals are articulated, published, and disseminated, printing presses make this possible, and utopian activists realise how mass media can be used and abused, exploited and censored. Twentieth century countercultural movements drew on the lessons learnt from historical uprising and revolutions, understanding the importance of getting the word out through their own forms of media which, given the subversive nature of the messages, were essentially alternative, according to the criteria proposed by Chris Atton: alternative media may be understood as a radical challenge to the professionalized and institutionalized practices of the mainstream media. Alternative media privileges a journalism that is closely wedded to notions of social responsibility, replacing an ideology of “objectivity” with overt advocacy and oppositional practices. Its practices emphasize first person, eyewitness accounts by participants; a reworking of the populist approaches of tabloid newspapers to recover a “radical popular” style of reporting; collective and antihierarchical forms of organization which eschew demarcation and specialization–and which importantly suggest an inclusive, radical form of civic journalism. (267) Nick Couldry goes further to point out the utopian processes required to identify agencies of change, including alternative media, which he defines as “practices of symbolic production which contest (in some way) media power itself–that is, the concentration of symbolic power in media institutions” (25). Alternative media’s orientation towards oppositional and contestatory practices demonstrates clear parallels between its ambitions and those of counterculture in utopian contexts. From the 1960s onwards, the upsurge in alternative newspaper numbers is commensurate with the blossoming of the counterculture and increased utopian contexts; Susan Forde describes it thus: “a huge resurgence in the popularity of publications throughout the ‘counter-culture’ days of the 1960s and 1970s” (“Monitoring the Establishment”, 114). The nexus of counterculture and alternative media in such utopian contexts is documented in texts like Roger Streitmatter’s Voices of Revolution and Bob Osterlag’s People’s Movements, People’s Press. Like the utopian newspapers that came out of 18th and 19th century intentional communities, many of the new alternative press served to educate, socialise, promote and represent the special interests of the founders and followers of the countercultural movements, often focusing on the philosophy and ideals underpinning these communities rather than the everyday events (see also Frobert). The radical press in Australia was also gaining ground, with OZ in Australia from 1963-1969, and then from 1967-1973 in London. Magazines launched by Philip Frazer like The Digger, Go-Set, Revolution and High Times, and university student newspapers were the main avenues for youth and alternative expression on the Vietnam war and conscription, gay and lesbian rights, racism, feminism and ecological activism (Forde, Challenging the News; co*ck & Perry). Nimbin 1973: Rusty Miller and The Byron Express The 1973 Aquarius Festival of counterculture in Nimbin (12-23 May) was a utopian context that had an alternative media life of its own before it arrived in the Rainbow Region–in student publications like Tharnuka and newsletters distributed via the Aquarius Foundation. There were other voices that announced the coming of the Aquarius Festival to Nimbin and reported on its impact, like The Digger from Melbourne and the local paper, The Northern Star. During the Festival, the Nimbin Good Times first appeared as the daily bulletin and continues today with the original masthead drawn by the Festival’s co-organiser, Graeme Dunstan. Some interesting work has been done on this area, ranging from general studies of the Rainbow Region (Wilson; Munro-Clark) to articles analysing its alternative press (Ward & van Vuuren; Martin & Ellis), but to date, there has been no focus on the Rainbow Region’s first alternative newspaper, The Byron Express. Co-edited by Rusty Miller and David Guthrie, this paper presented and mediated the aims and desires of the Aquarian movement. Though short-lived, as only 7 issues were published from 15 February 1973 to September 1973, The Byron Express left a permanent printed vestige of the Aquarian counterculture movement’s activism and ideals from an independent regional perspective. Miller’s credentials for starting up the newspaper are clear–he has always been a trailblazer, mixing “smarts” with surfing and environmental politics. After graduating from a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Diego State College, he first set foot in Byron Bay during his two semesters with the inaugural Chapman College affiliated University of the Seven Seas in 1965-6. Returning to his hometown of Encinitas, he co-founded the Surf Research accessory company with legendary Californian surfer Mike Doyle, and launched Waxmate, the first specially formulated surf wax in 1967 (Davis, Witzig & James; Warshaw 217), selling his interest in the business soon after to spend a couple of years “living the counterculture life on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai” (Davis, Witzig & James), before heading back to Byron Bay via Bells Beach in 1970 (Miller & Shantz) and Sydney, where he worked as an advertising salesman and writer with Tracks surfing magazine (Martin & Ellis). In 1971, he was one of the first to ride the now famous waves of Uluwatu in Bali, and is captured with Steven Cooney in the iconic publicity image for Albe Falzon’s 1971 film, Morning Of The Earth. The champion surfer from the US knew a thing or two about counterculture, alternative media, advertising and business when he found his new utopian context in Byron Bay. Miller and Guthrie’s front-page editorial of the inaugural issue of The Byron Express, published on 15 February 1973, with the byline “for a higher shire”, expressed the countercultural (cl)aims of the publication. Land use, property development and the lack of concern that some people in Byron had for their impact on the environment and people of the region were a prime target: With this first issue of the Byron Express, we hope to explain that the area is badly in need of a focal point. The transitions of present are vast and moving fast. The land is being sold and resold. Lots of money is coming into the area in the way of developments […] caravan parts, hotels, businesses and real estate. Many of the trips incoming are not exactly “concerned” as to what long term effect such developments might have on the environment and its people. We hope to serve as a focus of concern and service, a centre for expression and reflection. We would ask your contributions in vocal and written form. We are ready for some sock it to ya criticism… and hope you would grab us upon the street to tell us how you feel…The mission of this alternative newspaper is thereby defined by the need for a “focal point” that inscribes the voices of the community in a freely accessible narrative, recorded in print for posterity. Although this first issue contains no mention of the Aquarius Festival, there were already rumours circulating about it, as organisers Graeme Dunstan and Johnny Allen had been up to Main Arm, Mullumbimby and Nimbin on reconnaissance missions beginning in September 1972. Instead, there was an article on “Mullumbimby Man–Close to the Land” by Nicholas Shand, who would go on to found the community-based weekly newspaper The Echo in 1986, then called The Brunswick Valley Echo and still going strong. Another by Bob McTavish asked whether there could be a better form of government; there was a surf story, and a soul food section with a recipe for honey meade entitled “Do you want to get out of it on 10 cents a bottle?” The second issue continues in much the same vein. It is not until the third issue comes out on 17 March 1973 that the Aquarius Festival is mentioned in a skinny half column on page four. And it’s not particularly promising: Arrived at Nimbin, sleepy hamlet… Office in disused R.S.L. rooms, met a couple of guys recently arrived, said nothing was being done. “Only women here, you know–no drive”. Met Joanne and Vi, both unable to say anything to be reported… Graham Dunstan (codenamed Superfest) and John Allen nowhere in sight. Allen off on trip overseas. Dunstan due back in a couple of weeks. 10 weeks to go till “they” all come… and to what… nobody is quite sure. This progress report provides a fascinating contemporary insight into the tensions–between the local surfies and hippies on one hand, and the incoming students on the other–around the organisation of the Aquarius Festival. There is an unbridled barb at the sexist comments made by the guys, implicit criticism of the absent organisers, obvious skepticism about whether anyone will actually come to the festival, and wonderment at what it will be like. Reading between the lines, we might find a feeling of resentment about not being privy to new developments in their own backyard. The final lines of the article are non-committal “Anyway, let’s see what eventuates when the Chiefs return.” It seems that all has been resolved by the fifth issue of 11 May, which is almost entirely dedicated to the Aquarius Festival with the front page headline “Welcome to the New Age”. But there is still an undertone of slight suspicion at what the newcomers to the area might mean in terms of property development: The goal is improving your fellow man’s mind and nourishment in concert with your own; competition to improve your day and the quality of the day for society. Meanwhile, what is the first thing one thinks about when he enters Byron and the area? The physical environment is so magnificent and all encompassing that it can actually hold a man’s breath back a few seconds. Then a man says, “Wow, this land is so beautiful that one could make a quid here.” And from that moment the natural aura and spells are broken and the mind lapses into speculative equations, sales projections and future interest payments. There is plenty of “love” though, in this article: “The gathering at Nimbin is the most spectacular demonstration of the faith people have in a belief that is possible (and possible just because they want it to be) to live in love, through love together.” The following article signed by Rusty Miller “A Town Together” is equally focused on love: “See what you could offer the spirit at Nimbin. It might introduce you to a style that could lead to LOVE.” The centre spread features photos: the obligatory nudes, tents, and back to nature activities, like planting and woodworking. With a text box of “random comments” including one from a Lismore executive: ‘I took my wife and kids out there last weekend and we had such a good time. Seems pretty organized and the town was loaded with love. Heard there is some hepatitis about and rumours of VD. Everyone happy.” And another from a land speculator (surely the prime target of Miller’s wrath): “Saw guys kissing girls on the street, so sweet, bought 200 acres right outside of town, it’s going to be valuable out there some day.” The interview with Johnny Allen as the centrepiece includes some pertinent commentary on the media and reveals a well-founded suspicion of the mediatisation of the Aquarius Festival: We have tried to avoid the media actually. But we haven’t succeeded in doing so. Part of the basic idea is that we don’t need to be sold. All the down town press can do is try and interpret you. And by doing that it automatically places it in the wrong sort of context. So we’ve tried to keep it to people writing about the festival to people who will be involved in it. It’s an involvement festival. Coopting The Byron Express as an “involved” party effects a fundamental shift from an external reporting newspaper to a kind of proponent or even propaganda for the Aquarius festival and its ideas, like so many utopian newspapers had done before. It is therefore perhaps inevitable that The Byron Express should disappear very soon after the Aquarius festival. Fiona Martin and Rhonda Ellis explain that Rusty Miller stopped producing the paper because he “found the production schedule exhausting and his readership too small to attract consistent advertising” (5). At any rate, there were only two more issues, one in June–with some follow up reporting of the festival–and another in September 1973, which was almost entirely devoted to environmentally focused features, including an interview with Kath Walker (Oodgeroo Noonuccal). Byron Bay 2013: Thirty Years of Rusty’s Byron Guide What Rusty did next is fairly well known locally–surfing and teaching people how to surf and a bit of writing. When major local employer Walkers slaughterhouse closed in 1983, he and his wife, social geographer Tricia Shantz, were asked by the local council to help promote Byron Bay as a tourist destination, writing the first Byron guide in 1983-4. Incorporating essays by local personalities and dedicated visitors, the Byron guide perpetuates the ideal of environmental awareness, spiritual experimentation, and respect for the land and sea. Recent contributors have included philosopher Peter Singer, political journalist Kerry O’Brien, and writer John Ralston Saul, and Miller and Shantz always have an essay in there themselves. “People, Politics and Culture” is the new byline for the 2013 edition. And Miller’s opening essay mediates the same utopian desires and environmental community messages that he espoused from the beginning of The Byron Express: The name Byron Bay represents something that we constantly try to articulate. If one was to dream up a menu of situations and conditions to compose a utopia, Australia would be the model of the nation-state and Byron would have many elements of the actual place one might wish to live for the rest of their lives. But of course there is always the danger of excesses in tropical paradises especially when they become famous destinations. Australia is being held to ransom for the ideology that we should be slaves to money and growth at the cost of a degraded and polluted physical and social environment. Byron at least was/is a refuge against this profusion of the so-called real-world perception that holds profit over environment as the way we must choose for our future. Even when writing for a much more commercial medium, Miller retains the countercultural utopian spirit that was crystallised in the Aquarius festival of 1973, and which remains relevant to many of those living in and visiting the Rainbow Region. Miller’s ethos moves beyond the alternative movements and communities to infiltrate travel writing and tourism initiatives in the area today, as evidenced in the Rusty’s Byron Guide essays. By presenting more radical discourses for a mainstream public, Miller together with Shantz have built on the participatory role that he played in launching the region’s first alternative newspaper in 1973 that became albeit briefly the equivalent of a countercultural utopian gazette. Now, he and Shantz effectively play the same role, producing a kind of countercultural form of utopian media for Byron Bay that corresponds to exactly the same criteria mentioned above. Through their free publication, they aim to educate, socialise, promote and represent the special interests of the founders and followers of the Rainbow Region, focusing on the philosophy and ideals underpinning these communities rather than the everyday events. The Byron Bay that Miller and Shantz promote is resolutely utopian, and certainly countercultural if compared to other free publications like The Book, a new shopping guide, or mainstream media elsewhere. Despite this new competition, they are planning the next edition for 2015 with essays to make people think, talk, and understand the region’s issues, so perhaps the counterculture is still holding its own against the mainstream. References Atton, Chris. “What Is ‘Alternative’ Journalism?” Journalism: Theory, Practice, Criticism 4.3 (2003): 267-72. Berger, Bennett M. The Survival of a Counterculture: Ideological Work and Everyday Life among Rural Communards. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2004. co*ck, Peter H., & Paul F. Perry. “Australia's Alternative Media.” Media Information Australia 6 (1977): 4-13. Couldry, Nick. “Mediation and Alternative Media, or Relocating the Centre of Media and Communication Studies.” Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy 103, (2002): 24-31. Davis, Dale, John Witzig & Don James. “Rusty Miller.” Encyclopedia of Surfing. 10 Nov. 2014 ‹http://encyclopediaofsurfing.com/entries/miller-rusty›. Downing, John. Radical Media: Rebellious Communication and Social Movements. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Davis, J.C. Utopia and the Ideal Society: A Study of English Utopian Writing 1516-1700. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1983. Forde, Susan. Challenging the News: The Journalism of Alternative and Independent Media. Palgrave Macmillan: London, 2011. ---. “Monitoring the Establishment: The Development of the Alternative Press in Australia” Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy 87 (May 1998): 114-133. Frobert, Lucien. “French Utopian Socialists as the First Pioneers in Development.” Cambridge Journal of Economics 35 (2011): 729-49. Green, Toby. Thomas More’s Magician: A Novel Account of Utopia in Mexico. London: Phoenix, 2004. Goffman, Ken, & Dan Joy. Counterculture through the Ages: From Abraham to Acid House. New York: Villard Books. 2004. Haude, Sigrun. “Anabaptism.” The Reformation World. Ed. Andrew Pettegree. London: Routledge, 2000. 237-256. Jameson, Fredric. Archeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions. New York: Verso, 2005. Levitas, Ruth. Utopia as Method. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Martin, Fiona, & Rhonda Ellis. “Dropping In, Not Out: The Evolution of the Alternative Press in Byron Shire 1970-2001.” Transformations 2 (2002). 10 Nov. 2014 ‹http://www.transformationsjournal.org/journal/issue_02/pdf/MartinEllis.pdf›. McKay, George. Senseless Acts of Beauty: Cultures of Resistance since the Sixties. London: Verso, 1996. Metcalf, Bill. From Utopian Dreaming to Communal Reality: Cooperative Lifestyles in Australia. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 1995. ---. Shared Visions, Shared Lives: Communal Living around the Globe. Forres, UK: Findhorn Press, 1996. Miller, Rusty & Tricia Shantz. Turning Point: Surf Portraits and Stories from Bells to Byron 1970-1971. Surf Research. 2012. Molnar, Thomas. Utopia: The Perennial Heresy. London: Tom Stacey, 1972. Moylan, Tom. Demand the Impossible: Science Fiction and the Utopian Imagination. New York: Methuen, 1986. Munro-Clark, Margaret. Communes in Rural Australia: The Movement since 1970. Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1986. Osterlag, Bob. People’s Movements, People’s Press: The Journalism of Social Justice Movements. Boston: Beacon Press, 2006. Roszak, Theodore. The Making of a Counter Culture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society and Its Youthful Opposition. New York: Anchor, 1969. Sargent, Lyman Tower. “Three Faces of Utopianism Revisited.” Utopian Studies 5.1 (1994): 1-37. Schaer, Roland, Gregory Claeys, and Lyman Tower Sargent, eds. Utopia: The Search for the Ideal Society in the Western World. New York: New York Public Library/Oxford UP, 2000. Streitmatter, Roger. Voices of Revolution: The Dissident Press in America. Columbia: Columbia UP, 2001. Suvin, Darko. Metamorphoses of Science Fiction: On the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre. New Haven: Yale UP, 1979. Ward, Susan, & Kitty van Vuuren. “Belonging to the Rainbow Region: Place, Local Media, and the Construction of Civil and Moral Identities Strategic to Climate Change Adaptability.” Environmental Communication 7.1 (2013): 63-79. Warshaw, Matt. The History of Surfing. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2011. Wilson, Helen. (Ed.). Belonging in the Rainbow Region: Cultural Perspectives on the NSW North Coast. Lismore, NSW: Southern Cross University Press, 2003. Widmer, Kingsley. Counterings: Utopian Dialectics in Contemporary Contexts. Ann Arbor, London: UMI Research Press, 1988. Yinger, J. Milton. Countercultures: The Promise and Peril of a World Turned Upside Down. New York: The Free Press, 1982.

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Kellner, Douglas. "Engaging Media Spectacle." M/C Journal 6, no.3 (June1, 2003). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2202.

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In the contemporary era, media spectacle organizes and mobilizes economic life, political conflict, social interactions, culture, and everyday life. My recently published book Media Spectacle explores a profusion of developments in hi-tech culture, media-driven society, and spectacle politics. Spectacle culture involves everything from film and broadcasting to Internet cyberculture and encompasses phenomena ranging from elections to terrorism and to the media dramas of the moment. For ‘Logo’, I am accordingly sketching out briefly a terrain I probe in detail in the book from which these examples are taken.1 During the past decades, every form of culture and significant forms of social life have become permeated by the logic of the spectacle. Movies are bigger and more spectacular than ever, with high-tech special effects expanding the range of cinematic spectacle. Television channels proliferate endlessly with all-day movies, news, sports, specialty niches, re-runs of the history of television, and whatever else can gain an audience. The rock spectacle reverberates through radio, television, CDs, computers networks, and extravagant concerts. The Internet encircles the world in the spectacle of an interactive and multimedia cyberculture. Media culture excels in creating megaspectacles of sports championships, political conflicts, entertainment, "breaking news" and media events, such as the O.J. Simpson trial, the Death of Princess Diana, or the sex or murder scandal of the moment. Megaspectacle comes as well to dominate party politics, as the political battles of the day, such as the Clinton sex scandals and impeachment, the 36 Day Battle for the White House after Election 2000, and the September 11 terrorist attacks and subsequent Terror War. These dramatic media passion plays define the politics of the time, and attract mass audiences to their programming, hour after hour, day after day. The concept of "spectacle" derives from French Situationist theorist Guy Debord's 1972 book Society of the Spectacle. "Spectacle," in Debord's terms, "unifies and explains a great diversity of apparent phenomena" (Debord 1970: #10). In one sense, it refers to a media and consumer society, organized around the consumption of images, commodities, and spectacles. Spectacles are those phenomena of media culture which embody contemporary society's basic values, and dreams and nightmares, putting on display dominant hopes and fears. They serve to enculturate individuals into its way of life, and dramatize its conflicts and modes of conflict resolution. They include sports events, political campaigns and elections, and media extravaganzas like sensational murder trials, or the Bill Clinton sex scandals and impeachment spectacle (1998-1999). As we enter a new millennium, the media are becoming ever more technologically dazzling and are playing an increasingly central role in everyday life. Under the influence of a postmodern image culture, seductive spectacles fascinate the denizens of the media and consumer society and involve them in the semiotics of a new world of entertainment, information, a semiotics of a new world of entertainment, information, and drama, which deeply influence thought and action. For Debord: "When the real world changes into simple images, simple images become real beings and effective motivations of a hypnotic behavior. The spectacle as a tendency to make one see the world by means of various specialized mediations (it can no longer be grasped directly), naturally finds vision to be the privileged human sense which the sense of touch was for other epochs; the most abstract, the most mystifiable sense corresponds to the generalized abstraction of present day society" (#18). Today, however, I would maintain it is the multimedia spectacle of sight, sound, touch, and, coming to you soon, smell that constitutes the multidimensional sense experience of the new interactive spectacle. For Debord, the spectacle is a tool of pacification and depoliticization; it is a "permanent opium war" (#44) which stupefies social subjects and distracts them from the most urgent task of real life -- recovering the full range of their human powers through creative praxis. The concept of the spectacle is integrally connected to the concept of separation and passivity, for in passively consuming spectacles, one is separated from actively producing one's life. Capitalist society separates workers from the products of their labor, art from life, and consumption from human needs and self-directing activity, as individuals passively observe the spectacles of social life from within the privacy of their homes (#25 and #26). The situationist project by contrast involved an overcoming of all forms of separation, in which individuals would directly produce their own life and modes of self-activity and collective practice. Since Debord's theorization of the society of the spectacle in the 1960s and 1970s, spectacle culture has expanded in every area of life. In the culture of the spectacle, commercial enterprises have to be entertaining to prosper and as Michael J. Wolf (1999) argues, in an "entertainment economy," business and fun fuse, so that the E-factor is becoming major aspect of business.2 Via the "entertainmentization" of the economy, television, film, theme parks, video games, casinos, and so forth become major sectors of the national economy. In the U.S., the entertainment industry is now a $480 billion industry, and consumers spend more on having fun than on clothes or health care (Wolf 1999: 4).3 In a competitive business world, the "fun factor" can give one business the edge over another. Hence, corporations seek to be more entertaining in their commercials, their business environment, their commercial spaces, and their web sites. Budweiser ads, for instance, feature talking frogs who tell us nothing about the beer, but who catch the viewers' attention, while Taco Bell deploys a talking dog, and Pepsi uses Star Wars characters. Buying, shopping, and dining out are coded as an "experience," as businesses adopt a theme-park style. Places like the Hard Rock Cafe and the House of Blues are not renowned for their food, after all; people go there for the ambience, to buy clothing, and to view music and media memorabilia. It is no longer good enough just to have a web site, it has to be an interactive spectacle, featuring not only products to buy, but music and videos to download, games to play, prizes to win, travel information, and "links to other cool sites." To succeed in the ultracompetitive global marketplace, corporations need to circulate their image and brand name so business and advertising combine in the promotion of corporations as media spectacles. Endless promotion circulates the McDonald’s Golden Arches, Nike’s Swoosh, or the logos of Apple, Intel, or Microsoft. In the brand wars between commodities, corporations need to make their logos or “trademarks” a familiar signpost in contemporary culture. Corporations place their logos on their products, in ads, in the spaces of everyday life, and in the midst of media spectacles like important sports events, TV shows, movie product placement, and wherever they can catch consumer eyeballs, to impress their brand name on a potential buyer. Consequently, advertising, marketing, public relations and promotion are an essential part of commodity spectacle in the global marketplace. Celebrity too is manufactured and managed in the world of media spectacle. Celebrities are the icons of media culture, the gods and goddesses of everyday life. To become a celebrity requires recognition as a star player in the field of media spectacle, be it sports, entertainment, or politics. Celebrities have their handlers and image managers to make sure that their celebrities continue to be seen and positively perceived by publics. Just as with corporate brand names, celebrities become brands to sell their Madonna, Michael Jordan, Tom Cruise, or Jennifer Lopez product and image. In a media culture, however, celebrities are always prey to scandal and thus must have at their disposal an entire public relations apparatus to manage their spectacle fortunes, to make sure their clients not only maintain high visibility but keep projecting a positive image. Of course, within limits, “bad” and transgressions can also sell and so media spectacle contains celebrity dramas that attract public attention and can even define an entire period, as when the O.J. Simpson murder trials and Bill Clinton sex scandals dominated the media in the mid and late 1990s. Entertainment has always been a prime field of the spectacle, but in today's infotainment society, entertainment and spectacle have entered into the domains of the economy, politics, society, and everyday life in important new ways. Building on the tradition of spectacle, contemporary forms of entertainment from television to the stage are incorporating spectacle culture into their enterprises, transforming film, television, music, drama, and other domains of culture, as well as producing spectacular new forms of culture such as cyberspace, multimedia, and virtual reality. For Neil Gabler, in an era of media spectacle, life itself is becoming like a movie and we create our own lives as a genre like film, or television, in which we become "at once performance artists in and audiences for a grand, ongoing show" (1998: 4). On Gabler’s view, we star in our own "lifies," making our lives into entertainment acted out for audiences of our peers, following the scripts of media culture, adopting its role models and fashion types, its style and look. Seeing our lives in cinematic terms, entertainment becomes for Gabler "arguably the most pervasive, powerful and ineluctable force of our time--a force so overwhelming that it has metastasized into life" to such an extent that it is impossible to distinguish between the two (1998: 9). As Gabler sees it, Ralph Lauren is our fashion expert; Martha Stewart designs our sets; Jane Fonda models our shaping of our bodies; and Oprah Winfrey advises us on our personal problems.4 Media spectacle is indeed a culture of celebrity who provide dominant role models and icons of fashion, look, and personality. In the world of spectacle, celebrity encompasses every major social domain from entertainment to politics to sports to business. An ever-expanding public relations industry hypes certain figures, elevating them to celebrity status, and protects their positive image in the never-ending image wars and dangers that a celebrity will fall prey to the machinations of negative-image and thus lose celebrity status, and/or become figures of scandal and approbation, as will some of the players and institutions that I examine in Media Spectacle (Kellner 2003). Sports has long been a domain of the spectacle with events like the Olympics, World Series, Super Bowl, World Soccer Cup, and NBA championships attracting massive audiences, while generating sky-high advertising rates. These cultural rituals celebrate society's deepest values (i.e. competition, winning, success, and money), and corporations are willing to pay top dollar to get their products associated with such events. Indeed, it appears that the logic of the commodity spectacle is inexorably permeating professional sports which can no longer be played without the accompaniment of cheerleaders, giant mascots who clown with players and spectators, and raffles, promotions, and contests that feature the products of various sponsors. Sports stadiums themselves contain electronic reproduction of the action, as well as giant advertisem*nts for various products that rotate for maximum saturation -- previewing environmental advertising in which entire urban sites are becoming scenes to boost consumption spectacles. Arenas, like the United Center in Chicago, America West Arena in Phoenix, on Enron Field in Houston are named after corporate sponsors. Of course, after major corporate scandals or collapse, like the Enron spectacle, the ballparks must be renamed! The Texas Ranger Ballpark in Arlington, Texas supplements its sports arena with a shopping mall, office buildings, and a restaurant in which for a hefty price one can watch the athletic events while eating and drinking.5 The architecture of the Texas Rangers stadium is an example of the implosion of sports and entertainment and postmodern spectacle. A man-made lake surrounds the stadium, the corridor inside is modeled after Chartes Cathedral, and the structure is made of local stone that provides the look of the Texas Capitol in Austin. Inside there are Texas longhorn cattle carvings, panels of Texas and baseball history, and other iconic signifiers of sports and Texas. The merging of sports, entertainment, and local spectacle is now typical in sports palaces. Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida, for instance, "has a three-level mall that includes places where 'fans can get a trim at the barber shop, do their banking and then grab a cold one at the Budweiser brew pub, whose copper kettles rise three stories. There is even a climbing wall for kids and showroom space for car dealerships'" (Ritzer 1998: 229). Film has long been a fertile field of the spectacle, with "Hollywood" connoting a world of glamour, publicity, fashion, and excess. Hollywood film has exhibited grand movie palaces, spectacular openings with searchlights and camera-popping paparazzi, glamorous Oscars, and stylish hi-tech film. While epic spectacle became a dominant genre of Hollywood film from early versions of The Ten Commandments through Cleopatra and 2001 in the 1960s, contemporary film has incorporated the mechanics of spectacle into its form, style, and special effects. Films are hyped into spectacle through advertising and trailers which are ever louder, more glitzy, and razzle-dazzle. Some of the most popular films of the late 1990s were spectacle films, including Titanic, Star Wars -- Phantom Menace, Three Kings, and Austin Powers, a spoof of spectacle, which became one of the most successful films of summer 1999. During Fall 1999, there was a cycle of spectacles, including Topsy Turvy, Titus, Cradle Will Rock, Sleepy Hollow, The Insider, and Magnolia, with the latter featuring the biblical spectacle of the raining of frogs in the San Fernando Valley, in an allegory of the decadence of the entertainment industry and deserved punishment for its excesses. The 2000 Academy Awards were dominated by the spectacle Gladiator, a mediocre film that captured best picture award and best acting award for Russell Crowe, thus demonstrating the extent to which the logic of the spectacle now dominates Hollywood film. Some of the most critically acclaimed and popular films of 2001 are also hi-tech spectacle, such as Moulin Rouge, a film spectacle that itself is a delirious ode to spectacle, from cabaret and the brothel to can-can dancing, opera, musical comedy, dance, theater, popular music, and film. A postmodern pastiche of popular music styles and hits, the film used songs and music ranging from Madonna and the Beatles to Dolly Parton and Kiss. Other 2001 film spectacles include Pearl Harbor, which re-enacts the Japanese attack on the U.S. that propelled the country to enter World War II, and that provided a ready metaphor for the September 11 terror attacks. Major 2001 film spectacles range from David Lynch’s postmodern surrealism in Mulholland Drive to Steven Spielberg’s blending of his typically sentimental spectacle of the family with the formalist rigor of Stanley Kubrick in A.I. And the popular 2001 military film Black-Hawk Down provided a spectacle of American military heroism which some critics believed sugar-coated the actual problems with the U.S. military intervention in Somalia, causing worries that a future U.S. adventure by the Bush administration and Pentagon would meet similar problems. There were reports, however, that in Somalian cinemas there were loud cheers as the Somalians in the film shot down the U.S. helicopter, and pursued and killed American soldiers, attesting to growing anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world against Bush administration policies. Television has been from its introduction in the 1940s a promoter of consumption spectacle, selling cars, fashion, home appliances, and other commodities along with consumer life-styles and values. It is also the home of sports spectacle like the Super Bowl or World Series, political spectacles like elections (or more recently, scandals), entertainment spectacle like the Oscars or Grammies, and its own spectacles like breaking news or special events. Following the logic of spectacle entertainment, contemporary television exhibits more hi-tech glitter, faster and glitzier editing, computer simulations, and with cable and satellite television, a fantastic array of every conceivable type of show and genre. TV is today a medium of spectacular programs like The X-Files or Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, and spectacles of everyday life such as MTV's The Real World and Road Rules, or the globally popular Survivor and Big Brother series. Real life events, however, took over TV spectacle in 2000-2001 in, first, an intense battle for the White House in a dead-heat election, that arguably constitutes one of the greatest political crimes and scandals in U.S. history (see Kellner 2001). After months of the Bush administration pushing the most hardright political agenda in memory and then deadlocking as the Democrats took control of the Senate in a dramatic party re-affiliation of Vermont’s Jim Jeffords, the world was treated to the most horrifying spectacle of the new millennium, the September 11 terror attacks and unfolding Terror War that has so far engulfed Afghanistan and Iraq. These events promise an unending series of deadly spectacle for the foreseeable future.6 Hence, we are emerging into a new culture of media spectacle that constitutes a novel configuration of economy, society, politics, and everyday life. It involves new cultural forms, social relations, and modes of experience. It is producing an ever-proliferating and expanding spectacle culture with its proliferating media forms, cultural spaces, and myriad forms of spectacle. It is evident in the U.S. as the new millennium unfolds and may well constitute emergent new forms of global culture. Critical social theory thus faces important challenges in theoretically mapping and analyzing these emergent forms of culture and society and the ways that they may contain novel forms of domination and oppression, as well as potential for democratization and social justice. Works Cited Debord, Guy. Society of the Spectacle. Detroit: Black and Red, 1967. Gabler, Neil. Life the Movie. How Entertainment Conquered Reality. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998. Kellner, Douglas. Grand Theft 2000. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001. Kellner, Douglas. From 9/11 to Terror War: Dangers of the Bush Legacy. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2003. Kellner, Douglas. Media Spectacle. London and New York: Routledge, 2003. Ritzer, George. The McDonaldization Thesis: Explorations and Extensions. Thousand Oaks, Cal. and London: Sage, 1998. Wolf, Michael J. Entertainment Economy: How Mega-Media Forces are Transforming Our Lives. New York: Times Books, 1999. Notes 1 See Douglas Kellner, Media Spectacle. London and New York: Routledge, 2003. 2 Wolf's book is a detailed and useful celebration of the "entertainment economy," although he is a shill for the firms and tycoons that he works for and celebrates them in his book. Moreover, while entertainment is certainly an important component of the infotainment economy, it is an exaggeration to say that it drives it and is actually propelling it, as Wolf repeatedly claims. Wolf also downplays the negative aspects of the entertainment economy, such as growing consumer debt and the ups and downs of the infotainment stock market and vicissitudes of the global economy. 3 Another source notes that "the average American household spent $1,813 in 1997 on entertainment -- books, TV, movies, theater, toys -- almost as much as the $1,841 spent on health care per family, according to a survey by the US Labor Department." Moreover, "the price we pay to amuse ourselves has, in some cases, risen at a rate triple that of inflation over the past five years" (USA Today, April 2, 1999: E1). The NPD Group provided a survey that indicated that the amount of time spent on entertainment outside of the home –- such as going to the movies or a sport event – was up 8% from the early to the late 1990s and the amount of time in home entertainment, such as watching television or surfing the Internet, went up 2%. Reports indicate that in a typical American household, people with broadband Internet connections spend 22% more time on all-electronic media and entertainment than the average household without broadband. See “Study: Broadband in homes changes media habits” (PCWORLD.COM, October 11, 2000). 4 Gabler’s book is a synthesis of Daniel Boorstin, Dwight Macdonald, Neil Poster, Marshall McLuhan, and other trendy theorists of media culture, but without the brilliance of a Baudrillard, the incisive criticism of an Adorno, or the understanding of the deeper utopian attraction of media culture of a Bloch or Jameson. Likewise, Gabler does not, a la cultural studies, engage the politics of representation, or its economics and political economy. He thus ignores mergers in the culture industries, new technologies, the restructuring of capitalism, globalization, and shifts in the economy that are driving the impetus toward entertainment. Gabler does get discuss how new technologies are creating new spheres of entertainment and forms of experience and in general describes rather than theorizes the trends he is engaging. 5 The project was designed and sold to the public in part through the efforts of the son of a former President, George W. Bush. Young Bush was bailed out of heavy losses in the Texas oil industry in the 1980s by his father's friends and used his capital gains, gleaned from what some say as illicit insider trading, to purchase part-ownership of a baseball team to keep the wayward son out of trouble and to give him something to do. The soon-to-be Texas governor, and future President of the United States, sold the new stadium to local taxpayers, getting them to agree to a higher sales tax to build the stadium which would then become the property of Bush and his partners. This deal allowed Bush to generate a healthy profit when he sold his interest in the Texas Rangers franchise and to buy his Texas ranch, paid for by Texas tax-payers (for sources on the scandalous life of George W. Bush and his surprising success in politics, see Kellner 2001 and the further discussion of Bush Jr. in Chapter 6). 6 See Douglas Kellner, From 9/11 to Terror War: Dangers of the Bush Legacy. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield Citation reference for this article Substitute your date of access for Dn Month Year etc... MLA Style Kellner, Douglas. "Engaging Media Spectacle " M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture< http://www.media-culture.org.au/0306/09-mediaspectacle.php>. APA Style Kellner, D. (2003, Jun 19). Engaging Media Spectacle . M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 6,< http://www.media-culture.org.au/0306/09-mediaspectacle.php>

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Khamis, Susie. "Nespresso: Branding the "Ultimate Coffee Experience"." M/C Journal 15, no.2 (May2, 2012). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.476.

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Introduction In December 2010, Nespresso, the world’s leading brand of premium-portioned coffee, opened a flagship “boutique” in Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall. This was Nespresso’s fifth boutique opening of 2010, after Brussels, Miami, Soho, and Munich. The Sydney debut coincided with the mall’s upmarket redevelopment, which explains Nespresso’s arrival in the city: strategic geographic expansion is key to the brand’s growth. Rather than panoramic ubiquity, a retail option favoured by brands like McDonalds, KFC and Starbucks, Nespresso opts for iconic, prestigious locations. This strategy has been highly successful: since 2000 Nespresso has recorded year-on-year per annum growth of 30 per cent. This has been achieved, moreover, despite a global financial downturn and an international coffee market replete with brand variety. In turn, Nespresso marks an evolution in the coffee market over the last decade. The Nespresso Story Founded in 1986, Nespresso is the fasting growing brand in the Nestlé Group. Its headquarters are in Lausanne, Switzerland, with over 7,000 employees worldwide. In 2012, Nespresso had 270 boutiques in 50 countries. The brand’s growth strategy involves three main components: premium coffee capsules, “mated” with specially designed machines, and accompanied by exceptional customer service through the Nespresso Club. Each component requires some explanation. Nespresso offers 16 varieties of Grand Crus coffee: 7 espresso blends, 3 pure origin espressos, 3 lungos (for larger cups), and 3 decaffeinated coffees. Each 5.5 grams of portioned coffee is cased in a hermetically sealed aluminium capsule, or pod, designed to preserve the complex, volatile aromas (between 800 and 900 per pod), and prevent oxidation. These capsules are designed to be used exclusively with Nespresso-branded machines, which are equipped with a patented high-pressure extraction system designed for optimum release of the coffee. These machines, of which there are 28 models, are developed with 6 machine partners, and Antoine Cahen, from Ateliers du Nord in Lausanne, designs most of them. For its consumers, members of the Nespresso Club, the capsules and machines guarantee perfect espresso coffee every time, within seconds and with minimum effort—what Nespresso calls the “ultimate coffee experience.” The Nespresso Club promotes this experience as an everyday luxury, whereby café-quality coffee can be enjoyed in the privacy and comfort of Club members’ homes. This domestic focus is a relatively recent turn in its history. Nestlé patented some of its pod technology in 1976; the compatible machines, initially made in Switzerland by Turmix, were developed a decade later. Nespresso S. A. was set up as a subsidiary unit within the Nestlé Group with a view to target the office and fine restaurant sector. It was first test-marketed in Japan in 1986, and rolled out the same year in Switzerland, France and Italy. However, by 1988, low sales prompted Nespresso’s newly appointed CEO, Jean-Paul Gillard, to rethink the brand’s focus. Gillard subsequently repositioned Nespresso’s target market away from the commercial sector towards high-income households and individuals, and introduced a mail-order distribution system; these elements became the hallmarks of the Nespresso Club (Markides 55). The Nespresso Club was designed to give members who had purchased Nespresso machines 24-hour customer service, by mail, phone, fax, and email. By the end of 1997 there were some 250,000 Club members worldwide. The boom in domestic, user-friendly espresso machines from the early 1990s helped Nespresso’s growth in this period. The cumulative efforts by the main manufacturers—Krups, Bosch, Braun, Saeco and DeLonghi—lowered the machines’ average price to around US $100 (Purpura, “Espresso” 88; Purpura, “New” 116). This paralleled consumers’ growing sophistication, as they became increasingly familiar with café-quality espresso, cappuccino and latté—for reasons to be detailed below. Nespresso was primed to exploit this cultural shift in the market and forge a charismatic point of difference: an aspirational, luxury option within an increasingly accessible and familiar field. Between 2006 and 2008, Nespresso sales more than doubled, prompting a second production factory to supplement the original plant in Avenches (Simonian). In 2008, Nespresso grew 20 times faster than the global coffee market (Reguly B1). As Nespresso sales exceeded $1.3 billion AU in 2009, with 4.8 billion capsules shipped out annually and 5 million Club members worldwide, it became Nestlé’s fastest growing division (Canning 28). According to Nespresso’s Oceania market director, Renaud Tinel, the brand now represents 8 per cent of the total coffee market; of Nespresso specifically, he reports that 10,000 cups (using one capsule per cup) were consumed worldwide each minute in 2009, and that increased to 12,300 cups per minute in 2010 (O’Brien 16). Given such growth in such a brief period, the atypical dynamic between the boutique, the Club and the Nespresso brand warrants closer consideration. Nespresso opened its first boutique in Paris in 2000, on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. It was a symbolic choice and signalled the brand’s preference for glamorous precincts in cosmopolitan cities. This has become the design template for all Nespresso boutiques, what the company calls “brand embassies” in its press releases. More like art gallery-style emporiums than retail spaces, these boutiques perform three main functions: they showcase Nespresso coffees, machines and accessories (all elegantly displayed); they enable Club members to stock up on capsules; and they offer excellent customer service, which invariably equates to detailed production information. The brand’s revenue model reflects the boutique’s role in the broader business strategy: 50 per cent of Nespresso’s business is generated online, 30 per cent through the boutiques, and 20 per cent through call centres. Whatever floor space these boutiques dedicate to coffee consumption is—compared to the emphasis on exhibition and ambience—minimal and marginal. In turn, this tightly monitored, self-focused model inverts the conventional function of most commercial coffee sites. For several hundred years, the café has fostered a convivial atmosphere, served consumers’ social inclinations, and overwhelmingly encouraged diverse, eclectic clientele. The Nespresso boutique is the antithesis to this, and instead actively limits interaction: the Club “community” does not meet as a community, and is united only in atomised allegiance to the Nespresso brand. In this regard, Nespresso stands in stark contrast to another coffee brand that has been highly successful in recent years—Starbucks. Starbucks famously recreates the aesthetics, rhetoric and atmosphere of the café as a “third place”—a term popularised by urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg to describe non-work, non-domestic spaces where patrons converge for respite or recreation. These liminal spaces (cafés, parks, hair salons, book stores and such locations) might be private, commercial sites, yet they provide opportunities for chance encounters, even therapeutic interactions. In this way, they aid sociability and civic life (Kleinman 193). Long before the term “third place” was coined, coffee houses were deemed exemplars of egalitarian social space. As Rudolf P. Gaudio notes, the early coffee houses of Western Europe, in Oxford and London in the mid-1600s, “were characterized as places where commoners and aristocrats could meet and socialize without regard to rank” (670). From this sanguine perspective, they both informed and animated the modern public sphere. That is, and following Habermas, as a place where a mixed cohort of individuals could meet and discuss matters of public importance, and where politics intersected society, the eighteenth-century British coffee house both typified and strengthened the public sphere (Karababa and Ger 746). Moreover, and even from their early Ottoman origins (Karababa and Ger), there has been an historical correlation between the coffee house and the cosmopolitan, with the latter at least partly defined in terms of demographic breadth (Luckins). Ironically, and insofar as Nespresso appeals to coffee-literate consumers, the brand owes much to Starbucks. In the two decades preceding Nespresso’s arrival, Starbucks played a significant role in refining coffee literacy around the world, gauging mass-market trends, and stirring consumer consciousness. For Nespresso, this constituted major preparatory phenomena, as its strategy (and success) since the early 2000s presupposed the coffee market that Starbucks had helped to create. According to Nespresso’s chief executive Richard Giradot, central to Nespresso’s expansion is a focus on particular cities and their coffee culture (Canning 28). In turn, it pays to take stock of how such cities developed a coffee culture amenable to Nespresso—and therein lays the brand’s debt to Starbucks. Until the last few years, and before celebrity ambassador George Clooney was enlisted in 2005, Nespresso’s marketing was driven primarily by Club members’ recommendations. At the same time, though, Nespresso insisted that Club members were coffee connoisseurs, whose knowledge and enjoyment of coffee exceeded conventional coffee offerings. In 2000, Henk Kwakman, one of Nestlé’s Coffee Specialists, explained the need for portioned coffee in terms of guaranteed perfection, one that demanding consumers would expect. “In general”, he reasoned, “people who really like espresso coffee are very much more quality driven. When you consider such an intense taste experience, the quality is very important. If the espresso is slightly off quality, the connoisseur notices this immediately” (quoted in Butler 50). What matters here is how this corps of connoisseurs grew to a scale big enough to sustain and strengthen the Nespresso system, in the absence of a robust marketing or educative drive by Nespresso (until very recently). Put simply, the brand’s ascent was aided by Starbucks, specifically by the latter’s success in changing the mainstream coffee market during the 1990s. In establishing such a strong transnational presence, Starbucks challenged smaller, competing brands to define themselves with more clarity and conviction. Indeed, working with data that identified just 200 freestanding coffee houses in the US prior to 1990 compared to 14,000 in 2003, Kjeldgaard and Ostberg go so far as to state that: “Put bluntly, in the US there was no local coffee consumptionscape prior to Starbucks” (Kjeldgaard and Ostberg 176). Starbucks effectively redefined the coffee world for mainstream consumers in ways that were directly beneficial for Nespresso. Starbucks: Coffee as Ambience, Experience, and Cultural Capital While visitors to Nespresso boutiques can sample the coffee, with highly trained baristas and staff on site to explain the Nespresso system, in the main there are few concessions to the conventional café experience. Primarily, these boutiques function as material spaces for existing Club members to stock up on capsules, and therefore they complement the Nespresso system with a suitably streamlined space: efficient, stylish and conspicuously upmarket. Outside at least one Sydney boutique for instance (Bondi Junction, in the fashionable eastern suburbs), visitors enter through a club-style cordon, something usually associated with exclusive bars or hotels. This demarcates the boutique from neighbouring coffee chains, and signals Nespresso’s claim to more privileged patrons. This strategy though, the cultivation of a particular customer through aesthetic design and subtle flattery, is not unique. For decades, Starbucks also contrived a “special” coffee experience. Moreover, while the Starbucks model strikes a very different sensorial chord to that of Nespresso (in terms of décor, target consumer and so on) it effectively groomed and prepped everyday coffee drinkers to a level of relative self-sufficiency and expertise—and therein is the link between Starbucks’s mass-marketed approach and Nespresso’s timely arrival. Starbucks opened its first store in 1971, in Seattle. Three partners founded it: Jerry Baldwin and Zev Siegl, both teachers, and Gordon Bowker, a writer. In 1982, as they opened their sixth Seattle store, they were joined by Howard Schultz. Schultz’s trip to Italy the following year led to an entrepreneurial epiphany to which he now attributes Starbucks’s success. Inspired by how cafés in Italy, particularly the espresso bars in Milan, were vibrant social hubs, Schultz returned to the US with a newfound sensitivity to ambience and attitude. In 1987, Schultz bought Starbucks outright and stated his business philosophy thus: “We aren’t in the coffee business, serving people. We are in the people business, serving coffee” (quoted in Ruzich 432). This was articulated most clearly in how Schultz structured Starbucks as the ultimate “third place”, a welcoming amalgam of aromas, music, furniture, textures, literature and free WiFi. This transformed the café experience twofold. First, sensory overload masked the dull hom*ogeny of a global chain with an air of warm, comforting domesticity—an inviting, everyday “home away from home.” To this end, in 1994, Schultz enlisted interior design “mastermind” Wright Massey; with his team of 45 designers, Massey created the chain’s decor blueprint, an “oasis for contemplation” (quoted in Scerri 60). At the same time though, and second, Starbucks promoted a revisionist, airbrushed version of how the coffee was produced. Patrons could see and smell the freshly roasted beans, and read about their places of origin in the free pamphlets. In this way, Starbucks merged the exotic and the cosmopolitan. The global supply chain underwent an image makeover, helped by a “new” vocabulary that familiarised its coffee drinkers with the diversity and complexity of coffee, and such terms as aroma, acidity, body and flavour. This strategy had a decisive impact on the coffee market, first in the US and then elsewhere: Starbucks oversaw a significant expansion in coffee consumption, both quantitatively and qualitatively. In the decades following the Second World War, coffee consumption in the US reached a plateau. Moreover, as Steven Topik points out, the rise of this type of coffee connoisseurship actually coincided with declining per capita consumption of coffee in the US—so the social status attributed to specialised knowledge of coffee “saved” the market: “Coffee’s rise as a sign of distinction and connoisseurship meant its appeal was no longer just its photoactive role as a stimulant nor the democratic sociability of the coffee shop” (Topik 100). Starbucks’s singular triumph was to not only convert non-coffee drinkers, but also train them to a level of relative sophistication. The average “cup o’ Joe” thus gave way to the latte, cappuccino, macchiato and more, and a world of coffee hitherto beyond (perhaps above) the average American consumer became both regular and routine. By 2003, Starbucks’s revenue was US $4.1 billion, and by 2012 there were almost 20,000 stores in 58 countries. As an idealised “third place,” Starbucks functioned as a welcoming haven that flattened out and muted the realities of global trade. The variety of beans on offer (Arabica, Latin American, speciality single origin and so on) bespoke a generous and bountiful modernity; while brochures schooled patrons in the nuances of terroir, an appreciation for origin and distinctiveness that encoded cultural capital. This positioned Starbucks within a happy narrative of the coffee economy, and drew patrons into this story by flattering their consumer choices. Against the generic sameness of supermarket options, Starbucks promised distinction, in Pierre Bourdieu’s sense of the term, and diversity in its coffee offerings. For Greg Dickinson, the Starbucks experience—the scent of the beans, the sound of the grinders, the taste of the coffees—negated the abstractions of postmodern, global trade: by sensory seduction, patrons connected with something real, authentic and material. At the same time, Starbucks professed commitment to the “triple bottom line” (Savitz), the corporate mantra that has morphed into virtual orthodoxy over the last fifteen years. This was hardly surprising; companies that trade in food staples typically grown in developing regions (coffee, tea, sugar, and coffee) felt the “political-aesthetic problematization of food” (Sassatelli and Davolio). This saw increasingly cognisant consumers trying to reconcile the pleasures of consumption with environmental and human responsibilities. The “triple bottom line” approach, which ostensibly promotes best business practice for people, profits and the planet, was folded into Starbucks’s marketing. The company heavily promoted its range of civic engagement, such as donations to nurses’ associations, literacy programs, clean water programs, and fair dealings with its coffee growers in developing societies (Simon). This bode well for its target market. As Constance M. Ruch has argued, Starbucks sought the burgeoning and lucrative “bobo” class, a term Ruch borrows from David Brooks. A portmanteau of “bourgeois bohemians,” “bobo” describes the educated elite that seeks the ambience and experience of a counter-cultural aesthetic, but without the political commitment. Until the last few years, it seemed Starbucks had successfully grafted this cultural zeitgeist onto its “third place.” Ironically, the scale and scope of the brand’s success has meant that Starbucks’s claim to an ethical agenda draws frequent and often fierce attack. As a global behemoth, Starbucks evolved into an iconic symbol of advanced consumer culture. For those critical of how such brands overwhelm smaller, more local competition, the brand is now synonymous for insidious, unstoppable retail spread. This in turn renders Starbucks vulnerable to protests that, despite its gestures towards sustainability (human and environmental), and by virtue of its size, ubiquity and ultimately conservative philosophy, it has lost whatever cachet or charm it supposedly once had. As Bryant Simon argues, in co-opting the language of ethical practice within an ultimately corporatist context, Starbucks only ever appealed to a modest form of altruism; not just in terms of the funds committed to worthy causes, but also to move thorny issues to “the most non-contentious middle-ground,” lest conservative customers felt alienated (Simon 162). Yet, having flagged itself as an ethical brand, Starbucks became an even bigger target for anti-corporatist sentiment, and the charge that, as a multinational giant, it remained complicit in (and one of the biggest benefactors of) a starkly inequitable and asymmetric global trade. It remains a major presence in the world coffee market, and arguably the most famous of the coffee chains. Over the last decade though, the speed and intensity with which Nespresso has grown, coupled with its atypical approach to consumer engagement, suggests that, in terms of brand equity, it now offers a more compelling point of difference than Starbucks. Brand “Me” Insofar as the Nespresso system depends on a consumer market versed in the intricacies of quality coffee, Starbucks can be at least partly credited for nurturing a more refined palate amongst everyday coffee drinkers. Yet while Starbucks courted the “average” consumer in its quest for market control, saturating the suburban landscape with thousands of virtually indistinguishable stores, Nespresso marks a very different sensibility. Put simply, Nespresso inverts the logic of a coffee house as a “third place,” and patrons are drawn not to socialise and relax but to pursue their own highly individualised interests. The difference with Starbucks could not be starker. One visitor to the Bloomingdale boutique (in New York’s fashionable Soho district) described it as having “the feel of Switzerland rather than Seattle. Instead of velvet sofas and comfy music, it has hard surfaces, bright colours and European hostesses” (Gapper 9). By creating a system that narrows the gap between production and consumption, to the point where Nespresso boutiques advertise the coffee brand but do not promote on-site coffee drinking, the boutiques are blithely indifferent to the historical, romanticised image of the coffee house as a meeting place. The result is a coffee experience that exploits the sophistication and vanity of aspirational consumers, but ignores the socialising scaffold by which coffee houses historically and perhaps naively made some claim to community building. If anything, Nespresso restricts patrons’ contemplative field: they consider only their relationships to the brand. In turn, Nespresso offers the ultimate expression of contemporary consumer capitalism, a hyper-individual experience for a hyper-modern age. By developing a global brand that is both luxurious and niche, Nespresso became “the Louis Vuitton of coffee” (Betts 14). Where Starbucks pursued retail ubiquity, Nespresso targets affluent, upmarket cities. As chief executive Richard Giradot put it, with no hint of embarrassment or apology: “If you take China, for example, we are not speaking about China, we are speaking about Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing because you will not sell our concept in the middle of nowhere in China” (quoted in Canning 28). For this reason, while Europe accounts for 90 per cent of Nespresso sales (Betts 15), its forays into the Americas, Asia and Australasia invariably spotlights cities that are already iconic or emerging economic hubs. The first boutique in Latin America, for instance, was opened in Jardins, a wealthy suburb in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In Nespresso, Nestlé has popularised a coffee experience neatly suited to contemporary consumer trends: Club members inhabit a branded world as hermetically sealed as the aluminium pods they purchase and consume. Besides the Club’s phone, fax and online distribution channels, pods can only be bought at the boutiques, which minimise even the potential for serendipitous mingling. The baristas are there primarily for product demonstrations, whilst highly trained staff recite the machines’ strengths (be they in design or utility), or information about the actual coffees. For Club members, the boutique service is merely the human extension of Nespresso’s online presence, whereby product information becomes increasingly tailored to increasingly individualised tastes. In the boutique, this emphasis on the individual is sold in terms of elegance, expedience and privilege. Nespresso boasts that over 70 per cent of its workforce is “customer facing,” sharing their passion and knowledge with Club members. Having already received and processed the product information (through the website, boutique staff, and promotional brochures), Club members need not do anything more than purchase their pods. In some of the more recently opened boutiques, such as in Paris-Madeleine, there is even an Exclusive Room where only Club members may enter—curious tourists (or potential members) are kept out. Club members though can select their preferred Grands Crus and checkout automatically, thanks to RFID (radio frequency identification) technology inserted in the capsule sleeves. So, where Starbucks exudes an inclusive, hearth-like hospitality, the Nespresso Club appears more like a pampered clique, albeit a growing one. As described in the Financial Times, “combine the reception desk of a designer hotel with an expensive fashion display and you get some idea what a Nespresso ‘coffee boutique’ is like” (Wiggins and Simonian 10). Conclusion Instead of sociability, Nespresso puts a premium on exclusivity and the knowledge gained through that exclusive experience. The more Club members know about the coffee, the faster and more individualised (and “therefore” better) the transaction they have with the Nespresso brand. This in turn confirms Zygmunt Bauman’s contention that, in a consumer society, being free to choose requires competence: “Freedom to choose does not mean that all choices are right—there are good and bad choices, better and worse choices. The kind of choice eventually made is the evidence of competence or its lack” (Bauman 43-44). Consumption here becomes an endless process of self-fashioning through commodities; a process Eva Illouz considers “all the more strenuous when the market recruits the consumer through the sysiphian exercise of his/her freedom to choose who he/she is” (Illouz 392). In a status-based setting, the more finely graded the differences between commodities (various places of origin, blends, intensities, and so on), the harder the consumer works to stay ahead—which means to be sufficiently informed. Consumers are locked in a game of constant reassurance, to show upward mobility to both themselves and society. For all that, and like Starbucks, Nespresso shows some signs of corporate social responsibility. In 2009, the company announced its “Ecolaboration” initiative, a series of eco-friendly targets for 2013. By then, Nespresso aims to: source 80 per cent of its coffee through Sustainable Quality Programs and Rainforest Alliance Certified farms; triple its capacity to recycle used capsules to 75 per cent; and reduce the overall carbon footprint required to produce each cup of Nespresso by 20 per cent (Nespresso). This information is conveyed through the brand’s website, press releases and brochures. However, since such endeavours are now de rigueur for many brands, it does not register as particularly innovative, progressive or challenging: it is an unexceptional (even expected) part of contemporary mainstream marketing. Indeed, the use of actor George Clooney as Nespresso’s brand ambassador since 2005 shows shrewd appraisal of consumers’ political and cultural sensibilities. As a celebrity who splits his time between Hollywood and Lake Como in Italy, Clooney embodies the glamorous, cosmopolitan lifestyle that Nespresso signifies. However, as an actor famous for backing political and humanitarian causes (having raised awareness for crises in Darfur and Haiti, and backing calls for the legalisation of same-sex marriage), Clooney’s meanings extend beyond cinema: as a celebrity, he is multi-coded. Through its association with Clooney, and his fusion of star power and worldly sophistication, the brand is imbued with semantic latitude. Still, in the television commercials in which Clooney appears for Nespresso, his role as the Hollywood heartthrob invariably overshadows that of the political campaigner. These commercials actually pivot on Clooney’s romantic appeal, an appeal which is ironically upstaged in the commercials by something even more seductive: Nespresso coffee. References Bauman, Zygmunt. “Collateral Casualties of Consumerism.” Journal of Consumer Culture 7.1 (2007): 25–56. Betts, Paul. “Nestlé Refines its Arsenal in the Luxury Coffee War.” Financial Times 28 Apr. (2010): 14. Bourdieu, Pierre. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984. Butler, Reg. “The Nespresso Route to a Perfect Espresso.” Tea & Coffee Trade Journal 172.4 (2000): 50. Canning, Simon. “Nespresso Taps a Cultural Thirst.” The Australian 26 Oct. (2009): 28. Dickinson, Greg. “Joe’s Rhetoric: Finding Authenticity at Starbucks.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 32.4 (2002): 5–27. Gapper, John. “Lessons from Nestlé’s Coffee Break.” Financial Times 3 Jan. (2008): 9. Gaudio, Rudolf P. “Coffeetalk: StarbucksTM and the Commercialization of Casual Conversation.” Language in Society 32.5 (2003): 659–91. Habermas, Jürgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1962. Illouz, Eva. “Emotions, Imagination and Consumption: A New Research Agenda.” Journal of Consumer Culture 9 (2009): 377–413. Karababa, EmInegül, and GüIIz Ger. “Early Modern Ottoman Coffehouse Culture and the Formation of the Consumer Subject." Journal of Consumer Research 37.5 (2011): 737–60 Kjeldgaard, Dannie, and Jacob Ostberg. “Coffee Grounds and the Global Cup: Global Consumer Culture in Scandinavia”. Consumption, Markets and Culture 10.2 (2007): 175–87. Kleinman, Sharon S. “Café Culture in France and the United States: A Comparative Ethnographic Study of the Use of Mobile Information and Communication Technologies.” Atlantic Journal of Communication 14.4 (2006): 191–210. Luckins, Tanja. “Flavoursome Scraps of Conversation: Talking and Hearing the Cosmopolitan City, 1900s–1960s.” History Australia 7.2 (2010): 31.1–31.16. Markides, Constantinos C. “A Dynamic View of Strategy.” Sloan Management Review 40.3 (1999): 55. Nespresso. “Ecolaboration Initiative Directs Nespresso to Sustainable Success.” Nespresso Media Centre 2009. 13 Dec. 2011. ‹http://www.nespresso.com›. O’Brien, Mary. “A Shot at the Big Time.” The Age 21 Jun. (2011): 16. Oldenburg, Ray. The Great Good Place: Cafés, Coffee Shops, Community Centers, Beauty Parlors, General Stores, Bars, Hangouts, and How They Get You Through the Day. New York: Paragon House, 1989. Purpura, Linda. “New Espresso Machines to Tempt the Palate.” The Weekly Home Furnishings Newspaper 3 May (1993): 116. Purpura, Linda. “Espresso: Grace under Pressure.” The Weekly Home Furnishings Newspaper 16 Dec. (1991): 88. Reguly, Eric. “No Ordinary Joe: Nestlé Pulls off Caffeine Coup.” The Globe and Mail 6 Jul. (2009): B1. Ruzich, Constance M. “For the Love of Joe: The Language of Starbucks.” The Journal of Popular Culture 41.3 (2008): 428–42. Sassatelli, Roberta, and Federica Davolio. “Consumption, Pleasure and Politics: Slow Food and the Politico-aesthetic Problematization of Food.” Journal of Consumer Culture 10.2 (2010): 202–32. Savitz, Andrew W. The Triple Bottom Line: How Today’s Best-run Companies are Achieving Economic, Social, and Environmental Success—And How You Can Too. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006. Scerri, Andrew. “Triple Bottom-line Capitalism and the ‘Third Place’.” Arena Journal 20 (2002/03): 57–65. Simon, Bryant. “Not Going to Starbucks: Boycotts and the Out-sourcing of Politics in the Branded World.” Journal of Consumer Culture 11.2 (2011): 145–67. Simonian, Haig. “Nestlé Doubles Nespresso Output.” FT.Com 10 Jun. (2009). 2 Feb. 2012 ‹http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0dcc4e44-55ea-11de-ab7e-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1tgMPBgtV›. Topik, Steven. “Coffee as a Social Drug.” Cultural Critique 71 (2009): 81–106. Wiggins, Jenny, and Haig Simonian. “How to Serve a Bespoke Cup of Coffee.” Financial Times 3 Apr. (2007): 10.

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Beckton, Denise, Donna Lee Brien, and Ulrike Sturm. "From Reluctant Online Contributor to Mentor: Facilitating Student Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Online." M/C Journal 19, no.2 (May4, 2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1082.

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IntroductionAs the teaching staff working in a university postgraduate program—the Graduate Certificate of Creative Industries (Creative Practice) at Central Queensland University, Australia—an ongoing concern has been to ensure our students engage with the digital course content (delivered via the Moodle learning management system). This is an issue shared across the sector (La Pointe and Reisetter; Dargusch et al.) and, in our case, specifically in the area of students understanding how this online course content and tasks could benefit them in a program that is based around individual projects. As such, we are invested in enhancing student engagement both within the framework of this individual program and at an institution level. Like many institutions which now offer degrees which are either partially or fully online, the program in question offers a blended learning environment, with internal students also expected to engage with online materials (Rovai and Jordan; Colis and Moonen). The program was developed in 2011, first offered in 2012, and conducted two and sometimes three terms a year since then.Within the first year of delivery, low levels of student participation in online learning were identified as problematic. This issue was addressed using strategies that made use of characteristic strengths among our creative industries students, by developing and linking a peer-to-peer mentoring approach to our blended learning course design. Our challenge in this (as project facilitators and as teachers) has been to devise strategies to shift the students from reluctant to engaged online content users. A key strategy has evolved around introducing peer-mentoring as an intrinsic behaviour in the courses in the program. While not using a full case study approach, we do offer this singular instance for consideration as “much can be learned from a particular case” (Merriam 51). The below is based on our own observations, together with formal and informal student feedback gathered since 2012.Mentors and MentoringThe term mentor can have different meanings depending on the context in which the phrase is used. Ambrosetti and Dekkers note that “it is evident from the literature that there is no single definition for mentoring” (42). Drawing on an array of literature from a number of disciplines to qualify the definition of the term mentoring, Ambrosetti and Dekkers have identified a series of theorists whose definitions demonstrate the wide-ranging interpretation of what this act might be. Interestingly, they found that, even within the relatively narrow context of pre-service teacher research, words used to identify the term mentor varied from relatively collegial descriptors for the established teacher such as supporter, friend, collaborator, role model, and protector, to more formalised roles including trainer, teacher, assessor, and evaluator. The role to be played by a mentor—and how it is described—can also vary according to parameters around, and the purpose of, the mentoring relationship. That is, even though “mentoring, as described in literature, generally involves supporting and providing feedback to the mentee without judgment or criteria” (43), the dynamics of the mentor-mentee relationship may influence the perception and the nature of these roles. For example, the mentoring relationship between a teacher and pre-service teacher may be perceived as hierarchical whereby knowledge and feedback is “passed down” from mentor to mentee, that is, from a more authoritative, experienced figure to a less knowledgeable recipient. As such, this configuration implies a power imbalance between the roles.The relationships involved in peer-to-peer mentoring can be similarly defined. In fact, Colvin and Ashman describe the act of peer-mentoring as “a more experienced student helping a less experienced student improve overall academic performance”, and a relationship that “provides advice, support, and knowledge to the mentee” (122). Colvin and Ashman’s research also suggests that “if mentors and mentees do not have a clear sense of their roles and responsibilities, mentors will find it difficult to maintain any sort of self‐efficacy” (122)—a view that is held by others researchers in this field (see Hall et al.; Reid; Storrs, Putsche and Taylor). However, this collective view of peer-to-peer mentorship was not what we aimed to foster. Instead, we wanted our courses and program to both exhibit and inculcate practices and processes which we felt are more in line with our understanding of the creative industries, including a more organic, voluntary and non-hierarchical approach to peer-to-peer mentorship. This could use Ambrosetti and Dekker’s less hierarchical descriptors of supporter, friend, and collaborator listed above.Student CohortThe student cohort in this program regularly includes on-campus and distance education students in approximately equal ratios, with those studying by distance often geographically very widely dispersed across Australia, and sometimes internationally. The students in this program come from a diverse spectrum of creative industries’ art forms, including creative writing, digital media, film, music, and visual arts. Most enter the program with advanced skills, undergraduate or equivalent qualifications and/or considerable professional experience in their individual areas of creative practice and are seeking to add a postgraduate-level of understanding and scholarly extension to this practice (Kroll and Brien; Webb and Brien). Students also utilise a wide range of learning styles and approaches when developing and completing the creative works and research-informed reflective reports which comprise their assessment. All the students in the program’s courses utilise, and contribute to, a single online Moodle site each term. Some also wish to progress to research higher degree study in creative practice-led research projects (Barrett and Bolt) after completing the program.Applying Peer-to-Peer Mentoring in a Project-Based ProgramThe student cohort in this program is diverse, both geographically and in terms of the area of individual creative industries’ specialisation and the actual project that each student is working on. This diversity was a significant factor in the complexity of the challenge of how to make the course online site and its contents and tasks (required and optional) relevant and engaging for all students. We attempted to achieve this, in part, by always focusing on content and tasks directly related to the course learning outcomes and assessment tasks, so that their usefulness and authenticity in terms of the student learning journey was, we hoped, obvious to students. While this is a common practice in line with foundational conceptions of effective learning and teaching in higher education, we also proposed that we might be able to insure that course content was accessed and engaged with, and tasks completed, by linking the content and tasks in Moodle to the action of mentoring. In this, students were encouraged to discuss their projects in the online discussion forum throughout the term. This began with students offering brief descriptions of their projects as they worked through the project development stage, to reports on progress including challenges and problems as well as achievements. Staff input to these discussions offered guidance—both through example and (at times) gentle direction—on how students could also give collegial advice to other students on their projects. This was in terms of student knowledge and experience gained from previous work plus that learned during the program. In this, students reported on their own activities and how learning gained could potentially be used in other professional fields, as for example: “I specifically enjoyed the black out activity and found the online videos exceptional, inspiring and innovating. I really enjoyed this activity and it was something that I can take away and use within the classroom when educating” (‘Student 1’, week 8, Term 1 2015). Students also gave advice for others to follow: “I understand that this may not have been the original intended goal of Free Writing—but it is something I would highly recommend … students to try and see if it works for you” (‘Student 2’, week 5, Term 1 2015). As each term progressed, and trust built up—a key aspect of online collaboration (Holton) as well as a fruitful mentoring relationship (Allen and Poteet)—joint problem solving also began to take place in these discussions.As most of the students never interact face-to-face during the term, the relative impersonality of the online discussions in Moodle, although certainly not anonymous, seemed to provide a safe platform for peer-to-peer mentoring, even when this was offered by those who were also interacting in class as well. As facilitators of this process, we also sought to model best-practice interaction in this communication and ensure that any posts were responded to in an encouraging and timely manner (Aragon). As a result, the traffic within these forums generally increased each week so that, by the end of the term, every student (both external and internal) had contributed significantly to online discussions—even those who appeared to be more reluctant participants in the beginning weeks of the term. Strategies to Facilitate Peer-to-Peer MentoringSeeking to facilitate this process, we identified discrete points within the term’s course delivery at which we would encourage a greater level of engagement with the online resources and, through this, also encourage more discussion in the online discussion forum. One of the strategies we employed was to introduce specific interactions as compulsory components of the course but, at the same time, always ensuring that these mandated interactions related directly to assessment items. For example, a key assessment task requires students to write reflectively about their creative work and processes. We duly included information and examples of reflective writing as resources online. In order to further develop this skill for both internal and external students, we adopted an active and iterative learning approach to this task by asking students to write reflectively, each week, about the online resources provided to them. In asking students to do this, we reiterated that, at the end of term, a core part of the assessment item was that each student would be asked to describe, analyse and reflect on how they used these resources to facilitate their creative practice. At the end of the term, therefore, each student could collate his or her weekly responses, and use these as part of this assessment task. However, before this final reflection needed to be completed, these reflective musings were already being refined and extended as a result of the commentaries offered by other students responding to these weekly reflections. In this, these commenting students were, in fact, playing the role of peer-to-peer mentors, assisting each other to enhance their abilities in reflective thinking and writing.It should be stated that neither formal mentoring roles nor expectations of the process or its outcomes were pre-determined, defined or outlined to students by the teaching staff or communicated directly to them in any way (such as via the course materials). Instead, internal and distance students were encouraged to communicate with each other and offer guidance, help and support to each other (but which was never described as peer-to-peer mentorship) via their use of the Moodle learning managements system as both a group communication tool and a collaborative learning resource (Dixon, Dixon and Axmann). It is common for creative practitioners to collect data in the form of objects, resources, tools, and memories in order to progress their work and this habit has been termed that of the “bowerbird” (Brady). Knowing that it likely that many of our students are already proficient bowerbirds with many resources in their personal collections, we also facilitated a peer-to-peer mentoring activity in the form of an online competition. This competition asked students to post their favourite interactive resource onto the Moodle site, accompanied by a commentary explaining why and how it could be used. Many students engaged with these peer-posted resources and then, in turn, posted reflections on their usefulness, or not, for their own personal practice and learning. This, in turn, engendered more resources to be posted, shared, and discussed in terms of project problem-solving and, thus, became another ongoing activity that encouraged students to act as increasingly valued peer-mentors to each other.The Practical Application of Peer-to-Peer MentoringEach term, it is a course requirement that the student cohort, both internal and external, combine to create a group outcome—an exhibition of their creative work (Sturm, Beckton and Brien). For some students, the work exhibited is completed; for others, particularly part-time students, the work shown is frequently still in progress. Given that the work in the student exhibition regularly includes music and creative writing as well as visual art, this activity forces students to engage with their peers in ways that most of them have not previously encountered. This interaction includes communication across the internal and distance members of the cohort to determine what work will be included in the exhibition, and how work will be sent for display by external students, as well as liaising in relation to range of related considerations including: curatorial (what the exhibition will be named, and how work is to be displayed), cataloguing (how the works, and their contributors, are to be described), and the overall design of the catalogue and invitation (Sturm, Beckton and Brien). Students make these decisions, as a group, with guidance from staff mainly being offered in terms of practical information (such as what days and times the exhibition space can be accessed) and any limitations due to on-site health and safety considerations and other university-wide regulations.Student feedback has been very positive in relation to this aspect of the course (Sturm, Beckton and Brien), and its collective nature is often remarked on in both formal and informal feedback. We are also finding that some prospective students are applying to the program with a knowledge of this group exhibition and some information about how it is achieved. After graduation, students have reported that this experience of peer-to-peer working across the spectrum of creative industries’ art forms has given them a confidence that they were able to apply in real work situations and has, moreover been a factor that directly led to relevant employment. One student offered in unsolicited feedback: “It was a brilliant course that I gained a lot from. One year on, I have since released another single and work as an artist manager, independently running campaigns for other artists. The course also helped make me more employable as well, and I now work … as a casual admin and projects officer” (Student 3, 2015).Issues Arising from Peer-to-Peer MentoringAn intrinsic aspect of facilitating and encouraging this peer-to-peer mentoring was to allow a degree of latitude in relation to student online communication. The week-to-week reflection on the online resources was, for instance, the only mandated activity. Other participation was modeled and encouraged, but left to students as to how often and when they participated, as well as the length of their posts. In each term, we have found student involvement in discussions increased throughout the term, and tended to exceed our expectations in both quantity and quality of posts.We have also found that the level of intimate detail offered, and intimacy developed, in the communications was far greater than we had initially anticipated, and that there were occasions when students raised personal issues. Initially, we were apprehensive about this, particularly when one student discussed past mental health challenges. At the time, we discussed that the creative arts – whether in terms of its creation or appreciation – are highly personal practices (Sternberg), and that the tone taken by many of the creative individuals, theorists, and researchers whose materials we use as resources was often personally revealing (see, for example, Brien and Brady). By not interfering, other than ensuring that the tone students used with each other was always respectful and focused on the professional aspects of what was being discussed, we observed that this personal revelation translated into high levels of engagement in the discussions, and indeed, encouraged peer support and understanding. Thus, in terms of the student who revealed information about past health issues and who at one stage had considered withdrawing from the course, this student later related to staff—in an unsolicited communication—that these discussions led to him feeling well supported. This student has, moreover, continued to work on related creative practice projects after completing the program and, indeed, is now considering continuing onto Masters level studies.ConclusionIn relation to much of the literature of mentoring, this experience of student interaction with others through an online discussion board appears to offer a point of difference. While that literature reports on other examples of peer-to-peer mentoring, most of these follow the seemingly more usual vertical mentoring model (that is, one which is hierarchical), rather than what developed organically in our case as a more horizontal mode. This is, moreover, a mode which has many synergies with the community of practice and collaborative problem solving models which are central to the creative industries (Brien and Bruns).Collings, Swanson, and Watkins have reported on the positive impact of peer mentoring on student wellbeing, integration, and retention. In terms of effects and student outcomes, although we have not yet collected data on these aspects of this activity, our observations together with informal and University-solicited feedback suggests that this peer-to-peer mentoring was useful (in terms of their project work) and affirming and confidence-building (personally and professionally) for students who are both mentors and mentees. These peer-to-peer mentoring activities assisted in developing, and was encouraged by, an atmosphere in which students felt it was appropriate and safe to both offer support and critique of each others’ work and ideas, as well as encouragement when students felt discouraged or creatively blocked. Students, indeed, reported in class and online that this input assisted them in moving through their projects and, as program staff, we saw that that this online space created a place where collaborative problem-solving could be engaged in as the need arose—rather than in a more forced manner. As teachers, we also found these students became our post-graduate colleagues in the way more usually experienced in the doctoral supervisor-student relationship (Dibble and Loon).The above reports on a responsive learning and teaching strategy that grew out of our understanding of our students’ needs that was, moreover, in line with our institution’s imperatives. We feel this was a successful and authentic way of involving students in online discussions, although we did not originally foresee that they would become mentors in the process. The next step is to develop a project to formally evaluate this aspect of this program and our teaching, as well as whether (or how) they reflect the overarching discipline of the creative industries in terms of process and philosophy. ReferencesAllen, Tammy D., and Mark L. Poteet. “Developing Effective Mentoring Relationships: Strategies from the Mentor’s Viewpoint.” The Career Development Quarterly 48.1 (1999): 59–57.Ambosetti, Angelina, and John Dekkers. “The Interconnectedness of the Roles of Mentors and Mentees in Pre-Service Teacher Education Mentoring Relationships.” Australian Journal of Teaching Education 35.6 (2010): 42–55.Aragon, Steven R. “Creating Social Presence in Online Environments.” New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education 100 (2003): 57–68. Barrett, Estelle, and Barbara Bolt, eds. Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry. London: I.B. Tauris, 2007.Brady, Tess. “A Question of Genre: Demystifying the Exegesis.” TEXT: Journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs 4.1 (2000). 1 Mar. 2016 <http://www.textjournal.com.au/april00/brady.htm>.Brien, Donna Lee, and Tess Brady. “Collaborative Practice: Categorising Forms of Collaboration for Practitioners.” TEXT: The Journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs 7.2 (2003). 1 Mar. 2016 <http://www.textjournal.com.au/oct03/brienbrady.htm>.Brien, Donna Lee, and Axel Bruns. “Editorial.” M/C Journal 9.2 (2006) 1 Mar. 2016 <http://www.textjournal.com.au/oct03/brienbrady.htm>.Central Queensland University. CB82 Graduate Certificate in Creative Industries. 2016. 1 Mar. 2016 <http://handbook.cqu.edu.au/programs/index?programCode=CB82>.Colis, B., and J. Moonen. Flexible Learning in a Digital World: Experiences and Expectations. London: Kogan-Page, 2001.Collings, R., V. Swanson and R. Watkins. “The Impact of Peer Mentoring on Levels of Student Wellbeing, Integration and Retention: A Controlled Comparative Evaluation of Residential Students in U.K. Higher Education.” Higher Education 68 (2014): 927–42.Colvin, Janet W., and Miranda Ashman. “Roles, Risks and Benefits of Peer Mentoring Relationships in Higher Education.” Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning 18.2 (2010): 121–34. Dargusch, Joanne, Lois R. Harris, Kerry Reid-Searl, and Benjamin Taylor. “Getting the Message Through: Communicating Assessment Expectations to First Year Students.” Australian Association of Research in Education Conference. Fremantle, WA: 2015.Dibble, Brian, and Julienne van Loon. “The Higher Degree Research Journey as a Three Legged Race.” TEXT: Journal of the Australian Association of Writing Programs 8.2 (2004). 20 Feb. 2016 <http://www.textjournal.com.au/oct04/dibble_vanloon.htm>.Dixon, Robert, Kathryn Dixon, and Mandi Axmann. “Online Student Centred Discussion: Creating a Collaborative Learning Environment.” Hello! Where Are You in the Landscape of Educational Technology: Proceedings ASCILITE. Melbourne: ASCILITE, 2008. 256–264.Hall, Kendra M., Rani Jo Draper, Leigh K. Smith, and Robert V. Bullough. “More than a Place to Teach: Exploring the Perceptions of the Roles and Responsibilities of Mentor Teachers.” Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning 16.3 (2008): 328–45.Holton, Judith A. “Building Trust and Collaboration in a Virtual Team.” Team Performance Management: An International Journal 7.3/4 (2001): 36–47.Kroll, Jeri, and Donna Lee Brien. “Studying for the Future: Training Creative Writing Postgraduates for Life after Degrees.” Australian Online Journal of Arts Education 2.1 (2006): 1–13.La Pointe, Loralee, and Marcy Reisetter. “Belonging Online: Students’ Perceptions of the Value and Efficacy of an Online Learning Community.” International Journal on E-Learning 7.4 (2008): 641–65.Merriam, Sharan B. Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2009.Reid, E. Shelley. “Mentoring Peer Mentors: Mentor Education and Support in the Composition Program.” Composition Studies 36.2 (2008): 51–79.Rovai, A.P., and Hope M. Jordan. “Blended Learning and Sense of Community: A Comparative Analysis with Traditional and Fully Online Graduate Courses.” Virginia: Regent University, 2004. 20 Feb. 2016 <http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/192/274>.Storrs, D., L. Putsche, and A. Taylor. “Mentoring Expectations and Realities: An Analysis of Metaphorical Thinking among Female Undergraduate Protégés and Their Mentors in a University Mentoring Programme.” Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning 16.2 (2008): 175–88. Sternberg, Robert. The Nature of Creativity: Contemporary Psychological Perspectives. 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Champion,KatherineM. "A Risky Business? The Role of Incentives and Runaway Production in Securing a Screen Industries Production Base in Scotland." M/C Journal 19, no.3 (June22, 2016). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1101.

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IntroductionDespite claims that the importance of distance has been reduced due to technological and communications improvements (Cairncross; Friedman; O’Brien), the ‘power of place’ still resonates, often intensifying the role of geography (Christopherson et al.; Morgan; Pratt; Scott and Storper). Within the film industry, there has been a decentralisation of production from Hollywood, but there remains a spatial logic which has preferenced particular centres, such as Toronto, Vancouver, Sydney and Prague often led by a combination of incentives (Christopherson and Storper; Goldsmith and O’Regan; Goldsmith et al.; Miller et al.; Mould). The emergence of high end television, television programming for which the production budget is more than £1 million per television hour, has presented new opportunities for screen hubs sharing a very similar value chain to the film industry (OlsbergSPI with Nordicity).In recent years, interventions have proliferated with the aim of capitalising on the decentralisation of certain activities in order to attract international screen industries production and embed it within local hubs. Tools for building capacity and expertise have proliferated, including support for studio complex facilities, infrastructural investments, tax breaks and other economic incentives (Cucco; Goldsmith and O’Regan; Jensen; Goldsmith et al.; McDonald; Miller et al.; Mould). Yet experience tells us that these will not succeed everywhere. There is a need for a better understanding of both the capacity for places to build a distinctive and competitive advantage within a highly globalised landscape and the relative merits of alternative interventions designed to generate a sustainable production base.This article first sets out the rationale for the appetite identified in the screen industries for co-location, or clustering and concentration in a tightly drawn physical area, in global hubs of production. It goes on to explore the latest trends of decentralisation and examines the upturn in interventions aimed at attracting mobile screen industries capital and labour. Finally it introduces the Scottish screen industries and explores some of the ways in which Scotland has sought to position itself as a recipient of screen industries activity. The paper identifies some key gaps in infrastructure, most notably a studio, and calls for closer examination of the essential ingredients of, and possible interventions needed for, a vibrant and sustainable industry.A Compulsion for ProximityIt has been argued that particular spatial and place-based factors are central to the development and organisation of the screen industries. The film and television sector, the particular focus of this article, exhibit an extraordinarily high degree of spatial agglomeration, especially favouring centres with global status. It is worth noting that the computer games sector, not explored in this article, slightly diverges from this trend displaying more spatial patterns of decentralisation (Vallance), although key physical hubs of activity have been identified (Champion). Creative products often possess a cachet that is directly associated with their point of origin, for example fashion from Paris, films from Hollywood and country music from Nashville – although it can also be acknowledged that these are often strategic commercial constructions (Pecknold). The place of production represents a unique component of the final product as well as an authentication of substantive and symbolic quality (Scott, “Creative cities”). Place can act as part of a brand or image for creative industries, often reinforcing the advantage of being based in particular centres of production.Very localised historical, cultural, social and physical factors may also influence the success of creative production in particular places. Place-based factors relating to the built environment, including cheap space, public-sector support framework, connectivity, local identity, institutional environment and availability of amenities, are seen as possible influences in the locational choices of creative industry firms (see, for example, Drake; Helbrecht; Hutton; Leadbeater and Oakley; Markusen).Employment trends are notoriously difficult to measure in the screen industries (Christopherson, “Hollywood in decline?”), but the sector does contain large numbers of very small firms and freelancers. This allows them to be flexible but poses certain problems that can be somewhat offset by co-location. The findings of Antcliff et al.’s study of workers in the audiovisual industry in the UK suggested that individuals sought to reconstruct stable employment relations through their involvement in and use of networks. The trust and reciprocity engendered by stable networks, built up over time, were used to offset the risk associated with the erosion of stable employment. These findings are echoed by a study of TV content production in two media regions in Germany by Sydow and Staber who found that, although firms come together to work on particular projects, typically their business relations extend for a much longer period than this. Commonly, firms and individuals who have worked together previously will reassemble for further project work aided by their past experiences and expectations.Co-location allows the development of shared structures: language, technical attitudes, interpretative schemes and ‘communities of practice’ (Bathelt, et al.). Grabher describes this process as ‘hanging out’. Deep local pools of creative and skilled labour are advantageous both to firms and employees (Reimer et al.) by allowing flexibility, developing networks and offsetting risk (Banks et al.; Scott, “Global City Regions”). For example in Cook and Pandit’s study comparing the broadcasting industry in three city-regions, London was found to be hugely advantaged by its unrivalled talent pool, high financial rewards and prestigious projects. As Barnes and Hutton assert in relation to the wider creative industries, “if place matters, it matters most to them” (1251). This is certainly true for the screen industries and their spatial logic points towards a compulsion for proximity in large global hubs.Decentralisation and ‘Sticky’ PlacesDespite the attraction of global production hubs, there has been a decentralisation of screen industries from key centres, starting with the film industry and the vertical disintegration of Hollywood studios (Christopherson and Storper). There are instances of ‘runaway production’ from the 1920s onwards with around 40 per cent of all features being accounted for by offshore production in 1960 (Miller et al., 133). This trend has been increasing significantly in the last 20 years, leading to the genesis of new hubs of screen activity such as Toronto, Vancouver, Sydney and Prague (Christopherson, “Project work in context”; Goldsmith et al.; Mould; Miller et al.; Szczepanik). This development has been prompted by a multiplicity of reasons including favourable currency value differentials and economic incentives. Subsidies and tax breaks have been offered to secure international productions with most countries demanding that, in order to qualify for tax relief, productions have to spend a certain amount of their budget within the local economy, employ local crew and use domestic creative talent (Hill). Extensive infrastructure has been developed including studio complexes to attempt to lure productions with the advantage of a full service offering (Goldsmith and O’Regan).Internationally, Canada has been the greatest beneficiary of ‘runaway production’ with a state-led enactment of generous film incentives since the late 1990s (McDonald). Vancouver and Toronto are the busiest locations for North American Screen production after Los Angeles and New York, due to exchange rates and tax rebates on labour costs (Miller et al., 141). 80% of Vancouver’s production is attributable to runaway production (Jensen, 27) and the city is considered by some to have crossed a threshold as:It now possesses sufficient depth and breadth of talent to undertake the full array of pre-production, production and post-production services for the delivery of major motion pictures and TV programmes. (Barnes and Coe, 19)Similarly, Toronto is considered to have established a “comprehensive set of horizontal and vertical media capabilities” to ensure its status as a “full function media centre” (Davis, 98). These cities have successfully engaged in entrepreneurial activity to attract production (Christopherson, “Project Work in Context”) and in Vancouver the proactive role of provincial government and labour unions are, in part, credited with its success (Barnes and Coe). Studio-complex infrastructure has also been used to lure global productions, with Toronto, Melbourne and Sydney all being seen as key examples of where such developments have been used as a strategic priority to take local production capacity to the next level (Goldsmith and O’Regan).Studies which provide a historiography of the development of screen-industry hubs emphasise a complex interplay of social, cultural and physical conditions. In the complex and global flows of the screen industries, ‘sticky’ hubs have emerged with the ability to attract and retain capital and skilled labour. Despite being principally organised to attract international production, most studio complexes, especially those outside of global centres need to have a strong relationship to local or national film and television production to ensure the sustainability and depth of the labour pool (Goldsmith and O’Regan, 2003). Many have a broadcaster on site as well as a range of companies with a media orientation and training facilities (Goldsmith and O’Regan, 2003; Picard, 2008). The emergence of film studio complexes in the Australian Gold Coast and Vancouver was accompanied by an increasing role for television production and this multi-purpose nature was important for the continuity of production.Fostering a strong community of below the line workers, such as set designers, locations managers, make-up artists and props manufacturers, can also be a clear advantage in attracting international productions. For example at Cinecitta in Italy, the expertise of set designers and experienced crews in the Barrandov Studios of Prague are regarded as major selling points of the studio complexes there (Goldsmith and O’Regan; Miller et al.; Szczepanik). Natural and built environments are also considered very important for film and television firms and it is a useful advantage for capturing international production when cities can double for other locations as in the cases of Toronto, Vancouver, Prague for example (Evans; Goldsmith and O’Regan; Szczepanik). Toronto, for instance, has doubled for New York in over 100 films and with regard to television Due South’s (1994-1998) use of Toronto as Chicago was estimated to have saved 40 per cent in costs (Miller et al., 141).The Scottish Screen Industries Within mobile flows of capital and labour, Scotland has sought to position itself as a recipient of screen industries activity through multiple interventions, including investment in institutional frameworks, direct and indirect economic subsidies and the development of physical infrastructure. Traditionally creative industry activity in the UK has been concentrated in London and the South East which together account for 43% of the creative economy workforce (Bakhshi et al.). In order, in part to redress this imbalance and more generally to encourage the attraction and retention of international production a range of policies have been introduced focused on the screen industries. A revised Film Tax Relief was introduced in 2007 to encourage inward investment and prevent offshoring of indigenous production, and this has since been extended to high-end television, animation and children’s programming. Broadcasting has also experienced a push for decentralisation led by public funding with a responsibility to be regionally representative. The BBC (“BBC Annual Report and Accounts 2014/15”) is currently exceeding its target of 50% network spend outside London by 2016, with 17% spent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Channel 4 has similarly committed to commission at least 9% of its original spend from the nations by 2020. Studios have been also developed across the UK including at Roath Lock (Cardiff), Titanic Studios (Belfast), MedicaCity (Salford) and The Sharp Project (Manchester).The creative industries have been identified as one of seven growth sectors for Scotland by the government (Scottish Government). In 2010, the film and video sector employed 3,500 people and contributed £120 million GVA and £120 million adjusted GVA to the economy and the radio and TV sector employed 3,500 people and contributed £50 million GVA and £400 million adjusted GVA (The Scottish Parliament). Beyond the direct economic benefits of sectors, the on-screen representation of Scotland has been claimed to boost visitor numbers to the country (EKOS) and high profile international film productions have been attracted including Skyfall (2012) and WWZ (2013).Scotland has historically attracted international film and TV productions due to its natural locations (VisitScotland) and on average, between 2009-2014, six big budget films a year used Scottish locations both urban and rural (BOP Consulting, 2014). In all, a total of £20 million was generated by film-making in Glasgow during 2011 (Balkind) with WWZ (2013) and Cloud Atlas (2013), representing Philadelphia and San Francisco respectively, as well as doubling for Edinburgh for the recent acclaimed Scottish films Filth (2013) and Sunshine on Leith (2013). Sanson (80) asserts that the use of the city as a site for international productions not only brings in direct revenue from production money but also promotes the city as a “fashionable place to live, work and visit. Creativity makes the city both profitable and ‘cool’”.Nonetheless, issues persist and it has been suggested that Scotland lacks a stable and sustainable film industry, with low indigenous production levels and variable success from year to year in attracting inward investment (BOP Consulting). With regard to crew, problems with an insufficient production base have been identified as an issue in maintaining a pipeline of skills (BOP Consulting). Developing ‘talent’ is a central aspect of the Scottish Government’s Strategy for the Creative Industries, yet there remains the core challenge of retaining skills and encouraging new talent into the industry (BOP Consulting).With regard to film, a lack of substantial funding incentives and the absence of a studio have been identified as a key concern for the sector. For example, within the film industry the majority of inward investment filming in Scotland is location work as it lacks the studio facilities that would enable it to sustain a big-budget production in its entirety (BOP Consulting). The absence of such infrastructure has been seen as contributing to a drain of Scottish talent from these industries to other areas and countries where there is a more vibrant sector (BOP Consulting). The loss of Scottish talent to Northern Ireland was attributed to the longevity of the work being provided by Games of Thrones (2011-) now having completed its six series at the Titanic Studios in Belfast (EKOS) although this may have been stemmed somewhat recently with the attraction of US high-end TV series Outlander (2014-) which has been based at Wardpark in Cumbernauld since 2013.Television, both high-end production and local broadcasting, appears crucial to the sustainability of screen production in Scotland. Outlander has been estimated to contribute to Scotland’s production spend figures reaching a historic high of £45.8 million in 2014 (Creative Scotland ”Creative Scotland Screen Strategy Update”). The arrival of the program has almost doubled production spend in Scotland, offering the chance for increased stability for screen industries workers. Qualifying for UK High-End Television Tax Relief, Outlander has engaged a crew of approximately 300 across props, filming and set build, and cast over 2,000 supporting artist roles from within Scotland and the UK.Long running drama, in particular, offers key opportunities for both those cutting their teeth in the screen industries and also by providing more consistent and longer-term employment to existing workers. BBC television soap River City (2002-) has been identified as a key example of such an opportunity and the programme has been credited with providing a springboard for developing the skills of local actors, writers and production crew (Hibberd). This kind of pipeline of production is critical given the work patterns of the sector. According to Creative Skillset, of the 4,000 people in Scotland are employed in the film and television industries, 40% of television workers are freelance and 90% of film production work in freelance (EKOS).In an attempt to address skills gaps, the Outlander Trainee Placement Scheme has been devised in collaboration with Creative Scotland and Creative Skillset. During filming of Season One, thirty-eight trainees were supported across a range of production and craft roles, followed by a further twenty-five in Season Two. Encouragingly Outlander, and the books it is based on, is set in Scotland so the authenticity of place has played a strong component in the decision to locate production there. Producer David Brown began his career on Bill Forsyth films Gregory’s Girl (1981), Local Hero (1983) and Comfort and Joy (1984) and has a strong existing relationship to Scotland. He has been very vocal in his support for the trainee program, contending that “training is the future of our industry and we at Outlander see the growth of talent and opportunities as part of our mission here in Scotland” (“Outlander fast tracks next generation of skilled screen talent”).ConclusionsThis article has aimed to explore the relationship between place and the screen industries and, taking Scotland as its focus, has outlined a need to more closely examine the ways in which the sector can be supported. Despite the possible gains in terms of building a sustainable industry, the state-led funding of the global screen industries is contested. The use of tax breaks and incentives has been problematised and critiques range from use of public funding to attract footloose media industries to the increasingly zero sum game of competition between competing places (Morawetz; McDonald). In relation to broadcasting, there have been critiques of a ‘lift and shift’ approach to policy in the UK, with TV production companies moving to the nations and regions temporarily to meet the quota and leaving once a production has finished (House of Commons). Further to this, issues have been raised regarding how far such interventions can seed and develop a rich production ecology that offers opportunities for indigenous talent (Christopherson and Rightor).Nonetheless recent success for the screen industries in Scotland can, at least in part, be attributed to interventions including increased decentralisation of broadcasting and the high-end television tax incentives. This article has identified gaps in infrastructure which continue to stymie growth and have led to production drain to other centres. Important gaps in knowledge can also be acknowledged that warrant further investigation and unpacking including the relationship between film, high-end television and broadcasting, especially in terms of the opportunities they offer for screen industries workers to build a career in Scotland and notable gaps in infrastructure and the impact they have on the loss of production.ReferencesAntcliff, Valerie, Richard Saundry, and Mark Stuart. Freelance Worker Networks in Audio-Visual Industries. University of Central Lancashire, 2004.Bakhshi, Hasan, John Davies, Alan Freeman, and Peter Higgs. "The Geography of the UK’s Creative and High–Tech Economies." 2015.Balkind, Nicola. World Film Locations: Glasgow. Intellect Books, 2013.Banks, Mark, Andy Lovatt, Justin O’Connor, and Carlo Raffo. "Risk and Trust in the Cultural Industries." Geoforum 31.4 (2000): 453-464.Barnes, Trevor, and Neil M. Coe. “Vancouver as Media Cluster: The Cases of Video Games and Film/TV." 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Burns, Alex. "Select Issues with New Media Theories of Citizen Journalism." M/C Journal 10, no.6 (April1, 2008). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2723.

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“Journalists have to begin a new type of journalism, sometimes being the guide on the side of the civic conversation as well as the filter and gatekeeper.” (Kolodzy 218) “In many respects, citizen journalism is simply public journalism removed from the journalism profession.” (Barlow 181) 1. Citizen Journalism — The Latest Innovation? New Media theorists such as Dan Gillmor, Henry Jenkins, Jay Rosen and Jeff Howe have recently touted Citizen Journalism (CJ) as the latest innovation in 21st century journalism. “Participatory journalism” and “user-driven journalism” are other terms to describe CJ, which its proponents argue is a disruptive innovation (Christensen) to the agenda-setting media institutions, news values and “objective” reportage. In this essay I offer a “contrarian” view, informed by two perspectives: (1) a three-stage model of theory-building (Carlile & Christensen) to evaluate the claims made about CJ; and (2) self-reflexive research insights (Etherington) from editing the US-based news site Disinformation between November 1999 and February 2008. New media theories can potentially create “cognitive dissonance” (Festinger) when their explanations of CJ practices are compared with what actually happens (Feyerabend). First I summarise Carlile & Christensen’s model and the dangers of “bad theory” (Ghoshal). Next I consider several problems in new media theories about CJ: the notion of ‘citizen’, new media populism, parallels in event-driven and civic journalism, and mergers and acquisitions. Two ‘self-reflexive’ issues are considered: ‘pro-ams’ or ‘professional amateurs’ as a challenge to professional journalists, and CJ’s deployment in new media operations and production environments. Finally, some exploratory questions are offered for future researchers. 2. An Evaluative Framework for New Media Theories on Citizen Journalism Paul Carlile and Clayton M. Christensen’s model offers one framework with which to evaluate new media theories on CJ. This framework is used below to highlight select issues and gaps in CJ’s current frameworks and theories. Carlile & Christensen suggest that robust theory-building emerges via three stages: Descriptive, Categorisation and Normative (Carlile & Christensen). There are three sub-stages in Descriptive theory-building; namely, the observation of phenomena, inductive classification into schemas and taxonomies, and correlative relationships to develop models (Carlile & Christensen 2-5). Once causation is established, Normative theory evolves through deductive logic which is subject to Kuhnian paradigm shifts and Popperian falsifiability (Carlile & Christensen 6). Its proponents situate CJ as a Categorisation or new journalism agenda that poses a Normative challenged and Kuhnian paradigm shift to traditional journalism. Existing CJ theories jump from the Descriptive phase of observations like “smart mobs” in Japanese youth subcultures (Rheingold) to make broad claims for Categorisation such as that IndyMedia, blogs and wiki publishing systems as new media alternatives to traditional media. CJ theories then underpin normative beliefs, values and worldviews. Correlative relationships are also used to differentiate CJ from the demand side of microeconomic analysis, from the top-down editorial models of traditional media outlets, and to adopt a vanguard stance. To support this, CJ proponents cite research on emergent collective behaviour such as the “wisdom of crowds” hypothesis (Surowiecki) or peer-to-peer network “swarms” (Pesce) to provide scientific justification for their Normative theories. However, further evaluative research is needed for three reasons: the emergent collective behaviour hypothesis may not actually inform CJ practices, existing theories may have “correlation not cause” errors, and the link may be due to citation network effects between CJ theorists. Collectively, this research base also frames CJ as an “ought to” Categorisation and then proceeds to Normative theory-building (Carlile & Christensen 7). However, I argue below that this Categorisation may be premature: its observations and correlative relationships might reinforce a ‘weak’ Normative theory with limited generalisation. CJ proponents seem to imply that it can be applied anywhere and under any condition—a “statement of causality” that almost makes it a fad (Carlile & Christensen 8). CJ that relies on Classification and Normative claims will be problematic without a strong grounding in Descriptive observation. To understand what’s potentially at stake for CJ’s future consider the consider the parallel debate about curricula renewal for the Masters of Business Administration in the wake of high-profile corporate collapses such as Enron, Worldcom, HIH and OneTel. The MBA evolved as a sociological and institutional construct to justify management as a profession that is codified, differentiated and has entry barriers (Khurana). This process might partly explain the pushback that some media professionals have to CJ as one alternative. MBA programs faced criticism if they had student cohorts with little business know-how or experiential learning (Mintzberg). Enron’s collapse illustrated the ethical dilemmas and unintended consequences that occurred when “bad theories” were implemented (Ghoshal). Professional journalists are aware of this: MBA-educated managers challenged the “craft” tradition in the early 1980s (Underwood). This meant that journalism’s ‘self-image’ (Morgan; Smith) is intertwined with managerial anxieties about media conglomerates in highly competitive markets. Ironically, as noted below, Citizen Journalists who adopt a vanguard position vis-a-vis media professionals step into a more complex game with other players. However, current theories have a naïve idealism about CJ’s promise of normative social change in the face of Machiavellian agency in business, the media and politics. 3. Citizen Who? Who is the “citizen” in CJ? What is their self-awareness as a political agent? CJ proponents who use the ‘self-image’ of ‘citizen’ draw on observations from the participatory vision of open source software, peer-to-peer networks, and case studies such as Howard Dean’s 2004 bid for the Democrat Party nominee in the US Presidential election campaign (Trippi). Recent theorists note Alexander Hamilton’s tradition of civic activism (Barlow 178) which links contemporary bloggers with the Federalist Papers and early newspaper pamphlets. One unsurfaced assumption in these observations and correlations is that most bloggers will adopt a coherent political philosophy as informed citizens: a variation on Lockean utilitarianism, Rawlsian liberalism or Nader consumer activism. To date there is little discussion about how political philosophy could deepen CJ’s ‘self-image’: how to critically evaluate sources, audit and investigation processes, or strategies to deal with elites, deterrence and power. For example, although bloggers kept Valerie Plame’s ‘outing’ as a covert intelligence operative highly visible in the issues-attention cycle, it was agenda-setting media like The New York Times who the Bush Administration targeted to silence (Pearlstine). To be viable, CJ needs to evolve beyond a new media populism, perhaps into a constructivist model of agency, norms and social change (Finnemore). 4. Citizen Journalism as New Media Populism Several “precursor trends” foreshadowed CJ notably the mid-1990s interest in “cool-hunting” by new media analysts and subculture marketeers (Gibson; Gladwell). Whilst this audience focus waned with the 1995-2000 dotcom bubble it resurfaced in CJ and publisher Tim O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 vision. Thus, CJ might be viewed as new media populism that has flourished with the Web 2.0 boom. Yet if the boom becomes a macroeconomic bubble (Gross; Spar) then CJ could be written off as a “silver bullet” that ultimately failed to deliver on its promises (Brooks, Jr.). The reputations of uncritical proponents who adopted a “true believer” stance would also be damaged (Hoffer). This risk is evident if CJ is compared with a parallel trend that shares its audience focus and populist view: day traders and technical analysts who speculate on financial markets. This parallel trend provides an alternative discipline in which the populism surfaced in an earlier form (Carlile & Christensen 12). Fidelity’s Peter Lynch argues that stock pickers can use their Main Street knowledge to beat Wall Street by exploiting information asymmetries (Lynch & Rothchild). Yet Lynch’s examples came from the mid-1970s to early 1980s when indexed mutual fund strategies worked, before deregulation and macroeconomic volatility. A change in the Web 2.0 boom might similarly trigger a reconsideration of Citizen Journalism. Hedge fund maven Victor Niederhoffer contends that investors who rely on technical analysis are practicing a Comtean religion (Niederhoffer & Kenner 72-74) instead of Efficient Market Hypothesis traders who use statistical arbitrage to deal with ‘random walks’ or Behavioural Finance experts who build on Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman’s Prospect Theory (Kahneman & Tversky). Niederhoffer’s deeper point is that technical analysts’ belief that the “trend is your friend” is no match for the other schools, despite a mini-publishing industry and computer trading systems. There are also ontological and epistemological differences between the schools. Similarly, CJ proponents who adopt a ‘Professional Amateur’ or ‘Pro-Am’ stance (Leadbeater & Miller) may face a similar gulf when making comparisons with professional journalists and the production environments in media organisations. CJ also thrives as new media populism because of institutional vested interests. When media conglomerates cut back on cadetships and internships CJ might fill the market demand as one alternative. New media programs at New York University and others can use CJ to differentiate themselves from “hyperlocal” competitors (Christensen; Slywotzky; Christensen, Curtis & Horn). This transforms CJ from new media populism to new media institution. 5. Parallels: Event-driven & Civic Journalism For new media programs, CJ builds on two earlier traditions: the Event-driven journalism of crises like the 1991 Gulf War (Wark) and the Civic Journalism school that emerged in the 1960s social upheavals. Civic Journalism’s awareness of minorities and social issues provides the character ethic and political philosophy for many Citizen Journalists. Jay Rosen and others suggest that CJ is the next-generation heir to Civic Journalism, tracing a thread from the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention to IndyMedia’s coverage of the 1999 “Battle in Seattle” (Rosen). Rosen’s observation could yield an interesting historiography or genealogy. Events such as the Southeast Asian tsunami on 26 December 2004 or Al Qaeda’s London bombings on 7 July 2005 are cited as examples of CJ as event-driven journalism and “pro-am collaboration” (Kolodzy 229-230). Having covered these events and Al Qaeda’s attacks on 11th September 2001, I have a slightly different view: this was more a variation on “first responder” status and handicam video footage that journalists have sourced for the past three decades when covering major disasters. This different view means that the “salience of categories” used to justify CJ and “pro-am collaboration” these events does not completely hold. Furthermore, when Citizen Journalism proponents tout Flickr and Wikipedia as models of real-time media they are building on a broader phenomenon that includes CNN’s Gulf War coverage and Bloomberg’s dominance of financial news (Loomis). 6. The Mergers & Acquisitions Scenario CJ proponents often express anxieties about the resilience of their outlets in the face of predatory venture capital firms who initiate Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) activities. Ironically, these venture capital firms have core competencies and expertise in the event-driven infrastructure and real-time media that CJ aspires to. Sequoia Capital and other venture capital firms have evaluative frameworks that likely surpass Carlile & Christensen in sophistication, and they exploit parallels, information asymmetries and market populism. Furthermore, although venture capital firms such as Union Street Ventures have funded Web 2.0 firms, they are absent from the explanations of some theorists, whose examples of Citizen Journalism and Web 2.0 success may be the result of survivorship bias. Thus, the venture capital market remains an untapped data source for researchers who want to evaluate the impact of CJ outlets and institutions. The M&A scenario further problematises CJ in several ways. First, CJ is framed as “oppositional” to traditional media, yet this may be used as a stratagem in a game theory framework with multiple stakeholders. Drexel Burnham Lambert’s financier Michael Milken used market populism to sell ‘high-yield’ or ‘junk’ bonds to investors whilst disrupting the Wall Street establishment in the late 1980s (Curtis) and CJ could fulfil a similar tactical purpose. Second, the M&A goal of some Web 2.0 firms could undermine the participatory goals of a site’s community if post-merger integration fails. Jason Calacanis’s sale of Weblogs, Inc to America Online in 2005 and MSNBC’s acquisition of Newsvine on 5 October 2007 (Newsvine) might be success stories. However, this raises issues of digital “property rights” if you contribute to a community that is then sold in an M&A transaction—an outcome closer to business process outsourcing. Third, media “buzz” can create an unrealistic vision when a CJ site fails to grow beyond its start-up phase. Backfence.com’s demise as a “hyperlocal” initiative (Caverly) is one cautionary event that recalls the 2000 dotcom crash. The M&A scenarios outlined above are market dystopias for CJ purists. The major lesson for CJ proponents is to include other market players in hypotheses about causation and correlation factors. 7. ‘Pro-Ams’ & Professional Journalism’s Crisis CJ emerged during a period when Professional Journalism faced a major crisis of ‘self-image’. The Demos report The Pro-Am Revolution (Leadbeater & Miller) popularised the notion of ‘professional amateurs’ which some CJ theorists adopt to strengthen their categorisation. In turn, this triggers a response from cultural theorists who fear bloggers are new media’s barbarians (Keen). I concede Leadbeater and Miller have identified an important category. However, how some CJ theorists then generalise from ‘Pro-Ams’ illustrates the danger of ‘weak’ theory referred to above. Leadbeater and Miller’s categorisation does not really include a counter-view on the strengths of professionals, as illustrated in humanistic consulting (Block), professional service firms (Maister; Maister, Green & Galford), and software development (McConnell). The signs of professionalism these authors mention include a commitment to learning and communal verification, mastery of a discipline and domain application, awareness of methodology creation, participation in mentoring, and cultivation of ethical awareness. Two key differences are discernment and quality of attention, as illustrated in how the legendary Hollywood film editor Walter Murch used Apple’s Final Cut Pro software to edit the 2003 film Cold Mountain (Koppelman). ‘Pro-Ams’ might not aspire to these criteria but Citizen Journalists shouldn’t throw out these standards, either. Doing so would be making the same mistake of overconfidence that technical analysts make against statistical arbitrageurs. Key processes—fact-checking, sub-editing and editorial decision-making—are invisible to the end-user, even if traceable in a blog or wiki publishing system, because of the judgments involved. One post-mortem insight from Assignment Zero was that these processes were vital to create the climate of authenticity and trust to sustain a Citizen Journalist community (Howe). CJ’s trouble with “objectivity” might also overlook some complexities, including the similarity of many bloggers to “noise traders” in financial markets and to op-ed columnists. Methodologies and reportage practices have evolved to deal with the objections that CJ proponents raise, from New Journalism’s radical subjectivity and creative non-fiction techniques (Wolfe & Johnson) to Precision Journalism that used descriptive statistics (Meyer). Finally, journalism frameworks could be updated with current research on how phenomenological awareness shapes our judgments and perceptions (Thompson). 8. Strategic Execution For me, one of CJ’s major weaknesses as a new media theory is its lack of “rich description” (Geertz) about the strategic execution of projects. As Disinfo.com site editor I encountered situations ranging from ‘denial of service’ attacks and spam to site migration, publishing systems that go offline, and ensuring an editorial consistency. Yet the messiness of these processes is missing from CJ theories and accounts. Theories that included this detail as “second-order interactions” (Carlile & Christensen 13) would offer a richer view of CJ. Many CJ and Web 2.0 projects fall into the categories of mini-projects, demonstration prototypes and start-ups, even when using a programming language such as Ajax or Ruby on Rails. Whilst the “bootstrap” process is a benefit, more longitudinal analysis and testing needs to occur, to ensure these projects are scalable and sustainable. For example, South Korea’s OhmyNews is cited as an exemplar that started with “727 citizen reporters and 4 editors” and now has “38,000 citizen reporters” and “a dozen editors” (Kolodzy 231). How does OhmyNews’s mix of hard and soft news change over time? Or, how does OhmyNews deal with a complex issue that might require major resources, such as security negotiations between North and South Korea? Such examples could do with further research. We need to go beyond “the vision thing” and look at the messiness of execution for deeper observations and counterintuitive correlations, to build new descriptive theories. 9. Future Research This essay argues that CJ needs re-evaluation. Its immediate legacy might be to splinter ‘journalism’ into micro-trends: Washington University’s Steve Boriss proclaims “citizen journalism is dead. Expert journalism is the future.” (Boriss; Mensching). The half-lives of such micro-trends demand new categorisations, which in turn prematurely feeds the theory-building cycle. Instead, future researchers could reinvigorate 21st century journalism if they ask deeper questions and return to the observation stage of building descriptive theories. In closing, below are some possible questions that future researchers might explore: Where are the “rich descriptions” of journalistic experience—“citizen”, “convergent”, “digital”, “Pro-Am” or otherwise in new media? How could practice-based approaches inform this research instead of relying on espoused theories-in-use? What new methodologies could be developed for CJ implementation? What role can the “heroic” individual reporter or editor have in “the swarm”? Do the claims about OhmyNews and other sites stand up to longitudinal observation? Are the theories used to justify Citizen Journalism’s normative stance (Rheingold; Surowiecki; Pesce) truly robust generalisations for strategic execution or do they reflect the biases of their creators? How could developers tap the conceptual dimensions of information technology innovation (Shasha) to create the next Facebook, MySpace or Wikipedia? References Argyris, Chris, and Donald Schon. Theory in Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1976. Barlow, Aaron. The Rise of the Blogosphere. Westport, CN: Praeger Publishers, 2007. Block, Peter. Flawless Consulting. 2nd ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 2000. Boriss, Steve. “Citizen Journalism Is Dead. Expert Journalism Is the Future.” The Future of News. 28 Nov. 2007. 20 Feb. 2008 http://thefutureofnews.com/2007/11/28/citizen-journalism-is-dead- expert-journalism-is-the-future/>. Brooks, Jr., Frederick P. The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering. Rev. ed. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1995. Campbell, Vincent. Information Age Journalism: Journalism in an International Context. New York: Arnold, 2004. Carlile, Paul R., and Clayton M. Christensen. “The Cycles of Building Theory in Management Research.” Innosight working paper draft 6. 6 Jan. 2005. 19 Feb. 2008 http://www.innosight.com/documents/Theory%20Building.pdf>. Caverly, Doug. “Hyperlocal News Site Takes A Hit.” WebProNews.com 6 July 2007. 19 Feb. 2008 http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2007/07/06/hyperlocal-news- sites-take-a-hit>. Chenoweth, Neil. Virtual Murdoch: Reality Wars on the Information Superhighway. Sydney: Random House Australia, 2001. Christensen, Clayton M. The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1997. Christensen, Clayton M., Curtis Johnson, and Michael Horn. Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008. Curtis, Adam. The Mayfair Set. London: British Broadcasting Corporation, 1999. Etherington, Kim. Becoming a Reflexive Researcher: Using Ourselves in Research. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2004. Festinger, Leon. A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1962. Feyerabend, Paul. Against Method. 3rd ed. London: Verso, 1993. Finnemore, Martha. National Interests in International Society. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996. Geertz, Clifford. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books, 1973. Ghoshal, Sumantra. “Bad Management Theories Are Destroying Good Management Practices.” Academy of Management Learning & Education 4.1 (2005): 75-91. Gibson, William. Pattern Recognition. London: Viking, 2003. Gladwell, Malcolm. “The Cool-Hunt.” The New Yorker Magazine 17 March 1997. 20 Feb. 2008 http://www.gladwell.com/1997/1997_03_17_a_cool.htm>. Gross, Daniel. Pop! Why Bubbles Are Great for the Economy. New York: Collins, 2007. Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer. New York: Harper, 1951. Howe, Jeff. “Did Assignment Zero Fail? A Look Back, and Lessons Learned.” Wired News 16 July 2007. 19 Feb. 2008 http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2007/07/assignment_ zero_final?currentPage=all>. Kahneman, Daniel, and Amos Tversky. Choices, Values and Frames. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000. Keen, Andrew. The Cult of the Amateur. New York: Doubleday Currency, 2007. Khurana, Rakesh. From Higher Aims to Hired Hands. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2007. Kolodzy, Janet. Convergence Journalism: Writing and Reporting across the News Media. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. Koppelman, Charles. Behind the Seen: How Walter Murch Edited Cold Mountain Using Apple’s Final Cut Pro and What This Means for Cinema. Upper Saddle River, NJ: New Rider, 2004. Leadbeater, Charles, and Paul Miller. “The Pro-Am Revolution”. London: Demos, 24 Nov. 2004. 19 Feb. 2008 http://www.demos.co.uk/publications/proameconomy>. Loomis, Carol J. “Bloomberg’s Money Machine.” Fortune 5 April 2007. 20 Feb. 2008 http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/04/16/ 8404302/index.htm>. Lynch, Peter, and John Rothchild. Beating the Street. Rev. ed. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Maister, David. True Professionalism. New York: The Free Press, 1997. Maister, David, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford. The Trusted Advisor. New York: The Free Press, 2004. Mensching, Leah McBride. “Citizen Journalism on Its Way Out?” SFN Blog, 30 Nov. 2007. 20 Feb. 2008 http://www.sfnblog.com/index.php/2007/11/30/940-citizen-journalism- on-its-way-out>. Meyer, Philip. Precision Journalism. 4th ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. McConnell, Steve. Professional Software Development. Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley, 2004. Mintzberg, Henry. Managers Not MBAs. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler, 2004. Morgan, Gareth. Images of Organisation. Rev. ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2006. Newsvine. “Msnbc.com Acquires Newsvine.” 7 Oct. 2007. 20 Feb. 2008 http://blog.newsvine.com/_news/2007/10/07/1008889-msnbccom- acquires-newsvine>. Niederhoffer, Victor, and Laurel Kenner. Practical Speculation. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2003. Pearlstine, Norman. Off the Record: The Press, the Government, and the War over Anonymous Sources. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007. Pesce, Mark D. “Mob Rules (The Law of Fives).” The Human Network 28 Sep. 2007. 20 Feb. 2008 http://blog.futurestreetconsulting.com/?p=39>. Rheingold, Howard. Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution. Cambridge MA: Basic Books, 2002. Rosen, Jay. What Are Journalists For? Princeton NJ: Yale UP, 2001. Shasha, Dennis Elliott. Out of Their Minds: The Lives and Discoveries of 15 Great Computer Scientists. New York: Copernicus, 1995. Slywotzky, Adrian. Value Migration: How to Think Several Moves Ahead of the Competition. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1996. Smith, Steve. “The Self-Image of a Discipline: The Genealogy of International Relations Theory.” Eds. Steve Smith and Ken Booth. International Relations Theory Today. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1995. 1-37. Spar, Debora L. Ruling the Waves: Cycles of Discovery, Chaos and Wealth from the Compass to the Internet. New York: Harcourt, 2001. Surowiecki, James. The Wisdom of Crowds. New York: Doubleday, 2004. Thompson, Evan. Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2007. Trippi, Joe. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. New York: ReganBooks, 2004. Underwood, Doug. When MBA’s Rule the Newsroom. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. Wark, McKenzie. Virtual Geography: Living with Global Media Events. Bloomington IN: Indiana UP, 1994. Wolfe, Tom, and E.W. Johnson. The New Journalism. New York: Harper & Row, 1973. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Burns, Alex. "Select Issues with New Media Theories of Citizen Journalism." M/C Journal 10.6/11.1 (2008). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0804/10-burns.php>. APA Style Burns, A. (Apr. 2008) "Select Issues with New Media Theories of Citizen Journalism," M/C Journal, 10(6)/11(1). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0804/10-burns.php>.

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Burns, Alex. "Select Issues with New Media Theories of Citizen Journalism." M/C Journal 11, no.1 (June1, 2008). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.30.

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“Journalists have to begin a new type of journalism, sometimes being the guide on the side of the civic conversation as well as the filter and gatekeeper.” (Kolodzy 218) “In many respects, citizen journalism is simply public journalism removed from the journalism profession.” (Barlow 181) 1. Citizen Journalism — The Latest Innovation? New Media theorists such as Dan Gillmor, Henry Jenkins, Jay Rosen and Jeff Howe have recently touted Citizen Journalism (CJ) as the latest innovation in 21st century journalism. “Participatory journalism” and “user-driven journalism” are other terms to describe CJ, which its proponents argue is a disruptive innovation (Christensen) to the agenda-setting media institutions, news values and “objective” reportage. In this essay I offer a “contrarian” view, informed by two perspectives: (1) a three-stage model of theory-building (Carlile & Christensen) to evaluate the claims made about CJ; and (2) self-reflexive research insights (Etherington) from editing the US-based news site Disinformation between November 1999 and February 2008. New media theories can potentially create “cognitive dissonance” (Festinger) when their explanations of CJ practices are compared with what actually happens (Feyerabend). First I summarise Carlile & Christensen’s model and the dangers of “bad theory” (Ghoshal). Next I consider several problems in new media theories about CJ: the notion of ‘citizen’, new media populism, parallels in event-driven and civic journalism, and mergers and acquisitions. Two ‘self-reflexive’ issues are considered: ‘pro-ams’ or ‘professional amateurs’ as a challenge to professional journalists, and CJ’s deployment in new media operations and production environments. Finally, some exploratory questions are offered for future researchers. 2. An Evaluative Framework for New Media Theories on Citizen Journalism Paul Carlile and Clayton M. Christensen’s model offers one framework with which to evaluate new media theories on CJ. This framework is used below to highlight select issues and gaps in CJ’s current frameworks and theories. Carlile & Christensen suggest that robust theory-building emerges via three stages: Descriptive, Categorisation and Normative (Carlile & Christensen). There are three sub-stages in Descriptive theory-building; namely, the observation of phenomena, inductive classification into schemas and taxonomies, and correlative relationships to develop models (Carlile & Christensen 2-5). Once causation is established, Normative theory evolves through deductive logic which is subject to Kuhnian paradigm shifts and Popperian falsifiability (Carlile & Christensen 6). Its proponents situate CJ as a Categorisation or new journalism agenda that poses a Normative challenged and Kuhnian paradigm shift to traditional journalism. Existing CJ theories jump from the Descriptive phase of observations like “smart mobs” in Japanese youth subcultures (Rheingold) to make broad claims for Categorisation such as that IndyMedia, blogs and wiki publishing systems as new media alternatives to traditional media. CJ theories then underpin normative beliefs, values and worldviews. Correlative relationships are also used to differentiate CJ from the demand side of microeconomic analysis, from the top-down editorial models of traditional media outlets, and to adopt a vanguard stance. To support this, CJ proponents cite research on emergent collective behaviour such as the “wisdom of crowds” hypothesis (Surowiecki) or peer-to-peer network “swarms” (Pesce) to provide scientific justification for their Normative theories. However, further evaluative research is needed for three reasons: the emergent collective behaviour hypothesis may not actually inform CJ practices, existing theories may have “correlation not cause” errors, and the link may be due to citation network effects between CJ theorists. Collectively, this research base also frames CJ as an “ought to” Categorisation and then proceeds to Normative theory-building (Carlile & Christensen 7). However, I argue below that this Categorisation may be premature: its observations and correlative relationships might reinforce a ‘weak’ Normative theory with limited generalisation. CJ proponents seem to imply that it can be applied anywhere and under any condition—a “statement of causality” that almost makes it a fad (Carlile & Christensen 8). CJ that relies on Classification and Normative claims will be problematic without a strong grounding in Descriptive observation. To understand what’s potentially at stake for CJ’s future consider the consider the parallel debate about curricula renewal for the Masters of Business Administration in the wake of high-profile corporate collapses such as Enron, Worldcom, HIH and OneTel. The MBA evolved as a sociological and institutional construct to justify management as a profession that is codified, differentiated and has entry barriers (Khurana). This process might partly explain the pushback that some media professionals have to CJ as one alternative. MBA programs faced criticism if they had student cohorts with little business know-how or experiential learning (Mintzberg). Enron’s collapse illustrated the ethical dilemmas and unintended consequences that occurred when “bad theories” were implemented (Ghoshal). Professional journalists are aware of this: MBA-educated managers challenged the “craft” tradition in the early 1980s (Underwood). This meant that journalism’s ‘self-image’ (Morgan; Smith) is intertwined with managerial anxieties about media conglomerates in highly competitive markets. Ironically, as noted below, Citizen Journalists who adopt a vanguard position vis-a-vis media professionals step into a more complex game with other players. However, current theories have a naïve idealism about CJ’s promise of normative social change in the face of Machiavellian agency in business, the media and politics. 3. Citizen Who? Who is the “citizen” in CJ? What is their self-awareness as a political agent? CJ proponents who use the ‘self-image’ of ‘citizen’ draw on observations from the participatory vision of open source software, peer-to-peer networks, and case studies such as Howard Dean’s 2004 bid for the Democrat Party nominee in the US Presidential election campaign (Trippi). Recent theorists note Alexander Hamilton’s tradition of civic activism (Barlow 178) which links contemporary bloggers with the Federalist Papers and early newspaper pamphlets. One unsurfaced assumption in these observations and correlations is that most bloggers will adopt a coherent political philosophy as informed citizens: a variation on Lockean utilitarianism, Rawlsian liberalism or Nader consumer activism. To date there is little discussion about how political philosophy could deepen CJ’s ‘self-image’: how to critically evaluate sources, audit and investigation processes, or strategies to deal with elites, deterrence and power. For example, although bloggers kept Valerie Plame’s ‘outing’ as a covert intelligence operative highly visible in the issues-attention cycle, it was agenda-setting media like The New York Times who the Bush Administration targeted to silence (Pearlstine). To be viable, CJ needs to evolve beyond a new media populism, perhaps into a constructivist model of agency, norms and social change (Finnemore). 4. Citizen Journalism as New Media Populism Several “precursor trends” foreshadowed CJ notably the mid-1990s interest in “cool-hunting” by new media analysts and subculture marketeers (Gibson; Gladwell). Whilst this audience focus waned with the 1995-2000 dotcom bubble it resurfaced in CJ and publisher Tim O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 vision. Thus, CJ might be viewed as new media populism that has flourished with the Web 2.0 boom. Yet if the boom becomes a macroeconomic bubble (Gross; Spar) then CJ could be written off as a “silver bullet” that ultimately failed to deliver on its promises (Brooks, Jr.). The reputations of uncritical proponents who adopted a “true believer” stance would also be damaged (Hoffer). This risk is evident if CJ is compared with a parallel trend that shares its audience focus and populist view: day traders and technical analysts who speculate on financial markets. This parallel trend provides an alternative discipline in which the populism surfaced in an earlier form (Carlile & Christensen 12). Fidelity’s Peter Lynch argues that stock pickers can use their Main Street knowledge to beat Wall Street by exploiting information asymmetries (Lynch & Rothchild). Yet Lynch’s examples came from the mid-1970s to early 1980s when indexed mutual fund strategies worked, before deregulation and macroeconomic volatility. A change in the Web 2.0 boom might similarly trigger a reconsideration of Citizen Journalism. Hedge fund maven Victor Niederhoffer contends that investors who rely on technical analysis are practicing a Comtean religion (Niederhoffer & Kenner 72-74) instead of Efficient Market Hypothesis traders who use statistical arbitrage to deal with ‘random walks’ or Behavioural Finance experts who build on Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman’s Prospect Theory (Kahneman & Tversky). Niederhoffer’s deeper point is that technical analysts’ belief that the “trend is your friend” is no match for the other schools, despite a mini-publishing industry and computer trading systems. There are also ontological and epistemological differences between the schools. Similarly, CJ proponents who adopt a ‘Professional Amateur’ or ‘Pro-Am’ stance (Leadbeater & Miller) may face a similar gulf when making comparisons with professional journalists and the production environments in media organisations. CJ also thrives as new media populism because of institutional vested interests. When media conglomerates cut back on cadetships and internships CJ might fill the market demand as one alternative. New media programs at New York University and others can use CJ to differentiate themselves from “hyperlocal” competitors (Christensen; Slywotzky; Christensen, Curtis & Horn). This transforms CJ from new media populism to new media institution. 5. Parallels: Event-driven & Civic Journalism For new media programs, CJ builds on two earlier traditions: the Event-driven journalism of crises like the 1991 Gulf War (Wark) and the Civic Journalism school that emerged in the 1960s social upheavals. Civic Journalism’s awareness of minorities and social issues provides the character ethic and political philosophy for many Citizen Journalists. Jay Rosen and others suggest that CJ is the next-generation heir to Civic Journalism, tracing a thread from the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention to IndyMedia’s coverage of the 1999 “Battle in Seattle” (Rosen). Rosen’s observation could yield an interesting historiography or genealogy. Events such as the Southeast Asian tsunami on 26 December 2004 or Al Qaeda’s London bombings on 7 July 2005 are cited as examples of CJ as event-driven journalism and “pro-am collaboration” (Kolodzy 229-230). Having covered these events and Al Qaeda’s attacks on 11th September 2001, I have a slightly different view: this was more a variation on “first responder” status and handicam video footage that journalists have sourced for the past three decades when covering major disasters. This different view means that the “salience of categories” used to justify CJ and “pro-am collaboration” these events does not completely hold. Furthermore, when Citizen Journalism proponents tout Flickr and Wikipedia as models of real-time media they are building on a broader phenomenon that includes CNN’s Gulf War coverage and Bloomberg’s dominance of financial news (Loomis). 6. The Mergers & Acquisitions Scenario CJ proponents often express anxieties about the resilience of their outlets in the face of predatory venture capital firms who initiate Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) activities. Ironically, these venture capital firms have core competencies and expertise in the event-driven infrastructure and real-time media that CJ aspires to. Sequoia Capital and other venture capital firms have evaluative frameworks that likely surpass Carlile & Christensen in sophistication, and they exploit parallels, information asymmetries and market populism. Furthermore, although venture capital firms such as Union Street Ventures have funded Web 2.0 firms, they are absent from the explanations of some theorists, whose examples of Citizen Journalism and Web 2.0 success may be the result of survivorship bias. Thus, the venture capital market remains an untapped data source for researchers who want to evaluate the impact of CJ outlets and institutions. The M&A scenario further problematises CJ in several ways. First, CJ is framed as “oppositional” to traditional media, yet this may be used as a stratagem in a game theory framework with multiple stakeholders. Drexel Burnham Lambert’s financier Michael Milken used market populism to sell ‘high-yield’ or ‘junk’ bonds to investors whilst disrupting the Wall Street establishment in the late 1980s (Curtis) and CJ could fulfil a similar tactical purpose. Second, the M&A goal of some Web 2.0 firms could undermine the participatory goals of a site’s community if post-merger integration fails. Jason Calacanis’s sale of Weblogs, Inc to America Online in 2005 and MSNBC’s acquisition of Newsvine on 5 October 2007 (Newsvine) might be success stories. However, this raises issues of digital “property rights” if you contribute to a community that is then sold in an M&A transaction—an outcome closer to business process outsourcing. Third, media “buzz” can create an unrealistic vision when a CJ site fails to grow beyond its start-up phase. Backfence.com’s demise as a “hyperlocal” initiative (Caverly) is one cautionary event that recalls the 2000 dotcom crash. The M&A scenarios outlined above are market dystopias for CJ purists. The major lesson for CJ proponents is to include other market players in hypotheses about causation and correlation factors. 7. ‘Pro-Ams’ & Professional Journalism’s Crisis CJ emerged during a period when Professional Journalism faced a major crisis of ‘self-image’. The Demos report The Pro-Am Revolution (Leadbeater & Miller) popularised the notion of ‘professional amateurs’ which some CJ theorists adopt to strengthen their categorisation. In turn, this triggers a response from cultural theorists who fear bloggers are new media’s barbarians (Keen). I concede Leadbeater and Miller have identified an important category. However, how some CJ theorists then generalise from ‘Pro-Ams’ illustrates the danger of ‘weak’ theory referred to above. Leadbeater and Miller’s categorisation does not really include a counter-view on the strengths of professionals, as illustrated in humanistic consulting (Block), professional service firms (Maister; Maister, Green & Galford), and software development (McConnell). The signs of professionalism these authors mention include a commitment to learning and communal verification, mastery of a discipline and domain application, awareness of methodology creation, participation in mentoring, and cultivation of ethical awareness. Two key differences are discernment and quality of attention, as illustrated in how the legendary Hollywood film editor Walter Murch used Apple’s Final Cut Pro software to edit the 2003 film Cold Mountain (Koppelman). ‘Pro-Ams’ might not aspire to these criteria but Citizen Journalists shouldn’t throw out these standards, either. Doing so would be making the same mistake of overconfidence that technical analysts make against statistical arbitrageurs. Key processes—fact-checking, sub-editing and editorial decision-making—are invisible to the end-user, even if traceable in a blog or wiki publishing system, because of the judgments involved. One post-mortem insight from Assignment Zero was that these processes were vital to create the climate of authenticity and trust to sustain a Citizen Journalist community (Howe). CJ’s trouble with “objectivity” might also overlook some complexities, including the similarity of many bloggers to “noise traders” in financial markets and to op-ed columnists. Methodologies and reportage practices have evolved to deal with the objections that CJ proponents raise, from New Journalism’s radical subjectivity and creative non-fiction techniques (Wolfe & Johnson) to Precision Journalism that used descriptive statistics (Meyer). Finally, journalism frameworks could be updated with current research on how phenomenological awareness shapes our judgments and perceptions (Thompson). 8. Strategic Execution For me, one of CJ’s major weaknesses as a new media theory is its lack of “rich description” (Geertz) about the strategic execution of projects. As Disinfo.com site editor I encountered situations ranging from ‘denial of service’ attacks and spam to site migration, publishing systems that go offline, and ensuring an editorial consistency. Yet the messiness of these processes is missing from CJ theories and accounts. Theories that included this detail as “second-order interactions” (Carlile & Christensen 13) would offer a richer view of CJ. Many CJ and Web 2.0 projects fall into the categories of mini-projects, demonstration prototypes and start-ups, even when using a programming language such as Ajax or Ruby on Rails. Whilst the “bootstrap” process is a benefit, more longitudinal analysis and testing needs to occur, to ensure these projects are scalable and sustainable. For example, South Korea’s OhmyNews is cited as an exemplar that started with “727 citizen reporters and 4 editors” and now has “38,000 citizen reporters” and “a dozen editors” (Kolodzy 231). How does OhmyNews’s mix of hard and soft news change over time? Or, how does OhmyNews deal with a complex issue that might require major resources, such as security negotiations between North and South Korea? Such examples could do with further research. We need to go beyond “the vision thing” and look at the messiness of execution for deeper observations and counterintuitive correlations, to build new descriptive theories. 9. Future Research This essay argues that CJ needs re-evaluation. Its immediate legacy might be to splinter ‘journalism’ into micro-trends: Washington University’s Steve Boriss proclaims “citizen journalism is dead. Expert journalism is the future.” (Boriss; Mensching). The half-lives of such micro-trends demand new categorisations, which in turn prematurely feeds the theory-building cycle. Instead, future researchers could reinvigorate 21st century journalism if they ask deeper questions and return to the observation stage of building descriptive theories. In closing, below are some possible questions that future researchers might explore: Where are the “rich descriptions” of journalistic experience—“citizen”, “convergent”, “digital”, “Pro-Am” or otherwise in new media?How could practice-based approaches inform this research instead of relying on espoused theories-in-use?What new methodologies could be developed for CJ implementation?What role can the “heroic” individual reporter or editor have in “the swarm”?Do the claims about OhmyNews and other sites stand up to longitudinal observation?Are the theories used to justify Citizen Journalism’s normative stance (Rheingold; Surowiecki; Pesce) truly robust generalisations for strategic execution or do they reflect the biases of their creators?How could developers tap the conceptual dimensions of information technology innovation (Shasha) to create the next Facebook, MySpace or Wikipedia? References Argyris, Chris, and Donald Schon. Theory in Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1976. Barlow, Aaron. The Rise of the Blogosphere. Westport, CN: Praeger Publishers, 2007. Block, Peter. Flawless Consulting. 2nd ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, 2000. Boriss, Steve. “Citizen Journalism Is Dead. Expert Journalism Is the Future.” The Future of News. 28 Nov. 2007. 20 Feb. 2008 < http://thefutureofnews.com/2007/11/28/citizen-journalism-is-dead- expert-journalism-is-the-future/ >. Brooks, Jr., Frederick P. The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering. Rev. ed. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1995. Campbell, Vincent. Information Age Journalism: Journalism in an International Context. New York: Arnold, 2004. Carlile, Paul R., and Clayton M. Christensen. “The Cycles of Building Theory in Management Research.” Innosight working paper draft 6. 6 Jan. 2005. 19 Feb. 2008 < http://www.innosight.com/documents/Theory%20Building.pdf >. Caverly, Doug. “Hyperlocal News Site Takes A Hit.” WebProNews.com 6 July 2007. 19 Feb. 2008 < http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2007/07/06/hyperlocal-news- sites-take-a-hit >. Chenoweth, Neil. Virtual Murdoch: Reality Wars on the Information Superhighway. Sydney: Random House Australia, 2001. Christensen, Clayton M. The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1997. Christensen, Clayton M., Curtis Johnson, and Michael Horn. Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008. Curtis, Adam. The Mayfair Set. London: British Broadcasting Corporation, 1999. Etherington, Kim. Becoming a Reflexive Researcher: Using Ourselves in Research. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2004. Festinger, Leon. A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1962. Feyerabend, Paul. Against Method. 3rd ed. London: Verso, 1993. Finnemore, Martha. National Interests in International Society. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996. Geertz, Clifford. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books, 1973. Ghoshal, Sumantra. “Bad Management Theories Are Destroying Good Management Practices.” Academy of Management Learning & Education 4.1 (2005): 75-91. Gibson, William. Pattern Recognition. London: Viking, 2003. Gladwell, Malcolm. “The Cool-Hunt.” The New Yorker Magazine 17 March 1997. 20 Feb. 2008 < http://www.gladwell.com/1997/1997_03_17_a_cool.htm >. Gross, Daniel. Pop! Why Bubbles Are Great for the Economy. New York: Collins, 2007. Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer. New York: Harper, 1951. Howe, Jeff. “Did Assignment Zero Fail? A Look Back, and Lessons Learned.” Wired News 16 July 2007. 19 Feb. 2008 < http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2007/07/assignment_ zero_final?currentPage=all >. Kahneman, Daniel, and Amos Tversky. Choices, Values and Frames. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000. Keen, Andrew. The Cult of the Amateur. New York: Doubleday Currency, 2007. Khurana, Rakesh. From Higher Aims to Hired Hands. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2007. Kolodzy, Janet. Convergence Journalism: Writing and Reporting across the News Media. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. Koppelman, Charles. Behind the Seen: How Walter Murch Edited Cold Mountain Using Apple’s Final Cut Pro and What This Means for Cinema. Upper Saddle River, NJ: New Rider, 2004. Leadbeater, Charles, and Paul Miller. “The Pro-Am Revolution”. London: Demos, 24 Nov. 2004. 19 Feb. 2008 < http://www.demos.co.uk/publications/proameconomy >. Loomis, Carol J. “Bloomberg’s Money Machine.” Fortune 5 April 2007. 20 Feb. 2008 < http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/04/16/ 8404302/index.htm >. Lynch, Peter, and John Rothchild. Beating the Street. Rev. ed. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Maister, David. True Professionalism. New York: The Free Press, 1997. Maister, David, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford. The Trusted Advisor. New York: The Free Press, 2004. Mensching, Leah McBride. “Citizen Journalism on Its Way Out?” SFN Blog, 30 Nov. 2007. 20 Feb. 2008 < http://www.sfnblog.com/index.php/2007/11/30/940-citizen-journalism- on-its-way-out >. Meyer, Philip. Precision Journalism. 4th ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. McConnell, Steve. Professional Software Development. Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley, 2004. Mintzberg, Henry. Managers Not MBAs. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler, 2004. Morgan, Gareth. Images of Organisation. Rev. ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2006. Newsvine. “Msnbc.com Acquires Newsvine.” 7 Oct. 2007. 20 Feb. 2008 < http://blog.newsvine.com/_news/2007/10/07/1008889-msnbccom- acquires-newsvine >. Niederhoffer, Victor, and Laurel Kenner. Practical Speculation. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2003. Pearlstine, Norman. Off the Record: The Press, the Government, and the War over Anonymous Sources. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007. Pesce, Mark D. “Mob Rules (The Law of Fives).” The Human Network 28 Sep. 2007. 20 Feb. 2008 < http://blog.futurestreetconsulting.com/?p=39 >. Rheingold, Howard. Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution. Cambridge MA: Basic Books, 2002. Rosen, Jay. What Are Journalists For? Princeton NJ: Yale UP, 2001. Shasha, Dennis Elliott. Out of Their Minds: The Lives and Discoveries of 15 Great Computer Scientists. New York: Copernicus, 1995. Slywotzky, Adrian. Value Migration: How to Think Several Moves Ahead of the Competition. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1996. Smith, Steve. “The Self-Image of a Discipline: The Genealogy of International Relations Theory.” Eds. Steve Smith and Ken Booth. International Relations Theory Today. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1995. 1-37. Spar, Debora L. Ruling the Waves: Cycles of Discovery, Chaos and Wealth from the Compass to the Internet. New York: Harcourt, 2001. Surowiecki, James. The Wisdom of Crowds. New York: Doubleday, 2004. Thompson, Evan. Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2007. Trippi, Joe. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. New York: ReganBooks, 2004. Underwood, Doug. When MBA’s Rule the Newsroom. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. Wark, McKenzie. Virtual Geography: Living with Global Media Events. Bloomington IN: Indiana UP, 1994. Wolfe, Tom, and E.W. Johnson. The New Journalism. New York: Harper & Row, 1973.

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Wark, McKenzie. "Toywars." M/C Journal 6, no.3 (June1, 2003). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2179.

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Abstract:

I first came across etoy in Linz, Austria in 1995. They turned up at Ars Electronica with their shaved heads, in their matching orange bomber jackets. They were not invited. The next year they would not have to crash the party. In 1996 they were awarded Arts Electronica’s prestigious Golden Nica for web art, and were on their way to fame and bitterness – the just rewards for their art of self-regard. As founding member Agent.ZAI says: “All of us were extremely greedy – for excitement, for drugs, for success.” (Wishart & Boschler: 16) The etoy story starts on the fringes of the squatters’ movement in Zurich. Disenchanted with the hard left rhetorics that permeate the movement in the 1980s, a small group look for another way of existing within a commodified world, without the fantasy of an ‘outside’ from which to critique it. What Antonio Negri and friends call the ‘real subsumption’ of life under the rule of commodification is something etoy grasps intuitively. The group would draw on a number of sources: David Bowie, the Sex Pistols, the Manchester rave scene, European Amiga art, rumors of the historic avant gardes from Dada to Fluxus. They came together in 1994, at a meeting in the Swiss resort town of Weggis on Lake Lucerne. While the staging of the founding meeting looks like a rerun of the origins of the Situationist International, the wording of the invitation might suggest the founding of a pop music boy band: “fun, money and the new world?” One of the – many – stories about the origins of the name Dada has it being chosen at random from a bilingual dictionary. The name etoy, in an update on that procedure, was spat out by a computer program designed to make four letter words at random. Ironically, both Dada and etoy, so casually chosen, would inspire furious struggles over the ownership of these chancey 4-bit words. The group decided to make money by servicing the growing rave scene. Being based in Vienna and Zurich, the group needed a way to communicate, and chose to use the internet. This was a far from obvious thing to do in 1994. Connections were slow and unreliable. Sometimes it was easier to tape a hard drive full of clubland graphics to the underside of a seat on the express train from Zurich to Vienna and simply email instructions to meet the train and retrieve it. The web was a primitive instrument in 1995 when etoy built its first website. They launched it with a party called etoy.FASTLANE, an optimistic title when the web was anything but. Coco, a transsexual model and tabloid sensation, sang a Japanese song while suspended in the air. She brought media interest, and was anointed etoy’s lifestyle angel. As Wishart and Bochsler write, “it was as if the Seven Dwarfs had discovered their Snow White.” (Wishart & Boschler: 33) The launch didn’t lead to much in the way of a music deal or television exposure. The old media were not so keen to validate the etoy dream of lifting themselves into fame and fortune by their bootstraps. And so etoy decided to be stars of the new media. The slogan was suitably revised: “etoy: the pop star is the pilot is the coder is the designer is the architect is the manager is the system is etoy.” (Wishart & Boschler: 34) The etoy boys were more than net.artists, they were artists of the brand. The brand was achieving a new prominence in the mid-90s. (Klein: 35) This was a time when capitalism was hollowing itself out in the overdeveloped world, shedding parts of its manufacturing base. Control of the circuits of commodification would rest less on the ownership of the means of production and more on maintaining a monopoly on the flows of information. The leading edge of the ruling class was becoming self-consciously vectoral. It controlled the flow of information about what to produce – the details of design, the underlying patents. It controlled the flows of information about what is produced – the brands and logos, the slogans and images. The capitalist class is supplanted by a vectoral class, controlling the commodity circuit through the vectors of information. (Wark) The genius of etoy was to grasp the aesthetic dimension of this new stage of commodification. The etoy boys styled themselves not so much as a parody of corporate branding and management groupthink, but as logical extension of it. They adopted matching uniforms and called themselves agents. In the dada-punk-hiphop tradition, they launched themselves on the world as brand new, self-created, self-named subjects: Agents Zai, Brainhard, Gramazio, Kubli, Esposto, Udatny and Goldstein. The etoy.com website was registered in 1995 with Network Solutions for a $100 fee. The homepage for this etoy.TANKSYSTEM was designed like a flow chart. As Gramazio says: “We wanted to create an environment with surreal content, to build a parallel world and put the content of this world into tanks.” (Wishart & Boschler: 51) One tank was a cybermotel, with Coco the first guest. Another tank showed you your IP number, with a big-brother eye looking on. A supermarket tank offered sunglasses and laughing gas for sale, but which may or may not be delivered. The underground tank included hardcore photos of a sensationalist kind. A picture of the Federal Building in Oklamoma City after the bombing was captioned in deadpan post-situ style “such work needs a lot of training.” (Wishart & Boschler: 52) The etoy agents were by now thoroughly invested in the etoy brand and the constellation of images they had built around it, on their website. Their slogan became “etoy: leaving reality behind.” (Wishart & Boschler: 53) They were not the first artists fascinated by commodification. It was Warhol who said “good art is good business.”(Warhol ) But etoy reversed the equation: good business is good art. And good business, in this vectoral age, is in its most desirable form an essentially conceptual matter of creating a brand at the center of a constellation of signifiers. Late in 1995, etoy held another group meeting, at the Zurich youth center Dynamo. The problem was that while they had build a hardcore website, nobody was visiting it. Agents Gooldstein and Udatny thought that there might be a way of using the new search engines to steer visitors to the site. Zai and Brainhard helped secure a place at the Vienna Academy of Applied Arts where Udatny could use the computer lab to implement this idea. Udatny’s first step was to create a program that would go out and gather email addresses from the web. These addresses would form the lists for the early examples of art-spam that etoy would perpetrate. Udatny’s second idea was a bit more interesting. He worked out how to get the etoy.TANKSYSTEM page listed in search engines. Most search engines ranked pages by the frequency of the search term in the pages it had indexed, so etoy.TANKSYSTEM would contain pages of selected keywords. p*rn sites were also discovering this method of creating free publicity. The difference was that etoy chose a very carefully curated list of 350 search terms, including: art, bondage, cyberspace, Doom, Elvis, Fidel, genx, heroin, internet, jungle and Kant. Users of search engines who searched for these terms would find dummy pages listed prominently in their search results that directed them, unsuspectingly, to etoy.com. They called this project Digital Hijack. To give the project a slightly political aura, the pages the user was directed to contained an appeal for the release of convicted hacker Kevin Mitnick. This was the project that won them a Golden Nica statuette at Ars Electronica in 1996, which Gramazio allegedly lost the same night playing roulette. It would also, briefly, require that they explain themselves to the police. Digital Hijack also led to the first splits in the group, under the intense pressure of organizing it on a notionally collective basis, but with the zealous Agent Zai acting as de facto leader. When Udatny was expelled, Zai and Brainhard even repossessed his Toshiba laptop, bought with etoy funds. As Udatny recalls, “It was the lowest point in my life ever. There was nothing left; I could not rely on etoy any more. I did not even have clothes, apart from the etoy uniform.” (Wishart & Boschler: 104) Here the etoy story repeats a common theme from the history of the avant gardes as forms of collective subjectivity. After Digital Hijack, etoy went into a bit of a slump. It’s something of a problem for a group so dependent on recognition from the other of the media, that without a buzz around them, etoy would tend to collapse in on itself like a fading supernova. Zai spend the early part of 1997 working up a series of management documents, in which he appeared as the group’s managing director. Zai employed the current management theory rhetoric of employee ‘empowerment’ while centralizing control. Like any other corporate-Trotskyite, his line was that “We have to get used to reworking the company structure constantly.” (Wishart & Boschler: 132) The plan was for each member of etoy to register the etoy trademark in a different territory, linking identity to information via ownership. As Zai wrote “If another company uses our name in a grand way, I’ll probably shoot myself. And that would not be cool.” (Wishart & Boschler:: 132) As it turned out, another company was interested – the company that would become eToys.com. Zai received an email offering “a reasonable sum” for the etoy.com domain name. Zai was not amused. “Damned Americans, they think they can take our hunting grounds for a handful of glass pearls….”. (Wishart & Boschler: 133) On an invitation from Suzy Meszoly of C3, the etoy boys traveled to Budapest to work on “protected by etoy”, a work exploring internet security. They spent most of their time – and C3’s grant money – producing a glossy corporate brochure. The folder sported a blurb from Bjork: “etoy: immature priests from another world” – which was of course completely fabricated. When Artothek, the official art collection of the Austrian Chancellor, approached etoy wanting to buy work, the group had to confront the problem of how to actually turn their brand into a product. The idea was always that the brand was the product, but this doesn’t quite resolve the question of how to produce the kind of unique artifacts that the art world requires. Certainly the old Conceptual Art strategy of selling ‘documentation’ would not do. The solution was as brilliant as it was simple – to sell etoy shares. The ‘works’ would be ‘share certificates’ – unique objects, whose only value, on the face of it, would be that they referred back to the value of the brand. The inspiration, according to Wishart & Boschsler, was David Bowie, ‘the man who sold the world’, who had announced the first rock and roll bond on the London financial markets, backed by future earnings of his back catalogue and publishing rights. Gramazio would end up presenting Chancellor Viktor Klima with the first ‘shares’ at a press conference. “It was a great start for the project”, he said, “A real hack.” (Wishart & Boschler: 142) For this vectoral age, etoy would create the perfect vectoral art. Zai and Brainhard took off next for Pasadena, where they got the idea of reverse-engineering the online etoy.TANKSYSTEM by building an actual tank in an orange shipping container, which would become etoy.TANK 17. This premiered at the San Francisco gallery Blasthaus in June 1998. Instant stars in the small world of San Francisco art, the group began once again to disintegrate. Brainhard and Esposito resigned. Back in Europe in late 1998, Zai was preparing to graduate from the Vienna Academy of Applied Arts. His final project would recapitulate the life and death of etoy. It would exist from here on only as an online archive, a digital mausoleum. As Kubli says “there was no possibility to earn our living with etoy.” (Wishart & Boschler: 192) Zai emailed eToys.com and asked them if them if they would like to place a banner ad on etoy.com, to redirect any errant web traffic. Lawyers for eToys.com offered etoy $30,000 for the etoy.com domain name, which the remaining members of etoy – Zai, Gramazio, Kubli – refused. The offer went up to $100,000, which they also refused. Through their lawyer Peter Wild they demanded $750,000. In September 1999, while etoy were making a business presentation as their contribution to Ars Electronica, eToys.com lodged a complaint against etoy in the Los Angeles Superior Court. The company hired Bruce Wessel, of the heavyweight LA law firm Irell & Manella, who specialized in trademark, copyright and other intellectual property litigation. The complaint Wessel drafted alleged that etoy had infringed and diluted the eToys trademark, were practicing unfair competition and had committed “intentional interference with prospective economic damage.” (Wishart & Boschler: 199) Wessel demanded an injunction that would oblige etoy to cease using its trademark and take down its etoy.com website. The complaint also sought to prevent etoy from selling shares, and demanded punitive damages. Displaying the aggressive lawyering for which he was so handsomely paid, Wessel invoked the California Unfair Competition Act, which was meant to protect citizens from fraudulent business scams. Meant as a piece of consumer protection legislation, its sweeping scope made it available for inventive suits such as Wessel’s against etoy. Wessel was able to use pretty much everything from the archive etoy built against it. As Wishart and Bochsler write, “The court papers were like a delicately curated catalogue of its practices.” (Wishart & Boschler: 199) And indeed, legal documents in copyright and trademark cases may be the most perfect literature of the vectoral age. The Unfair Competition claim was probably aimed at getting the suit heard in a Californian rather than a Federal court in which intellectual property issues were less frequently litigated. The central aim of the eToys suit was the trademark infringement, but on that head their claims were not all that strong. According to the 1946 Lanham Act, similar trademarks do not infringe upon each other if there they are for different kinds of business or in different geographical areas. The Act also says that the right to own a trademark depends on its use. So while etoy had not registered their trademark and eToys had, etoy were actually up and running before eToys, and could base their trademark claim on this fact. The eToys case rested on a somewhat selective reading of the facts. Wessel claimed that etoy was not using its trademark in the US when eToys was registered in 1997. Wessel did not dispute the fact that etoy existed in Europe prior to that time. He asserted that owning the etoy.com domain name was not sufficient to establish a right to the trademark. If the intention of the suit was to bully etoy into giving in, it had quite the opposite effect. It pissed them off. “They felt again like the teenage punks they had once been”, as Wishart & Bochsler put it. Their art imploded in on itself for lack of attention, but called upon by another, it flourished. Wessel and eToys.com unintentionally triggered a dialectic that worked in quite the opposite way to what they intended. The more pressure they put on etoy, the more valued – and valuable – they felt etoy to be. Conceptual business, like conceptual art, is about nothing but the management of signs within the constraints of given institutional forms of market. That this conflict was about nothing made it a conflict about everything. It was a perfectly vectoral struggle. Zai and Gramazio flew to the US to fire up enthusiasm for their cause. They asked Wolfgang Staehle of The Thing to register the domain toywar.com, as a space for anti-eToys activities at some remove from etoy.com, and as a safe haven should eToys prevail with their injunction in having etoy.com taken down. The etoy defense was handled by Marcia Ballard in New York and Robert Freimuth in Los Angeles. In their defense, they argued that etoy had existed since 1994, had registered its globally accessible domain in 1995, and won an international art prize in 1996. To counter a claim by eToys that they had a prior trademark claim because they had bought a trademark from another company that went back to 1990, Ballard and Freimuth argued that this particular trademark only applied to the importation of toys from the previous owner’s New York base and thus had no relevance. They capped their argument by charging that eToys had not shown that its customers were really confused by the existence of etoy. With Christmas looming, eToys wanted a quick settlement, so they offered Zurich-based etoy lawyer Peter Wild $160,000 in shares and cash for the etoy domain. Kubli was prepared to negotiate, but Zai and Gramazio wanted to gamble – and raise the stakes. As Zai recalls: “We did not want to be just the victims; that would have been cheap. We wanted to be giants too.” (Wishart & Boschler: 207) They refused the offer. The case was heard in November 1999 before Judge Rafeedie in the Federal Court. Freimuth, for etoy, argued that federal Court was the right place for what was essentially a trademark matter. Robert Kleiger, for eToys, countered that it should stay where it was because of the claims under the California Unfair Competition act. Judge Rafeedie took little time in agreeing with the eToys lawyer. Wessel’s strategy paid off and eToys won the first skirmish. The first round of a quite different kind of conflict opened when etoy sent out their first ‘toywar’ mass mailing, drawing the attention of the net.art, activism and theory crowd to these events. This drew a report from Felix Stalder in Telepolis: “Fences are going up everywhere, molding what once seemed infinite space into an overcrowded and tightly controlled strip mall.” (Stalder ) The positive feedback from the net only emboldened etoy. For the Los Angeles court, lawyers for etoy filed papers arguing that the sale of ‘shares’ in etoy was not really a stock offering. “The etoy.com website is not about commerce per se, it is about artist and social protest”, they argued. (Wishart & Boschler: 209) They were obliged, in other words, to assert a difference that the art itself had intended to blur in order to escape eToy’s claims under the Unfair Competition Act. Moreover, etoy argued that there was no evidence of a victim. Nobody was claiming to have been fooled by etoy into buying something under false pretences. Ironically enough, art would turn out in hindsight to be a more straightforward transaction here, involving less simulation or dissimulation, than investing in a dot.com. Perhaps we have reached the age when art makes more, not less, claim than business to the rhetorical figure of ‘reality’. Having defended what appeared to be the vulnerable point under the Unfair Competition law, etoy went on the attack. It was the failure of eToys to do a proper search for other trademarks that created the problem in the first place. Meanwhile, in Federal Court, lawyers for etoy launched a counter-suit that reversed the claims against them made by eToys on the trademark question. While the suits and counter suits flew, eToys.com upped their offer to settle to a package of cash and shares worth $400,000. This rather puzzled the etoy lawyers. Those choosing to sue don’t usually try at the same time to settle. Lawyer Peter Wild advised his clients to take the money, but the parallel tactics of eToys.com only encouraged them to dig in their heels. “We felt that this was a tremendous final project for etoy”, says Gramazio. As Zai says, “eToys was our ideal enemy – we were its worst enemy.” (Wishart & Boschler: 210) Zai reported the offer to the net in another mass mail. Most people advised them to take the money, including Doug Rushkoff and Heath Bunting. Paul Garrin counseled fighting on. The etoy agents offered to settle for $750,000. The case came to court in late November 1999 before Judge Shook. The Judge accepted the plausibility of the eToys version of the facts on the trademark issue, which included the purchase of a registered trademark from another company that went back to 1990. He issued an injunction on their behalf, and added in his statement that he was worried about “the great danger of children being exposed to profane and hardcore p*rnographic issues on the computer.” (Wishart & Boschler: 222) The injunction was all eToys needed to get Network Solutions to shut down the etoy.com domain. Zai sent out a press release in early December, which percolated through Slashdot, rhizome, nettime (Staehle) and many other networks, and catalyzed the net community into action. A debate of sorts started on investor websites such as fool.com. The eToys stock price started to slide, and etoy ‘warriors’ felt free to take the credit for it. The story made the New York Times on 9th December, Washington Post on the 10th, Wired News on the 11th. Network Solutions finally removed the etoy.com domain on the 10th December. Zai responded with a press release: “this is robbery of digital territory, American imperialism, corporate destruction and bulldozing in the way of the 19th century.” (Wishart & Boschler: 237) RTMark set up a campaign fund for toywar, managed by Survival Research Laboratories’ Mark Pauline. The RTMark press release promised a “new internet ‘game’ designed to destroy eToys.com.” (Wishart & Boschler: 239) The RTMark press release grabbed the attention of the Associated Press newswire. The eToys.com share price actually rose on December 13th. Goldman Sachs’ e-commerce analyst Anthony Noto argued that the previous declines in the Etoys share price made it a good buy. Goldman Sachs was the lead underwriter of the eToys IPO. Noto’s writings may have been nothing more than the usual ‘IPOetry’ of the time, but the crash of the internet bubble was some months away yet. The RTMark campaign was called ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’. It used the Floodnet technique that Ricardo Dominguez used in support of the Zapatistas. As Dominguez said, “this hysterical power-play perfectly demonstrates the intensions of the new net elite; to turn the World Wide Web into their own private home-shopping network.” (Wishart & Boschler: 242) The Floodnet attack may have slowed the eToys.com server down a bit, but it was robust and didn’t crash. Ironically, it ran on open source software. Dominguez claims that the ‘Twelve Days’ campaign, which relied on individuals manually launching Floodnet from their own computers, was not designed to destroy the eToys site, but to make a protest felt. “We had a single-bullet script that could have taken down eToys – a tactical nuke, if you will. But we felt this script did not represent the presence of a global group of people gathered to bear witness to a wrong.” (Wishart & Boschler: 245) While the eToys engineers did what they could to keep the site going, eToys also approached universities and businesses whose systems were being used to host Floodnet attacks. The Thing, which hosted Dominguez’s eToys Floodnet site was taken offline by The Thing’s ISP, Verio. After taking down the Floodnet scripts, The Thing was back up, restoring service to the 200 odd websites that The Thing hosted besides the offending Floodnet site. About 200 people gathered on December 20th at a demonstration against eToys outside the Museum of Modern Art. Among the crowd were Santas bearing signs that said ‘Coal for eToys’. The rally, inside the Museum, was led by the Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping: “We are drowning in a sea of identical details”, he said. (Wishart & Boschler: 249-250) Meanwhile etoy worked on the Toywar Platform, an online agitpop theater spectacle, in which participants could act as soldiers in the toywar. This would take some time to complete – ironically the dispute threatened to end before this last etoy artwork was ready, giving etoy further incentives to keep the dispute alive. The etoy agents had a new lawyer, Chris Truax, who was attracted to the case by the publicity it was generating. Through Truax, etoy offered to sell the etoy domain and trademark for $3.7 million. This may sound like an insane sum, but to put it in perspective, the business.com site changed hands for $7.5 million around this time. On December 29th, Wessel signaled that eToys was prepared to compromise. The problem was, the Toywar Platform was not quite ready, so etoy did what it could to drag out the negotiations. The site went live just before the scheduled court hearings, January 10th 2000. “TOYWAR.com is a place where all servers and all involved people melt and build a living system. In our eyes it is the best way to express and document what’s going on at the moment: people start to about new ways to fight for their ideas, their lifestyle, contemporary culture and power relations.” (Wishart & Boschler: 263) Meanwhile, in a California courtroom, Truax demanded that Network Solutions restore the etoy domain, that eToys pay the etoy legal expenses, and that the case be dropped without prejudice. No settlement was reached. Negotiations dragged on for another two weeks, with the etoy agents’ attention somewhat divided between two horizons – art and law. The dispute was settled on 25th January. Both parties dismissed their complaints without prejudice. The eToys company would pay the etoy artists $40,000 for legal costs, and contact Network Solutions to reinstate the etoy domain. “It was a pleasure doing business with one of the biggest e-commerce giants in the world” ran the etoy press release. (Wishart & Boschler: 265) That would make a charming end to the story. But what goes around comes around. Brainhard, still pissed off with Zai after leaving the group in San Francisco, filed for the etoy trademark in Austria. After that the internal etoy wranglings just gets boring. But it was fun while it lasted. What etoy grasped intuitively was the nexus between the internet as a cultural space and the transformation of the commodity economy in a yet-more abstract direction – its becoming-vectoral. They zeroed in on the heart of the new era of conceptual business – the brand. As Wittgenstein says of language, what gives words meaning is other words, so too for brands. What gives brands meaning is other brands. There is a syntax for brands as there is for words. What etoy discovered is how to insert a new brand into that syntax. The place of eToys as a brand depended on their business competition with other brands – with Toys ‘R’ Us, for example. For etoy, the syntax they discovered for relating their brand to another one was a legal opposition. What made etoy interesting was their lack of moral posturing. Their abandonment of leftist rhetorics opened them up to exploring the territory where media and business meet, but it also made them vulnerable to being consumed by the very dialectic that created the possibility of staging etoy in the first place. By abandoning obsolete political strategies, they discovered a media tactic, which collapsed for want of a new strategy, for the new vectoral terrain on which we find ourselves. Works Cited Negri, Antonio. Time for Revolution. Continuum, London, 2003. Warhol, Andy. From A to B and Back Again. Picador, New York, 1984. Stalder, Felix. ‘Fences in Cyberspace: Recent events in the battle over domain names’. 19 Jun 2003. <http://felix.openflows.org/html/fences.php>. Wark, McKenzie. ‘A Hacker Manifesto [version 4.0]’ 19 Jun 2003. http://subsol.c3.hu/subsol_2/contributors0/warktext.html. Klein, Naomi. No Logo. Harper Collins, London, 2000. Wishart, Adam & Regula Bochsler. Leaving Reality Behind: etoy vs eToys.com & Other Battles to Control Cyberspace Ecco Books, 2003. Staehle, Wolfgang. ‘<nettime> etoy.com shut down by US court.’ 19 Jun 2003. http://amsterdam.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-9912/msg00005.html Links http://amsterdam.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-9912/msg00005.htm http://felix.openflows.org/html/fences.html http://subsol.c3.hu/subsol_2/contributors0/warktext.html Citation reference for this article Substitute your date of access for Dn Month Year etc... MLA Style Wark, McKenzie. "Toywars" M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture< http://www.media-culture.org.au/0306/02-toywars.php>. APA Style Wark, M. (2003, Jun 19). Toywars. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 6,< http://www.media-culture.org.au/0306/02-toywars.php>

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Zuvela, Danni. "An Interview with the Makers of Value-Added Cinema." M/C Journal 6, no.3 (June1, 2003). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2183.

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Things would never be the same again. As sales went through the roof, with some breathless estimates in the region of a 200% increase overnight, marketers practically wet their pants at the phenomenal success of the chocolate bar seen by millions in ET: the Extraterrestrial. That was back in 1982. Though not the first instance of product placement ‘at the movies’, the strategic placement of Reese’s Pieces in ET is often hailed as the triumphant marketing moment heralding the onset of the era of embedded advertising in popular media. Today, much media consumption is characterised by aggressive branding strategies. We’ve all seen ostentatious product wrangling – the unnatural handling of items (especially chocolate bars and bottled drinks) to best display their logo (regardless of considerations of verisimilitude, or even common sense), and ungainly product mentions in dialogue (who can forget the early Jude Law shocker Shopping?) that have passed into the realm of satire. In television and feature filmmaking, props bearing corporate trademarks not only supplement, but often sustain production budgets. Some programs appear to be entirely contrived around such sponsors. Australian commercial television makes no secret of the increasingly non-existent line between ‘entertainment’ and ‘advertising’, though it still purports to describe ‘lifestyle’ shows as ‘reality’ television. With the introduction of technologies like TiVO which enable consumers to skip over ads, the move is from ‘interruptive’ style advertising between programs or segments, to products insinuated in the décor – and increasingly scripts – of programs themselves, with correspondent online shopping opportunities for digital consumers. An entire industry of middle-people – sometimes euphemistically self-described as ‘prop houses’ – has sprung up to service the lucrative product placement industry, orchestrating the insertion of branded products into television and films. The industry has grown to such an extent that it holds an annual backpatting event, the Product Placement Awards, “to commemorate and celebrate product placement” in movies, television shows, music etc. But ‘advertising by stealth’ is not necessarily passively accepted by media consumers – nor media makers. The shoe-horning of brands and their logos into the products of popular culture not only defines the culture industry today, but also characterises much of the resistance to it. ‘Logo-backlash’ is seen as an inevitable response to the incursion of brands into public life, an explicit rejection of the practice of securing consumer mindshare, and subvertisem*nts and billboard liberation activities have been mainstays of culture jamming for decades now. However, criticism of product placement remains highly problematic: when the Center for the Study of Commercialism argued that movies have become “dangerously” saturated with products and suggested that full disclosure in the form of a list, in a film’s credits, of paid product appearances, many noted the counterproductivity of such an approach, arguing that it would only result in further registration – and hence promotion – of the brand. Not everyone subscribes to advertising’s ‘any news is good news’ thesis, however. Peter Conheim and Steve Seidler decided to respond to the behemoth of product placement with a ‘catalogue of sins’. Their new documentary Value Added Cinema meticulously chronicles the appearance of placed products in Hollywood cinema. Here they discuss the film, which is continuing to receive rave reviews in the US and Europe. Danni Zuvela: Can you tell me a little about yourselves? Peter: I’m a musician and filmmaker living in the San Francisco Bay Area who wears too many hats. I play in three performing and recording groups (Mono Pause, Wet Gate, Negativland) and somehow found the time to sit in front of a Mac for six weeks to edit and mix VALUE-ADDED CINEMA. Because Steve is a persuasive salesperson. Steve: I’ve been a curator for the past decade and a half, showing experimental works week after week, month after month, year after year, at the Pacific Film Archive. It was about time to make a tape of my own and Peter was crazy enough to indulge me. DZ: Why product placement? Why do you think it’s important? Where did this documentary come from? S: Steven Spielberg released Minority Report last year and it just raised my hackles. The film actually encourages the world it seems to critique by stressing the inter-relationship of his alleged art with consumerism in the present day and then extending that into a vision of the future within the film itself. In other words, he has already realized the by-product of an alarming dystopia of surveillance, monolithic policing, and capital. That by-product is his film. The rumor mill says that he was reimbursed to the tune of $25 million for the placements. So not only can he not see a constructive path out of dystopia, a path leading toward a more liberating future, he makes millions from his exhausted imagination. What could be more cynical? But Spielberg isn’t alone within the accelerating subsumption of mainstream cinema into the spectacle of pure consumption. He’s just more visible than most. But to consider product placements more directly for a moment: during the past few years, mainstream cinema has been little more than an empty exercise in consumerist viewership. The market-driven incentives that shape films, determining story-lines, exaggerating cultural norms, striving toward particular demographics, whatever, have nothing to do with art or social change and everything to do with profit, pandering, and promulgation. Movies are product placements, the product is a world view of limitless consumption. Value-Added Cinema is about the product-that-announces-itself, the one we recognize as a crystallization of the more encompassing worldview, the sole commodity, spot-lit, adored, assimilated. So why Value-Added Cinema? You’ve got to start somewhere. DZ: Can you tell me a bit about the production process – how did you go about getting the examples you use in the film? Were there any copyright hassles? P: Steve did nearly all of the legwork in that he spent weeks and weeks researching the subject, both on-line and in speaking to people about their recollections of product placement sequences in films they’d seen. He then suffered through close to a hundred films on VHS and DVD, using the fast-forward and cue controls as often as possible, to locate said sequences. We then sat down and started cutting, based at first on groupings Steve had made (a bunch of fast food references, etc.). Using these as a springboard, we quickly realized the narrative potential inherent in all these “narrative film” clips , and before long we were linking sequences and making them refer to one another, sort of allowing a “plot” to evolve. And copyright hassles? Not yet! I say... bring ‘em on! I would be more than happy to fight for the existence of this project, and one of the groups I am in, Negativland, has a rather colourful history of “fair use” battles in the music arena (the most nefarious case, where the band was sued by U2 and their big-label music lawyers over a parody we made happened before I came on board, but there’s been some skirmishes since). We have folks who would be happy to help defend this sort of work in a court of law should the occasion arise. DZ: Can you talk to me about the cultural shift that’s occurred, where the old ‘Acme’ propmaster has been replaced by ‘product peddler’? What is this symptomatic of, and what’s its significance now? S: In the past, privacy existed because there were areas of experience and information that were considered off limits to exploitation. A kind of tacit social contract assumed certain boundaries were in place to keep corporate (and State) meddling at bay and to allow an uncontaminated space for disengaging from culture. Nowadays the violation of boundaries is so egregious it’s hard to be sure that those boundaries in fact exist. Part of that violation has been the encroachment, at every conceivable level, of daily experience by all manner of corporate messages—urinal strainers with logos, coffee jackets with adverts, decals on supermarket floors, temporary tattoos on random pedestrians. Engagement with corporate predation is now foisted on us 24 hours a day. It’s the GPS generation. The corporations want to know where we “are” at all times. Again: in the past there was a certain level of decorum about the sales pitch. That decorum has vanished and in its place is the inter-penetration of all our waking moments by the foghorn of capital. If that foghorn gets loud enough, we’ll never get any sleep. DZ: How do you think product placement affects the integrity of the film? P: Well, that’s definitely a question of the moment, as far as audience reactions to our screenings have been thus far. It really depends on the work itself, doesn’t it? I think we would be highly judgmental, and perhaps quite out of line, if we dismissed out of hand the idea of using actual products in films as some sort of rule. The value of using an actual product to the narrative of a film can’t be discounted automatically because we all know that there are stories to be told in actual, marketed products. Characterizations can develop. If a flustered James Cagney had held up a bottle of Fred’s Cola instead of Pepsi in the climactic shot of One, Two, Three (Billy Wilder’s 1963 co*ke-executive comedy), it wouldn’t have resonated very well. And it’s an incredibly memorable moment (and, some might say, a little dig at both cola companies). But when you get into something like i am sam, where Sean Penn’s character not only works inside a Starbucks, and is shown on the job, in uniform and reading their various actual coffee product names aloud, over and over again, but also rides a bus with a huge Nike ad on the side (and the camera tracks along on the ad instead of the bus itself), plus the fact that he got onto that bus underneath an enormous Apple billboard (not shown in our work, actually), or that his lawyer has a can of Tab sitting on an entirely austere, empty table in front of a blank wall and the camera tracks downward for no other discernable purpose than to highlight the Tab can… you can see where I’m going with this. The battle lines are drawn in my mind. PROVE to me the value of any of those product plugs on Penn’s character, or Michelle Pfeiffer’s (his lawyer). DZ: What do you make of the arguments for product placement as necessary to, even enhancing, the verisimilitude of films? Is there a case to be made for brands appearing in a production design because they’re what a character would choose? S: It’s who makes the argument for product placements that’s troublesome. Art that I value is a sort of problem solving machine. It assumes that the culture we currently find ourselves strapped with is flawed and should be altered. Within that context, the “verisimilitude” you speak of would be erected only as a means for critique--not to endorse, venerate, or fortify the status quo. Most Hollywood features are little more than moving catalogs. P: And in the case of Jurassic Park that couldn’t be more explicit – the “fake” products shown in the amusem*nt park gift shop in the film are the actual tie-in products available in stores and in Burger King at that time! Another film I could mention for a totally different reason is The Dark Backward (1991). Apparently due to a particular obsession of the director, the film is riddled with placements, but of totally fake and hilarious products (i.e. Blump’s Squeezable Bacon). Everyone who has seen the film remembers the absurdist products… couldn’t Josie and the puss*cats have followed this format, instead of loading the film with “funny” references to literally every megacorporation imaginable, and have been memorable for it? DZ: What do you think of the retroactive insertion of products into syndicated reruns of programs and films (using digital editing techniques)? Is this a troubling precedent? P: Again, to me the line is totally crossed. There’s no longer any justification to be made because the time and space of the original television show is lost at that point, so any possibility of “commentary” on the times, or development of the character, goes right out the window. Of course I find it a troubling precedent. It’s perhaps somewhat less troubling, but still distressing, to know that billboards on the walls of sports stadiums are being digitally altered, live, during broadcast, so that the products can be subtly switched around. And perhaps most disturbingly, at least here in the states, certain networks and programs have begun cross-dissolving to advertisem*nts from program content, and vice-versa. In other words, since the advertisers are aware that the long-established “blackout” which precedes the start of advertising breaks on TV causes people to tune out, or turn the volume off, or have their newfangled sensing devices “zap” the commercial… so they’re literally integrating the start of the ad with the final frames of the program instead of going black, literally becoming part of the program. And we have heard about more reliance of products WITHIN the programs, but this just takes us right back to TV’s past, where game show contestants sat behind enormous “Pepsodent” adverts pasted right there on the set. History will eat itself… DZ: Could you imagine a way advertisers could work product placement into films where modern products just don’t fit, like set in the past or in alternate universes (Star Wars, LOTR etc)? P: Can’t you? In fact, it’s already happening. Someone told us about the use of products in a recent set-in-the-past epic… but the name of the film is escaping me. S: And if you can’t find a way to insert a product placement in a film than maybe the film won’t get made. The problem is completely solved with films like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings—most of the characters are available in the store as action figures making them de facto placements. In Small Soldiers just about every toy-sized character was, in fact, nicely packaged by Hasbro. DZ: What is the role of the logo in product placement? S: There are the stars, and there are the many supporting roles—the logo is just one of them. We’re hoping to see this category at the next Oscars. P: And categories like “Best Song” are essentially product placement categories already… DZ: I’ve heard about the future of product placement being branding in computer games, interactive shop-at-home television – what other visions of the (branded) future can you imagine? P: The future is now. If you can’t watch a documentary on so-called public television in this country without having text boxes pop up on screen to suggest “related” web sites which “might be of interest” to the viewer, you’re already well on the way to being part of a branded environment. Computer games already have ads built-in, and shop-at-home already seems plenty interactive (and isn’t internet shopping, also?). I think if the various mega-corporations can not only convince people to wear clothing emblazoned with their logo and product name, but so successfully convince us to pay for the privilege of advertising them, then we are already living in a totally branded future. Where else can it go? It may seem a trite statement but, to my mind, wearing an entire Nike outfit is the ultimate. At least the British ad company called Cunning Stunts actually PAYS their human billboards… but those folks have to agree to have the company logo temporarily tattooed onto their foreheads for three hours as they mingle in public. I’m not joking about this. DZ: Is there any response to product placement? How can audiences manage their interactions with these texts? S: Films have been boycotted for culturally heinous content, such as racist and hom*ophobic characters. Why not boycott films because of their commodity content? Or better yet boycott the product for colluding with the filmmakers to invade your peace of mind? What I hope Value-Added Cinema does is sensitize us to the insinuation of the products, so that we critically detect them, rather than passively allow them to pass before us. When that happens, when we’re just insensate recipients of those advertising ploys, we’re lost. DZ: Do you have anything to add to contemporary debates on culture jamming, especially the charge that culture jamming’s political power is limited by its use of logos and signs? Anne Moore has written that detourning ads ends up just re-iterating the logo - “because corporate lifeblood is profit, and profit comes from name recognition”, culture jammers are “trafficking in the same currency as the corporations” – what do you think of this? P: It’s an interesting assertion. But the best culture jams I’ve seen make total mincemeat of the product being parodied; just as you can’t simply discount the use of actual products in films in the context of a narrative, you can’t NOT try to reclaim the use of a brand-name. Maybe it’s a dangerous comparison because “reclaiming” use of the word co*ke is not like reclaiming the use of the word “queer”, but there’s something to it, I think. Also, I wear t-shirts with the names of bands I like sometimes (almost always my friends’ bands, but I suppose that’s beside the point). Am I buying into the advertising concept? Yes, to a certain extent, I am. I guess to me it’s about just what you choose to advertise. Or what you choose to parody. DZ: Do you have any other points you’d like to make about product placement, advertising by stealth, branding, mindshare or logos? P: I think what Steve said, that above all we hope with our video to help make people aware of how much they are advertised to, beyond accepting it as a mere annoyance, sums it up. So far, we’ve had some comments at screenings which indicate a willingness of people to want to combat this in their lives, to want to “do something” about the onslaught of product placement surrounding them, in films and elsewhere. Works Cited ET: The Extraterrestrial. Dir. Steven Spielberg. Prod. Kathleen Kennedy & Steven Spielberg, M. Universal Pictures 1982. Shopping. Dir. Paul Anderson. Prod. Jeremy Bolt , M. Concorde Pictures,1993. http://www.cspinet.org/ http://www.productplacementawards.com/ Links http://www.cspinet.org/ http://www.productplacementawards.com/ Citation reference for this article Substitute your date of access for Dn Month Year etc... MLA Style Zuvela, Danni. "An Interview with the Makers of Value-Added Cinema" M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture< http://www.media-culture.org.au/0306/03-valueadded.php>. APA Style Zuvela, D. (2003, Jun 19). An Interview with the Makers of Value-Added Cinema. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture, 6,< http://www.media-culture.org.au/0306/03-valueadded.php>

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Lyons, Craig, Alexandra Crosby, and H.Morgan-Harris. "Going on a Field Trip: Critical Geographical Walking Tours and Tactical Media as Urban Praxis in Sydney, Australia." M/C Journal 21, no.4 (October15, 2018). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1446.

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IntroductionThe walking tour is an enduring feature of cities. Fuelled by a desire to learn more about the hidden and unknown spaces of the city, the walking tour has moved beyond its historical role as tourist attraction to play a key role in the transformation of urban space through gentrification. Conversely, the walking tour has a counter-history as part of a critical urban praxis. This article reflects on historical examples, as well as our own experience of conducting Field Trip, a critical geographical walking tour through an industrial precinct in Marrickville, a suburb of Sydney that is set to undergo rapid change as a result of high-rise residential apartment construction (Gibson et al.). This precinct, known as Carrington Road, is located on the unceded land of the Cadigal and Wangal people of the Eora nation who call the area Bulanaming.Drawing on a long history of philosophical walking, many contemporary writers (Solnit; Gros; Bendiner-Viani) have described walking as a practice that can open different ways of thinking, observing and being in the world. Some have focused on the value of walking to the study of place (Hall; Philips; Heddon), and have underscored its relationship to established research methods, such as sensory ethnography (Springgay and Truman). The work of Michel de Certeau pays particular attention to the relationship between walking and the city. In particular, the concepts of tactics and strategy have been applied in a variety of ways across cultural studies, cultural geography, and urban studies (Morris). In line with de Certeau’s thinking, we view walking as an example of a tactic – a routine and often unconscious practice that can become a form of creative resistance.In this sense, walking can be a way to engage in and design the city by opposing its structures, or strategies. For example, walking in a city such as Sydney that is designed for cars requires choosing alternative paths, redirecting flows of people and traffic, and creating custom shortcuts. Choosing pedestrianism in Sydney can certainly feel like a form of resistance, and we make the argument that Field Trip – and walking tours more generally – can be a way of doing this collectively, firstly by moving in opposite directions, and secondly, at incongruent speeds to those for whom the scale and style of strategic urban development is inevitable. How such tactical walking relates to the design of cities, however, is less clear. Walking is a generally described in the literature as an individual act, while the design of cities is, at its best participatory, and always involving multiple stakeholders. This reveals a tension between the practice of walking as a détournement or appropriation of urban space, and its relationship to existing built form. Field Trip, as an example of collective walking, is one such appropriation of urban space – one designed to lead to more democratic decision making around the planning and design of cities. Given the anti-democratic, “post-political” nature of contemporary “consultation” processes, this is a seemingly huge task (Legacy et al.; Ruming). We make the argument that Field Trip – and walking tours more generally – can be a form of collective resistance to top-down urban planning.By using an open-source wiki in combination with the Internet Archive, Field Trip also seeks to collectively document and make public the local knowledge generated by walking at the frontier of gentrification. We discuss these digital choices as oppositional practice, and consider the idea of tactical media (Lovink and Garcia; Raley) in order to connect knowledge sharing with the practice of walking.This article is structured in four parts. Firstly, we provide a historical introduction to the relationship between walking tours and gentrification of global cities. Secondly, we examine the significance of walking tours in Sydney and then specifically within Marrickville. Thirdly, we discuss the Field Trip project as a citizen-led walking tour and, finally, elaborate on its role as tactical media project and offer some conclusions.The Walking Tour and Gentrification From the outset, people have been walking the city in their own ways and creating their own systems of navigation, often in spite of the plans of officialdom. The rapid expansion of cities following the Industrial Revolution led to the emergence of “imaginative geographies”, where mediated representations of different urban conditions became a stand-in for lived experience (Steinbrink 219). The urban walking tour as mediated political tactic was utilised as far back as Victorian England, for reasons including the celebration of public works like the sewer system (Garrett), and the “othering” of the working class through upper- and middle-class “slum tourism” in London’s East End (Steinbrink 220). The influence of the Situationist theory of dérive has been immense upon those interested in walking the city, and we borrow from the dérive a desire to report on the under-reported spaces of the city, and to articulate alternative voices within the city in this project. It should be noted, however, that as Field Trip was developed for general public participation, and was organised with institutional support, some aspects of the dérive – particularly its disregard for formal structure – were unable to be incorporated into the project. Our responsibility to the participants of Field Trip, moreover, required the imposition of structure and timetable upon the walk. However, our individual and collective preparation for Field Trip, as well as our collective understanding of the area to be examined, has been heavily informed by psychogeographic methods that focus on quotidian and informal urban practices (Crosby and Searle; Iveson et al).In post-war American cities, walking tours were utilised in the service of gentrification. Many tours were organised by real estate agents with the express purpose of selling devalorised inner-city real estate to urban “pioneers” for renovation, including in Boston’s South End (Tissot) and Brooklyn’s Park Slope, among others (Lees et al 25). These tours focused on a symbolic revalorisation of “slum neighbourhoods” through a focus on “high culture”, with architectural and design heritage featuring prominently. At the same time, urban socio-economic and cultural issues – poverty, homelessness, income disparity, displacement – were downplayed or overlooked. These tours contributed to a climate in which property speculation and displacement through gentrification practices were normalised. To this day, “ghetto tours” operate in minority neighbourhoods in Brooklyn, serving as a beachhead for gentrification.Elsewhere in the world, walking tours are often voyeuristic, featuring “locals” guiding well-meaning tourists through the neighbourhoods of some of the world’s most impoverished communities. Examples include the long runningKlong Toei Private Tour, through “Bangkok’s oldest and largest slum”, or the now-ceased Jakarta Hidden Tours, which took tourists to the riverbanks of Jakarta to see the city’s poorest before they were displaced by gentrification.More recently, all over the world activists have engaged in walking tours to provide their own perspective on urban change, attempting to direct the gentrifier’s gaze inward. Whilst the most confrontational of these might be the Yuppie Gazing Tour of Vancouver’s historically marginalised Downtown Eastside, other tours have highlighted the deleterious effects of gentrification in Williamsburg, San Francisco, Oakland, and Surabaya, among others. In smaller towns, walking tours have been utilised to highlight the erasure of marginalised scenes and subcultures, including underground creative spaces, migrant enclaves, alternative and queer spaces. Walking Sydney, Walking Marrickville In many cities, there are now both walking tours that intend to scaffold urban renewal, and those that resist gentrification with alternative narratives. There are also some that unwittingly do both simultaneously. Marrickville is a historically working-class and migrant suburb with sizeable populations of Greek and Vietnamese migrants (Graham and Connell), as well as a strong history of manufacturing (Castles et al.), which has been undergoing gentrification for some time, with the arts playing an often contradictory role in its transformation (Gibson and Homan). More recently, as the suburb experiences rampant, financialised property development driven by global flows of capital, property developers have organised their own self-guided walking tours, deployed to facilitate the familiarisation of potential purchasers of dwellings with local amenities and ‘character’ in precincts where redevelopment is set to occur. Mirvac, Marrickville’s most active developer, has designed its own self-guided walking tour Hit the Marrickville Pavement to “explore what’s on offer” and “chat to locals”: just 7km from the CBD, Marrickville is fast becoming one of Sydney’s most iconic suburbs – a melting pot of cuisines, creative arts and characters founded on a rich multicultural heritage.The perfect introduction, this self-guided walking tour explores Marrickville’s historical architecture at a leisurely pace, finishing up at the pub.So, strap on your walking shoes; you're in for a treat.Other walking tours in the area seek to highlight political, ecological, and architectural dimension of Marrickville. For example, Marrickville Maps: Tropical Imaginaries of Abundance provides a series of plant-led walks in the suburb; The Warren Walk is a tour organised by local Australian Labor Party MP Anthony Albanese highlighting “the influence of early settlers such as the Schwebel family on the area’s history” whilst presenting a “political snapshot” of ALP history in the area. The Australian Ugliness, in contrast, was a walking tour organised by Thomas Lee in 2016 that offered an insight into the relationships between the visual amenity of the streetscape, aesthetic judgments of an ambiguous nature, and the discursive and archival potentialities afforded by camera-equipped smartphones and photo-sharing services like Instagram. Figure 1: Thomas Lee points out canals under the street of Marrickville during The Australian Ugliness, 2016.Sydney is a city adept at erasing its past through poorly designed mega-projects like freeways and office towers, and memorialisation of lost landscapes has tended towards the literary (Berry; Mudie). Resistance to redevelopment, however, has often taken the form of spectacular public intervention, in which public knowledge sharing was a key goal. The Green Bans of the 1970s were partially spurred by redevelopment plans for places like the Rocks and Woolloomooloo (Cook; Iveson), while the remaking of Sydney around the 2000 Olympics led to anti-gentrification actions such as SquatSpace and the Tour of Beauty, an “aesthetic activist” tour of sites in the suburbs of Redfern and Waterloo threatened with “revitalisation.” Figure 2: "Tour of Beauty", Redfern-Waterloo 2016. What marks the Tour of Beauty as significant in this context is the participatory nature of knowledge production: participants in the tours were addressed by representatives of the local community – the Aboriginal Housing Company, the local Indigenous Women’s Centre, REDWatch activist group, architects, designers and more. Each speaker presented their perspective on the rapidly gentrifying suburb, demonstrating how urban space is made an remade through processes of contestation. This differentiation is particularly relevant when considering the basis for Sydney-centric walking tours. Mirvac’s self-guided tour focuses on the easy-to-see historical “high culture” of Marrickville, and encourages participants to “chat to locals” at the pub. It is a highly filtered approach that does not consider broader relations of class, race and gender that constitute Marrickville. A more intense exploration of the social fabric of the city – providing a glimpse of the hidden or unknown spaces – uncovers the layers of social, cultural, and economic history that produce urban space, and fosters a deeper engagement with questions of urban socio-spatial justice.Solnit argues that walking can allow us to encounter “new thoughts and possibilities.” To walk, she writes, is to take a “subversive detour… the scenic route through a half-abandoned landscape of ideas and experiences” (13). In this way, tactical activist walking tours aim to make visible what cannot be seen, in a way that considers the polysemic nature of place, and in doing so, they make visible the hidden relations of power that produce the contemporary city. In contrast, developer-led walking tours are singularly focussed, seeking to attract inflows of capital to neighbourhoods undergoing “renewal.” These tours encourage participants to adopt the position of urban voyeur, whilst activist-led walking tours encourage collaboration and participation in urban struggles to protect and preserve the contested spaces of the city. It is in this context that we sought to devise our own walking tour – Field Trip – to encourage active participation in issues of urban renewal.In organising this walking tour, however, we acknowledge our own entanglements within processes of gentrification. As designers, musicians, writers, academics, researchers, venue managers, artists, and activists, in organising Field Trip, we could easily be identified as “creatives”, implicated in Marrickville’s ongoing transformation. All of us have ongoing and deep-rooted connections to various Sydney subcultures – the same subcultures so routinely splashed across developer advertising material. This project was borne out of Frontyard – a community not-just-art space, and has been supported by the local Inner West Council. As such, Field Trip cannot be divorced from the highly contentious processes of redevelopment and gentrification that are always simmering in the background of discussions about Marrickville. We hope, however, that in this project we have started to highlight alternative voices in those redevelopment processes – and that this may contribute towards a “method of equality” for an ongoing democratisation of those processes (Davidson and Iveson).Field Trip: Urban Geographical Enquiry as Activism Given this context, Field Trip was designed as a public knowledge project that would connect local residents, workers, researchers, and decision-makers to share their experiences living and working in various parts of Sydney that are undergoing rapid change. The site of our project – Carrington Road, Marrickville in Sydney’s inner-west – has been earmarked for major redevelopment in coming years and is quickly becoming a flashpoint for the debates that permeate throughout the whole of Sydney: housing affordability, employment accessibility, gentrification and displacement. To date, public engagement and consultation regarding proposed development at Carrington Road has been limited. A major landholder in the area has engaged a consultancy firm to establish a community reference group (CRG) the help guide the project. The CRG arose after public outcry at an original $1.3 billion proposal to build 2,616 units in twenty towers of up to 105m in height (up to thirty-five storeys) in a predominantly low-rise residential suburb. Save Marrickville, a community group created in response to the proposal, has representatives on this reference group, and has endeavoured to make this process public. Ruming (181) has described these forms of consultation as “post-political,” stating thatin a universe of consensual decision-making among diverse interests, spaces for democratic contest and antagonistic politics are downplayed and technocratic policy development is deployed to support market and development outcomes.Given the notable deficit of spaces for democratic contest, Field Trip was devised as a way to reframe the debate outside of State- and developer-led consultation regimes that guide participants towards accepting the supposed inevitability of redevelopment. We invited a number of people affected by the proposed plans to speak during the walking tour at a location of their choosing, to discuss the work they do, the effect that redevelopment would have on their work, and their hopes and plans for the future. The walking tour was advertised publicly and the talks were recorded, edited and released as freely available podcasts. The proposed redevelopment of Carrington Road provided us with a unique opportunity to develop and operate our own walking tour. The linear street created an obvious “circuit” to the tour – up one side of the road, and down the other. We selected speakers based on pre-existing relationships, some formed during prior rounds of research (Gibson et al.). Speakers included a local Aboriginal elder, a representative from the Marrickville Historical Society, two workers (who also gave tours of their workplaces), the Lead Heritage Adviser at Sydney Water, who gave us a tour of the Carrington Road pumping station, and a representative from the Save Marrickville residents’ group. Whilst this provided a number of perspectives on the day, regrettably some groups were unrepresented, most notably the perspective of migrant groups who have a long-standing association with industrial precincts in Marrickville. It is hoped that further community input and collaboration in future iterations of Field Trip will address these issues of representation in community-led walking tours.A number of new understandings became apparent during the walking tour. For instance, the heritage-listed Carrington Road sewage pumping station, which is of “historic and aesthetic significance”, is unable to cope with the proposed level of residential development. According to Philip Bennett, Lead Heritage Adviser at Sydney Water, the best way to maintain this piece of heritage infrastructure is to keep it running. While this issue had been discussed in private meetings between Sydney Water and the developer, there is no formal mechanism to make this expert knowledge public or accessible. Similarly, through the Acknowledgement of Country for Field Trip, undertaken by Donna Ingram, Cultural Representative and a member of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, it became clear that the local Indigenous community had not been consulted in the development proposals for Carrington Road. This information, while not necessary secret, had also not been made public. Finally, the inclusion of knowledgeable local workers whose businesses are located on Carrington Road provided an insight into the “everyday.” They talked of community and collaboration, of site-specificity, the importance of clustering within their niche industries, and their fears for of displacement should redevelopment proceed.Via a community-led, participatory walking tour like Field Trip, threads of knowledge and new information are uncovered. These help create new spatial stories and readings of the landscape, broadening the scope of possibility for democratic participation in cities. Figure 3: Donna Ingram at Field Trip 2018.Tactical Walking, Tactical Media Stories connected to walking provide an opportunity for people to read the landscape differently (Mitchell). One of the goals of Field Trip was to begin a public knowledge exchange about Carrington Road so that spatial stories could be shared, and new readings of urban development could spread beyond the confines of the self-contained tour. Once shared, this knowledge becomes a story, and once remixed into existing stories and integrated into the way we understand the neighbourhood, a collective spatial practice is generated. “Every story is a travel story – a spatial practice”, says de Certeau in “Spatial Stories”. “In reality, they organise walks” (72). As well as taking a tactical approach to walking, we took a tactical approach to the mediation of the knowledge, by recording and broadcasting the voices on the walk and feeding information to a publicly accessible wiki. The term “tactical media” is an extension of de Certeau’s concept of tactics. David Garcia and Geert Lovink applied de Certeau’s concept of tactics to the field of media activism in their manifesto of tactical media, identifying a class of producers who amplify temporary reversals in the flow of power by exploiting the spaces, channels and platforms necessary for their practices. Tactical media has been used since the late nineties to help explain a range of open-source practices that appropriate technological tools for political purposes. While pointing out the many material distinctions between different types of tactical media projects within the arts, Rita Raley describes them as “forms of critical intervention, dissent and resistance” (6). The term has also been adopted by media activists engaged in a range of practices all over the world, including the Tactical Technology Collective. For Field Trip, tactical media is a way of creating representations that help navigate neighbourhoods as well as alternative political processes that shape them. In this sense, tactical representations do not “offer the omniscient point of view we associate with Cartesian cartographic practice” (Raley 2). Rather these representations are politically subjective systems of navigation that make visible hidden information and connect people to the decisions affecting their lives. Conclusion We have shown that the walking tour can be a tourist attraction, a catalyst to the transformation of urban space through gentrification, and an activist intervention into processes of urban renewal that exclude people and alternative ways of being in the city. This article presents practice-led research through the design of Field Trip. By walking collectively, we have focused on tactical ways of opening up participation in the future of neighbourhoods, and more broadly in designing the city. 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Quiggin, John. “Blogs, Wikis and Creative Innovation.” International Journal of Cultural Studies 9.4 (2006): 481-96. Raley, Rita. Tactical Media. Vol. 28. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2009.Ruming, Kristian. “Post-Political Planning and Community Opposition: Asserting and Challenging Consensus in Planning Urban Regeneration in Newcastle, New South Wales.” Geographical Research 56.2 (2018): 181-95. Solnit, Rebecca. Wanderlust: A History of Walking. New York: Penguin Books, 2001.Steinbrink, Malte. “‘We Did the Slum!’ – Urban Poverty Tourism in Historical Perspective.” Tourism Geographies 14.2 (2012): 213-34. Tissot, Sylvie. Good Neighbours: Gentrifying Diversity in Boston’s South End. London: Verso, 2015.

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Starrs, Bruno. "Hyperlinking History and Illegitimate Imagination: The Historiographic Metafictional E-novel." M/C Journal 17, no.5 (October25, 2014). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.866.

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Abstract:

‘Historiographic Metafiction’ (HM) is a literary term first coined by creative writing academic Linda Hutcheon in 1988, and which refers to the postmodern practice of a fiction author inserting imagined--or illegitimate--characters into narratives that are intended to be received as authentic and historically accurate, that is, ostensibly legitimate. Such adventurous and bold authorial strategies frequently result in “novels which are both intensely self-reflexive and yet paradoxically also lay claim to historical events and personages” (Hutcheon, A Poetics 5). They can be so entertaining and engaging that the overtly intertextual, explicitly inventive work of biographical HM can even change the “hegemonic discourse of history” (Nunning 353) for, as Philippa Gregory, the author of HM novel The Other Boleyn Girl (2001), has said regarding this genre of creative writing: “Fiction is about imagined feelings and thoughts. History depends on the outer life. The novel is always about the inner life. Fiction can sometimes do more than history. It can fill the gaps” (University of Sussex). In a way, this article will be filling one of the gaps regarding HM.Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994) is possibly the best known cinematic example of HM, and this film version of the 1986 novel by Winston Groom particularly excels in seamlessly inserting images of a fictional character into verified history, as represented by well-known television newsreel footage. In Zemeckis’s adaptation, gaps were created in the celluloid artefact and filled digitally with images of the actor, Tom Hanks, playing the eponymous role. Words are often deemed less trustworthy than images, however, and fiction is considered particularly unreliable--although there are some exceptions conceded. In addition to Gregory’s novel; Midnight’s Children (1980) by Salman Rushdie; The Name of the Rose (1983) by Umberto Eco; and The Flashman Papers (1969-2005) by George MacDonald Fraser, are three well-known, loved and lauded examples of literary HM, which even if they fail to convince the reader of their bona fides, nevertheless win a place in many hearts. But despite the genre’s popularity, there is nevertheless a conceptual gap in the literary theory of Hutcheon given her (perfectly understandable) inability in 1988 to predict the future of e-publishing. This article will attempt to address that shortcoming by exploring the potential for authors of HM e-novels to use hyperlinks which immediately direct the reader to fact providing webpages such as those available at the website Wikipedia, like a much speedier (and more independent) version of the footnotes in Fraser’s Flashman novels.Of course, as Roland Barthes declared in 1977, “the text is a tissue of quotations drawn from innumerable centres of culture” (146) and, as per any academic work that attempts to contribute to knowledge, a text’s sources--its “quotations”--must be properly identified and acknowledged via checkable references if credibility is to be securely established. Hence, in explaining the way claims to fact in the HM novel can be confirmed by independently published experts on the Internet, this article will also address the problem Hutcheon identifies, in that for many readers the entirety of the HM novel assumes questionable authenticity, that is, the novel’s “meta-fictional self-reflexivity (and intertextuality) renders their claims to historical veracity somewhat problematic, to say the least” ("Historiographic Metafiction: Parody", 3). This article (and the PhD in creative writing I am presently working on at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia) will possibly develop the concept of HM to a new level: one at which the Internet-connected reader of the hyperlinked e-novel is made fully (and even instantly) aware of those literary elements of the narrative that are legitimate and factual as distinct from those that are fictional, that is, illegitimate. Furthermore, utilising examples from my own (yet-to-be published) hyperlinked HM e-novel, this article demonstrates that such hyperlinking can add an ironic sub-text to a fictional character’s thoughts and utterances, through highlighting the reality concerning their mistaken or naïve beliefs, thus creating HM narratives that serve an entertainingly complex yet nevertheless truly educational purpose.As a relatively new and under-researched genre of historical writing, HM differs dramatically from the better known style of standard historical or biographical narrative, which typically tends to emphasise mimesis, the cataloguing of major “players” in historical events and encyclopaedic accuracy of dates, deaths and places. Instead, HM involves the re-contextualisation of real-life figures from the past, incorporating the lives of entirely (or, as in the case of Gregory’s Mary Boleyn, at least partly) fictitious characters into their generally accepted famous and factual activities, and/or the invention of scenarios that gel realistically--but entertainingly--within a landscape of well-known and well-documented events. As Hutcheon herself states: “The formal linking of history and fiction through the common denominators of intertextuality and narrativity is usually offered not as a reduction, as a shrinking of the scope and value of fiction, but rather as an expansion of these” ("Intertextuality", 11). Similarly, Gregory emphasises the need for authors of HM to extend themselves beyond the encyclopaedic archive: “Archives are not history. The trouble with archives is that the material is often random and atypical. To have history, you have to have a narrative” (University of Sussex). Functionally then, HM is an intertextual narrative genre which serves to communicate to a contemporary audience an expanded story or stories of the past which present an ultimately more self-reflective, personal and unpredictable authorship: it is a distinctly auteurial mode of biographical history writing for it places the postmodern author’s imaginative “signature” front and foremost.Hutcheon later clarified that the quest for historical truth in fiction cannot possibly hold up to the persuasive powers of a master novelist, as per the following rationale: “Fact is discourse-defined: an event is not” ("Historiographic Metafiction", 843). This means, in a rather simplistic nutshell, that the new breed of HM novel writer is not constrained by what others may call fact: s/he knows that the alleged “fact” can be renegotiated and redefined by an inventive discourse. An event, on the other hand, is responsible for too many incontrovertible consequences for it to be contested by her/his mere discourse. So-called facts are much easier for the HM writer to play with than world changing events. This notion was further popularised by Ansgar Nunning when he claimed the overtly explicit work of HM can even change the “hegemonic discourse of history” (353). HM authors can radically alter, it seems, the way the reader perceives the facts of history especially when entertaining, engaging and believable characters are deliberately devised and manipulated into the narrative by the writer. Little wonder, then, that Hutcheon bemoans the unfortunate reality that for many readers the entirety of a HM work assumes questionable “veracity” due to its author’s insertion of imaginary and therefore illegitimate personages.But there is an advantage to be found in this, the digital era, and that is the Internet’s hyperlink. In our ubiquitously networked electronic information age, novels written for publication as e-books may, I propose, include clickable links on the names of actual people and events to Wikipedia entries or the like, thus strengthening the reception of the work as being based on real history (the occasional unreliability of Wikipedia notwithstanding). If picked up for hard copy publication this function of the HM e-novel can be replicated with the inclusion of icons in the printed margins that can be scanned by smartphones or similar gadgets. This small but significant element of the production reinforces the e-novel’s potential status as a new form of HM and addresses Hutcheon’s concern that for HM novels, their imaginative but illegitimate invention of characters “renders their claims to historical veracity somewhat problematic, to say the least” ("Historiographic Metafiction: Parody", 3).Some historic scenarios are so little researched or so misunderstood and discoloured by the muddy waters of time and/or rumour that such hyperlinking will be a boon to HM writers. Where an obscure facet of Australian history is being fictionalised, for example, these edifying hyperlinks can provide additional background information, as Glenda Banks and Martin Andrew might have wished for when they wrote regarding Bank’s Victorian goldfields based HM novel A Respectable Married Woman. This 2012 printed work explores the lives of several under-researched and under-represented minorities, such as settler women and Aboriginal Australians, and the author Banks lamented the dearth of public awareness regarding these peoples. Indeed, HM seems tailor-made for exposing the subaltern lives of those repressed individuals who form the human “backdrop” to the lives of more famous personages. Banks and Andrew explain:To echo the writings of Homi K. Bhaba (1990), this sets up a creative site for interrogating the dominant, hegemonic, ‘normalised’ master narratives about the Victorian goldfields and ‘re-membering’ a marginalised group - the women of the goldfields, the indigenous [sic], the Chinese - and their culture (2013).In my own hyperlinked short story (presently under consideration for publishing elsewhere), which is actually a standalone version of the first chapter of a full-length HM e-novel about Aboriginal Australian activists Eddie Mabo and Chicka Dixon and the history of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, entitled The Bullroarers, I have focussed on a similarly under-represented minority, that being light-complexioned, mixed race Aboriginal Australians. My second novel to deal with Indigenous Australian issues (see Starrs, That Blackfella Bloodsucka Dance), it is my first attempt at writing HM. Hopefully avoiding overkill whilst alerting readers to those Wikipedia pages with relevance to the narrative theme of non-Indigenous attitudes towards light-complexioned Indigenous Australians, I have inserted a total of only six hyperlinks in this 2200-word piece, plus the explanatory foreword stating: “Note, except where they are well-known place names or are indicated as factual by the insertion of Internet hyperlinks verifying such, all persons, organisations, businesses and places named in this text are entirely fictitious.”The hyperlinks in my short story all take the reader not to stubs but to well-established Wikipedia pages, and provide for the uninformed audience the following near-unassailable facts (i.e. events):The TV program, A Current Affair, which the racist character of the short story taken from The Bullroarers, Mrs Poulter, relies on for her prejudicial opinions linking Aborigines with the dealing of illegal drugs, is a long-running, prime-time Channel Nine production. Of particular relevance in the Wikipedia entry is the comment: “Like its main rival broadcast on the Seven Network, Today Tonight, A Current Affair is often considered by media critics and the public at large to use sensationalist journalism” (Wikipedia, “A Current Affair”).The Aboriginal Tent Embassy, located on the lawns opposite the Old Parliament House in Canberra, was established in 1972 and ever since has been the focus of Aboriginal Australian land rights activism and political agitation. In 1995 the Australian Register of the National Estate listed it as the only Aboriginal site in Australia that is recognised nationally for representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their political struggles (Wikipedia, “The Aboriginal Tent Embassy”).In 1992, during an Aboriginal land rights case known as Mabo, the High Court of Australia issued a judgment constituting a direct overturning of terra nullius, which is a Latin term meaning “land belonging to no one”, and which had previously formed the legal rationale and justification for the British invasion and colonisation of Aboriginal Australia (Wikipedia, “Terra Nullius”).Aboriginal rights activist and Torres Strait Islander, Eddie Koiki Mabo (1936 to 1992), was instrumental in the High Court decision to overturn the doctrine of terra nullius in 1992. In that same year, Eddie Mabo was posthumously awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal in the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Awards (Wikipedia, “Eddie Mabo”).The full name of what Mrs Poulter blithely refers to as “the Department of Families and that” is the Australian Government’s Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (Wikipedia, “The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs”).The British colonisation of Australia was a bloody, murderous affair: “continuous Aboriginal resistance for well over a century belies the ‘myth’ of peaceful settlement in Australia. Settlers in turn often reacted to Aboriginal resistance with great violence, resulting in numerous indiscriminate massacres by whites of Aboriginal men, women and children” (Wikipedia, “History of Australia (1788 - 1850)”).Basically, what is not evidenced empirically with regard to the subject matter of my text, that is, the egregious attitudes of non-Indigenous Australians towards Indigenous Australians, can be extrapolated thanks to the hyperlinks. This resonates strongly with Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s assertion in 2012 that those under-represented by mainstream, patriarchal epistemologies need to be engaged in acts of “reclaiming, reformulating and reconstituting” (143) so as to be re-presented as authentic identities in these HM artefacts of literary research.Exerting auteurial power as an Aboriginal Australian author myself, I have sought to imprint on my writing a multi-levelled signature pertaining to my people’s under-representation: there is not just the text I have created but another level to be considered by the reader, that being my careful choice of Wikipedia pages to hyperlink certain aspects of the creative writing to. These electronic footnotes serve as politically charged acts of “reclaiming, reformulating and reconstituting” Aboriginal Australian history, to reuse the words of Smith, for when we Aboriginal Australian authors reiterate, when we subjugated savages wrestle the keyboard away from the colonising overseers, our readers witness the Other writing back, critically. As I have stated previously (see Starrs, "Writing"), receivers of our words see the distorted and silencing master discourse subverted and, indeed, inverted. Our audiences are subjectively repositioned to see the British Crown as the monster. The previously presumed rational, enlightened and civil coloniser is instead depicted as the author and perpetrator of a violently racist, criminal discourse, until, eventually, s/he is ultimately eroded and made into the Other: s/he is rendered the villainous, predatory savage by the auteurial signatures in revisionist histories such as The Bullroarers.Whilst the benefit in these hyperlinks as electronic educational footnotes in my short story is fairly obvious, what may not be so obvious is the ironic commentary they can make, when read in conjunction with the rest of The Bullroarers. Although one must reluctantly agree with Wayne C. Booth’s comment in his classic 1974 study A Rhetoric of Irony that, in some regards, “the very spirit and value [of irony] are violated by the effort to be clear about it” (ix), I will nevertheless strive for clarity and understanding by utilizing Booth’s definition of irony “as something that under-mines clarities, opens up vistas of chaos, and either liberates by destroying all dogmas or destroys by revealing the inescapable canker of negation at the heart of every affirmation” (ix). The reader of The Bullroarers is not expecting the main character, Mrs Poulter, to be the subject of erosive criticism that destroys her “dogmas” about Aboriginal Australians--certainly not so early in the narrative when it is unclear if she is or is not the protagonist of the story--and yet that’s exactly what the hyperlinks do. They expose her as hopelessly unreliable, laughably misinformed and yes, unforgivably stupid. They reveal the illegitimacy of her beliefs. Perhaps the most personally excoriating of these revelations is provided by the link to the Wikipedia entry on the Australian Government’s Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, which is where her own daughter, Roxy, works, but which Mrs Poulter knows, gormlessly, as “the Department of Families and that”. The ignorant woman spouts racist diatribes against Aboriginal Australians without even realising how inextricably linked she and her family, who live at the deliberately named Boomerang Crescent, really are. Therein lies the irony I am trying to create with my use of hyperlinks: an independent, expert adjudication reveals my character, Mrs Poulter, and her opinions, are hiding an “inescapable canker of negation at the heart of every affirmation” (Booth ix), despite the air of easy confidence she projects.Is the novel-reading public ready for these HM hyperlinked e-novels and their potentially ironic sub-texts? Indeed, the question must be asked: can the e-book ever compete with the tactile sensations a finely crafted, perfectly bound hardcover publication provides? Perhaps, if the economics of book buying comes into consideration. E-novels are cheap to publish and cheap to purchase, hence they are becoming hugely popular with the book buying public. Writes Mark co*ker, the founder of Smashwords, a successful online publisher and distributor of e-books: “We incorporated in 2007, and we officially launched the business in May 2008. In our first year, we published 140 books from 90 authors. Our catalog reached 6,000 books in 2009, 28,800 in 2010, 92,000 in 2011, 191,000 in 2012 and as of this writing (November 2013) stands at over 250,000 titles” (co*ker 2013). co*ker divulged more about his company’s success in an interview with Forbes online magazine: “‘It costs essentially the same to pump 10,000 new books a month through our network as it will cost to do 100,000 a month,’ he reasons. Smashwords book retails, on average, for just above $3; 15,000 titles are free” (Colao 2012).In such a burgeoning environment of technological progress in publishing I am tempted to say that yes, the time of the hyperlinked e-novel has come, and to even predict that HM will be a big part of this new wave of postmodern literature. The hyperlinked HM e-novel’s strategy invites the reader to reflect on the legitimacy and illegitimacy of different forms of narrative, possibly concluding, thanks to ironic electronic footnoting, that not all the novel’s characters and their commentary are to be trusted. Perhaps my HM e-novel will, with its untrustworthy Mrs Poulter and its little-known history of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy addressed by gap-filling hyperlinks, establish a legitimising narrative for a people who have traditionally in white Australian society been deemed the Other and illegitimate. Perhaps The Bullroarers will someday alter attitudes of non-Indigenous Australians to the history and political activities of this country’s first peoples, to the point even, that as Nunning warns, we witness a change in the “hegemonic discourse of history” (353). If that happens we must be thankful for our Internet-enabled information age and its concomitant possibilities for hyperlinked e-publications, for technology may be separated from the world of art, but it can nevertheless be effectively used to recreate, enhance and access that world, to the extent texts previously considered illegitimate achieve authenticity and veracity.ReferencesBanks, Glenda. A Respectable Married Woman. Melbourne: Lacuna, 2012.Banks, Glenda, and Martin Andrew. “Populating a Historical Novel: A Case Study of a Practice-led Research Approach to Historiographic Metafiction.” Bukker Tillibul 7 (2013). 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://bukkertillibul.net/Text.html?VOL=7&INDEX=2›.Barthes, Roland. Image, Music, Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. London: Fontana Press, 1977.Booth, Wayne C. A Rhetoric of Irony. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1974.Colao, J.J. “Apple’s Biggest (Unknown) Supplier of E-books.” Forbes 7 June 2012. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://www.forbes.com/sites/jjcolao/2012/06/07/apples-biggest-unknown-supplier-of-e-books/›.co*ker, Mark. “Q & A with Smashwords Founder, Mark co*ker.” About Smashwords 2013. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹https://www.smashwords.com/about›.Eco, Umberto. The Name of the Rose. Trans. William Weaver, San Diego: Harcourt, 1983.Forrest Gump. Dir. Robert Zemeckis. Paramount Pictures, 1994.Fraser, George MacDonald. The Flashman Papers. Various publishers, 1969-2005.Groom, Winston. Forrest Gump. NY: Doubleday, 1986.Gregory, Philippa. The Other Boleyn Girl. UK: Scribner, 2001.Hutcheon, Linda. A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction, 2nd ed. Abingdon, UK: Taylor and Francis, 1988.---. “Intertextuality, Parody, and the Discourses of History: A Poetics of Postmodernism History, Theory, Fiction.” 1988. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://ieas.unideb.hu/admin/file_3553.pdf›.---. “Historiographic Metafiction: Parody and the Intertextuality of History.” Eds. P. O’Donnell and R.C. Davis, Intertextuality and Contemporary American Fiction. Baltimore, Maryland: John Hopkins UP, 1989. 3-32.---. “Historiographic Metafiction.” Ed. Michael McKeon, Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins UP, 2000. 830-50.Nunning, Ansgar. “Where Historiographic Metafiction and Narratology Meet.” Style 38.3 (2004): 352-75.Rushdie, Salman. Midnight’s Children. London: Jonathan Cape, 1980.Starrs, D. Bruno. That Blackfella Bloodsucka Dance! Saarbrücken, Germany: Just Fiction Edition (paperback), 2011; Starrs via Smashwords (e-book), 2012.---. “Writing Indigenous Vampires: Aboriginal Gothic or Aboriginal Fantastic?” M/C Journal 17.4 (2014). 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/viewArticle/834›.Tuhiwai Smith, Linda. Decolonizing Methodologies. London & New York: Zed Books, 2012.University of Sussex. “Philippa Gregory Fills the Historical Gaps.” University of Sussex Alumni Magazine 51 (2012). 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://www.scribd.com/doc/136033913/University-of-Sussex-Alumni-Magazine-Falmer-issue-51›.Wikipedia. “A Current Affair.” 2014. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Current_Affair›.---. “Aboriginal Tent Embassy.” 2014. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aboriginal_Tent_Embassy›.---. “Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.” 2014. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Department_of_Families,_Housing,_Community_Services_and_Indigenous_Affairs›.---. “Eddie Mabo.” 2014. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Mabo›.---. “History of Australia (1788 – 1850).” 2014. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Australia_(1788%E2%80%931850)#Aboriginal_resistance›.---. “Terra Nullius.” 2014. 19 Sep. 2014 ‹http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_nullius›.

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McHoul, Alec. "Talking (across) Cultures." M/C Journal 3, no.2 (May1, 2000). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.1838.

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1. In this paper, I want to begin to contemplate the possibility that the concept of culture could one day be thought outside modern Western thought, via a reading of Martin Heidegger's 'Dialogue on Language between a Japanese and an Inquirer'. As we shall see, for Heidegger, the dominant position here is representationalism. And so a large part of what I want to do here is to begin to shake the concept of culture from these dominant representationalist moorings.1 Heidegger's problem with the history of Western thought may be put as follows. In this tradition, the difference between Being and beings (the ontological difference) is forgotten so that Being comes primarily to be considered in terms of beings. Beings are, in turn, considered in terms of their relations to one another, with the being called 'man' routinely standing to one privileged side of those known as 'objects'. Thereby thinking about Being is reduced to the question: how is it that man relates to objects? The problem is compounded when the answer to this question is given as: man knows objects. And it is even further compounded by the dominance throughout all of this of representational thinking: the idea that man knows objects only 'indirectly' through their representations.2 To challenge representational thinking in Heidegger's sense, then, is to challenge not just a 'way of knowing' but also the dominance of 'man' (Foucault's central uptake of Heidegger), the separation between 'man' and 'things', subject and object, and, ultimately, it is to challenge the very idea that Being is no more than the aggregate of empirically accessible beings. To find alternatives to representational thinking Heidegger looks elsewhere, or, more precisely, in turning to the pre-Socratic Greeks, elsewhen. He does this throughout his work, but most explicitly in Early Greek Thinking. Yet even this work barely distinguishes between (what we would now think of as) natural and cultural production in any clear way. Instead, it appears there as if the ontological difference itself -- the difference between Being and beings, between sheer coming-to-presence and that which happens to be present -- is of such urgent importance that it cuts across the apparently less important distinction between natural and cultural varieties of beings. As an advancement of his claims about the ontological difference (as a neglected and almost unthinkable difference today), the Heidegger of Early Greek Thinking in effect obviates the nature/culture distinction along with representational thinking. If the modern Western concept of culture, then, depends for its existence on the prior existence of a constitutive outside (such as nature) then is it possible that culture as such (whatever theory of it we hold) is irrevocably part of representationalist thinking? Is it intrinsically representationalist -- from, say, Hobbes to the present day or, indeed, in whatever past or future manifestation -- by virtue of its dependence on a culture/non-culture distinction? If this is so, again, there is a remarkable consequence for all the cultural disciplines and for cultural studies in particular. It is this: any non-representationalist approach to culture would be a contradiction in terms; so that, by virtue of it being specifically culture we are interested in, our interest will be necessarily representationalist. Outside representationalism, what we are dealing with could not be culture as such. The sorts of objects which we have, until now, thought of as cultural objects (photographs, museums, policy documents, forms of dress, music and so on) become interesting and significant outside representationalism only to the extent that they instanciate the ontological difference. We can, that is, no longer afford to think of the cultural as ontologically separate in any way. Instead, the move away from representational thinking would mean that objects of whatever kind -- 'gods and men, temples and cities, sea and land, eagle and snake, tree and shrub, wind and light, stone and sand, day and night' (Early 40) -- are effects of the distinction between coming-to-presence and merely happening to be present. And they ought to be experienced, inspected and understood for what they are, fundamentally, in this respect. What would this mean? One occasion where the later Heidegger does treat 'cultural' matters (in several senses and by, perhaps for the first and only time, going across contemporary cultures) is in his 'Dialogue on Language between a Japanese and an Inquirer'.3 This strangely readable little colloquy requires inspection, I believe, if we are to proceed any further along what the Heidegger of Early Greek Thinking calls 'the lines of usage' and into the peculiar territory beyond representational thinking.4 2. What is at stake here may be this: whether in this dialogue we are experiencing a cultural difference. Or perhaps, whether we are experiencing the presence of culture(s) at all. Put another way: the essay in question (in the form of a dialogue) may be an instance of either (a) a cultural difference or dialogue; or else of (b) an accidental similarity or monologue. Let us look briefly at both possibilities. If (a), then we have a clear lesson (on the model of the 'danger' of language): the nature of culture cannot derive from a metaphysical distinction between culture and contenders for the title of 'non-culture' (for example, physical nature or science or barbarism); for anything that was a culture would have to be already in place in order to generate such a division (or anything like it) in the first place. The name, then, of this prior condition cannot be 'culture' itself. But that is precisely how the cultural disciplines have used the term -- 'cultures', we hear, are what make the 'nature/culture' distinction -- albeit that each may do it in its own, 'culturally specific', way.5 This is why the cultural disciplines cannot imagine a culture which does not, in itself, have a deeply-seated representational concept of culture as its ultimate ground. Anthropological thinking -- in the broadest philosophical sense, not just in reference to a specific discipline -- entails the search for the other's meaning of its own (anthropology's) idea of culture. In effect, it cannot imagine a culture outside Western metaphysics but must forever translate 'different cultures' into versions of it (albeit with minor empirical differences). So if the name of the condition for the nature/culture distinction (that is, the name of the nature of culture) cannot be 'culture', instead its name must be 'representational thinking' -- at least for all cultural theory to date. The modern concept of culture's ultimate contradiction would be that it would rest upon the assumption of its own universal presence while also denying cultural universals. If (b) -- if, that is, we are not, in this dialogue, undergoing an experience with culture at all -- then the 'Japanese' is no more than a token non-European Heideggerian. He is whatever may be non-European 'in' Heidegger himself. He is a fictional device for having Heidegger's fellow Europeans (his readers) see how it is possible to think outside Western thinking -- or at least to get a glimpse of such a possibility. He is a stooge, a ploy, and -- what's more -- an 'orientalised' ploy: a classically European fictional depiction of the mysterious Orient and its inscrutable thinking. So much is at stake in how we read this work. And a number of very important issues depend on our (necessarily ethical and political) decision as to how we should read the essay. For if reading (a) prevails, cultural difference (or whatever term we decide to use to replace it and its ultimately limited horizon) is not something, in itself, of its nature or essence, that can give any comfort to notions of 'orientalism' or 'stereotypes' or any of the other tropes of fashionable (cross-)cultural criticism. Instead, the cultural itself, wherever it is predicated on Western representational thinking, is intrinsically Western thinking. There is no outside of Western culture (the Western concept of culture) for that culture to grasp -- whether it would ideally grasp it in scientific, anthropological, liberal humanist, cultural relativist, orientalist, colonialist or racist ways. These 'ways' and the differences between them have no meaning on reading (a). They are all, in effect, one way. But if reading (b) prevails, then all seems well with Western representational thinking. It has no problem because, now, all cultures would, factually, have a Western concept of culture at their core, albeit of a particular inflexion. They would all be just like 'us' in their essential metaphysics. He who recorded the different tensions or versions of this single metaphysics might be a scientist or anthropologist. He who appreciated such small variations might be a liberal humanist or a cultural relativist. He who dogmatically believed in the superiority of his own tension or difference and degraded others might be an orientalist, a colonialist or a racist. But these would be, on reading (b), but small variations along a single path. They would be like the right, left and centre lanes of a one-way street. So neither reading turns out to be very hopeful for today's cultural disciplines. The first suggests a much deeper-seated difference than those disciplines have been able to imagine hitherto; something much less easily grasped than the culture/non-culture distinction (and such that some 'cultures' are not, in and of themselves, quite that). The second suggests that the easy victories of principled cultural criticism and cultural identity politics (as well as those of less 'enlightened' positions) are grounded on the most Western of Western thinking: its representationalist theology.6 It looks as if there are only two possibilities: either culture rests upon a bed of difference that lies so deep as to remain forever outside Western thinking; or every other is ultimately, at the deepest point of difference we can think, a version of the West. But on both sides of the divide, the initial idea of culture is culture-as-presence: 'are we in the presence of an intercultural dialogue?'; or 'are we in the presence of a culture talking to itself?' If we could move even a little way from this and begin to think of culture-as-coming-to-presence (or just as 'to come', to invoke a Derridean variation on the theme), then it turns out that (a) and (b) are necessarily undecidable matters within representational thinking itself but that, as we begin to move outside it,the decision becomes irrelevant. But we must reserve this (in)decision for another occasion and proceed with the dialogue at hand. 3. To proceed, we must continue with the dialogue's attention to language and particularly to the 'danger' of speaking about it. Language, that is, has a nature but it is concealed (by the representationalist difference between the sensuous and the suprasensuous) and this concealing is a 'danger' (21). One contender for the nature of language is to take it as 'the house of Being' (22). And this prompts us to remember that the dialogue describes the two cultures as different 'houses' (5) -- different 'language realities' (24) -- so that 'the nature of language remains something altogether different for the East asian and the European peoples' (23). In fact, it is so different that the question of what language is may not be a possible one for the Japanese (23). He insists that his people 'pay no heed' to the question of the nature of language. Instead they have a word that 'says the essential being of language, rather than being of use as a name for speaking and for language' (23). So this is not a referring word but rather a 'hinting' word (24). And the 'hint' would be what the Japanese translator feels when he feels the 'wellspring' from which such different languages as German and Japanese might arise. He also describes this in terms of a 'radiance'. This 'hinting', or 'gesturing', or 'bearing' (26) must not, the Inquirer demands, be clarified into a form of 'conceptual representation' (25). Were it to be, we would miss its nature outside Western reason. There is no analytic or empirical equivalent of 'the nature of language'. To think so is itself an instance of the worst sorts of metaphysics at work. Following through the dialogue, we also find that to ask about the nature of language is also to ask the hermeneutic question in its non-standard sense;that is not as a methodological question about the means of interpreting texts but as a metaphysical question about what interpretation itself is (29-30). And this in turn has to do with 'bearing' (as in bearing a message, being a messenger -- gesturing, bearing, hinting). The so-far unannounced Japanese word for the nature of language, on the one hand, and the question of what hermeneutics is, on the other, stand together. 'Man stands in hermeneutical relation to the two-fold' (32), where 'the two-fold' is glossed as presencing (coming-to-presence) and present beings. This hermeneutic relation, however, is complex. It involves man in preserving the two-fold (32) and also in the two-fold (presencing/present) using man (33). And, obviously enough perhaps, this idea of 'use' can no longer mean empirical usage in its quasi-linguistic sense. For, as we soon learn from the rest of the essays in On the Way to Language, the linguistic arts and sciences are thoroughly representationalist since they begin with the assumption of the simple existence of present beings (forgetting coming-to-presence and language's criticality to it) and consider language, as it were, to come later as a means of, and for, their re-presentation. (And this is, I would argue, precisely the function of terms such as 'language', 'discourse', 'signification' and 'image' in, for example, cultural studies.) Nevertheless the alternative to this mistaken view of language, the alternative that Heidegger calls 'the hermeneutic relation', is agentive. In fact it is doubly so. It involves, that is, practices (of preserving and using): 'the sway of usage' (33) and 'the sway of the two-fold' (34). The Japanese claims that there is a kinship between this thinking and his (or their) own (41). This hermeneutic relation, however, is complex. It involves man in preserving the two-fold (32) and also in the two-fold (presencing/present) using man (33). And, obviously enough perhaps, this idea of 'use' can no longer mean empirical usage in its quasi-linguistic sense. For, as we soon learn from the rest of the essays in On the Way to Language, the linguistic arts and sciences are thoroughly representationalist since they begin with the assumption of the simple existence of present beings (forgetting coming-to-presence and language's criticality to it) and consider language, as it were, to come later as a means of, and for, their re-presentation. (And this is, I would argue, precisely the function of terms such as 'language', 'discourse', 'signification' and 'image' in, for example, cultural studies.) Nevertheless the alternative to this mistaken view of language, the alternative that Heidegger calls 'the hermeneutic relation', is agentive. In fact it is doubly so. It involves, that is, practices (of preserving and using): 'the sway of usage' (33) and 'the sway of the two-fold' (34). The Japanese claims that there is a kinship between this thinking and his (or their) own (41). Footnotes Representational thinking is clearly alive and well today in cultural studies -- perhaps even to the point whereby this otherwise critical discipline rarely subjects this concept to critical scrutiny. See Hall (Representation). A draft paper 'Representation and Cultural Studies' (available on request) deals with this question. Hall's Representation book lists three such forms of indirect representation: 'the production of meaning through language, discourse and image'. Two other central locations for Heidegger on culture are 'The Age of the Word Picture' and 'Science and Reflection'. Here and elsewhere, of course, Heidegger has very little time for the idea of culture and 'culturalist' explanations -- possibly because of their traditionally deep imbrication in representationalism. At times, his opposition is so vehement that we can practically hear him reaching for his gun. In Early Greek Thinking, Heidegger translates a crucial part of the Anaximander fragment as follows: '... along the lines of usage [custom, practice]: for they let order and thereby also reck belong to one another (in the surmounting) of disorder' (Early 57). A paper submitted for this issue of M/C nicely displays this in a single phrase: 'the Western cultural pattern that assigns things masculine to the cultural and things feminine to the natural' (my emphases). On this matter, see Hunter on 'Setting Limits'. References Hall, Stuart (ed). Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London: Sage, 1997. Heidegger, Martin. "The Age of the Word Picture." Trans. W. Lovitt. The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays. New York: Garland, 1977. 115-54. ---. "A Dialogue on Language between a Japanese and an Inquirer." Trans. P.D. Hertz. On the Way to Language. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1971. 1-54. [First German publication 1959] ---. Early Greek Thinking. Trans. D. Farrell Krell & F.A. Capuzzi. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. ---. "Science and Reflection." Trans. W. Lovitt. The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays. New York: Garland, 1977. 155-82. Hunter, Ian. "Setting Limits to Culture." Nation, Culture, Text: Australian Cultural Studies. Ed. G. Turner. London: Routledge, 1993. 140-63. Citation reference for this article MLA style: Alec McHoul. "Talking (across) Cultures: Grace and Danger in the House of the European Inquirer." M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 3.2 (2000). [your date of access] <http://www.api-network.com/mc/0005/grace.php>. Chicago style: Alec McHoul, "Talking (across) Cultures: Grace and Danger in the House of the European Inquirer," M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 3, no. 2 (2000), <http://www.api-network.com/mc/0005/grace.php> ([your date of access]). APA style: Alec McHoul. (2000) Talking (across) cultures: grace and danger in the house of the European inquirer. M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 3(2). <http://www.api-network.com/mc/0005/grace.php> ([your date of access]).

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Ferreday, Debra. "Adapting Femininities." M/C Journal 10, no.2 (May1, 2007). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.2645.

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“I realised some time ago that I am a showgirl. When I perform it is to show the girl, whereas some performers take the approach of caricaturing or ‘burlesquing’ the girl.” (Lola the Vamp) “Perhaps the most surprising idea of contemporary feminism is that women are female impersonators” (Tyler, 1) In recent years, femininity has been the subject of much debate in mainstream culture, as well as in feminist theory. The recent moral panic over “size zero” bodies is only the latest example of the anxieties and tensions generated by a culture in which every part of the female body is subject to endless surveillance and control. The backlash against the women’s movement of the late 20th century has seen the mainstreaming of high femininity on an unprecedented scale. The range of practices now expected of middle-class women, including cosmetic surgery, dieting, fake tanning, manicures, pedicures, and waxing (including pubic waxing) is staggering. Little wonder, then, that femininity has often been imagined as oppressive labour, as work. If women were to attempt to produce the ideal femininities promoted by women’s magazines in the UK, USA and Australia, there would be little time in the day—let alone money—for anything else. The work of femininity hence becomes the work of adapting oneself to a current set of social norms, a work of adaptation and adjustment that must remain invisible. The goal is to look natural while constantly labouring away in private to maintain the façade. Alongside this feminine ideal, a subculture has grown up that also promotes the production of an elaborately feminine identity, but in very different ways. The new burlesque is a subculture that began in club nights in London and New York, has since extended to a network of performers and fans, and has become a highly active community on the Internet as well as in offline cultural spaces. In these spaces, performers and audiences alike reproduce striptease performances, as well as vintage dress and styles. Performers draw on their own knowledge of the history of burlesque to create acts that may invoke late 19th-century vaudeville, the supper clubs of pre-war Germany, or 1950s pinups. However the audience for these performances is as likely to consist of women and gay men as the heterosexual men who comprise the traditional audience for such shows. The striptease star Dita von Teese, with her trademark jet-black hair, pale skin, red lips and tiny 16-inch corseted waist, has become the most visible symbol of the new burlesque community. However, the new burlesque “look” can be seen across a web of media sites: in film, beginning with Moulin Rouge (Baz Luhrmann, 2001), and more recently in The Notorious Bettie Paige (Mary Harron, 2005), as well as in mainstream movies like Mrs Henderson Presents (Stephen Frears, 2005); in novels (such as Louise Welsh’s The Bullet Trick); in popular music, such as the iconography of Kylie Minogue’s Showgirl tour and the stage persona of Alison Goldfrapp; and in high fashion through the work of Vivienne Westwood and Roland Mouret. Since the debut in the late 1990’s of von Teese’s most famous act, in which she dances in a giant martini glass, the new burlesque has arisen in popular culture as a counterpoint to the thin, bronzed, blonde ideal of femininity that has otherwise dominated popular culture in the West. The OED defines burlesque as “a comically exaggerated imitation, especially in a literary or dramatic work; a parody.” In this article, I want to think about the new burlesque in precisely this way: as a parody of feminine identity that, by making visible the work involved in producing feminine identity, precisely resists mainstream notions of feminine beauty. As Lola the Vamp points out in the quotation that opens this article, new burlesque is about “caricaturing or burlesquing the girl”, but also about “showing the girl”, not only in the literal sense of revealing the body at the end of the striptease performance, but in dramatising and making visible an attachment to feminine identity. For members of the new burlesque community, I want to suggest, femininity is experienced as an identity position that is lived as authentic. This makes new burlesque a potentially fruitful site in which to think through the questions of whether femininity can be adapted, and what challenges such adaptations might pose, not only for mainstream culture, but for feminist theory. As I have stated, feminist responses to mainstream femininity have emphasised that femininity is work; that is, that feminine identities do not emerge naturally from certain bodies, but rather have to be made. This is necessary in order to resist the powerful cultural discourses through which gender identities are normalised. This model sees femininity as additive, as something that is superimposed on some mystical “authentic” self which cries out to be liberated from the artificially imposed constraints of high heels, makeup and restrictive clothing. This model of femininity is summed up by Naomi Wolf’s famous statement, in The Beauty Myth, that “femininity is code for femaleness plus whatever society happens to be selling” (Wolf, 177; emphasis added). However, a potential problem with such a view of gender identity is that it tends to reproduce essentialist notions of identity. The focus on femininity as a process through which bodies are adapted to social norms suggests that there is an unmarked self that precedes adaptation. Sabina Sawhney provides a summary and critique of this position: Feminism seems to be relying on the notion that the authentic identity of woman would be revealed once the drag is removed. That is to say, when her various “clothes”—racial, ethnic, hetero/hom*osexual, class textured—are removed, the real, genuine woman would appear whose identity would pose no puzzles. But surely that is a dangerous assumption, for it not only prioritises certain forms of identity formation over others, but also essentialises a sexual or gendered identity as already known in advance. (5) As Sawhney suggests here, to see femininity only in terms of oppressive labour is implicitly essentialist, since it suggests the existence of a primary, authentic “femaleness”. Femininity consists of consumer “stuff” which is superimposed onto unproblematically female bodies. Sawhney is right, here, to compare femininity to drag: however, female and male femininities are read very differently in this account. Drag and cross-dressing are decried as deliberate (male) parodies of “women” (and it is interesting to note that parodies of femininity are inevitably misread as parodies of women, as though the two were the same). However, those women who engage in feminine identity practices are to be pitied, not blamed, or at least not explicitly. Femininity, the compulsion to adapt oneself to incorporate “whatever society is selling”, is articulated in terms of “social pressure”, as a miserable duty over which women have no control. As Samantha Holland argues, the danger is that women become positioned as “mindless consumers, in thrall to the power of media images” (10). Resisting the adaptations demanded by femininity thus becomes a way of resisting mindlessness, particularly through resisting excessive consumption. This anxiety about female excess is echoed in some of the press coverage of the burlesque scene. For example, an article in the British Sunday paper The Observer takes a sceptical position on some performers’ claims that their work is feminist, wondering whether the “fairy dust of irony really strips burlesque of any political dubiousness” (O’Connell, 4), while an article on a feminist Website argues that the movement “can still be interpreted as a form of exploitation of women’s bodies,” (DiNardo, 1), which rather suggests that it is the purpose of feminism to try and interpret all manifestations of femininity in this way: as if the writer is suggesting that feminism itself were a system for curbing feminine excess. This is not to deny that the new burlesque, like more mainstream forms of femininity, involves work. Indeed, a reading of online burlesque communities suggests that it is precisely the labour of femininity that is a source of pleasure. Many books and Websites associated with this movement offer lessons in stage performance; however, these real and virtual classes are not limited to those who wish to perform. In this subculture, much of the pleasure derives from a sense of community between performer and audience, a sense which derives mainly from the adaptation of a specific retro or vintage feminine identity. Miss Indigo Blue’s Academy offers courses in the more theatrical aspects of burlesque, such as stripping techniques, but also in subjects such as “makeup and wig tricks” and “walking in heels” (Miss Indigo Blue’s Academy of Burlesque). Burlesque, like cross-dressing suggests that femininity needs to be learnt: and learning femininity, in this sense, also involves unlearning whatever “one [usually restrictive] size fits all” forms of femininity are currently being sold by the fashion and beauty industries. In contrast to this normative model, the online accounts of burlesque fans and performers reveal an intense pleasure in creating and adapting new feminine identities within a subculture, through a “DIY” approach to femininity. This insistence on doing it yourself is important, since it is through the process of reclaiming vintage styles of clothing, hair and makeup that real adaptation takes place. Whereas mainstream femininity is positioned as empty consumption, and as a source of anxiety, burlesque is aligned with recycling, thrift shopping and the revival of traditional crafts such as knitting and weaving. This is most visible in magazines and Websites such as Bust magazine. This magazine, which launched in the early 1990s, was an early forerunner of the burlesque revival with its use of visual imagery taken from 1950s women’s magazines alongside pinups of the same era. The Website has been selling Bettie Page merchandise for some time alongside its popular Stitch n’ Bitch knitting books, and also hosts discussions on feminism, craft and “kitsch and make-up” (Bust). In the accounts cited above, femininity is clearly not imagined through an imperative to conform to social norms: instead, the practice of recovering and re-creating vintage looks is constructed as a pleasurable leisure activity that brings with it a sense of achievement and of engagement with a wider community. The appeal of burlesque, therefore, is not limited to a fetishistic preference for the trappings of burlesque or retro femininity: it is also defined by what it is not. Online discussions reveal a sense of dissatisfaction with more culturally visible forms of femininity promoted by celebrity culture and women’s magazines. Particular irritants include the low-maintenance look, skinniness, lip gloss, highlighted and layered hair, fake tan and, perhaps unexpectedly, jeans. These are seen as emblematic of precisely stereotypical and hom*ogenising notions of feminine identity, as one post points out: “Dita VT particularly stands out in this day and age where it seems that the mysterious Blondifier and her evil twin, the Creosoter, get to every female celeb at some point.” (Bust Lounge, posted on Oct 17 2006, 3.32 am) Another reason for the appeal of New Burlesque is that it does not privilege slenderness: as another post says “i think i like that the women have natural bodies in some way” (Bust Lounge, posted on Oct 8 2006, 7:34 pm), and it is clear that the labour associated with this form of femininity consists of adorning the body for display in a way that opposes the dominant model of constructing “natural” beauty through invisible forms of labour. Burlesque performers might therefore be seen as feminist theorists, whose construction of a feminine image against normative forms of femininity dramatises precisely those issues of embodiment and identity that concern feminist theory. This open display and celebration of feminine identity practices, for example, makes visible Elizabeth Grosz’s argument, in Volatile Bodies, that all bodies are inscribed with culture, even when they are naked. A good example of this is the British performer Immodesty Blaize, who has been celebrated in the British press for presenting an ideal of beauty that challenges the cultural predominance of size zero bodies: a press cutting on her Website shows her appearance on the cover of the Sunday Times Style magazine for 23 April 2006, under the heading “More Is More: One Girl’s Sexy Journey as a Size 18” (Immodesty Blaize). However, this is not to suggest that her version of femininity is simply concerned with rejecting practices such as diet and exercise: alongside the press images of Immodesty in ornate stage costumes, there is also an account of the rigorous training her act involves. In other words, the practices involved in constructing this version of femininity entail bringing together accounts of multiple identity practices, often in surprising ways that resist conforming to any single ideal of femininity: while both the athletic body and the sexualised size 18 body may both be seen as sites of resistance to the culturally dominant slender body, it is unusual for one performer’s image to draw on both simultaneously as Blaize does. This dramatisation of the work involved in shaping the body can also be seen in the use of corsets by performers like von Teese, whose extremely tiny waist is a key aspect of her image. Although this may be read on one hand as a performance of conformity to feminine ideals of slimness, the public flaunting of the corset (which is after all a garment originally designed to be concealed beneath clothing) again makes visible the practices and technologies through which femininity is constructed. The DIY approach to femininity is central to the imperative to resist incorporation by mainstream culture. Dita von Teese makes this point in a press interview, in which she stresses the impossibility of working with stylists: “the one time I hired a stylist, they picked up a pair of my 1940’s shoes and said, these would look really cute with jeans. I immediately said, you’re out of here” (West, 10). With its constant dramatisation and adaptation of femininity, then, I would argue that burlesque precisely carries out the work which Grosz says is imperative for feminist theory, of problematising the notion of the body as a “blank, passive page” (156). If some feminist readings of femininity have failed to account for the multiplicity and diversity of feminine identity performances, it is perhaps surprising that this is also true of feminist research that has engaged with queer theory, especially theories of drag. As Carol-Ann Tyler notes, feminist critiques of drag performances have tended to read drag performances as a hostile parody of women themselves (60). I would argue that this view of drag as a parody of women is problematic, in that it reproduces an essentialist model in which women and femininity are one and the same. What I want to suggest is that it is possible to read drag in continuum with other performances, such as burlesque, as an often affectionate parody of femininity; one which allows female as well as male performers to think through the complex and often contradictory pleasures and anxieties that are at stake in performing feminine identities. In practice, some accounts of burlesque do see burlesque as a kind of drag performance, but they reveal that anxiety is not alleviated but heightened when the drag performer is biologically female. While drag is performed by male bodies, and hence potentially from a position of power, a female performer is held to be both complicit with patriarchal power, and herself powerless: the performance thus emanates from a doubly powerless position. Because femininity is imagined as a property of “women”, to parody femininity is to parody oneself and is hence open to being read as a performance of self-hatred. At best, the performer is herself held to occupy a position of middle class privilege, and hence to have access to what O’Connell, in the Observer article, calls “the fairy dust of irony” (4). For O’Connell however the performer uses this privilege to celebrate a normative, “politically dubious” form of femininity. In this reading, which positions itself as feminist, any potential for irony is lost, and burlesque is seen as unproblematically reproducing an oppressive model of feminine identities and roles. The Websites I have cited are aware of the potential power of burlesque as parody, but as a parody of femininity which attempts to work with the tensions inherent in feminine identity: its pleasures as well as its constraints and absurdities. Such a thinking-through of femininity is not the sole preserve of the male drag performer. Indeed, my current research on drag is engaged with the work of self-proclaimed female drag queens, also known as “bio queens” or “faux queens”: recently, Ana Matronic of the Scissor Sisters has spoken of her early experiences as a performer in a San Francisco drag show, where there is an annual faux-queen beauty pageant (Barber, 1). I would argue that there is a continuity between these performers and participants in the burlesque scene who may be conflicted about their relationship to “feminism” but are highly aware of the possibilities offered by this sense of parody, which is often articulated through an invocation of queer politics. Queer politics is often explicitly on the agenda in burlesque performance spaces; however the term “queer” is used not only to refer to performances that take place in queer spaces or for a lesbian audience, but to the more general way in which the very idea of women parodying femininity works to queer both feminist and popular notions of femininity that equate it with passivity, with false consciousness. While burlesque does celebrate extreme femininities, it does so in a highly self-aware and parodic manner which works to critique and denaturalise more normalised forms of femininity. It does so partly by engaging with a queer agenda (for example Miss Indigo’s Academy of Burlesque hosts lectures on queer politics and feminism alongside makeup classes and stripping lessons). New Burlesque stage performers use 19th- and 20th-century ideals of femininity to parody contemporary feminine ideals, and this satirical element is carried through in the audience and in the wider community. In burlesque, femininity is reclaimed as an identity precisely through aligning an excessive form of femininity with feminism and queer theory. This model of burlesque as queer parody of femininity draws out the connections as well as the discontinuities between male and female “alternative” femininities, a potentially powerful connectivity that is suggested by Judith Butler’s work and that disrupts the notion that femininity is always imposed on women through consumer culture. It is possible, then, to open up Butler’s writing on drag in order to make explicit this continuity between male and female parodies of femininity. Writing of the need to distinguish between truly subversive parody, and that which is likely to be incorporated, Butler explains: Parody by itself is not subversive, and there must be a way to understand what makes certain kinds of parodic repetitions effectively disruptive, truly troubling, and which repetitions become domesticated and recirculated as instruments of cultural hegemony (Gender Trouble, 177). The problem with this is that femininity, as performed by biologically female subjects, is still positioned as other, as that which presents itself as natural, but is destabilised by more subversive gender performances, such as male drag, that reveal it as performative. The moment of judgment, when we as queer theorists decide which performances are truly subversive and which are not, is divisive: having drawn out the continuity between male and female performances of femininity, it reinstates the dualistic order in which women are positioned as lacking agency. If a practice is ultimately incorporated by consumer culture, this does not necessarily mean that it is not troubling or politically interesting. Such a reductive and pessimistic reading produces “the popular” as a bad object in a way that reproduces precisely the hegemonic discourse it is trying to disrupt. In this model, very few practices, including drag, could be held to be subversive at all. What is missing from Butler’s account is an awareness of the complex and multiple forms of pleasure and desire that characterise women’s attachment to feminine identities. I would argue that she opens up a potentially exhilarating possibility that has significant implications for feminist understandings of feminine identity in that it allows for an understanding of the ways in which female performers actively construct, rework and critique feminine identity, but that this possibility is closed down through the implication that only male drag performances are “truly troubling” (Gender Trouble, 177). By allowing female performers to ”parody the girl”, I am suggesting that burlesque potentially allows for an understanding in which female performances of femininity may, like drag, also be “truly troubling” (Butler, Gender Trouble, 177). Like drag, they require the audience both to reflect on the ways in which femininity is performatively constructed within the constraints of a normative, gendered culture, but also do justice to the extent to which feminine identity may be experienced as a source of pleasure. Striptease, in which feminine identity is constructed precisely through painstakingly creating a look whose layers are then stripped away in a stylised performance of feminine gesture, powerfully dramatises the historic tension between feminism and femininity. Indeed, the labour involved in burlesque performances can be adapted and adopted as feminist theoretical performances that speak back to hegemonic ideals of beauty, to feminism, and to queer theory. References Barber, Lynn. “Life’s a Drag”. The Guardian 26 Nov. 2006, 10. Bust Lounge. 8 Mar. 2007 http://www.bust.com/>. Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. London and New York: Routledge, 1990. ———. Undoing Gender. London and New York: Routledge, 2004 DiNardo, Kelly. “Burlesque Comeback Tries to Dance with Feminism.” Women’s E-News 2004. 1 Mar. 2007 http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/2099>. Dita von Teese. 8 Mar. 2007 http://www.dita.net>. Grosz, Elizabeth. Volatile Bodies: Towards a New Corporeal Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1994. Holland, Samantha. Alternative Femininities. London: Berg, 2004. Immodesty Blaize. 10 Apr. 2007 http://www.immodestyblaize.com/collage2.html>. Lola the Vamp. 8 Mar. 2006 http://www.lolathevamp.net>. Miss Indigo Blue’s Academy of Burlesque. 8 Mar. 2007 http://www.academyofburlesque.com>. O’Connell, Dee. “Tassels Will Be Worn.” The Observer 28 Sep. 2003, 4. Sawhney, Sabina. “Feminism and Hybridity Round Table.” Surfaces 7 (2006): 113. Tyler, Carol Ann. Female Impersonation. London and New York: Routledge, 2003. West, Naomi. “Art of the Teese.” Daily Telegraph online edition 6 Mar. 2006: 10. 1 Mar. 2007 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/main.jhtml?xml=/fashion/2006/03/06/efdita04.xml>. Wolf, Naomi. The Beauty Myth. London: Chatto and Windus, 1990. Citation reference for this article MLA Style Ferreday, Debra. "Adapting Femininities: The New Burlesque." M/C Journal 10.2 (2007). echo date('d M. Y'); ?> <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0705/12-ferreday.php>. APA Style Ferreday, D. (May 2007) "Adapting Femininities: The New Burlesque," M/C Journal, 10(2). Retrieved echo date('d M. Y'); ?> from <http://journal.media-culture.org.au/0705/12-ferreday.php>.

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Hopkins, Lekkie. "Articulating Everyday Catastrophes: Reflections on the Research Literacies of Lorri Neilsen." M/C Journal 16, no.1 (March19, 2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/mcj.602.

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Abstract:

Lorri Neilsen, whose feature article appears in this edition of M/C Journal, is Professor of Education at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Neilsen has been teaching and researching in literacy studies for more than four decades. She is internationally recognised as a poet and as an arts-based research methodologist specialising in lyric inquiry. In the latter half of this last decade she was appointed for a five year term to be the Poet Laureate for Nova Scotia. As an academic, she has published widely under the name of Lorri Neilsen; as a poet, she uses Lorri Neilsen Glenn. In this article I refer to her as Neilsen. This article reflects specifically on the poetics and the politics of the work of poet-scholar Lorri Neilsen. In doing so, it explores the theme of catastrophe in several senses. Firstly, it introduces the reader to the poetic articulations of the everyday catastrophes of grief and loss found in Neilsen’s recent work. Secondly, it uses Neilsen’s work on grief and loss to draw attention to a rarely recognised scholarly catastrophe: the catastrophe of the methodological divide between the humanities and the social sciences that runs the risk of creating, for the social sciences, a limiting and limited approach to research project design, knowledge production, and relationships between researchers and subjects, to which Lorri Neilsen’s ground-breaking use of lyric inquiry is a response. And thirdly, it alerts us to the need to fight to retain the arts and humanities within universities, in order to avoid a scholarly catastrophe of a different order. In undertaking this exploration, the article uses several terms with which some readers of M/C Journal might not be familiar. Research literacies is a term used to signal capacity and fluency in the understanding and use of research methodologies. Arts-based inquiry is the umbrella term used by researchers using their creative practice in the arts—in writing, theatre performance, visual arts, music, dance, movement—to lead them into new insights into the topic under investigation. This work is frequently embodied and sensuous. So, for example, the understanding of anorexia might be deepened by a dance performance or a series of paintings or a musical score devised in response to work with research participants; or, as I argue here, understandings of the everyday catastrophes of grief and loss might be deepened by the writing of poetry or expressive prose that uncovers nuance and sheds light in ways not possible using the more traditional research methodologies available to social scientists. Lyric inquiry, a sub-set of arts-based inquiry, is Neilsen’s own term for a research methodology that uses writing itself as the research tool, and whose hallmark is embodied language expressed as poem, song, or poetic prose, to “create the possibility of a resonant, ethical, engaged relationship between the knower and the known” (Handbook 94).This article, then, reflects on the research work of Lorri Neilsen. In this article I use Neilsen’s responses to grief and loss as the starting point to follow her journey from the early days of her involvement in literacy research to her present enchantment with arts-based inquiry in literacy and social science research. I outline her writing on research literacies, explore her notion of lyric inquiry as a crucial facet of arts-based research, and conclude with examples of her poetry born of creative reflection on what we might call everyday catastrophes. Ultimately I argue the need to avoid a scholarly catastrophe of a different order from those Neilsen explores, through the continued recognition of the crucial place of the arts in academic institutions.I open with excerpts from a piece in Lorri Neilsen’s collection, Threading Light, published in 2011. This piece, The Sea, written out of the grief of losing her aged mother, is one I find most moving. It begins: Days later—a week, a month, hard to tell—sun comes out of drizzle and ice and fog and snow showers, ripping open a bright day. Snow-mounded. If you were a kid, you’d look for your sled. He is sure the box of wrenches is in the cabin, and you know a drive to the country is better than another day in bed with Kleenex and a hacking cough, hiding a flayed heart, and pouring CBC into your ears around the clock. (104) The two figures in the piece, he and she, head south to their seaside cabin. They take a walk beside an ice-covered seashore.Today, you step carefully because of ice, and what you find catches your breath. For a brief moment you have escaped the grizzly claws of grief ripping at your chest. You are kneeling on the ice, touching the frosted edges of kelp and weeds, slimy umber and sienna, and putrid green growths that slurp in and out most of the year, but here, now, are stunned, immobile, impaled on the rocks by the cold. Desire is a feral animal; let it loose, it will seek beauty. You point out to each other tableaus: rimming white, translucent blues and greens, coppered plants flash-frozen, fringed by crystalline tatters. A Burtynsky, you think, but not man-made. This is life’s ebb, as Tu Fu wrote. The ocean’s winter verge. Death’s magnificent intaglio. Your fingers follow the lines of kelp: these things once lived, and moved. Take the long view, maybe they still do. You pause to sit on a cold rock and look at the sky; for a moment you are back beside her body, that last morning, your fingers on cooling flesh. Then, water, the sound of waves. Presence. You look up. He has found one periwinkle fused to a rock, then another. Several more. He places them in your hand, one by one, each dark brown ball with its own scurf of ice that gives off the smallest breath of mist as it touches the heat of your palm. Each a small jolt. This is what the sea creates while you are busy with your own tides: precise cups of glossy perfection with curves like a blues howl that open your heart, craning for light. (Threading Light 104–5)One of the things I appreciate most about Lorri Neilsen’s lyric work is her capacity to hold the miniscule simultaneously with the universal; a flash of insight under the arc of a timeless sky. “Smaller than small; larger than large,” write the Hindu prophets (Upanishads). “This is what the sea creates while you are busy with your own tides,” she writes, and in that moment of reading I am jolted into an awareness of the contours of grief that no amount of social scientific observation could provide: an awareness of the nature of self-absorption and inward focus so intense that even the most inevitable of natural rhythms—the ocean’s tides—are forgotten: forgotten, that is, until the protagonist is shaken awake again, by exquisite beauty, into a new kind of response-ability to the world. Lorri Neilsen’s feature article in this edition of M/C creates layer upon layer of insights exploring the notion that loss, an everyday catastrophe, involves a turning inside-out, a jolting into a new sense of self, or a propulsion out of an old, restrictive one; and that inevitably it propels us headlong into a state of living in the moment, of being present to what is, rather than distantly taking stock of what we have. As I ponder this experience, as a reader of her work, I re-experience that moment of stasis:physiologically we all know that experience of time suspended after shock, time inexplicably, irrationally, standing still. But what Neilsen has done so successfully as a poet-scholar, in my view, is not simply find words to express this turning inside out as poetry. Additionally, she has claimed the moment of poetic insight as a crucial form of knowledge-making that has a central and necessary place in illuminating our social worlds. This claim has far-reaching political significance for social science researchers, introducing, as it does, a re-invigorated understanding of the very concept of research:Research [she tells us] is not only the creation of products to market at the academic fair; research is the process of learning through the words, actions and revisionings of our daily life. […] Research is the attuned mind/body working purposefully to explore, to listen, to support, to transgress, to gather with care, to create, to disrupt, to offer back, to contribute, sometimes all at once […] Inquiry is praxis that cannot be boxed up and delivered: it is a story with no ending. (Knowing 264) Neilsen’s particular fascination is with lyric inquiry which she claims as political, poetic, and sustaining of the individual and the larger world: It has the capacity to develop voice and agency in both researcher and participant; it foregrounds conceptual and philosophical processes marked by metaphor, resonance and liminality; and it reunites us with the vivifying effects of imagination and beauty – those long-forgotten qualities that add grace and wisdom to public discourse. (Knowing 101)So what has led her here, to that place where lyric inquiry forms the basis of her engagement with the knowledge-making endeavour in the academy and beyond? As a feminist scholar fascinated by biography, by life writing and story, I find myself drawn as much towards the story of Neilsen’s evolution as a poet-scholar as to the work itself. How has she come to an awareness of the need to create new ways of doing research? What has she uncovered here about the ethics and the politics of doing research in the social world? As I read her work I become aware that her current desire to dance at the edge of the conventional research world has been driven as much by a series of professional catastrophes as by an underpinning desire for methodological innovation. Neilsen herself explores these issues in her 1998 collection of academic essays, called Knowing Her Place: Research Literacies and Feminist Occasions. There are several threads weaving their way through this account of a young academic researcher and scholar finding her way into a larger, wiser, more resonant space: there’s the story of the young graduate student learning the language of and experiencing the perpetual isolation of disembodied fact-finding statistically resonant research into literacy; there’s the story of the young mother juggling academic life and research and parenting, wanting to make sense to the teaching research participants she is working with, wanting to close the gap between the public and the private worlds, wanting to spend time with her partner and her two sons, especially her second son whose birth could have been a catastrophe but whose gentle ways of being in the world gifted them all with the desire to slow down, to see afresh; and, later, there’s the story of the mature woman whose impulse is to community and to solitude, to living with a generosity of spirit that takes seriously the intertwining of her poetic life and her academic and everyday worlds. Interwoven with these stories is the story of writing itself: here we find the formal disembodied writing of Western scientific research practices; here now is collectivist writing generated at kitchen tables, in community centres, in schools; here now is every mode of writing that evokes nuance and explores the senses; and here now too is the research writing that privileges response-ability, scholartistry, bodily sensation, reciprocity, engagement with the world.Neilsen’s account of this journey begins when, as a young postgraduate student doing research into literacy, she learned the language of statistical significance to measure syntactic complexity, noting, as she wrote up her MA, the distance between the language she had learned and the everyday language of the classroom teachers the research was meant to inform. The emphasis of this early research was on removing language from its context, isolating components of language for scrutiny, making findings that were replicable. In time she came to see this kind of knowledge-making as dry, limited, rule-bound, androcentric. From this disengaged, disembodied place she moved, over decades, into a space where compassion, wisdom, humility, and wonder combine to locate her as researcher who understands, alongside researcher David Smith, that “writing is a holy act, an articulation of limited understanding” (qtd. in Neilsen, Knowing 119). In an echo of Luce Irigaray’s insistence that the research and writing we do as fully alive feminist scholars will link the celestial and the terrestrial, the horizontal, and the vertical, and in a further echo of Helene Cixous’ claim that when writing from the body, “an opera inhabits me” (Cixous 53), Neilsen writes unabashedly of the metaphysical nature of her research world: Artful living, artful writing, connecting with a purpose to help each other transcend and grow through inquiry. Connection, embodiment, transformation, transcendence. All these expressions tap spiritual chords […] But if inquiry is to transcend the destructive circ*mstances of our lifeworlds, if its purpose is to make a difference, not a career, we cannot avoid using words such as vision, spirit, humanity, soul. Interest in metaphysical perspectives is not new in feminist circles, but is IS new in conventional research communities where the intangible, the deeply disturbing and consciousness-awakening dimensions of life are compartmentalized, reserved […] for a walk by the ocean, for the rare meditative times of our lives, if we find them at all […] But (she concludes) the awareness that we know when we live in the eternal present […] is an awareness full of tremendous power, and, ultimately, hope. (Knowing 280)In the final chapter of this 1998 text outlining her journey into research literacies, called Notes on Painting Ghosts and Writing the Poetry Report: Some Things I know But Not For Certain, Lorri Neilsen writes confidently against the grain of what she sees as the limits of androcentric research practices: Everything we know is at once out there and in here […] My place is to apprentice myself to the world, to paraphrase Merleau-Ponty, not in subservience and compliance, as the androcentric practices we have followed would keep me, but in reciprocity, curiosity and response-ability. What we must seek are the transgressive experiences and the fresh words which reveal us, in Annie Dillard’s words, ‘startlingly to ourselves as creatures set down bewildered’. (qtd. in Neilsen, Knowing 261)And in a gesture that I find heartwarming, she writes of the impact of being scooped up into a collective research-making endeavour, of belonging to a community of scholars (including poet-sociologists Laurel Richardson and Trinh T. Minh-ha) whose research agenda is to expand the ways we might know, to reflect the fullness and richness and complexity of the research endeavour itself, and, in so doing, of human experience: Time and enculturation have combined to make inquiry a terrain where I live, rather than a place I visit on occasion.Inquiry is less a stance and more an intentional gesture, a re-bodied approach to working with people, particularly women, on projects which matter to them locally and globally. Inquiry is a conspiracy, a breathing together, for which we need the conditions of being together and sharing a climate, or air, for breathing. Inquiry values difference, rather than fearing it, sees contiguity or complementarity as necessary for working together without suppressing our diversity. (Knowing 262) Hers is no airy-fairy disengaged mood-making endeavour. It is decidedly political: the inclination is to openness and growth, to take risks, to create critical spaces[…] When we make the assumptions of the norms of research problematic, we make the assumptions and the norms of life together on this planet problematic as well. We begin to dismantle the Western knowledge project, and we begin to learn a fundamental humility. Expanding our research literacies keeps us full of wonder, in spite of the shakey ground and the shadows. We can learn more when our pen is a tool of discovery, not domination.And her focus is ever on the artistry of research practices: The ontological and epistemological waters in which these [research] literacies continue to develop are social, political, ecological [...] Re-imagining inquiry is re-imagining ways to work with people and ideas which keep us, like the painter, the dancer, and the performance artist, watchfully poised, momentarily still, and yet fluidly in motion. (Knowing 263)In summary, then, the kind of writing that accompanies the research methodology that Lorri Neilsen has created cuts across the notion of knowledge as product, commodity, trump card. Knowing [for Neilsen] is an experience of immersion and expression rather than one of gathering data only to advance an argument […] A reader does not take away three key points or five examples. A reader comes away with the resonance of another’s world…our senses stimulated, our spirit and emotions affected. (Knowing 96) This kind of writing emerges from her desires to create a resonant, embodied, ethical, activist, feminist-honouring, and collaborative way to grapple with the nuance of human experience. This she calls lyric inquiry. Lyric inquiry sits on the margins, inhabits the liminal spaces, “places where we perceive patterns in new ways, find sensuous openings into new understandings, fresh concepts, wild possibilities” (Knowing 98). In her chapter on lyric inquiry in the 2008 Sage Handbook of the Arts in Qualitative Research, Neilsen argues that lyric inquiry leans on no other mode of enquiry: it stands on its own, resonant and expressive, inviting fresh ways to see, read, consider experience. Unlike the narrative enquiry that currently popularly accompanies much social science research in order to bolster an argument, or illustrate a point being made in policy formulation or discussion (Hopkins), lyric inquiry adopts its own mode, its own performative spaces. It’s a heady concept and, I would argue, a brave contribution to the repertoire of qualitative arts-based research methodologies.For me Lorri Neilsen’s stance as poet, writer, researcher, woman, is beautifully captured in her piece from Threading Light which she has titled Writing has always felt like praying. Here we glimpse the lives of four figures: the Buddha, Muhammad, Jesus Christ, and the poet herself, each responding to catastrophe of sorts: Gotama saw the face of his infant son and sleeping wife,shaved his head and beard, put on his yellow robe, andleft without saying good-bye. Duties, possessions,ties of the heart: all dustweighing down his soul. He walked and walked,seeking a life wide open, complete and pure as polished shell.In a cave away from the fray of Mecca, vendettas,and a world soured by commerce, Muhammadshook as the words of a new scripturecame to him. Surrendered himselfto its beauty, singing and weeping verse by verse, year by yearfor twenty-one years.Of course you remember the man from Galileewho carried on his back the very wood on whichhis blood was spilled. How he pushed back the rockfrom the front of the cave and – this is gospel –ascended, emptied of self and full of god, returningnow in offerings of bread and wine.I pace back and forth on a cliff above the unknowable, luredby slippery and maverick tales that call forth terror, crackthe earth, shatter my bones with light. I have no needto verify old brown marks of stigmata, translate Coptic fragments.A burlap robe on display in the cold stone air of the Church of Santa Croceis inscrutable: it tells me only that my body is a ragged garmentand will be discarded too.But here, now, I am ready as a tuned stringto witness what is ravenous, mythic. Here I am holy, misbegotten,gossip on the lips of the gods, forgotten by the time the cupsare washed and put away. So I start as I start every day,cobbling a makeshift pulpit, casting for truths as they are given me:Man, woman, child, sun, moon, breath, tears,Stone, sand, sea. (Threading Light 102–3) It is ironic that the kind of research that Neilsen advocates, research that draws specifically on the arts to create new methodologies for the uncovering of topics traditionally explored by the social sciences, is being developed at precisely that moment when university arts departments around the world are being dismantled, and their value questioned (See Cohen, NY Times; Donoghue, Chronicle of Higher Education; Kitcher, Republic). As I indicated at the beginning of the article, I use this homage to Lorri Neilsen and her work to make the broader point that we lose the arts and the humanities in our universities at our peril. It’s not just that the arts are a pleasant addition, a ruffle on the edge of the serious straight-tailored cut of the research garment: rather, as Neilsen has argued throughout her research and writing career, the arts are central to our survival as a response-able, interactive, creative, thoughtful species. To turn our back on the arts in contemporary research practices is already a dangerous erosion, a research and knowledge-making catastrophe which Neilsen’s lyric inquiry seeks to address: to lose the arts from universities altogether would be a catastrophe of a much higher order. References Cohen, Patricia. “In Tough Times, the Humanities Must Justify Their Worth”. New York Times. 24 Feb. 2009. Cixous, Helene. Coming to Writing and Other Essays. Ed. Deborah Jensen. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991.Dillard, Annie. The Writing Life. New York: Harper & Row, 1993. Donoghue, Frank. “Can the Humanities Survive the 21st Century?” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 5 Sep. 2010. Hopkins, Lekkie. “Why Narrative? Reflections on the Politics and Processes of Using Narrative in Refugee Research.” Tamara Journal for Critical Organisation and Inquiry 8.2 (2009): 135-45.Irigaray, Luce. “Sexual Difference.” The Irigaray Reader. Ed. Margaret Whitford. Oxford: Blackwell, 1987. 165-77. Kitcher, Philip. “The Trouble with Scientism”. New Republic. 4 May 2012.Muller, M. (trans.). The Upanishads. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1879.Neilsen Glenn, Lorri. Threading Light. Explorations in Loss and Poetry. Regina, SK: Hagios Press, 2011. Neilsen, Lorri. “Lyric Inquiry.” Handbook of the Arts in Qualitative Research. Eds. J. Gary Knowles and Ardra Cole. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2008. 88-98. Neilsen, Lorri. Knowing Her Place: Research Literacies and Feminist Occasions. San Francisco: Caddo Gap Press, and Halifax, NS: Backalong Books, 2008. Richardson, Laurel. “The Consequences of Poetic Representation: Writing the Self and Writing the Other.” Investigating Subjectivity: Windows on Lived Experience. Eds. Carolyn Ellis and Michael Flaherty. Newbury Park: Sage, 1992. 125-140. Richardson, Laurel. “Writing: A Method of Inquiry.” Handbook of Qualitative Research. Eds. Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna. S. Lincoln. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1994. 959-978.Trinh, T. Minh-ha. Woman, Native, Other. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1989.

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