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Decoding digital humanities #3 London: the round up

Claire S Ross11 May 2010

Salina Christmas suggested the idea of technoromanticism
Coyne, R., “Introduction” pp. 2-15 and “Ch. 1 Digital Utopias” pp. 19-45 in Technoromanticism: digital narrative, holism, and the romance of the real
Coyne suggests how narratives about the technology, computers are grounded in Enlightenment and romanticism.  He suggests that because of these digital narratives, discourse about technology is subject to similar critiques of romanticism.  This raises ideas about unity, multiplicity and the concept of a Digital utopia.

Unfortunately I was a bit late to the meetup – so I missed about half of the discussion, so if anyone wants to fill me and others in about what I missed that would be great.
When I got there, the discussion was focusing on Pink Floyd and the changes in the way we listen and share music; whether it is a ‘you’ or a ‘we’ exercise. We then moved on to multiplicity on the internet and the construction of multiple identities.

Questions were raised about the idea of the digital culture producing mediocrity and a lack of talent. Causing digital collectives emerging in London?  Suggesting that Technoromantism is a reaction to “the man” , a break away from the constraints provided by an increasingly standardised digital output.  Predominately using visualisations and images rather than text.

This then brought us on to the blending of the digital world with the analog world. Why when told the story about a man who embedded a RDFI chip into the palm of his hand to make his life easier, does it cause a negative reaction?    Do we need those digital identifiers? Is this the next step? Is resistance futile? Are we too far down the digital track?

Finally we discussed gold farming.  Now I hadn’t heard the term before. But is it really economically viable to sell digital games goods in the real world? It sounds bizarre, but its being done.

There is an interesting  Working paper:
Current Analysis and Future Research Agenda on “Gold Farming”: Real-World Production in Developing Countries for the Virtual Economies of Online Games
Which is part of the Development Informatics series at the University of Manchester. Well worth a read.

Decoding Digital Humanities #3

Claire S Ross19 April 2010

The next Decoding Digital Humanities meetup will be held on 10th May.

As before, we would like to continue with assigning some reading to provide a focus for our discussions.

Salina Christmas has suggested the idea of technoromanticism

Coyne, R., “Introduction” pp. 2-15 and “Ch. 1 Digital Utopias” pp. 19-45 in Technoromanticis: digital narrative, holism, and the romance of the real by Coyne, Richard, MIT Press, 1999 [Held by Library] it is also available on google books

If you have access to the Digital Anthropology Moodle you can access the paper here http://moodle.ucl.ac.uk/file.php/7255/readings/theories-of-digitisation/Coyne-2001.pdf

Or there is the wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technoromanticism

Date: Monday, 10 May 2010

Time: 5.30pm – 7.30pm

Location: Jeremy Bentham pub, 31 University Street, London, WC1E 6JL (map)

This event is open to UCL staff and students, and their guests. RSVP is appreciated but not required. If you cannot make this date but are interested in future events, send us a quick email to register your interest and we’ll add you to the DDH e-list!

Decoding digital humanities #2 London

Claire S Ross13 April 2010

Wow, what a night that was. Discussions centred around the paper by Michael Mateas’ ‘Procedural Literacy – Educating the New Media Practitioner’ which suggests that procedural literacy is necessary for new media researchers, because without understanding the behind the scenes of the screen or programme, researchers will never be able to deeply read new media work.
This idea provoked some very interesting and lively discussion focusing around;

Is programming a language? Or is this a misleading term?

  • If you can’t learn the language should you learn the processes behind the language?
  • How can academia combat the science/humanities divide? And should it?
  • Is online publishing a red herring?
  • How do you manage or balance traditional methods with digital methods? Should you?
  • Can you ever be procedural literate if you don’t have any training in computer science?

And the most relevant question: do you need to understand programming to work in new media and digital humanities? what benefit could being procedural literate have? This was difficult to answer and I don’t think we reached a consensus around the table.
I for one (clairey_ross) would be really interested to know anyone’s thoughts on whether you think digital humanities scholars being able to programme or at least being taught to understand the historiography and theory behind programming would make researchers in a digital age?
We also came on to the idea of what Digital Humanities actually is; a definition which appears to remain illusive. We discussed the idea of online publishing; what do people mean when they talk about humanities; is the move to digital a superficial change? Ruth has posted her review of the DDH evening on her blog finds and features, she raises some interesting points following on from the excellent question raised during the evening ‘how much impact is the Digital Humanities really having‘, ‘how fast is the world really changing‘ and ‘is the current digital revolution really all that?‘, its well worth a read.

Decoding Digital Humanities

Claire S Ross25 February 2010

It’s a very exciting time for all things digital around UCL, with the launch of the Centre for Digital Humanities. At the same time, it gives cause for some thought about what Digital Humanities (DH) means. How is DH changing academia or contributing to society at large?

Myself (Claire R) and my colleague (Kathryn) are relatively new to the world of Digital Humanities and we thought it would be great to get together with other people interested in DH so we can share ideas, experiences and questions with others to explore together (lets face it a crew is always better than just you) the concept of DH and what it means to be a Digital Humanist, so we have set up a informal group, Decoding Digital Humanities as a place where anyone can come to find out more about the latest ideas in and about digital humanities.

Want to get involved, keep up to date with current work and new developments? Then join us at the Jeremy Bentham Pub (details below) for an informal gathering, to mingle, share ideas and experiences, discuss readings and questions with other digital humanities folk. Ready to explore together the concept of DH and what it means to be a Digital Humanist? Then say hello to Decoding Digital Humanities!

The first Decoding Digital Humanities evening will kick off with a discussion about what Digital Humanities is, whether anyone has a definitive answer, where the discipline has come from and where we can take it. We are going to start off with a classic, Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction and then move on to a general discussion of the Wikipedia article on DH, easing everyone in gently and utilising web 2.0 technology at the same time. Make sure to check out the questions on the Wikipedia ‘Discussion’ tab as well!

DATE
16 March, 5.30pm-7.00pm


LOCATION
:

On 16th March , 5.30pm-7pm
At Jeremy Bentham pub, 31, University St, London, WC1E 6JL (map)

READINGS FOR DISCUSSION:
Benjamin, W. 1992 [1936]. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. INST ARCH 3580 Teaching Collection (copy x 1); MAIN 1612 Teaching Collection (copy x 2); SCIENCE 4802 Teaching Collection (copy x 3), OR

Benjamin, W. 1936. the Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Wikipedia Digital Humanities Page

This event is free and open to UCL staff and students, and their guests. RSVP appreciated but not required. If you can’t make this date but are interested in future events, send us a quick email (claire.ross@ucl.ac.uk or k.piquette@ucl.ac.uk) to register your interest and we’ll add you to the DDH e-list!

To find out more about us, you can see our quick bio’s here : Claire Ross and Kathryn Piquette