Dramatic elements

Laurel’s reference to the Apple promotional video, called Knowledge Navigator (see links below) reminded me of the earlier mention in the NMS of the Apple ad, called 1984 (a novel that featured prominently in an earlier activity of mine today). The Knowledge Navigator is interesting because it suggests such potential, yet it also seems dated: Siri could run circles around the KN in terms of responsiveness, but the KN does a better job of retrieving data. By contrast, the Apple ad witht the 1984 theme seems prescient — if only because the dramatic tension (from Laurel) include the relationship between the lone individual and the forces of mass control. I’m sure someone has redone this ad as the conflict between Snowden and the NSA, for example, and it was certainly the google vs. Microsoft narrative until Google took over the world. Professor Bradford does have a stunning office (not that he spends much time in it, apparently).

Knowledge navigator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRH8eimU_20

1984: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R706isyDrqI



Three terms from the Bill Viola reading resonated with my current efforts in other dimensions: memory, spatial movement, and storage (recording) of ideas (p. 467). The “Russian Flu” project is at the intersection of these three terms: how can the transmission of disease (spatial movement) be studied using newspaper reports (storage of ideas) in ways that are useful for both historical and contemporary understanding (memory). The challenge in this project, however, engages the broader issue raised by Viola about the transition across media. In this project, one shift in media is obvious: the digitization of newspapers, thus moving from paper to electronic media. The transition across media platforms is actually more complicated, in ways that can illustrate the tensions and themes central to Viola’s work. Information about disease begins as biomedical (symptoms) which is then reported, orally in most cases, to and by physicians, and then collected on some level by health officials and reporters, who turn this information into text. Even in the late nineteenth century, this information took on an electronic form, as news was transmitted by telegraph wires between cities and internationally along cable lines. The text then enters the paper medium, which  is how it remained for a couple of decades, until someone microfilmed the newspaper, turning the paper medium into film. The information remained in this medium for another few decades, and then was digitized, which is the current form being studied by students and transformed into an online database. In other words, this point where we are now comes at the end of a long process involved multiple transitions. The anticipatory stage outlined by Viola, where are we going and what will we find when we get there (a porcupine?) is thus suggestive of on-going processes that are central to this other research project.