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Teaching and Learning Multimodal Communications

Alyssa Arbuckle, Alison Hedley, Shaun Macpherson, Alyssa McLeod, Jana Millar Usiskin, Daniel Powell, Jentery Sayers, Emily Smith, Michael Stevens, Authors

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The Practice of Everyday Metadata

In Charles Taylor's essay, "Celan and the Recovery of Language," he describes the constitutive (and phenomenological) power of poetry. Suggesting that it can "open a new space, reveal a new reality, make contact with the hidden or lost" (62), Taylor believes poetry can even restore to language (in Celan's case to the German language) its constitutive power to create new meanings and new symbols, even after being poisoned (as German had been by the Nazis) by "its complicity in evil." 

The three media I included in this assignment gather around the idea of language as something that is as constitutive as it is fragile, and as a force that can as easily be co-opted by the kinds of evils Celan's poetry describes, as it can be put to use as a mode of resistance to these very forces.  De Certeau's passage from the Practice of Everyday Life (read by Cassandra Perry in the accompanying video), which is as deeply concerned with the making power of words as it is with that of footsteps, also acknowledges poetic language, as it does walking, both as a modes of resistance to the grids, maps, and systems of power which seek to enforce and control our everyday activities of speech and movement. De Certeau contends that both footsteps and words can operate as phenomenological forms of creation in the midst of urbanity and banality as they trace the itinerant spaces in which language (and being) can exceed the determinate forces of power.  

Author: Emily Smith
Word Count: 248

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Discussion of "The Practice of Everyday Metadata"

Digital Objects Are Objects, Too

This exercise got me thinking seriously about the materiality of digital objects—a concept which became of central concern to my final project, where I exhibited a series of digital photographs in Scalar. In my final project, the process of attributing metadata to digital objects became a practical means of making a conceptual argument about the materiality of digital ephemera. Rather than using Dublin Core to describe the intellectual and conceptual content of the photos I exhibited, I tried to use metadata like an artist might—to describe the materiality of the media employed in the creation of the objects. For me, this eventually meant referencing the editing program I used to edit the photos, the physical site where the digital data was stored, and the file type the image was saved in.

This exercise was of particular interest because of how it allowed us to compare the inconsistent way metadata is used to describe media on the web. For instance, images found on blogs were often almost entirely without metadata, whereas the tedious metadata for a video on YouTube was often incoherent, inaccurate, and more confusing than it was informative.

Being required to choose a specific set of of DC elements to describe the chosen objects for the assignment not only revealed the subjectivity of using metadata and the elements provided but also the need to be systematic in order to maintain a certain amount of consistency within one's own use of the elements.

Author: Emily Smith
Word Count: 244

Posted on 9 July 2013, 11:09 am by Emily Smith  |  Permalink

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