Mysk and Math – A Carleton Experience

Mysk and Math – A Carleton Experience

Hey folks. I am also part of the two week long Myth and Mask Colloquium that has been flooding this blog with posts recently. They’ve all done a pretty good job of explaining why we’re here, so I’ll keep that part brief. We eleven college students (or in my case, recently graduated college student) have come together at Carleton College for two collaborative workshops. What that means is that we’re doing school stuff, except it’s different because we’re not paying anybody money to do it. Our respective schools are funding our time here, and in exchange we have to make something interesting that they can show people. This is going to be an image-heavy post. I’ve been taking a lot of pictures to document the process because I just got my first smartphone, and people with new phones like to wave them around at other people. I am in the workshop group that is investigating the role of masks in ancient Greek theatrical performances. I’m glad about that, because I don’t understand maps or computers, which is what the other group is dealing with, bless their hearts. We began the first week by embarking upon general research into the subject of masks and myth. We learned a lot. We engaged with the material according to our individual interests. Since I had the opportunity to perform in mask last semester (in the Aaron Cromie-directed Bi-College Theatre Program Mainstage Show, The Serpent Woman, in the style of Commedia dell’Arte), I focused on the performative aspects of mask. Body movement, acting technique, that sort of thing. Once we built some context for our task, we set...
An Interactive Flood of Spectacular Proportions

An Interactive Flood of Spectacular Proportions

Remember when God said to Noah, “be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”?  God’s probably being redundant in his phrasing because it’s such a big thing to ask of someone.  It’s not just a casual, “go ahead and populate your household, when you get around to it.”  Noah is expected to “populate the earth abundantly.”  The earth is enormous, and Noah probably thought the earth was flat and like fifty miles wide, but it’s still an intense concept to wrap your mind around. So it was, when history professor Andrew Friedman told me, “be fruitful and search for web-based digital humanities initiatives; catalog them abundantly and comment upon them.”  Not in those words exactly, though he is eloquent. My summer job is essentially to track down as many DH projects as I can, dump them all into an Excel document, and judge them mercilessly based on a rubric invented for this very task.  I annotate the Project Name, URL, and Creators of course.  Then I go on to rate each project by the following criteria: Richness of Aesthetics/Design; Usability/Navigability/Ease; FUN; Value of Information; and Theoretical Interest.  After all this, I write a small blurb of closing commentary.  I do this for hours each day, and I still haven’t cracked the surface.  It is a good job, and often a dull job. I have a secret for you.  Come closer.  I’m not supposed to say this, so I can’t be too loud.  Are you ready? Digital Humanities is mostly rubbish. I may have just offended thousands of librarians and Spanish teachers, but I stand by the...

Suckers: A Pineapple Parable

Hello I am Ryan Rebel and I am here today to talk to you about pineapples.   Pineapples are a majestic fruit.  They are the kings and queens of the fruit kingdom.  They used to represent exoticism and royalty and high class in England, and then they represented hospitality and domesticity in America, but now they just sort of represent Hawaii. . . Are you bored yet?  Wishing I would get to the point?  Asking yourself that existential, universal question: “Why pineapples?” I had to ask myself the same question at the beginning of the summer.  No, my job has not been Pineapple Guy.  I’ve been working with Professor Laura McGrane, primarily helping her construct a new class she will be teaching in the fall: “New(s) Media and Print Culture”.  That’s been good and all, but it has nothing to do with pineapples, so why should we care? Well, one of my other tasks was doing background research for an argument Professor McGrane was trying to make in an essay she’d drafted.  That argument involved a very specific reading of a line about pineapples in an 18th-century work, and she needed to know everything about the cultural perception of pineapples at that time to make sure she wasn’t being an irresponsible academic.  Nobody wants to wake up one day and realize that they have become an irresponsible academic. So as a side task, Laura gave me the following instructions: “Find me ALL THERE IS TO KNOW about pineapples.”  That’s not a direct quote, but that’s how it felt to me; I had never attempted an extended period of research...