Today the lab was alive with special visitors, an inpromptu Flash lesson (that ended with applause) and language consultancy students who tried their hand as explaining their line of work through video. We tried to use sketchcast, but as the tool is still fairly unreliable, some students chose other ways to express themselves. Similar to the ‘simplicity’ of Odeo, tools that are too ‘one-click’ can be more difficult to use than using several tools.

Below you will find a great sample from a group that chose to use still pictures rather than sketchcast.

Who said games don’t make you aggressive?

There is this persistent myth that games would not make you aggressive. Of course everyone knows they do! A living proof of that is Yahtzee Croshaw who is a British-born, Australian-based game journalist. In his weekly column – well, it is a flash-movie but sometimes it is just easier to stick with terminology from the age of print – he manages to positively thrash every single game that the editors of The Escapist send his way. The column is called Zero Punctuation and there is a reason for that. Yahtzee has been a rapper in a previous life and still is really. The speed at which he pushes information in the direction of the viewer is mind-blowing. He also underlines his arguments with pictures, drawings and animations which sometimes coincide, but more often ridicule the voice-over, adding even more information to the mix. If it wasn’t clear from what I have written so far, Yahtzee is absolutely marvelous. He manages to impersonate all the clichés of the gamer, but he combines this with such extreme eloquence that he arrives at some kind of violent rambling visual poetry. Have a look at it! This week he is slamming Simcity. One of my favorites is when he looks at Peggle. The part on housewives and moms is extremely funny. One time he actually sounded positive about a game (The Orange Box). I am sure that something was wrong with him that day. Maybe he had met a girl. We all know that gamers neither have nor need girls.

YouTube on classical music

This morning as I got ready for work, I listened to a NPR podcast about the YouTube as a treasure trove of classical music. Commentator Miles Hoffman discussed YouTube as a valuable asset to music students as it easily allows them to juxtapose and evaluate the same piece as performed by different artists or to learn technique by watching great artists who have passed. I had never thought of YouTube in this capacity, but I agree with his assessment, as well as his interest in the comments. Apparently, comments on classical music stick to describing the beauty, while comments on soprano singers tend to passionately argue for who was/is the ‘best’ singer.

cross posted from here

Ian Bogost in HUMlab

We are very happy to have Ian Bogost from Georgia Tech visit today and tomorrow. There will be a seminar tomorrow:

[12 februari 2008 at 10]
Platform Studies, Creative Computing and Constraint: the Atari VCS (1977) and beyond

The seminar will be live streamed and we will have a Skype channel open for distributed discussion. The links will be posted here.

This is from Ian’s website (a much better introduction than I would be able to produce):

Hi, I’m Ian Bogost. I am a videogame researcher, critic, and designer, as well as an author and an entrepreneur. I am a professor at Georgia Tech (a university), a Founding Partner at Persuasive Games (a videogame studio), and a Board Member at Open Texture (an educational publisher).

In my academic life, I am Assistant Professor at The Georgia Institute of Technology, where I work in the School of Literature Communication and Culture. I am also affiliated faculty at the College of Computing’s GVU Center. At Georgia Tech, I teach in the undergraduate program in Computational Media and the graduate program in Digital Media.

My research focuses on videogames as cultural artifacts. In particular, I’m interested in a kind of game criticism that contextualizes games in the long history of human expression, and game rhetoric, or how games make arguments. These two subjects are the respective topics of my first two books, Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism and Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames, both from the MIT Press. Much of my work concerns the uses of videogames outside entertainment, including politics, advertising, learning, and art. But I’m also very interested in mainstream commercial videogames and historical approaches to videogames. I write frequently in the videogame trade press, and I also co-edit (with Gonzalo Frasca) Water Cooler Games, a popular website on videogames with an agenda.

More recently, I’ve been looking at on the way hardware and software platforms influence creative practice. Nick Montfort and I are co-editing a book series on this topic called Platform Studies, and we’re writing the first book in that series, about the Atari 2600. I’m fascinated to the point of obsession with the Atari, and I often use it in teaching and in my own artistic practice.

Ian and I had a nice convsessation at a local café yesterday evening. We talked about digital humanities, disciplines, undergraduate and graduate programs, and much more.

Ann-Charlotte Markman in HUMlab

Att förändra skolan: Från kompost till digitala skrivtavlor

 Principal Ann-Charlotte Markman  will speak about schools and interactive whiteboards today at 10.15. (HUMlab’s first speaker since the re-opening of HUMlab).

You can follow the streamed talk here (the link will be active when the seminar starts). A link to the archived version will be posted as soon as possible.

Lab open again and upcoming seminars

Tomorrow the lab will open again after the reconstruction work. It will take some time for everything to be in order again, but we will be up and running Monday morning as planned. The importance of the lab is obvious to us I guess, but I have really noticed how the absence of the lab has created a ‘void’.

When opening again we have some new colors, wallpaper and ventilation in the old lab, but also a totally new section. Among other things, the new section will host resources for a number of identified research and development areas: electronic literature, participatory media, digital art, digital cultural heritage and critical perspectives.There will also be a rather spectacular display and interaction set up there. All part of a creative and hopefully vibrant studio space. 

This semester’s first HUMlab seminar will take place on Tuesday, Feb 5. Principal Ann-Charlotte Markman will talk about schools and interactive whiteboards (in Swedish) at 10.15. Title: “Att förändra skolan: Från kompost till digitala skrivtavlor“. One week later, Ian Bogost from Georgia Tech will visit HUMlab. His talk is titled “Platform Studies, Creative Computing and Constraint: the Atari VCS (1977) and beyond“. Feb 12 at 10.15. We are very happy about starting the new semester and new lab with such first-rate guests. Both talks will be live streamed and archived.