Hi! I'm an academic in Australia. I teach English Education and my research interests include new literacies, digital fiction, fan fiction, blogging, identity, pop culture, computer games, systemic linguistics, feminism and young people online. Recently I have been teaching and researching in the virtual world of Second Life, where I am known as Anya Ixchel.
Click the image above to view a recent Australian tourism advertisement that has been the subject of much controversy here over the past week or so. The use of the vernacular word “bloody” has been deemed offensive. Here’s the spin:
Understandably, most attention has focused on the attention-grabbing slogan. Yes, we know it’s what the marketeers call “a uniquely Australian invitation”, a good-humoured piece of friendly banter, an oh-so-clever vernacular spin on a sophisticated sell. But does it sound too rude? Will potential Japanese or American visitors be offended?
I have to say I never use the word and the use of it to promote Australia is hardly sophisticated - its just as embarrassing as Paul Hogan and his barbequed prawns, but hey, other parts of the ad are just as stupid in my view - here’s the text of the ad:
We’ve bought you a beer
and we’ve had the camels shampooed
we’ve saved you a spot on the beach
and we’ve got the sharks out of the pool
we got the roos off the green
and Bill’s on his way down to open the front gate
your taxi is waiting
and dinner is about to be served
We turned on the lights
and we’ve been rehearsing for over forty thousand years
so where the bloody hell are you?
Errr…. just have a look and see what you think - would you be tempted to come to Australia from this? I always suffer a cultural cringe though because of the way the typical “Australian” is portrayed overseas (i.e. like an idiot). When people ask me where I’m from I always say “Tasmania” because it’s too embarrassing to say otherwise.
More on the “$100 million gamble” here: a rationale for the ad and its intended audience: “the experience seekers”.
Anyway regardless of what I think about the ad as an ad, I think it will make a good discussion point about the use of language, audience and context for at least one of my lectures :>
It’s full of divine photographs of the Tasmanian Wilderness - some of which I toured through this past January. What is really interesting is that the book was compiled mostly from photos taken by a group of 43 photographers who went on a funded trek through the Wilderness for the sole purpose of calling attention to the very real threat of its destruction.
Sauer-Thompson points out that there’s been a long tradition of photography that represent a sense of place for a social purpose in Tasmania, given the battles to protect the areas of pristine Wilderness. Some of it has achieved its purpose, with World Heritage listed areas that are totally protected. Unfortunately, the Tarkine wilderness area is not yet listed, and there’s a battle waging in Tasmania right now with logging companies and chipping mills wanting to strip this area, fighting against the Wilderness Society and conservation groups. The photographs are used as artefacts of evidence to support the Wilderness preservation argument.
One of the photographers featured in the book is Rob Blakers. I also love Rob’s photographs of Freycinet on the East coast of Tasmania, which is where I’m headed next summer! Take a look:
These are featured in this book:
Divine, aren’t they!! Tasmania Tasmania Tasmania - only 11 more months *grin*
I missed my art class last week because I was in Armidale, so it was wonderful to get back to it tonight. We experimented with inks, charcoals and conte crayons tonight, and here are some of the results. Mine is the unfinished one on the bottom right - I am such a perfectionist that I am very slow :> I’ve had a couple of really horrid days at work (which I could never blog about) but now I truly feel rejuvenated.
I mentioned that you tube has groups, tags, commenting and so on just like flickr. They also have ratings, playlists, and various types of “interestingness” type selections. My guess is that there may be issues with copyright but the video remixes, mashes, re-editing, home made music video clips and parodying that users are uploading are just fabulous.
For example, in one of the Brokeback Mountain playlist there are fan fiction parodies like the Brokeback to the Future I already mentioned, and others using films like Pulp Fiction and so on. There are original trailers, clips and captures from any event related to the film, like this one of Jake Gyllenhall winning a BAFTA for best supporting actor:
(also this compilation of all the times BBM was featured on the BAFTAS) and this one of the cast on Oprah:
There are mini domcunetaries on the “making of” the movie, just like you might see on DVD extras, interviews such as this interview with Ang Lee:
…and there are some gorgeous remixes of scenes put to different soundtracks to portray different viewers’ interpretations, responses and desires for alternate endings, like this one:
There are also clips taken from reviews of the movie from various television shows, clips of interviews of the stars as they walk up the red carpet and a whole heap more.
So that’s just a small sampling of what people are doing using Brokeback Mountain, the youtube.com site is running competitions for best original music videos!
Welcome to the official YouTube group for the Pretty Girls Make Graves “Make Our Video” contest. Imagine the prestige and glory of winning the first-ever music video contest on YouTube and making a video for a band who has toured the world with Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand and Death Cab for Cutie.
In addition to adding the title “music video maker” to your resume, the winner will be given $1,000 in cold, hard cash and be flown out to New York all expenses paid to hang with the band and see them live in concert courtesy of Matador records. You’ll receive spending cash and your flight, your hotel, even your food will be paid for in this exclusive contest.
For the 20 runner-ups, you’ll get a Matador Records prize pack, including signed CDs, posters and a bunch music from artists like Mogwai, Cat Power, Mission of Burma, Belle & Sebastian, Early Man, Pavement, Interpol, and The New Pornographers.
Entering the Contest is easy:
1. Download the MP3 ‘Nocturnal House’ from the band’s upcoming record ‘Elan Vital’
2. Make your very own video to Nocturnal House
3. Upload Your Video to YouTube
4. Join the Pretty Girls Make Graves Group and add your video
5. Sit back and wait for prestige, fortune and fame!
Pretty amazing stuff - I’m loving it :>
Also, does anybody know about the copyright issues with all of this? I know many authors love their texts being used for fan fiction stuff and even, like JK Rowling, visit the sites regularly. But I’m not so sure what the deal is with video and film, or with the direct and unedited clips from Oprah or the BAFTAs for example.
I am preparing to video some real time online role-playing and this is just a test of the software. Its working pretty well after a few hiccups but doesn’t run so well on the you tube site which shrinks it all..
I have just sent off for information about this fantastic little find - some 3D animation software called “Caravan” by Finn Cragg Animated Publishing. The website blurb goes:
Finn Cragg is a soaring, hollow, nomadic island drifting somewhere in the Great Southern Ocean…
It’s also a Western Australian animation studio, captained by Creative Director, Martin Davidson, that is steaming purposefully ahead with the help of Australian teachers and curriculum developers.
Finn Cragg’s innovative animations, with their raft of supporting multimedia resources, are being used in Australian schools to help achieve tangible outcomes in a diversity of learning areas including English and Literacy, Arts and Media and Visual Communication.
The software “Caravan” began trials in schools last year and based on those trials, has been reviewed and adapted to meet the needs of a wide range of students and teaching possibilities.
It’s going to be released to the public in a few weeks time and I think it will dovetail into my research with the Kahootz 3D animations perfectly, as well as being a great resource for all my second semester classes!!
(Images used in this post are from the Finn Cragg website)
Just like flickr, I’ve discovered that I can blog other people’s videos as well! So here is one of the most popular videos from this week over at You Tube. I can’t tell how old this boy is but the video is very funny and soooo cute! You can click anywhere on the picture other than the play arrow to go to the site and read people’s comments and so on.
Last week in Armidale I presented a paper for teachers about the 3D animation software program for kids developed by the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, called Kahootz. For slides of the paper click the image:
Today back at work in Sydney I received a newsletter from the ACTF with these stories in them about Kahootz, showing some fabulous innovations of the program by teachers and kids in New Zealand. One teacher has his grade 6 kids filming themselves over the Kahootz animation using a blue screen, then producing an amazing movie of the kids and their Kahootz characters together - fabulous, exciting stuff, don’t you think!? (source details: Australian Television Foundation Newsletter, Issue 102, February 2006).
Jandalf and Tiana introduced me to “Flipbook” - an online site for the construction of animated stories. I’d never keep up with what was happening about the web without them, they’re into everything!
Here’s Jandalf’s experiment with it (click to go to the site):
I love the way they both added the word “FIN” at the end - it reminds me of old fashioned black and white movies!:
So here’s the most popular (by vote) animation of a little story about an Elephant Hunter:
And, though I only had 5 minutes to really play about, I decided to experiment too and did a little dedication to Jessica Simpson’s video clip of “These Boots are made for Walkin’ “:
So obviously you need a few hundred frames instead of 5 to make a proper 1 minute animated story, but I think its a fantastic resource and I can see it growing in popularity very quickly. It’s so easy to do and results are pretty amazing - I can see kids (of all ages) spending hours on this.
So a few days ago I mentioned Len’s book launch, and here it is as shown in brief in part of a larger TV report about the new Vice Chancellor at UNE in Armidale. This is my first You Tube video upload so let’s hope it works!
Well! I was just scrolling through my technorati links and found a report called “State of the Blogosphere” (via the Technorati blog) and discovered that because I have more than 20 people who link to me, I fall into the 155,000 blogs that qualify as “the Magic Middle” (as opposed to the “Long Tail”): … a realm of topical authority and significant posting and conversation within the blogosphere. Isn’t that fun! My ranking is actually 85,180 th, and I have 29 sites that link to me. Here’s a summary of the relevant bit:
The Magic Middle
This realm of publishing, which I call “The Magic Middle” of the attention curve, highlights some of the most interesting and influential bloggers and publishers that are often writing about topics that are topical or niche, like Chocolate and Zucchini on food, Wi-fi Net News on Wireless networking, TechCrunch on Internet Companies, Blogging Baby on parenting, Yarn Harlot on knitting, or Stereogum on music - these are blogs that are interesting, topical, and influential, and in some cases are radically changing the economics of trade publishing.
At Technorati, we define this to be the bloggers who have from 20-1000 other people linking to them. As the chart above shows, there are about 155,000 people who fit in this group. And what is so interesting to me is how interesting, exciting, informative, and witty these blogs often are. I’ve noticed that often these blogs are more topical or focused on a niche area, like gardening, knitting, nanotech, mp3s or journalism and a great way to find them has been through Blog Finder.
I think that’s pretty cool. I stole somebody’s quote the other day for my talk about blogging and said “I won’t ever get my 15 minutes of fame, but I will be famous for 15 people!” But now I am famous for 29 people. Thank you, 29 people, for making me “magical”. *grin*
Well, I left Armidale again today and won’t be back til September’s ASFLA conference there. I managed to race around this morning before heading to the airport to take a few photos of flowers. I even managed to get a macro of a beetle inside this flower:
And then it was time to leave! We flew in over Sydney Harbour so I managed a few blurry photos from the window - here’s the harbour, the harbour bridge, the opera house, and some of the city:
So now its back home, all my study leave and holiday leave over, and back to work on Monday!