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5) "Collide-oscope " Assignment

Here is your assignment for the next couple of weeks along with your reading of Kingsolver's Holding the Line. Have fun!

The medium is the Massage' is a look around to see what's happening. It is a collide-oscope of interfaced situations. Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore

Collide-oscopic activity: making meaning, altering meaning, revisioning meaning.

For this assignment, you have the option of working alone or with a partner, or with two partners, or with the whole class if you want. It is entirely up to you. The project has three steps. This assignment will count as Journal 5 and 6 as well as the midterm. The finished project is due in class on March 8 (a monday... so you can do a computerized version of parts and show us in class).

The purpose of the assignment is to get you to think about how medium (the "technology") that information comes in impacts the way the message is received, and to get you to look at how your own choices of images/text/sound as well as the way you arrange those images/texts/sounds impact the way you understand the issue you are "reading".

Your tasks:
*Select two topics related to the class -- at least one needs to be local. You might select Labor and choose to look at general labor issues and a specific labor site in Tucson (like the telemarketer issue). You might choose to do two Tucson history topics. You might choose to do "ideology" in general linked with a Tucson history. Your options are pretty open.

*Construct and break-up a text collage of words about the two "situations." think in terms of "memes".

What's a meme?
MEME: (pron. 'meem) A contagious information pattern that replicates by symbiotically infecting human minds and altering their behavior, causing them to propagate the pattern. (Term coined by Dawkins, by analogy with "gene".) Individual slogans, catch-phrases, melodies, icons, inventions, and fashions are typical memes. An idea or information pattern is not a meme until it causes someone to replicate it, to repeat it to someone else. All transmitted knowledge is memetic. (Wheelis, quoted in Hofstadter.) (Memetic Lexicon, Glenn Grant http://www.lucifer.com/virus/memlex.html)

That is, think in terms of repeated phrases associated with the situations; collect them as phrases and collage them in some fashion.

One way you might "collage" the text might be to use William Burroughs' "cut-up technique."
(to find out more about it, and to use an engine which will do the cuttin' up for you, visit http://www.netmonkey.com/1997/features/cutup/index.html).

*Now, construct another collage (about the same situations) using visual images other than text. keep thinking along the same lines of memes, but in terms of visual memes. (use any technology you feel will work for you: computer programs, scissors and elmer's glue, whatever other options you can come up with.)

*Now, construct another collage (about the same situations) using sound-memes. you'll be recording in this case, but you can use digital sound and pull the sound(bytes/memes) off the internet or wherever.

*Finally, write some sort of reflection on the process. Since you'll be presenting this project to the class, this will help you to be able to think about what the point of this assignment was and to tell us what you learned from doing it.

How does the medium impact the message? How does the act of collaging an act of decontextualizing, re-ordering, re-privileging impact the message? How much of that impact had to do with your own decisions and how much had to do with the chance jumbling of "stuff'? Do you understand the "situations" any differently? Have they remained discrete situations, or have they come together and informed each other in some way? (answer these questions in some fashion: essay? poem? disputation of some other kind .... )

I don't have anything specific in mind, but i do hope to see you working on this assignment with some seriousness and development. I'm asking you to think and write a little differently than- your usual academic writing here. I think you'll find that disrupting the ways you think is beneficial and, well, perhaps inspiring.

good luck. be creative.

(thanks to jeremy bushnell's merneflurry for inspiration on this assignment ..... )