Friday, May 8, 2009

[Yasmin_discussions] summary: oral traditions and new media

Thanks to every one for a great short but sweet discussion on Oral
Traditions and the Visual Arts. A very nice lead-in to the
Discussion of One Two Three or More Cultures which began today.

A few essential points emerged from this discussion. I am
summarizing them here for the sake of holding our thoughts so that we
can move onto the next topic. No doubt these quick summaries leave
out the depth of thought behind them; please return to the original
posts if you missed them, as they are worth reading.

1. What is the difference between the preservation of culture and
knowledge, and transmission of culture and knowledge?
(posts by Ramon Guardans on tradition as a contemporary idea, Mel
Alexenberg and Bob Gluck on the Talmud as a prototype for notations
of multi-directional thought that may or may not be overly codified
today, and Avi Rosen on new cyber-modes such as Google and Wikipedia,
and Ana Boa-Ventura on using the internet to codify storytelling that
was previously oral, and Roger Malina's note of Barbara Mones' work
of setting traditional stories to new animation )

2. What is the role of notation in the performing arts and in the new
media visual arts?
(Sandeep Bhagwati's posts on differences in notation traditions, and
Bob Gluck's post on how software/hardware mimic known conventions,
and Roger Malina on a new age of "One of a Kind" art)

3. How is data being recontextualized as a notation system for
creating art, so that the notation is the content rather than the
(Cristina Miranda de Almeida on scientific data, Ana Boa-Ventura on
chat circles in a museum- citing Judith Donath & Fernanda Viégas ,
Roc Parés on the VR work Babble which takes real-time user oral data
and makes it alter the visual environment)

When I posed the question of oral and written traditions, in my own
mind I was wondering if there was any correlation between the ways in
which we remember, notate, and communicate history and the ways in
which we do the same for hard science. That is, do we communicate
what we think of as "humanities" information in the same ways in
which we communicate "scientific" information, and is there a
difference from culture to culture? And then, how do these
differences relate to the digital age? This is one of the questions
of "One Two Three or More Cultures", so I am looking forward to our
next topic.


Cynthia Beth Rubin

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