All posts by chukwudera

Genres, Generation Cycle

The book, ‘Graphs, Maps, Trees’ by Franco Moretti, explores the cultural effects on novels. The book emphasizes the effect various aspects of culture have on the novels being read at a point in time. Moretti claimed in the novel that the regular rhythmic decline of genres of novels after 25 or 30 years is caused by ‘generations’. Moretti writes “but (almost) all genres active at any time seem to arise and disappear together according to some hidden rhythm.” This is show in the fig 9 of the novel that certain genres last for some years and a new set of genres replace them. He also states “this, then, is where those 25 – 30 years come from: generations.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 11.36.26 PM

Moretti argues that if one genre replaces another one then there can be a reasonable internal cause but when several genres randomly vanish collectively from the literary field, and another different unrelated group of genres enters, then it must relate to a change in audience. This is very true because only something external to the genres could cause the genre swap. It is rather strange for the group of genre to disappear randomly so it only makes sense that the audience dies out and a new one comes in. This leads to the idea of ‘generations’.

He says that “books survive if they are read and disappear if they aren’t: and when an entire generic system vanishes at once, the likeliest explanation is that its readers vanished at once.” This is similarly true because people in the same generation think alike. Though the term ‘generation’ is not exactly certain but it can account for the 25 – 30 years period of each genre. When a generation dies out and a new one comes in, they come in with different tastes so they demand a new genre and when their time is up, the cycle continues. In order to answer the Moretti’s question “since people are born every day, not every twenty-five years, on what basis can the biological continuum be segmented into discrete units?” Mannheim answered the question in ‘The Problem of Generations’ that it doesn’t matter when a new generation style emerges, what matters is the cultural trigger action that creates a bond between members of a generation. Mannheim referred to this process as ‘dynamic destabilization.’ This is a very good way to look at generations because it is wrong to categorize based on a regular time interval. The cultural effects make a stronger effect on the members of the generations giving them certain similar tastes. All these assumptions summed up can accurately explain the cultural effect on the genres. Moretti used these together to show that the generations have an effect on the active genres during a time period.

How has the digital age helped the music industry?

Abstract
There has been a lot of debate recently about the damage the music industry has endured because of digitalization. Piracy has been a major issue the industry complains about. Some say that the introduction of digital music caused a fall in music sales and income because people can now get music they would have bought for free. However, looking at the music industry beyond just album sales, digital music largely has improved the music industry. Digitalization has helped spread music globally and now music has grown to a large global stage. Continue reading How has the digital age helped the music industry?

Has Big Data Changed the Game of Soccer?

When selecting a Pecha Kucha topic I chose to talk about soccer because it is something that interests me and I also know a lot about it. But narrowing it down to a particular topic was very difficult. It took me over a week to finally decide on the right topic but after reading an article on bleacherreport.com on the advantage the German national team had over other teams during the 2014 FIFA world cup I knew what I wanted to do. I had never really thought of data as an advantage in soccer. Soccer always appeared to be a game of skill and luck but after reading the article I was surprise at the huge impact data made in the German national team tactics. So I finally decided on the topic ‘has big data changed the game of ‘soccer?’ The process of making the presentation was very difficult. I read through over 20 articles to find facts to prove the benefits data has and I also had to be sure these facts where 100% accurate. Then it was also hard finding the right images to convey my message. I couldn’t find the right image for some slides so I had to edit pictures to suit the presentation. When practicing my presentation, I found it difficult timing my word to match the images on the slide. So I had to edit my script a lot of times to allow the slides flow with the script.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 5.58.49 PM

In my second slide I was talking about the origin of soccer. I mentioned that the most related ancient game to modern soccer was the game of Cuju. I tried to give a brief description of the game and the image was included to help that description. The image works to show the viewers how the game of Cuju looked when played and it helped to develop the relationship to modern day soccer. Since the slide only lasted 20 seconds, I could not give a clear description of the game within the time frame but the image easily showed the viewer exactly how Cuju looked.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 5.59.08 PM

In my fourth slide I was talking about the popularity of soccer across the globe. I stated that soccer has grown to gain wide popularity in many countries around the world especially in Africa, Europe and South America. The image was used to give the viewers a more detailed look at how popular soccer has become. It would have been outrageous for me to list all the countries but the image makes it easier to understand and portray.

 

Let’s put the ‘awe’ back in ‘awesome’

This is a presentation by Jill Shargaa, a comedian, about the misuse of the word awesome. In her presentation she discussed how people mistake the word awesome for words like nice, great, delicious and even thank you. She gave perfect examples of scenarios when awesome can be used based on the definition she gave.

In the time frame of 04:23 to 04:42 minutes of the presentation, she was discussing how ‘awesome’ landing on the moon is. Looking closely at the presentation within this time frame, Jill combined various multimodal elements to effectively convey her message.

Jill’s word choice was rather unethical. She used informal phrases like come on and are you kidding me to emphasized her point. This is an informal presentation so such phrases are allowed to relax the audience. Since Jill is a comedian, she yelled and prolonged certain phrases to make her presentation entertaining and to humor the audience.

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 5.25.01 PM

She also uses images and words to communicate her message through a slide show. In the image above she uses the sentence “Yes, awesome” to tell the audience that the moon landing was awesome. Her use of words was rather informal and satirical. The image above the text shows the 1969 moon landing, which was exactly what she was talking about, was awesome.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 1.15.06 AM

In the image above the instance when she was yelling “landing on the moon come on!” She is kneeling and her hands are positioned like she is crying to the audience. She is trying to emphasize how ‘awesome’ the 1969 moon landing is. By putting herself in that position and yelling she is emphasizing how important that part of the presentation is. After she said ‘that’s from like here to the moon” she made a surprised facial expression to emphasize how far away the moon is from earth and to create a comical impression on the audience. This is noticed because after she did it, she waited to give the audience time to laugh before she returned to her presentation.

By combining all these various elements into her presentation, she created an informative yet comical presentation. She successfully conveyed her message to the audience and also created a relaxed atmosphere that left the audience in laughter.

Transparency

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 11.17.38 PM

https://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/about/

In this editorial, the new Wikileaks Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD) is being released to the world to see. The library boast of holding over 2 million records of the US involvements in, and diplomatic or intelligence reporting on, every country on Earth. The library holds data from the Kissinger table, which comprises of 1.7 million documents on US diplomatic information that has been classified as ‘secret’. Assange tagged this “the single most significant body of geopolitical material ever published”. These documents are from the National Archives and Records Association (NARA), which evaluates and releases government documents to the public after 25 years. Wikileaks said that they made “a detailed analysis of individual fields” to “reverse-engineer” the PDFs and create PlusD, a database of these documents that people can actually search through.

 

This database relates to Assange’s principles that can be inferred from Raffi Khatchadourian’s article No Secrets. The article states that he had some altruistic motive and he acted on the belief that everyone should have access to everything. This was one of the reasons Assange started Wikileaks. With this transparency, he hoped to expose injustice to the world and the people can have an idea on the kind of data the government collects about them and also know what the government does with this data.

 

Compared to 2010, there has been a huge change in how the society reads Wikileaks today. In 2010, Wikileaks was a new establishment and many people especially the press doubted its credibility. Though all its sources were stated, people where just uncertain about it. It also received a lot of criticism about exposing confidential information. Most of these criticisms where made to shy Wikileaks away from exposing embarrassing information about the government. But now in 2014, Wikileaks has been embraced by the society as a very credible source of confidential information. Seeing that Wikileaks doesn’t break any legal laws, its critics have reduced though some still exist. Wikileaks has now been installed as part of the society and works as a conscience for the governments.

Set it ablaze if you want.

Fahrenheit 451 is a novel written by Ray Bradbury in the early 1950’s, about a future society in America where owning books was against the law and firemen where hired to burn any books found. He wrote this because of his worries at the time about the threat of book burning in the United States.

fahrenheit451bookcover-980x730

This is the hardcover edition of the novel designed by Elizabeth Perez.

The book cover was specifically designed to emphasize book burning. The matchstick as the ‘1’ also emphasizes the auto-ignition point of book-paper in the novel. I am not sure if that value is correct but the novel specifies 451 degrees fahrenheit as the auto-ignition point of book-paper. In the novel the character Captain Beatty highlights the importance of the last one degree Fahrenheit when burning book paper while addressing the firemen. I believe that the designer replaced the ‘1’ with the matchstick to highlight the importance of the last degree when burning book-paper since the final degree fahrenheit is what sets the book ablaze.

The striking surface along the spine is very difficult to understand clearly but it definitely questions the reader’s value for books. It shows that books can easily be burnt. It acts as an  easier alternative to burn the book by providing the matchstick and striking surface to set the book ablaze. It is like the author is saying that when you are done reading the book, you can decide to set it ablaze easily with the materials provided for you or you can just keep it to show your value for books.

Easy Flashbacks

I remember when my grand father told me stories of his youthful days. He tried to paint a picture in my mind of what his childhood was like but I definitely could not imagine it exactly how it was. Why? Because I had no clue how the little village he lived in looked like. Now when my father told his own stories he had a few black and white pictures I could refer to as ‘scribbles’ to give me an idea of what he was talking about. I got only part of the image in my head because his pictures where not consistent enough to form a ‘full image’. Now looking into 30 years I can see my children getting the ‘full image’ of how my childhood was like. Now I can provide them with not only a visual representation but also an emotional feedback on how my childhood was like.

As a very active user of Facebook and Instagram, I have over a hundred pictures of various events in my life, both the important ones and the unimportant ones. With all these pictures and information stored somewhere, it may seem kind of disturbing or insecure to have such detailed information in the hands of the unknown. But looking forward 20 to 30 years, the information can be easily accessed whenever needed . It is very important to have something to refer to when reminiscing about the past. Pictures are very important because they trigger the brain to dig into its subconscious and find things you normally wouldn’t have remembered. These stored information doesn’t only benefit us but also they people we share out experiences with. Archived pictures go a long way in describing an event emotionally and physically.

With sites like Facebook, twitter and instagram, retrieving relevant information about myself will be very easy. This easy access to information is a very huge advantage that technology offers to us. We can now comfortably look at our social network posts from years back and remember how we felt during certain important events in our lives. Maybe Remem might have been a bit too far, but simple images and texts are enough to bring back emotions and a visual representation of such events.

Video Response

This is my video response.

After I saw the different prompts available, I chose the first one because the story open my eyes to my over reliance on technology especially my smart phone. I decided to look at my interaction with technology and I noticed that turning into a “virtual amnesiac”. If I had more time to to complete my video, I would have gotten a more presentable background to complement my video. In the video the things I said were pretty much limited because this is my first time of shooting a response video. On the other hand, an essay gives me more room to express my thoughts and I feel hidden and secure.