New Media Week 8: Kalman and Rice

In today’s class, I want to get us started on Project 3 by discussing Kalman’s …And Pursuit of Happiness and Rice’s chapter on Woodward Avenue from Digital Detroit. As with our other projects this semester, the idea here is for you to extract from these readings a sense of direction for your own project. 

The prompt: 

Make me a Kalman (with a side of Rice). 

This marks our third, and most radical, exploration of genre this semester. First, I asked you to make me a MEmorial that wasn’t a memorial. The best projects here worked through traditional expectations for a memorial and tackled Ulmer’s rather idiosyncratic ideas for a MEmorial. Second, I asked you to make me a map that wasn’t a map. We did readings on the genre conventions / rhetorical expectations of maps. Some of you were able to subvert these conventions in your map projects. 

This time I ask you to invent a genre from a specific artist. And a theorist (Rice–make me a Kalman with a side of Rice). The idea here is for you to realize Ulmer’s ambition, Rickert’s ambition, Santos’s ambition: to realize that, in the 21st century, students aren’t merely called to invent answers via pre-existing heuristics, but rather to invent the very means of their own invention. To invent the question. 

Maira Kalman. “An Empty Brain.”

A few sources. A talk by Kalman focusing on “Epiphany” by THNKR. Another by THNKR on the difference between thought and feeling. Bonus: a longer a video interview with Kalman titled “Art and the Power of Not Knowing” by Creative Mornings. 

Jeff Rice Digital Detroit and Digital Re-search(ing)

Some questions/points:

  1. What is the difference between a narrative and a database? Between a narrative and a network? [pages 65-66, 70]
  2. Understanding commonplaces [60, 62 -categories/associations, 79 -home]
  3. Distinguishing Rice from Virilio: what is the purpose of Rice’s project?
  4. Rice’s framing of rhetoric via Mailloux [74]

Homework

Read Jody Shipka’s piece “This was (NOT!!!) an Easy Assignment.” We will discuss this article on Tuesday. 

Read the first 2/3 of my article draft “Maira Kalman and/as Choric Invention,” co-authored with Ella Browning

Create a recipe for making a Kalman/Rice. Your recipe should specify ingredients. It should articulate a process. Specifics welcome (e.g., if you are already imagining a “place” or “commonplace” or have a specific research agenda in mind). 

Bring enough copies of your recipe to class for everyone to see. 

We will share recipes in Tuesday’s class. 

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