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Net Art & #SelfieUnselfie

Net Art

This week we have delved a bit deeper into Net Art.  In lecture I spoke about the internet as a distributive, collaborative, multimedia information system.  And all internet information is always subject to constant recycling, reproduction, and remix.  Of course, this becomes a cultural game changer resulting in a certain reality: the truth is no longer something we can easily apprehend.  It seems digital artists were rather prophetic in understanding the implications of this.

From the 90’s and after, we have seen a proliferation of net art as well as online galleries, net art curators, and net art critics.  Some notable communities of practice include The Thing &;    Rhizome;  äda ‘web.   I have encouraged you all to explore these sites, and many of you have discovered some engaging projects in  Be sure to check our twitter stream for some smart peer recommendations.

#NetNarr Studio Visit: Emilio Vavarella

On Tuesday evening we had a truly inspiring #NetNarr Studio Visit with digital artist Emilio Vavarella.  Emilio was able to share his reflections on his creative process, and he walked us through some of the central themes behind his depthful and compelling portfolio of work (i.e. technology & power, mediation & perception).

As I write, I am in transit to Oslo.  I will be presenting my experiences  as a Fulbright Scholar in the Department of Digital Culture at UiB.  So…, in lieu of lecture Thursday 2/15, please watch the wonderful conversation we had with Emilio.  I believe the visit is “chuck full” of insight and inspiration:


Another theme for this week is further reflection on the issue of self representation in the digital age.  The ever present selfie is at once an individual performance,  but it is also a communal and public activity.  Some claim selfies are a mark of our narcissistic culture.  And some see the selfie more positively – as an affirmation of self-love.  Still others consider the selfie simply a new version of the old idea of the self-portrait.  In addition, it is often argued that the selfie is a key component of a person’s “personal brand”.   There is no doubt that selfies have become a particular lens into digital culture in the early 21st century.

For lab time this week (in lieu of meeting in person), please complete the #SelfieUnselfie assignment posted in our #NetNarr Make Bank.  The assignment is meant to dig a bit deeper into the idea of online identity through creative reflection.  This video will help you get started:

With #SelfieUnselfie, I have designed an installation to be featured in the Bergen Public Library. Your individual contributions will be curated to form a public art exhibition to be featured for a week in Spring 2018.

Scheduling conflict with the Arduino course

Next week there is a scheduling conflict due to the Arduino workshops held on Tuesday as well as Thursday.  A majority of #NetNarr students are signed up for the Tuesday Arduino course, so I have decided to cancel our lecture.  There will be no class meeting on Tuesday 20/2.  I will see you all on Thursday morning 22/2 (for those of you who will be attending the Arduino workshop on that day, I am trying to set up a video recording for that lecture).

In lieu of our Tuesday time together, I am asking you to check out this recent panel discussion, which was sponsored by Rhizome and takes place at the New Museum in NYC.  The panel topic:  What is the future for the field of internet art? Will it continue to offer artists the opportunity to connect with publics directly, without relying on art institutions? How will the history of internet art continue to inform its future, given the problems of creating digital social memory? How will the web’s increased competition from locked-down applications change digital cultural production and distribution? What has internet art’s embrace by the mainstream of contemporary art and popular culture done to its form and visibility?

For next week

Have some fun with the writing and making this week!

Until I see you next week….


Post Script:

As most of you already know, there was a mix up in the schedule regarding this week’s Arduino classes and the DIKULT 103 schedule. Please understand that I was informed of this information early last week for the first time.  Based on this recent information, I have decided to cancel Week 8 lectures & labs.

There are NO LECTURES OR LABS for Dikult 103 #NetNarr for Week 8 (Feb 19th-Feb 23rd). There is no blog due for Week 8. Week 9 is Winter Break (so no blog for break-week either). That said, you are always encouraged to surf and participate in our #NetNarr backchannel twitter stream and share #ddas and/or resources here and there (even if we having a bit of a break from lecture).

When we return from break for Week 10, we will pick up our momentum and have some fun as we enter into our next phase of class – gaming!


Thinking @ Space & Time in Digital Art

Digital Art:  Space & Time

This week we have moved our discussion from a more general reflection about the digital revolution, to considering digital art (its form & content) more closely.  We have apprehended that every art object is also about it’s materiality, and that art form (the medium) is inextricably linked to art content (the meaning).  I referred early this week to the oft repeated “mantra” handed down from communication theorist Marshall McLuhan – “the medium is the message”: 

In keeping with this observation, we have looked more closely at how the medium (i.e. the media form used to make meaning) becomes the driving force in the thematic aspirations of much digital art.

In particular, we have looked more closely at the concepts of space and time, through the lens of installation and the moving image.   We have questioned the relationship between real and virtual space, and how technology both imagines and also transforms our experience of the natural world.  We also spoke a bit about about the live webcam (along with databases and interactivity), and how these aspects of digitization have meant radical re-assembly and re-configuration of image sequencing, pushing us to consider the effect of time in new ways.

If you want to refer to the lectures this week, here are the slides for February 6th and the slides from February 8th.

#NetNarr FLASH close readings

Our public #NetNarr FLASH close readings have been an excellent exercise in thinking collectively and collaboratively about how artists have produced certain meaning.  By flexing our shared “close reading” muscles, we have started to interpret what digital artists are doing in their work:

We took at closer look at two selected pieces of digital art.

Sky Magic Live at Mt.Fuji : Drone Ballet Show

With Sky Magic Drone Ballet, we continued to think about the spaces between real and virtual geographies – the gaps and overlaps – and how artists are exploring these worlds.

Lisa Park’s Eunoia II

With Eunoia II, we thought about the idea of translation.  Park attempts to translate her inner world by manifesting it (through digital technologies) to the external world. Through brainwave technology and sound waves, she makes her emotions appear in new form.  This work opened up a conversation about the gap between what is inside vs. what can be apprehended from the outside.  We thought about masks that we might wear, and the ways we do (or do not) represent ourselves in the digital realm. This theme will be carried into next week!

A bit of research on Net Art

In lieu of lab time this week, I have asked you all to pursue a bit of research and exploration of Net Art on your own.  Please take a moment  to explore and familiarize yourself with  

Please surf the site (link above), discover new forms of net art, and tweet a link to a discovery you made there. Be sure to send the link along with a very brief description of the work to our #NetNarr hashtag ! (Sharing what caught your attention might just invite others to check out what caught your eye there.)

For next week

Just a reminder that I will be in Oslo presenting my Fulbright research and installation projects next Thursday.

I will miss you in person on Thursday for sure, but our lecture will be replaced by our Studio Visit video conversation with Emilio Vavarella (the archived conversation will be a required viewing in lieu of our class meeting).  I have three excellent #Netnarr students who have signed up to speak with him next Tuesday evening at 19:00.  If a few others would like to join that chat, there are still a few spots, so let me know by the close of class on Tuesday.  I am really looking forward to this one!

Enjoy the Fastelavn weekend.  God helg!





The impact of the digitized image…

Our Connectivity

Our third week of #NetNarr has been another dynamic week packed with a variety of conversations in both lecture classes and in our active backchannel on Twitter, etc.  This week we can also see a burst in our connectivity which is best represented in our #NetNarr visualization (TAGS):

As I mentioned in class, I am impressed with your creative contributions to our daily digital alchemy (#dda) as well as the meme making burst resulting from lab last week.  I am also proud to see some really smart blogging, and I encourage all of you to continue with your thoughtful reflective writing of both the content and context of this course.

Theme for the Week

Our theme in my lecture this week has been the image in the context of the digital revolution.  Taking up early questions from Walter Benjamin’s seminal essay “Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1936), we have considered the effect and implications of photography on art (…and later on – the digitization of the image, and what that means for art production).  We have tracked new forms of image art (from the composite to the collage), and we have glimpsed the artistic response to digitization (from the hyperreal and synthetic realism, to digital art that has transcended naturalism).    If you are interested in thinking more about the digital revolution and artistic production, check out this documentary called PressPausePlay:

We had a special lecture on Wednesday from colleague Dr. Leonardo Flores who articulated a thoughtful map for understanding Electronic Literature in generational waves.  His talk entitled Third Generation Electronic Literature pointed to participatory culture and easier entry points for production that are also the hallmarks for the overall #NetNarr experience.  The implications of Dr. Flores’ observations about this “3rd generation moment” for electronic literature are clearly tied to our collective sense of each other as digital alchemists (producing art, not just consuming art).

Making GIFs

Regarding that spirit of digital making and composition, this week we will continue making our #NetNarr memes.  This time, let’s make some animated GIFs.  In lieu of meeting in person for this week, we will make GIFs this Friday & Monday (no meeting in lab, just make your GIF from home).  Please be sure to post your GIF to our #NetNarr stream!

GIFs have become a kind of calling card of Internet culture.  GIFs are often used for bite-sized entertainment and as statements, replies or comments in online conversations. They are also commonly used online to convey reactions, illustrate or explain concepts or products in a fun, creative and succinct way, and also to make GIF art.

A GIF  is basically an image file format that is animated. The multiple images within a single GIF file are displayed in succession to create an animated clip or a short movie. This single file is encoded as graphics interchange format (better known as GIF).

How to make a GIF? It is as easy as 1,2,3.  Click here or here to get started.

Make-for-the-week:  Make a GIF about #NetNarr!  Looking forward to seeing what you all come up with…

For next week

We will take a closer look at more digital art trends in the coming week…

See you on Tuesday.  Enjoy the weekend!




And off we go…

Wow.  It is our second week of #NetNarr and the momentum is most certainly starting to build.  I know most of your faces, and I know many of your names, even though we are just getting this learning-party started ;).  The #dda tweets are streaming in.  They are already full of jest, and smarts, and fun.

Since we reached maximum capacity in our former lecture room, we have moved to bigger spaces (SH Aud B & SH Aud A) where we can stretch out and not feel so cramped.

Last week was orientation, and this we kicked off our discussion of digital art by considering early tech history & some 20th century art movements  – each lens opening up a context for the work of today’s digital artists.  If you are interested in looking back at our discussions, here are the slides from Lecture 3 and Lecture 4.  I am pretty sure that we have covered enough “food for thought” to lend you something to ponder or reflect upon for your first #NetNarr blog (due by Sunday):

We also had our inaugural #NetNarr Studio Visit this week, with special guest Brett Gaylor, the creator of the award winning web documentary “Do Not Track“.   Perhaps you would like to consider the discussion here as part of your blog reflection?  There is much to ponder in the dynamic conversation we had:

In lab this week, I invite you all to make a meme (or a few) about #NetNarr, and tweet them to our #NetNarr stream.  What is a meme? 

A ‘meme’ is a virally-transmitted cultural symbol or social idea. The “meme” word was first introduced by evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins in 1976. “Meme” comes from the Greek word “mimema” (meaning “something imitated”). Dawkins described memes as a being a form of cultural propagation – a way for people to transmit social memories and cultural ideas in the digital age. Not unlike the way that DNA and life will spread from location to location, a meme idea will also travel from mind to mind.  The bulk of internet memes will continue to be humor based, but as meme makers become more sophisticated in their thinking (…hint hint #NetNarr), expect memes to also become more intellectual, philosophical, more savvy.  So let’s get some #NetNarr memes rolling this week…  And let’s see what kind of meaning about our online community we can generate by the simple creation of a meme.

So, what is coming up for next week?

Here are the details about Dr. Leonardo Flores‘ Wednesday lecture on “Third Generation Electronic Literature”:

Onsdag31.01.2018, 12:15-14:00
Rom: Sydneshaugen skole, Auditorium D

**Remember that class on Thursday next week is cancelled in lieu of Dr. Flores’ lecture on Wednesday.

Have a great weekend, and see you all here….or there…

Dr. Zamora

#NetNarr means internet-jest

What a great start to a special class!  #NetNarr Norway is officially in full swing.  We spent our first week together in “Orientation-mode”.  In this course, we will place more emphasis on open participation and reflective writing as the hallmarks of deep learning.  Add to that peer-learning support and production-centered activities.  We will reflect on the role and meaning of art, games, and literature in the digital age.  We will compose and make new digital artifacts.  And together we will make a new community – a professional learning network.

In the first class, I introduced everybody to this new #connectedlearning approach to the Digital Genres course.  In our second class, I made sure everyone could apprehend the secret to #NetNarr success (i.e. our best practices for thriving in an open #connectedlearning course). Here are the slides from lecture 1 and lecture 2 this past week.

One of the magical outcomes of setting the course in motion has been discovering that  the chosen course title – Netnarr – has added significance.  Narr when translated from the Norwegian means mockery or jest – it means to entertain as a fool or a trickster (like the court jester).  I couldn’t dream of a more perfect double meaning for our title of the course – #NetNarr certainly captures the course’s spirit of daring playfulness and smart silliness.

So what is next?

  • Remember to add your blog URL & Twitter handle to the google form
  • Read Introduction chapter of Digital Art by Christiane Paul (in bookstore)
  • Check out the digital art piece Network Effect by Jonathan Harris
  • Check out the first episode of the interactive web documentary Do Not Track

As we move into week #4, please remember our discussion of “best practices” for success in #NetNarr:

  • Blog by Sunday evening (first blog due 1/28) – tweet it and always use #netnarr hashtag
  • Post 1-2 #ddas per week (include them in your blog)
  • Go to lecture! Go to lab!
  • Read the new post on the homepage each week (like this one)
  • Surf the hashtag here and there – for fun, for discovering new information, interact with #netnarr peeps  – share resources, ask questions, compliment other contributions…

Next week we will start to discuss the world of digital art!

See you then,


Welcome to #NetNarr!


Welcome to DIKULT 103 “Digital Genres”, better known as Networked Narratives.  Our course will be a journey into the worlds of digital art, video games, and electronic literature, as we seek to understand the transformative magic that may reside in making, composing, writing, and producing art in our digital age.  

Some questions

-How has art and textuality been transformed in a computational environment?

-Do new forms of interactivity (and the creation of new types of agency in digital composition) generate a new form of aesthetic politics?

-What role(s) may digital writing, digital art, and digital games play in the development of new forms of community?  How do these cultural forms influence what is possible (or impossible) in society?

Digital Alchemy

This course will always be about the notion of digital alchemy.  The theme of alchemy will be our golden thread weaving our way through a special journey this semester.  Alchemy is often thought of as the effort to turn something base or worthless into something precious, like gold.  But alchemy has also been about  breathing life into the inanimate – capturing the secret of the breath of life.  Alchemy has sought to capture the source of transformative vitality.  

So we will take this understanding of alchemy, and explore it actively in contemporary digital spaces.  And we will also strive to be digital alchemists ourselves. In other words, we will be thinking deeply about about digital art and textuality, but we will also be creative, we will make things, we will be storytellers, gamemakers, and artists, and we will spend time in the lab tinkering and breathing life into our own ideas.

Networked experience

This course will be networked.  That is to say, it will live on the open web, and your work for the class will be social and public by nature.  You will be writing each week and sharing that writing, you will be participating in group activities, public conversations that are archived, creating digital artifacts and sharing them, etc.  There will be studio visits with other digital artists and scholars.   There will be open participants (educators, friends, makers, etc. who join us in the ongoing #NetNarr activities).  We will also be having conversations and sharing reflections with university students from New Jersey in the U.S., and also with university students in Cairo, Eygpt.  You will get to know my friends/colleagues – Professor Alan Levine at Kean University, and –Professor Maha Bali at The American University of Cairo.  Together we will grow a supportive and dynamic community of thinkers and creators interested in our shared theme of digital alchemy.

Lets have some fun…

Networked Narratives is going to be memorable and lots of fun!  The design of this course is intentionally a “connected” one, which means that we will have conversations that continue after our literal class time, and beyond the four walls of this designated classroom.  We will reach out to researchers, artists, and scholars in the field of Digital Culture throughout the world through the hashtag #NetNarr.  We will discover what connected learning can be in this day in age, due to the affordances of digital networks.

See you soon for our first week of #NetNarr, or as the Norwegians say, …..see you in Week #3!

Looking forward to it,

Dr. Zamora