Remember Day One?

Posted by on Jun 9, 2014 in Laura | One Comment

I am so grateful for a course that allowed me to become so familiar with a topic that was both foreign and familiar to me. My love of Poe has grown infinitely. I’ve become intrigued by Hitchcock’s methods and have found myself re-watching the films I viewed for this project and looking for new angles, new connections.

Of the two theses I wrote my senior year, I am especially proud of this one because of the positive reaction it has received considering how new everything felt to me. Here, I need to thank Isenberg, Lindsey, Lee, and Jenny for accompanying me on this strenuous journey. I had never endeavored on a writing project of this length, and I was grateful to have a supportive, motivating team behind me.

A great debt of thanks and a ton of sisterly pride go out to my classmates Colby and Kerishma. Thank you ladies! I have learned so much about each of your topics and was so excited to see your projects grow into the marvelous beasts that they have become. You girls were my cheerleaders through such unfamiliar territory. We did it! Thank you for going through it all with me.

Courtesy of Kerishma

Courtesy of Kerishma

Of course, I have to thank the Macaulay administration, including Mary Pearl, Mike Lamb, and Joe Ugoretz, for facilitating each and every concern that arose throughout the year. From finding advisers to presentation tips, we were very lucky to have you around.

Some Seminar 4 Presenting Advice!

Posted by on May 3, 2014 in Colby, Kerishma, Laura, Lindsey, Projects, Resources | 3 Comments



Hey gang! We collected some great presenting tips and tricks from our fellow colleagues at NCUR last month. Some of them even harken back to their Seminar 4 presentations. If you have any other helpful advice, feel free to chime in in the comments!

Emily Paolillo, Brooklyn College: “For Seminar 4, my class was required to make video public service announcements. My group did ours on safer sex. Making a video was so interactive and fun that everyone in my class was completely immersed in their projects. Some did theirs on smoking and the obesity epidemic. I think it’s a pretty good sign that I can still remember their projects two years later. We also had to incorporate useful PSA tactics like using comedy or scary facts (mostly everyone used comedy), which made it very entertaining. When we presented at the Macaulay building, our videos had everyone hooked. Seminar 4 should be a FUN learning experience that incorporates using research skills to produce something that we will remember in the years to come.

Also, NCUR was a great experience! It was awesome to meet so many different undergraduate students from around the country and see how diverse everyone’s fields of study are.”

Jenna Peet, Brooklyn College: “One thing that really helped my presentation for NCUR was rehearsing my presentation with Macaulay students who normally would not see my work. When I prepared my thesis at BC, I was practicing with mostly education and physics majors, and so I wasn’t getting a sense of what would be clear or confusing to the average listener. Practice with Macaulay students made me reevaluate what my presentation needed to focus on, and the feedback they gave also made me think more seriously about what my research represented as a whole. The questions they asked in practice (and actual) presentations were more thoughtful and insightful than what I was used to, and made my presentation that much better.”
Jamie Mallette, City College: “My suggestion for seminar 4 students is to not take the conference too seriously. Yes it is at the Macaulay building and it is academic but if they just relax and feel confident in what they are presenting they will do great! I think the conference experience would be greatly enhanced if people stayed for one another’s presentations and listening rather than ducking out after their own or their friends. Seminar 4 students, and all other Macaulay classes, should take the time to get to know students from other campuses and begin to explore outside their comfort zone. My personal presenting style is to make note cards with a few bullet points. I don’t write out my whole speech because it actually makes me more nervous and I am not as engaging or as varied when I plan too much. I usually just get up there and talk informally (but still appropriately!).
My general experience at NCUR was positive. I had a lot of fun, and met interesting people. I would recommend students go to conferences, even just local ones, even if they are not presenting just to get a feel for the style, and networking.”
Vartan Pahalyants, Hunter College: “NCUR was a great opportunity to see research from different perspectives. When you attend conferences in your field, you do not get to see the amazing variety of research that goes on in other spheres. I was particularly impressed with the presentations of my classmates in the fields of Civil Engineering, English and Physics was. Overall, it was an enriching experience and I am really glad I was given the opportunity to attend this year’s conference.”
And last but definitely not least, a video from Patryk Perkowski, Queens College:

Intersectionality and the Digital Humanities Flashcards!

Posted by on Apr 29, 2014 in Colby, Kerishma, Laura, Projects | No Comments

Comparing Sources

Macaulay Honors Thesis Colloquium, Spring 2014. 4.29.14.


Our Intersectionality and DH Flashcards were made on Flashcard Machine, and can be found here!

Fish and Srinivasan and Flanders

Posted by on Apr 29, 2014 in Laura | No Comments

Growing up in the digital age, it is always interesting to read about the time before computers. Technology has drastically changed the way people think, act, and work. In their article “Digital Labor is the New Killer App,” Adam Fish and Ramesh Srinivasan analyze a digital labor outsourcing firm and a television network that relies (or relied at some point) on user- submitted content. The two men attempt to describe what a digital economy means and how digital labor is valued. In the case of Samasource, the outsourcing group, digital labor is outsourced to the poverty-stricken third world. For well-below living wages, a Pakistani woman can perform anything from the simplest clerical tasks to graphic design. The problem is that they label this as “empowering” and “dignified labor,” when the value of the content they produce is so low on their end.

Julia Flanders’ article “Time, Labor, and “Alternate Careers” in Digital Humanities Knowledge Work” actually fits in pretty well with the arguments laid out above. She talks about alternate careers, thrown together with other para-academic fields, that include aspects of digital labor. Where the critics come together is the discussion regarding the value of labor. As a grad student, Flanders realized that aspects of her professional career, such as research and preparing and attending academic conferences, were not as billable as working at an organization although they were important to her personal and professional growth (research is pretty important when working towards a Ph.D!).

Both articles made me think about 1) the value of the digital content other social media users like me freely submit in the form of blogs, video, pictures, etc. as well as 2) what all of this user-generated content is worth to corporations.

This makes me think of Karen Greogory’s article “The Teaching of Labor.” Maybe I should just go off the grid.

Audience Chart

Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in Colby, Kerishma, Laura, Projects | No Comments
Audience Chart

Kerishma, Colby, and Laura used to develop this chart of audience overlap.

Our audiences for our multiple projects and events for the thesis colloquium are quite varied, but overlap in many areas. We visualized this using Gliffy to create a graphic representation of who we believe constitutes our audience.

*Kerishma was left out of the bubble with the members of the class. This was Kerishma’s mistake.

Cindy Sherman was here!

Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in Laura | No Comments

I’m so excited to get started on my digital project! The ideas are there, it’s conceptually rich, but I’m having trouble actually reaching the execution. A self-portrait project building upon ideas of reflection and the male gaze  around Poe and Hitchcock’s themes is so promising, but I need a few things to happen before I can even get to taking the pictures:

  • Make the website: essentially a photography portfolio
  • Request AV  equipment (lights and tripod) from Macaulay
  • Contact the peeps! (Make-up artist, hair/stylist, photographers and computer savvy individuals) Bribe them with food.
  • Draw up conceptual thumbnails. This would ensure that my shooting day is structured and that I won’t forget any important shots.
  • The clothes! I’m not going for absolute replication of either of the films, but even for a modernization I want to have something aesthetically close to what Hitchcock wanted his actresses to look like. Maybe a visit to H&M would be promising (and cheap!).
  • Rent a space. I have a contact at the NYPL branch by my apartment in the Bronx who might allow me to use the building’s lower level, as long I exchange services (face painting for events or a workshop for teens over the summer).

And that’s all there is, haha…Once the photos are taken, the physical Poe texts need to be scanned, the images need to be edited, and everything needs to be uploaded to the portfolio (which I will begin working on now to save me from any future headaches).

I’m still trying to understand the main point of this project myself, but it would be worthwhile to think about it now since I need to convince a bunch of friends to help me out. I would say that this is a feminist revisitation of the worlds that two men, Poe and Hitchcock, released to the public well before my time. My project is an intervention, calling attention to how women were represented in the works of these two masters of the macabre: ideals, goddesses, forms to be molded, objects of desire and destruction. I want these photographs to represent the artistic ideas my works have come to be associated with: self-identity, questionable femininity, fantasy (not the Tolkien kind), and horror. Gore is not my goal, but I’d like my audience (horror aficionados, Poe and Hitch fans, artists, the Goth kids on the dark depths of Tumblr, etc.) to understand what I’m going for.

Response to CMS, Value, and Interface

Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Laura | One Comment

Considering that this article, to me, reads like stereo instructions (Beetlejuice reference, anyone?), I was able to pull up a few original ideas. Knowledgeable as he is, I do not believe that he skillfully relates this knowledge to readers. The one brief section that I was able to understand is near the beginning, when he assigns “presence” a value. My interpretation may be wrong, but I believe that he is asserting that the imaginary value assigned to the posts on lie in the online presence and attention that the authors are receiving. Behind the interface, authors and their content are merely the “presence” that draws in readers, ad companies, and big profits. Because of that, McKinney chooses to further address the interface itself, but that’s where I get lost.

Updated portraiture project proposal

Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Laura, Projects | One Comment

Things are still up in the air right now with my digital project. I don’t have the funds available to me right now to set a budget or the know-how to create my online graphic novel. However, I still think that there is a way to address certain themes that stand out (or don’t get as much attention) in my written thesis such as split consciousness, Doubles, and feminist theory.

Within the next few weeks I will decide whether or not I can accomplish the self-portrait series I discussed in class. If not, I am open to utilizing film stills as a foundation for an intertextual layering project that visually represents my thesis’ argument about using Poe as a lens through which to read Hitchcock. These images are easily obtainable since I have the DVDs at home and VLC Media Player installed onto my computer (thanks Colby!).

Once I have the basic images (film stills or portraits as film stills) I can then work on superimposing text and other accessible images and hand drawn illustrations over the images. I can work on a program like Photoshop, but I prefer to work with my hands. Then, I would upload the layered images and present them on a digital gallery, like the one on Second Life that Lindsey described in class, that would be user friendly and encourage viewer interaction.

In class, we talked about the possibility of publicizing our essays online, and though I am still hesitant to post a PDF of my entire thesis, I would still like to work with texts and incorporate brief snippets of my thesis into my interactive image gallery, paralleling Hitchcockian images with Poe inspired texts.

In terms of context, I wish to focus on the women in these works (“Berenice,” “Ligeia,” Psycho, and Vertigo), considering I dedicated most of my paper to the “broken males” driven to self-destruction by these females. Their physical beauty is unquestionable, and it is their sexualized gender that makes them targets to the unwanted attention and violence that end their lives.

Since my knowledge of digital media and the untapped power of the interwebs only goes so far, I would really appreciate any suggestions in terms of what would constitute (to you) a user friendly gallery that gets my themes across as well as what kind of platforms and programs can I use to make this project as accessible and interactive as possible.

If all else fails, I wouldn’t be opposed to making a snazzy photography portfolio, but we’re dreaming big here.

(Also, I can’t remember if I posted this last week, but this is the photography post that inspired my image layering idea. Much neater than what I plan on doing.)

Poe, Hitchcock, and a conceptual photographer walk into a bar…

Posted by on Mar 4, 2014 in Laura, Projects | 4 Comments

Just as I struggled with choosing a topic and narrowing it down in the fall, I can’t seem to restrain myself when brainstorming my digital thesis project. The possibilities are limitless! My project wish list goes on and on, but I tried to restrain myself to proposing projects that can be realistically completed within the time frame of the course.

Last semester, I proposed a self-portrait photo series inspired by the works of Cindy Sherman, whose photos I was luckily able to see in person tonight at an art auction. By losing herself in the portraits, Sherman is able to fully take on the identities of other artists, personalities (like the Final Girl in horror films), etc. Choosing subject matter would not be very difficult: both Poe and Hitchcock play with varying degrees of female obsession that I would represent by playing with the objects of their fixations. In the style of Cindy Sherman, I would try my best to recreate the iconic Hitchcockian beauties (maybe including my own rendition of a toothless Berenice and ghastly Ligeia) in a portrait series that would be available online as a digital portfolio. As much as I love this idea, this could be a time consuming project, from finding the right clothing (thank goodness NYC is saturated with thrift shops) to getting the hair and makeup just right; not to mention actually setting up my camera to take the pictures and learning enough Photoshop to clean them up. I usually work with film, but it would be costly to work with right now, though the grittiness of film would work beautifully with this project.

Looking through my recent Tumblr posts, I saw a lot of work from photographers who adopt someone’s style and translate it through their own lens, literally. Though not exactly related to my topic, a photo set from an artist who took their own images and then manipulated them again to create entirely new photographs intrigued me. Another artist that I saw on Juxtapoz’s website does something similar, adding illustrations over her own images to create an additional layer of depth and artistry to their photos. It made me think that I could appropriate film stills and behind the scenes shots from the films and read them through Poe, including additional illustrations over them. In this case, I would print out the images, work on them by hand, and then scan and upload them onto my site.

Another idea was to create a sort of online graphic novel, using Hitchcock’s visuals with Poe’s text, either in plain text or as a voiceover using Vincent Price’s marvelous reading. Since I haven’t been able to find anything like it online to use as a point of reference, I’m not sure how far I can take this idea or even if it’s possible to complete within the next couple months.

Whichever project I end up pursuing, I still want it to speak to Poe and how his themes are traced through Hitchcock. I want this to be a very visual project, obviously, but I don’t want to lose the master of mystery in my quest to produce Hitchcockian visuals.

Japanese Video Games and Comic Books

Posted by on Feb 18, 2014 in Laura, Projects | No Comments

Screen shot 2014-02-18 at 5.17.32 PM

These two projects (entitled “Kingdom Hearts” and “One million manga pages”) each borrow massive amounts of content from a popular Japanese video game as well as a series of Japanese graphic novels, called manga. What they have in common are the way in which they gather, synthesize, and redistribute this widely available content. Divorced from their original source, these images are less translations of cultural phenomena and found objects organized to create interesting patterns and visualizations.