* Thanks to Kelsey for this week’s really thoughtful workshop materials. Once again, I thought I’d post a few links that her materials called to my mind (since my expertises are, perhaps, more askance of hers, some of these may seem a stretch). I was particularly taken with her invitation to consider “other non-technically demanding ways to invite the work we want when we assign video essays.”
I’ve started asking students to collect what Transom calls sonic IDs. They do this before we do any formal work on audio production, but could (I think) do them as standalone pieces leading toward non-audio assignments. I tell them these should be short and unscripted and that I’m not concerned at all about recording quality. (Although, we do go over some basics like: test your recording software before you need it and make sure you know where the mic on your computer or phone is, so you can think about positioning it). I tell them 10 seconds is plenty for an ID and that one should definitely be no more than a minute. That just a funny story from a friend or roommate is perfectly acceptable.
Cowbird is a platform that pitches itself as “a public library of human experience.” They say, “Our mission is to gather and preserve exceptional stories of human life… We offer a simple set of storytelling tools, designed to encourage contemplation and depth—for free, and without ads.” Most stories are really just a couple images paired with a brief text, but I can imagine requiring students to choose a “seed” (prompts the site provides) as a way of getting brief student works into circulation. Their idea of the site as a commons is also relevant to some classes we might teach.
Similarly, there have been a spate of brief articles about teaching microvideo with Instagram and Vine, and I can imagine something like asking students to participate in one of Instagram’s sponsored weekend hashtag projects grounding an assignment in an approachable way. Not quite for beginners in very short amounts of time but pretty doable — How To Make a Vine Using Stop Motion via Photojojo and Matt Willis.
Thinking about this Adweek article on Vine Stop-Motion Artists Doing Work for Brands also started me thinking about some other contexts in which teaching advertising examples or principles might make sense as an extension of work on GIFs.
To this end, asking students to create 360-degree product adverts via video with something like Shoogleit might be interesting. This is also a cool tool for creating “interactive” time lapse of places (for those who work on either spatial rhetoric or literatures of place).
If the idea is less to work on circulation and uptake and more to work on collaborative composition in a “new” media form, giving each student one word to create a photo of and then assembling something like Shelley Jackson’s Snow Story might be a great non-technically demanding way to start working with the poetics of media and typography. (Although, this story was also pretty viral in certain circles last year. So a project like this could also be about circulation.)
Another very different direction to take this would be to consider how GIFs have been used to capture glitches. I got lured into this (commercial) outfit’s technical description of different hardware glitches. I also like this piece on The Radical Capacity of Glitch Art by Lital Khaikin on redefine for the way it distinguishes glitch art from “raw error.” I can imagine this being cool for either looking at the glitch in a media studies or art historical way or in terms of “traditional” composition where—as a field—we’ve been amassing studies on “error” (and its aesthetics and consequences and potentialities) for a long time.