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Thursday, May 12
 

4:00pm

Footprints of PR in the News: Investigating Patterns of Text Reuse
This interdisciplinary project combines methods from computer science and computational linguistics with manual content analysis to address the issue of news media reliance on content supplied by public relations sources - a topic that has been prominent in media studies for many decades.

Studies going back as far as the early 20th century have reported that a considerable percentage of newspaper content had originated as publicity. Such content was never impartial: the use of adverbs and adjectives favoring the client went hand in hand with presenting the story from a client's perspective, thus, in the words of Walter Lippmann (1922), painting a picture “the publicity man” wished the public to see. Recent scholarship has consistently pointed to the same issues, raising concerns over media serving the needs of the PR industry instead of serving the public.

Most of the studies addressing this topic cite evidence of anecdotal nature or fail to demonstrate a relationship between the source and the resulting coverage. This limitation is methodological and is explained by the scope of the required data analysis. To address this limitation, a pilot study was conducted that used computation to collect 6,171 press releases and 48,664 potentially related articles and identify all instances of text reuse. Although the results suggested that the extent of media's reliance on publicity sources has been exaggerated, computational analysis also revealed a striking example of PR influence, which called for further investigation.

This project focuses on computationally exploring the discovered instances of text reuse in terms of language, sentiment, and overall themes, with a particular focus on quotations - a staple of any press release. The results will be available as an online visualization tool enabling the user to interactively explore the data, visualize patterns of text reuse, as well as language patterns in press releases.


Thursday May 12, 2016 4:00pm - 4:05pm
COOR L1-84 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-84

4:05pm

Defaced: Biometric Facial Recognition and the Queer Politics of Escape
Biometric devices use physiological characteristics such as fingerprints, palm veins and prints, face recognition, DNA, iris and retina recognition, and scent to identify individuals and groups. This data is often collected from consumers and citizens by retailers and government agencies with the promise of fast, easy, and flexible access to personal networks, products, and information.

As a result of the collection of this data, biometric devices have the ability to identify individuals on the basis of race, gender, and sexual orientation. The identificatory practices on which biometric data rely upon to function are stable and normative. Identity, however, is not static, and nuance often leads to the failure of biometric devices to process biometric data and produce coherent results. This incoherence speaks to the inevitable inability to account for the complexity of personal identity, and it begs us to question the extent to which we are willing to allow biometric data to speak for us.

This paper situates itself at this moment of failure and considers the ways in which practices of “defacement” and intelligibility might be more desirable than visibility and recognition. Specifically, this work examines the critical intervention made by contemporary artists such as Zach Blas whose Facial Weaponiztion Suite positions escape as more than a desire to exit current regimes of control, but also as a way to cultivate forms of living otherwise. Escape, Blas argues “is a collective attempt—aesthetic, conceptual, political—to eradicate forms of control, exploitation, and domination, which just might make the world more hospitable to all” (rhizome.org).

This project asks timely and important questions regarding the impact of surveillance on civil and human rights. Its position at the intersection of the arts and sciences encourages critical reflection upon the role of biometric technology in everyday lived experiences, and highlights the important role the arts play in the development of science and technology.

Speakers

Thursday May 12, 2016 4:05pm - 4:10pm
COOR L1-84 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-84

4:10pm

#writersofinstagram: An Online Affinity Space for Visual Writing
Online spaces allow people to participate in diverse experiences that connect them with other like-minded people, across the country and around the world. These connected experiences allow not only for the construction of communities, but also for the construction of relationships that allow for exploration of identity and the creation of ties. Instagram is a mobile social network that privileges image over text: posts on Instagram must include an image with text being optional. Organizing hashtags and content creation tools allow for the formation of affinity spaces on Instagram. Here, I focus on the affinity space created around #writersofinstagram and how it serves as a space for passionate users to discuss their own and others’ writings. Affinity spaces are either physical or virtual spaces in which people can come together around a shared passion (Gee, 2005). Affinity spaces must offer not only a shared space for communication, but also a space to create and display content. Accordingly, Instagram provides a unique mixture of visual and textual space that is being used by the #writersofinstagram community to create, share and discuss user created pieces of writing. In addition, the #writersofinstagram community and the relationships formed within it provide a space for personal learning and growth centered around a passionate pursuit as well as the opportunity for individuals to progress from novices to experts within the space. Understanding the motivations behind posts within the #writersofinstagram affinity space can provide insight into the changing practices of digital writers and creators of multimodal texts. By learning more about the nature of writing affinity spaces online, we can then begin to understand why users choose to post and share text in visual spaces. Looking at understanding the purposes and products of those posting to the #writersofinstagram space can also help researchers interested in the way writing is changing in the digital age to understand how process of composition is evolving and growing.

Speakers

Thursday May 12, 2016 4:10pm - 4:15pm
COOR L1-84 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-84

4:15pm

Identity & Representation in Student Documentaries: Stories of Concern and Hope
Identity and representation, especially in regards to gender, sexuality, and race, are current national conversations that are necessary to bring into the classroom, but must be done so in a safe way. This 5 minute short paper will discuss one digital method to have students lead and navigate these complex issues in conversations. Based off of Halbritter’s (2013) Mics, Cameras, Symbolic Action, Halbritter and Lindquist’s (2012) article “Time, Lives, and Videotape: Operationalizing Discovery in Scenes of Literacy Sponsorship,” Weiner’s (1986) article “Collaborative Learning in the Classroom: A Guide to Evaluation,” and Bruffee’s (1984) article “Collaborative Learning and the ‘Conversation of Mankind,” I will read findings from two student lead documentary projects from Michigan State University’s Advanced Multimedia Writing - one on racial identities being portrayed in the media and the second on gender identities being constructed by their surrounding spaces. These students brought these conversations into the classroom by choice and through an art medium, which enabled them to have creative freedom and agency to offer messages of hurt and optimism for injustices to change. I see this work as one method to have important conversations. In addition, I question how this approach can be furthered. For instance: in what ways can professors allow students to lead conversations on local communities, national conversations, or worldwide systems through digital spaces? How can we facilitate an interdisciplinary approach to complex problems in order to converse with students on potential solutions?

Speakers

Thursday May 12, 2016 4:15pm - 4:20pm
COOR L1-84 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-84

4:20pm

The Potential of the Past: Walking Through the Creation of an Open Access Collection of Faculty-Produced Holocaust Site Photographs
University libraries are often called upon when faculty are ready to part with their book collections and/or their research data. This paper presents one such case, when Professor Emeritus Duane Mezga of the Landscape Architecture Program approached the library, along with a three-ring binder full of Kodachrome 64 color slides.

The photographs were taken by Professor Mezga in the early 1990s using the progressive realization technique, which captures the experience of walking through a site. Twenty-one sites in total, including concentration camps and killing centers, transit points, and other historically significant sites in Europe were photographed. Memorials present at these sites were documented. Potential in these slides was seen by the subject librarian, and cooperation with the digital curation unit led to the digitization of the slides.

The Duane Mezga Holocaust Site Photography collection is built using a free and open source (FOSS) technology stack utilizing Fedora Commons, Apache Solr, and Drupal CMS (Islandora). Metadata is deliberately foregrounded in the repository architecture: the primary navigation interface is an interactive map built in CartoDB which utilizes geocoded metadata fields to place significant sites from the photographs onto a map — clicking on the site will execute a search on that location. Additionally, because the actual XML data are indexed, searching metadata is divorced from the limitations of the traditional database structure and is amplified by the additional functionality of an enterprise indexing system including string manipulations, stemming, wildcards, highlighting, proximity searching and faceting among other features.

The Holocaust Site collection website will be launched this academic year. With the enormous changes in the political and physical landscape which occurred with the fall of the Soviet Union, and the development of new memorials and museums at these sites, the potential use of the collection is wide. This locally-produced open access collection will provide a new avenue for exploring change over time, for the production of new knowledge across disciplines and geography, and for further conversation on war, landscape, and memorialization.


Thursday May 12, 2016 4:20pm - 4:25pm
COOR L1-84 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-84

4:30pm

Softwares, Histories, Memories and Archives
I propose to think with the audience about this question: How can software be written to pay attention to listening, a crucial component of engagement with testimonies and memories?

As a scholar-practitioner, my work is an example of thinking with theoretical/academic spheres as well as with technical/practical spheres across narrative intelligence, software studies and digital humanities. I intend to address this question through my project titled We Are History.

In pursuit of generating communal dialogue in the context of inability to have conversations about our contested history in Lebanon, I set out to build an Artificial Agent that would sift through an oral history video archive of testimonies of daily life with the task of figuring out common threads, sometimes confirming and sometimes contesting each other, and automatically editing many different versions of possible histories. This automatic montage machine addresses two problems in the Lebanese context: first, it circumvents the tiring accusation of being biased since a machine is now the moderator (presenting a multiplicity of stories might be the closest one can get to strategic objectivity) and second, it opens up the possibility of conversation by weaving various and often opposing perspectives in order to start imagining what our histories could look like. The project, which would reside online as well as in booths in public spaces across Lebanon, invites people to listen to an automated montage of oral histories and to then share their own stories and memories. Each newly contributed story is instantly added to the archive, analyzed using new developments in computational corpus-based linguistics, automatic story generation, and social computing and tagged with its transcript which enables the interface to incorporate newly added video interviews into the pool concerning the event discussed, thereby changing the version of history previously compiled.

Speakers

Thursday May 12, 2016 4:30pm - 4:35pm
COOR L1-84 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-84

4:40pm

Digital Poetics of Democracy:
Is there a digital poetics of democracy? How has Twitter changed the political rhetoric of nations such as Spain, Portugal, and Greece, that have seen the emergence of new, digitally-centered grassroots political parties? How does Twitter produce a new language of power and opposition? This talk analyzes Twitter data from Spain’s Podemos and Ciudadanos, and Portugal's LIVRE! grassroots political parties for their most commonly tweeted parts of speech (verbs, adverbs, adjectives, nouns) and hastags. I will begin with a brief discussion of the very notion of a digital poetics and of Twitter as a form of digital opposition and power, describe how I have used Python and the Stanford Parser to analyze and tag the parts of speech and hashtags from these parties' tweets, and share my findings. The goal of this study is to begin to examine what might be construed as a digital poetics of democracy, power, and opposition in 21st century Spain and Portugal and to consider how this rhetoric differs from that of other, traditional political communications.

Speakers

Thursday May 12, 2016 4:40pm - 4:45pm
COOR L1-84 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-84

4:45pm

To Trump Trump's Wall: Designing a Framework for Participatory, Co-Creative Media and Politcial Design Practice
To Trump Trump’s wall is participatory media art project created in response to Donald Trump’s campaign promise to build a giant wall in the border between Mexico and the United States. In this paper I present a brief contextual review describing Trump’s position in regards of the wall. Next, I delineate the theoretical perspectives and approaches that materialize in a form of practice of co-creative media based on participatory culture and political and adversarial design with my own approach to critical making. This paper presents the results of two iterations of the project, one in the form of a workshop and the other in a gallery setting, and highlights the different outcomes from each setting and audience group. 

Speakers

Thursday May 12, 2016 4:45pm - 4:50pm
COOR L1-84 975 S Myrtle Ave Arizona State University Tempe, AZ 85281
  • Session Location COOR L1-84