3rd Global Conference
Monday 14th March – Wednesday 16th March 2011
Prague, Czech Republic
Broadcast your Past: YouTube as a Memorial Platform for Politicisation of Yugoslav Past
The paper discusses ab/uses of Yugoslav socialist past in contemporary appropriations in the realm of digital media ecology. Taking into consideration the wide array of practices and strategies of narrativisation and representation and repurposing of the Yugoslav past enabled and/or facilitated on/by the internet, the paper addresses the possibilities and potentialities of YouTube as a platform for publication of media remediation and repurposing of the Yugoslav socialist past.
To do this the paper discusses the role of the internet and YouTube through the lens of the myth of participatory culture, and the problems related with this. Furthermore, the paper addresses contemporary post-socialist media-political landscapes as spaces for representing and dealing with the past, present and future of the nation in the globalised media saturated environments.
The central part of the discussion examines several examples of remediation and repurposing of socialist audio-visual heritage on YouTube (sounds and images edited into what I call guerrilla historical statement, or v.i.t.a. memorial). The case study takes as central object of analysis user generated videos as mobile digital media objects and interrogates media-enabled/facilitated strategies (video editing, discursive elements in captions, author’s statements contrasted by user comments and video responses (where available)) to re-present and repurpose the past in contexts of post-socialist nationalist exclusivism. This will facilitate an investigation of how the Yugoslav past in post-socialist media landscapes becomes subject to politicisation and mediation (of memory).
How to Explore a Digitalized Autobiographical Corpus: The Case of Frantext
ATILF-CNRS (Nancy) / Institut Universitaire de France
Textual databases are now playing a major role in a various range of social sciences and humanities, particularly in linguistics and literature. We aim to present the case of a French-langage database, Frantext (www.frantext.fr), launched in the seventies and developed by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). The initial project consisted in digitalizing a thousand texts, so as to excerpt examples intended for a gigantic dictionnary, the Trésor de la Langue Française (http://atilf.atilf.fr/tlf.htm). After the TLF was completed, the base kept on being enriched, according to more precisely defined topics. Autobiography and personal writings are henceforth two of them : since 2006, more than 150 autobiographical texts and diaries joined Frantext so as they can be investigated through the powerful search engine Stella.
First, we’ll present the criteria taken into consideration to sample this corpus in a balanced manner. We paid a close attention to gender, periods, contiguuous genres as autofiction, as well as to contents : various texts recount controversed or taboo events (abortion, incest, colaboration with the enemy). The objective is to provide a philological fautless ressources, usable by linguists, literature scholars, sociologists or historians : many of these texts stand indeed at the cross-road between individual and collective history.
Frantext search engine also developped specific research functions : looking for a word, a lexical item, a sequence expression (such as date or numbers, for instance), oco-occurrences ; it also allows to investigate on a given theme throughout part or the totality of the corpus. The major challenge consists in creating significant connections between information gathered and its interpretation. Might a search engine help to get a global overwiew on a wide corpus, and how ? Are statistical aspects available to help to discover new patterns ? To illustrate this issue, we’ll examine some topics related to politics, especially focusing on the way French autobiographers, since 1975, depicts their links with left-wing ideologies.
Photosynth: The Global Image Village and the Corporate Panoptical Gaze
Jennifer Estava Davis
Department of Rhetoric and Composition, American University in Cairo
In 2008, Microsoft launched Photosynth, a digital photo sharing platform that promises the user the ability to “use [his/her] camera to stitch the world.” The software takes large collections of user-uploaded photographs of tourist sites around the world and organizes them spatially in three-dimensional environments, where the viewer can have a virtual first-hand impression of the experience. In Photosynth, the reality that is captured in photographs is mapped onto digital models where users can move effortlessly, seemingly realistically. In a web broadcast, Blaise Augera y Arcas, one of Photosynth developers, claims that the users “dive into” a “metaverse” that recreates reality in “rich and meaningful ways.” From an enthusiast’s perspective, Photosynth captures the collective imagination as a repository of memories that allows a communal sharing of virtual tourist experiences, a global image village. Yet this public software and other technologies like it also raise questions about the nature of the collective experiences that such technologies allow. This essay investigates whether the interactive spaces Photosynth maps repurpose memory with a fabricated objectivism that reduces the social world to a visual totality, an understandable whole, a world where virtual interactions with the site “are reduced to symbolic exchanges” (Fabian, 140). This totality of cognition can reflect a panoptic gaze that artificially diagrams mechanisms of capitalistic power. The panoptic arrangement of images, as Foucault reminds us, reproduces “a certain distribution of bodies, surfaces, lights, gazes; in an arrangement whose internal mechanisms produce the relation in which individuals are caught up” (202). Under this lens, Photosynth, under the corporate giant that is Microsoft, potentially allows a virtual apparatus of memory production that creates and sustains power relations in the service of capitalistic and consumerist pursuits.