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Language is a Virus: technologies of Speech
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Language is a Virus: technologies of Speech Language is a Virus: technologies of Speech Presentation Transcript

  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS and stories are its vector SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009 Paul Allen Sculpture
  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS INTIMATE TECHNOLOGIES Speech and sound are the first -- and the most intimate of our media technologies. Unlike any other communications media, the only physical technology we need to communicate with spoken language is our own bodies. We produce speech with our breath and our tongues, the resulting sound waves vibrate tiny bones deep inside our heads. SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009
  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS Handphone Table (When You We’re Hear), Laurie Anderson, 1978 pine table with folding top, two built-in cas- sette recorders, amplifiers (106.7 x 167.6 x 33 cm) Physically, sound is acoustic vibration. SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009 Vibration is communication.
  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS SOUND DETOUR Perhaps because we receive sound so intimately, it has an enormous, although often unconscious, affect on our experience and understanding of media objects such as movies, games, etc. Most people rate an interactive with 8bit graphics and 24bit sound as better quality than an interactive with 24bit graphics and 8bit sound. SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOYXomUFyb8
  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS DAW06 Soundscapes For Two Channels -- Cité (4’40) Peter Kutin http://www.digitalartweeks.ethz.ch/docs/daw/mp3/rw/KUTIN_Cite_M.mp3 SOUND & NARRATIVE Sound can create a narrative where none is obvious in the images, emphasis and support aspects of the narrative, or introduce new interpretational possibilities by contradicting the narrative. Sound can have: • A direct Narrative role (e.g. Naturalistic sound -- knock on the door); • A subliminal narrative role (e.g spooky music); • An emotional sound equation (e.g low frequencies convey threat) ; SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009 • A grammatical role (e.g seque covered by continuing sound). More at http://www.a-website.org/hyperessays/05sound.html
  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS SOUND GAMES http://homepage.mac.com/joester5/art/index.html#pong http://www.sonicbodypong.com/ SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009 http://homepage.mac.com/joester5/art/images/pong.mov
  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS SPEECH Speech was the first great communications revolution -- and possibly happened not to our species but to the Neanderthal 530,000 years ago. Speech changed everything and, arguably, made people human. Speech confers many advantages; but communication doesn’t just assist in the present. Whilst ‘RUN! There’s a sabre tooth tiger!’ is obviously more effective than frantically pointing and screaming, the real value of language is that it allows its users to teach the lessons of the past to their descendents. Speech meant that people no longer had to personally experience or witness a situation SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009 to learn from it.
  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS The linguist, Noam Chomsky, rather controversially, believes that language is hardwired. • Children have an innate knowledge of the basic grammatical structure common to all human languages. This innate knowledge is often referred to as universal grammar; • With a limited set of grammar rules and a finite set of terms, humans are able to produce an infinite number of sentences, including sentences no one has previously said. the pace at which children learn languages is inexplicably rapid, unless children have an innate ability to learn languages; • Similar steps followed by children all across the world when learning l anguages; • Children make certain characteristic errors as they learn their first language, whereas other seemingly logical kinds of errors never occur. The acquisition and development of a language is a result of the unfolding of innate SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009 propensities triggered by the experiential input of the external environment. The Biology of the Language Faculty: Its Perfection, Past and FutureNoam Chomsky http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/517 Ali G - Language http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zPHAhj_Cio
  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS MEMORY TECHNOLOGIES For speech to be really useful, it depends on a reliable memory. Humans probably developed technologies to make their memories more reliable early in human evolution. Before writing, memory was the greatest commodity. Technologies that assisted memory included: • Ritual • Rhythm (and music) • Rhyme • Repetition • Formulaic movement • Theatre (allegory and personification) • Aide memoirs (symbolic objects) • Art of Memory -- places for things, places for SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009 facts; • Narrative/Storytelling
  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS “The narratives of the world are without number...the narrative is present at all times, in all places, in all societies; the history of narrative begins with the history of mankind; there does not exist, and never has existed, a people without narratives.” (Roland Barthes). Many of the earliest and greatest pieces of literature that we know of, eg the Gilgamesh Epic and the Illiad, were orally passed along hundreds of generations. Until the invention of the moveable type press and the rapid SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009 extension of literacy, most people for most of history have relied on their memories to educate and entertain their children and each other.
  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS Stories remain one of our most effective and engaging ways of communicating. In fact our world is permeated with stories -- from the tiny short form narratives of ads to the sweeping epics of multi-book fantasies such as LotRs, from our relating of the days events to our friends to news stories. Humans seem to make a story out of everything -- they even invent stories to explain the SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009 actions of natural phenomena... and then end up believing them.
  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS NARRATOLOGY The study of story structure: The structuralist seeks to under- stand how recurrent elements, themes, and patterns yield a set of universals that determine the makeup of a story. The ulimate goal of such analysis is to move from a taxonomy of elements to an understanding of how these elements are arranged in actual narratives, fictional and nonfictional. The intellectual tradition out of which narratology grew began with the linguistic work of Ferdinand de Saussure. Roman Jakobson and the Russian Formalists such as Vladmir Propp also influenced the study of narrative, revealing how literary language differs from ordinary language. Structuralism was SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009 further shaped by French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, who concluded that myths found in various cultures can be interpreted in terms of their repetitive structures.
  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS Propp’s Vladimir Propp analysed a series of Russian folk tales in the 1920s and decided that the same events kept being repeated in each of the stories. These, he Analysis reasoned, were narratemes, or narrative functions, necessary for the narrative to exist. of Not all of these functions appear in every story, but they always appear within a specific order. Folk http://www.changeminds.org/disciplines/storytelling/plots/propp/propp. htm Tales When Vladimir Propp created his theories of structural analysis in the 1930’s it is unlikely that he foresaw the advent of the computing and information age, yet his concern with structure and the modularity of his construction of narrative anticipate that of computing models and languages today. SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009 proppian fairy tale generator http://www.brown.edu/Courses/FR0133/Fairytale_Generator/gen.html
  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS The hero leaves home… Propp concluded that all the characters could be resolved into only 7 broad character types: • The hero or victim/seeker hero — reacts to the donor, undertakes the quest, marries the princess (or is rewarded). • The villain — struggles against the hero. • The donor — prepares the hero or gives the hero some magical object. • The (magical) helper — helps the hero in the quest. • The princess — gives the task to the hero, identifies the false hero, rewards the hero, is often sought for during the narrative. • The dispatcher — character who makes the lack known and sends the hero off. • False hero — takes credit for the hero’s actions or tries to marry the princess. These roles could sometimes be distributed among various individuals (multiple villains), or one character could engage in acts as more than one role, as a father could SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009 send his son on the quest & give him a sword, acting as both dispatcher & donor.
  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS Joseph Campbell “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than themself” In 1949 The Hero with a Thousand Faces introduced Campbell’s idea of the monomyth, which outlined some of the archetypal patterns he recognized. Heroes were important to Campbell because, for him, they conveyed universal truths about one’s personal self-discovery and self-transcendence, one’s role in society, and the relationship between the two. The monomyth follows a classic three-act structure --Departure (sometimes called Separation), Initiation and Return. “Departure” deals with the hero venturing forth on the quest, “Initiation” deals with the hero’s various adventures along the way, SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009 and “Return” deals with the hero’s return home with knowledge and powers acquired on the journey.
  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009 the hero’s journey : summary of the steps http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/smc/journey/ref/summary.html
  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS The Short Form of the Hero Story (From A Practical Guide to The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Chris Vogel) The hero is introduced in his ordinary world, where he receives the call to adventure. He is reluctant at first but is encouraged by the wise old man or woman to cross the first threshold, where he encounters tests and helpers. He reaches the innermost cave, where he endures the supreme ordeal. He seizes the sword or the treasure and is pursued on the road back to his world. He is resurrected and transformed by his experience. He returns to his ordinary world with a treasure, boon, or elixir to benefit his world. The HERO MYTH is a skeleton that should be masked with the details of the individual story, and the structure should not call attention to itself. The order of the hero’s stages as given here is only one of many variations. The stages can be deleted, added to, and drastically reshuffled without losing their power. The myth is easily translated to contemporary dramas, comedies, romances, or action-adventures by substituting modern equivalents for the symbolic figures and props of the hero story. The Wise Old Man may be a real shaman or Wizard, but he can also be any kind of mentor or teacher, doctor or therapist, crusty but benign boss, tough but fair top sergeant, parent, grandfather, etc. Modern heroes may not be going into caves and labyrinths to fight their mythical beasts, but they do enter an innermost cave by going into space, to the bottom of the sea, into their own minds, or into the depths of a modern city. The myth can be used to tell the simplest comic book story or the most sophisticated drama. It grows and matures as new experiments are tried within its basic framework. Changing the sex and ages of the basic characters only makes it more interesting, and allows ever more complex webs of understanding to be spun among them. The basic characters can be combined, or divided into several figures to show different aspects of the same idea. The myth is infinitely flexible, capable of endless variation without sacrificing any of its magic. SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009 see http://nwcitadel.forgottenrealmsweave.org/showthread.php?t=418
  • MEDIA CULTURES 1 :: LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS Into the Woods: A Practical Guide to the Hero’s Journey: Gamasutra http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20050617/ bates_01.shtml The Matrix - Joseph Campbell Monomyth http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AG4rlGkCRU The Hero’s Journey in Film http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids. individual&videoid=3654554 SHIRALEE SAUL : 2009