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MDST 3703 F10 Seminar 13






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  • What are some qualities of this form?
  • Mayan art expressed a different symbolic form – one that mixed realism with a cosmic, temporal frame
  • Realism was a possibility …
  • SEGUE:Unpacking these images, we find a world
  • How does this help us understand symbolic forms?
  • If
  • Are all outcomes equal?We are back at the Library of Babel … Looking for meaning in a deconstructed world
  • The sense of an ending …
  • What if Frodo kills Gollum?
  • Are all versions of the story the same?Tragedy and Comedy
  • Tragedy and Comedy are different modes of narrative resolutionTragedy
  • Where is the algorithm here?
  • It’s all about the interface

MDST 3703 F10 Seminar 13 MDST 3703 F10 Seminar 13 Presentation Transcript

  • Seminar 13 Database as Symbolic Form
    Introduction to the Digital Liberal Arts
    MDST 3703 / 7703Fall 2010
  • Business
    Next week is the last studio session
    Find exam will be a take home reflective essay on your project from the perspective of the ideas presented in seminar
  • Review
    ManyEyes – use Gmail address …
  • Overview
    Today we explore Lev Manovich’s thesis that the database is the defining symbolic form of our time
    We explore the argument itself and the impact on how we view digital scholarship
    Manovich’s piece is intended as a concluding framework for this course – a way to integrate all of the ideas we have discussed so far …
  • What is a symbolic form?
  • A symbolic form is a schema or cognitive frame that links the social, psychological, and technical practices of a culture.
    Symbolic forms internalize and express worldview.
    For example, the idea of perspective in the Renaissance
  • Linear perspective
    A mathematical system for creating the illusion of space and distance on a flat surface. The system originated in Florence, Italy in the early 1400s.
  • http://www.ski.org/CWTyler_lab/CWTyler/Art%20Investigations/PerspectiveRules/Image2.gif
  • Flagellation, Piero della Francesca, c. 1448-49
  • axionometric view
  • reconstructed plan and elevation
  • Demonstration of internal light source in Flagellation by Pierodella Francesca
  • What kind of worldview is expressed by linear perspective?
  • Rational Individualism
    Use of geometry
    Mathesis regulating graphesis
    Paintings are literally from an individual’s point of view
    VitruvianMan, da Vinci, circa 1487
  • The lintel depicts an actual blood-letting rite that took place on 26 October 709.
    King Shield Jaguar is shown holding a torch as Queen Lady Xoc draws a barbed rope through her pierced tongue.
    The surrounding text locates the event within the Mayan calendar system.
    Yaxchilan lintel 24
  • Muslin painting of Battle of Little Big Horn done by Dakota artist, Kicking Bear, circa 1896. 1026.G.1. From the Irvin S. Cobb Collection (Southwest Museum of the American Indian, Autry National Center)
  • Montage
    Using the surface to express larger contexts
    Guernica, again …
  • So, how can a database be a symbolic form?
  • Semiotics (Structuralism)
    Paradigm and Syntagm
    Paradigm = rules and elements (the Code)
    Syntagm = actual expressions of the code
    For example, Language
    (Deep) Grammar = Paradigm = Rules
    Spoken/written sentences = Syntagm = Results
    All cultural forms are performances of cultural logic
    Part of the human repertroire
  • Syntagm and Paradigm
  • Semiotics of Symbolic Forms
  • Database as Symbolic Form
    Formal characteristics
    The List
    Order does not matter
    All records functionally equal
    Organized by Categories– expressive of a data model
  • Database as Symbolic Form
    Exposes the paradigmatic level that is normally hidden
    Make the syntagmatic level ephemeral, where normall it is fixed and dominant
  • ?
  • Civilization IV
    The “Civilopedia” governs play
    The “board” is the interface to the database
  • Would Dante today spend his time creating a database of Classic Greece, Rome, and Christendom?
  • Tragedy and Comedy are different modes of narrative resolution
  • Narrative
    Narratives oppose database logic
    Order matters
    There is a “sense of an ending”
    The “database” is internal, unexposed
    In the head of the author
    The result of an internal algorithm
    The author’s in the act of writing
  • This conflict exposes the idea of the algorithm
    (The “rationalization effect” again)
  • A flowchart expresses a kind of algorithm
  • Algorithm
    Connects narrative to database, syntagm to paradigm
    A set of procedures for working with a set of data
    Can be interactive …
  • Whither Scholarship?
  • Synthesis
  • “creating a work in new media digital scholarship can be understood as the construction of an interface to a database”
  • WordPress
    Where is the syntagmatic level?
    Where is the paradigmatic level?
    Does the interface afford scholarly interaction?