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Mdst3703 2013-09-10-textual-signals

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  • 1. Seeing Textual Signals Prof. Alvarado MDST 3703 10 September 2013
  • 2. Business • About the inability to save files – Try disconnecting and reconnecting the drive – Use UVA’s VMWare View Client to access the HIVE • See http://its.virginia.edu/hive/ • Puts you on a Windows system • Can install JEdit there (in your own directory) • Office hours – My Wednesday and Thursday afternoons are usually open – Contact me
  • 3. Responses • Studio is hard! • The readings put coding in a different perspective
  • 4. Review • Plato’s cave is an allegory of media • In digital media, interface and code are related as shadow to puppet • In studio, we saw how source code could be rendered differently – JEdit = puppet area (back of the cave) – Web Browser = shadow area (front of the cave) • What kinds of things varied between the two?
  • 5. Review • The opposition is reproduced as HTML vs CSS – Both are source code, but one defines structure the other style • Documents exhibit a hierarchy: 1. Structure (elements and attributes) 2. Content (“parsed character data”) 3. Style (typography, layout) • Which level would Aristotle consider most important?
  • 6. Comments • All of the scholars we read for today regard text in “geometrical” terms – Although each takes a unique approach • But whereas Aristotle links his geometry to the point of the play – the former explains the latter – the others don’t link the patterns they discover with a purpose or an effect – Is this true?
  • 7. Today, we look at the computer as an aid to reading and interpretation The computer is the child of logic (codified by Aristotle) What we find are variant forms of analysis that echo Aristotle
  • 8. Is a text a shadow or a puppet?
  • 9. Claude Lévi-Strauss
  • 10. Structuralism • Lévi-Strauss was a French structuralist and anthropologist • He believed that society and culture could be described in mathematical terms, i.e. rules that generate patterns • Although he did not use computers, he was intrigued by them and modeling his thinking on how he imagined they worked
  • 11. Structuralism argues that the visible products of human culture – works of art, language, institutions, etc. – are the results of hidden structures that generate visible behaviors The best example of this is language Our speech – the observable part of language – is governed by grammar, or structure, a hidden set of codes and rules that exist in the brain and shared by a community
  • 12. How does Levi-Strauss approach getting at the structure of a text?
  • 13. RELATIONS = SENTENCES = INDEX CARDS BUNDLES OF RELATIONS = SEQUENCES OF CARDS = PASSAGES
  • 14. So we chop the text up into units and rearrange them
  • 15. OVER-RATED BLOOD RELATIONS UNDER-RATED BLOOD RELATIONS SLAYING OF MONSTERS DIFFICULTIES WALKING
  • 16. To understand the myth, we need to understand the relations between the columns This will give us the “paradigm” of the text
  • 17. Is this how we think of reading a text? If not, then what is Levi-Strauss talking about?
  • 18. Benjamin Colby
  • 19. Colby • Colby is an American anthropologist • He was one of the first to use a real computer to do something similar to Levi-Strauss • But his method is dictated by his tools – Words are associated into themes by a thesaurus of themes – The words in texts are then parsed into this thesaurus – A pattern of themes emerges
  • 20. The IBM 7090, announced in 1958, was the first commercial computer with transistor logic. It was intended mainly for scientific computing, but it was also suitable for business and administrative use.
  • 21. Sample thesaurus entries If a text has a word on the right, then the category on the left is identified as being in the text at that point
  • 22. Colby wants to make observations of this kind
  • 23. Like Levi-Strauss, Colby wants to read these patterns as evidence for deeper structure – paradigms Can Colby’s method help provide an Aristotelian description of these folktales?
  • 24. Colby's theory TEXTS CULTURE
  • 25. Stephen Ramsay
  • 26. “Algorithmic Criticism” • Ramsay is a UVA graduate student • Teaches English at Nebraska • Developed a method to apply mathematical graph theory to Shakespeare’s plays
  • 27. A B C D Graph Theory, developed by Euler, allows us to see that one would need to have an even number of bridges to get on and off a given land mass without going over a bridge twice.
  • 28. Graph Theory • Regions and boundaries can be represented by “vertices” and “edges” – AKA nodes and links • Links can be represented as having a direction or not – Directed vs Undireced
  • 29. Many things can be represented as graphs – networks of points and lines that abstract the relationships between parts By representing things as graphs, we can transform them in interesting ways
  • 30. How many colors do you need to create a map in which no adjacent regions have the same color? Graph theory tells us the answer is 4
  • 31. What about texts?
  • 32. A Comedy of Errors, an early farce
  • 33. Richard II, a history
  • 34. Cymbeline, a late romance
  • 35. Coriolanus, a history, battles as limbs
  • 36. Antony and Cleopatra, a history, battles integrated
  • 37. Henry IV, Part 1, central place of the Garter Inn
  • 38. Henry IV, Part 1, Eastcheap Central
  • 39. Measure for Measure, a room in the prison central
  • 40. Julius Ceasar, extremely linear
  • 41. King Lear, linear then divided
  • 42. Henry VI, Part 1
  • 43. Henry VI, Part II
  • 44. Henry VI, Part III
  • 45. Anthony’s path through the play as a subgraph
  • 46. Cleopatra’s path
  • 47. Antony and Cleopatra
  • 48. Clustering by number of single-incident scenes
  • 49. Alignments of tragedy and comedy
  • 50. Comedy and tragedy clusters
  • 51. Metrics • the number of unique scene locations • the total number of scenes • the number of single-instance scenes • the number of loops (scene locations that appear consecutively) • the number of switches (consecutive scene locations with an intervening location).
  • 52. So, Ramsay begins by counting and linking scenes Then he finds metrics for these graphs (e.g. number of scenes, etc.) He ends by correlating these metrics to known genres (comedy, romance, tragedy, history)
  • 53. Observations
  • 54. In each case, the “meaning” of the text is not what we think of as “meaning” It is something unconscious
  • 55. On the other hand: What do you remember when you read a book?
  • 56. We remember scenes, images, plot lines, values, etc. We sometimes remember verbatim passages We don’t normally remember the words
  • 57. We get much of our culture through books (and other "cultural models" in Colby's words)
  • 58. Like cigarettes, books are a “delivery mechanism” (not of nicotine, but of culture)
  • 59. Text is like this http://anthonyflo.tumblr.com/post/7590868323/photographer-and-self-described-geek-of-maps
  • 60. A text is a signal Culture is a transmitter