Extra Credit: Symposium Edition

On Wednesday morning, classmate Miguel and I stumbled over to the Student Union to catch a session at this years Department of Writing and Rhetoric Symposium. I had never been to this event before, or any event like this really. We decided to check out a session entitled, “Which 90s character are you online?: An introspective look at social media personas”. I am currently in a class called Literacy and Technology and am doing research on the relationship between peoples core and digital identity, so naturally, it seemed fit.

The session went on to showcase seven students work in their final Capstone project. Essentially, these seven Writing and Rhetoric Majors had done extensive interviewing and coding of social media pages in order to draw distinct differences between online personas. After this research was collected, they had to decided what the heck they were gong to do with all this raw data they had. After collaboration and discussing the ways to create “something that matters”, they decided on taking the research they had to establish five different online personas and relate them to a 90’s TV character. From there, the students created a Buzzfeed quiz that would allow people to classify themselves amongst the five online personas, as well as tagging them up with a 90’s character.

Overall, I was SUPER impressed with this research project and the presentation of their research. They were eloquent speakers and you could see how passionate and happy they were to have accomplished this work. I found the process of “coding” to be the most interesting, because I had never before thought of coding in this context. Prior to this experience, I always associated coding with gaming or computer writing; not research on language and social theories. The students mentioned multiple times how tedious the coding process was and said it took over a month just to process all the data. They had to spend a month collecting the data before they could even develop research and theory. This was most interesting to me because it opened my eyes to a new realm of research.

The symposium as a whole was very cool. Many of my teachers had been hyping it up and I wasn’t necessarily sure if I was going to attend, but most defiantly glad that I did. Not only did I get to watch a really fascinating research project presentation, but I also learned more about the Writing and Rhetoric Department.

My only major suggestion is that Writing and Rhetoric professors should collaborate with the Symposium and have their class attend at least one full workshop/presentation together each year. I think that would really spark a lot of interest and creativity amongst the students and department, as well as expose the students to the Symposium if they were like me, and did not realize what a great opportunity going was.

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Blog Post #5

Identify the main argument and / or purpose of the film: What is the filmmaker’s purpose? What is the argument/thesis of the film? What assertions/claims are made?

This video documented a fifth grade class from the Bronx traveling to a farm sanctuary in Upstate New York. The boys stayed at the farm for three days and worked with the animals during the day, while connecting to one another and natures goodness. The filmmakers main purpose of capturing this experience was not only to commemorate a trip the class thoroughly enjoyed, but also to capture and spread awareness/the message on the importance of eating a whole foods diet and taking care of all the animals on earth. The thesis of this film would be that new experiences outside of normal comfort zones often lead to new understandings and growth.

 

Give me at least two ways in which the thesis or aim of the film’s argument is supported through rhetorical and persuasive strategies (e.g., presentation of facts, dismissing credibility of counterfactual information, not addressing certain related issues, etc.).

The mini documentary highlights the workers of the farm sanctuary speaking to the children to further understand the mission of the trip and workings of the farm sanctuary. This not only established power relations between the students and workers, but also condones an academic, factual rhetoric which allows for higher credibility, ethos, with the workers of the farm sanctuary.

Another rhetorical strategy used multiple times throughout this film was interview based questions with the students who were attending this trip. Questions were asked before the trip began, during their stay at the farm, and upon returning back to school. The questions and answers allow the reader to get a deeper sense of how those involved are feeling, connecting the audience to the message on deeper levels.

 

To focus your ideas, you’ll need to choose a selection of scenes to analyze. Do not attempt to discuss everything about the film. Your chosen scenes from the film should represent the best evidence or claims for the film’s purpose. Explain why these seem to be the most truthful or persuasive and analyze how the filmmaker uses them to present the film’s argument.

There is not much of an argument within this documentary, other than the subtle notes that a vegan diet is the most sustainable, nutrient dense, and ethically sound lifestyle. The main focus is on the children gaining new learning experiences and work experience. The filmmaker shows two specific scenes that show the authors main purpose.

First of, there is a scene where the filmmaker mutes the background and plays subtle music while the students are all busy working in the barn. Right before the camera is shot over to the scene of the children working, there is student answering an interview question by saying, “None of the work has been hard really. It’s all been pretty fun”. This shows that the children were taking new knowledge, connection, and growth away from this learning experience.

Secondly, to complement that first scene nicely, the documentary ends by showing snapshots of all the students with different rescued animals from the farm sanctuary. This  powerfully captures a key part of the trip and purpose of the film: to show how one another can come together to experience something new and outlandish and build a genuine appreciation for it, all while growing and having fun with your peers and friends.

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Original vs. Remix

Original Work: Paula Abdul – Straight Up (release date: 1988)

Remix of Original Work: J. Cole – Work Out (release date: 2011)

By: Kelsey Chaloux 

  • If you’re looking at two different media (book and a movie, for example), ask yourself how does one media make certain things possible (audio, for example) or not possible. How does this change or not change the overall message of the work?

The two pieces I am choosing to analyze are both songs that I am sourcing form YouTube. The quality of both audio and video are exponentially higher in J. Cole’s 2011 remix of Paula Abdul’s 1988 Straight Up.

This is most obviously due to high definition quality and technology that has surfaced since 1988 and are currently available to artists producing in the 2010’s and on.

The quality of the music videos affect the context of the songs when physically watching the footage. This immediately establishes the time gap between the two works, purely based on the quality of audio and visual production.

Paula Abdul’s song/video is filmed in black and white and has an obvious grainy texture. Even the shadows and contrasting of colors in Abdul’s video show signs of “old age”. On top of that, the scenes are very minimal and there is not much fancy camera work (angles, splits, ext.). In regard to the audio, there is a distinct “80’s vibe” and I am able to hear the difference between the quality and the clarity of songs produced today.

In contrast, J. Cole’s song/video shows a fantastic amount of colors, featuring bright patterns and cityscapes. The video quality is so high it is almost comical when comparing it to Abdul’s video produced in 1988. Along with fantastic color, the video captures beautiful light flares that really display the high video quality. The camera jumps from scene to scene, truly creating a mini-movie, and the video footage displays movement in different speeds- some scenes highlight movement being slowed down. As for the audio, the quality is tenfold stronger than any song recorded before the turn of the century. The clarity of J. Cole’s voice is noticeable and truly makes for a more pleasurable listening experience.

 

  • What are the biggest changes you notice between the two works? How do these changes affect the message or story?

The most noticeable changes between the two works are the different genres of music present. J. Cole remixes Paul Abdul’s “Straight Up” by taking the chorus from a 1980’s pop song, and converting it into the chorus of a 2011 hip hop song. J. Cole is arguably one of the leading lyrical geniuses amongst today’s hip-hop culture (along side Kendrick Lamar).

Cole does not just sample beats and lyrics from Paula Abdul but remixes the beats and lyrics by making them unique to his song. For example, in “Straight Up”, the catchy background music is made possible by acoustic and percussion instruments, whereas in J. Cole’s “Work Out”, the same tune is found, but this time recreated by electronic synthesizers. In addition, when J. Cole uses Paula Abdul’s “straight up now tell me do you really wanna love me forever, oh- oh- oh, or is just a hit and run?” he does not take the original sample of her voice, but rather remixes it by singing it himself.

These changes affect the message of the song because the hip-hop elements of the remixed pop song establish the artists in their respective genre. By using electronic synthesizers to remix the original acoustic beat, J. Cole reaffirms his place within the hip-hop community by adding a fun and recognizable electronic beat to his music.

 

  • How has the audience changed as a result? Do both works cater to the same audience? How?

The audiences of the two songs defiantly changed as a result of the two different genres they are produced in. First off, the twenty-three year time gap between the two songs clearly accounts for the change in audience. Many of the people who sing along to J. Cole’s “Work Out” were not even born yet when Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” was a hit. This creates a different audience between the two songs because some of the audience members who listen to “Work Out” were not even around to hear “Straight Up’ in its glory days, and visa versa. Many people who listened and sang along to Paula Abdul are now too old to be attracted to J. Cole.

Another key change in audience is that those listening to Paula Abdul in the 1980’s were for the most part white girls who liked to dance around and workout to her catchy pop songs. Now, those listening to J. Cole come from a more diverse background- mostly drawing in teenagers and young adults and defiantly attracting more people of color due to hip-hops general culture.

 

  • What is lost when the work is remixed by another artist? What is gained?

I don’t know if I believe anything is lost in a good remix. A good remix should be able to take elements from another artist’s work and recreate them to be their own, while still keeping it obvious that it is a remix. A good remix should be recognizable to the audience as a remix. If the audience cannot distinguish between what is the artist’s original work or what is being remixed/ sampled, then I believe the artist did a poor job at executing the remix and engaging the audience- because lets be real, people fucking love remixes.

I think remixes add to the overall collaboration of the music industry and culture. Remixes are extremely fun when they cross genres, much like the two songs I am analyzing. Within the last 6 years or so, the music culture has seen a new genre of music evolve and this genre of music celebrates remixes/remixing. Electronic dance music and trap DJ’s have opened up new realms of remixing and I believe this brings the music culture closer together, more collaborative, and more expansive.

When thinking about this question in terms of “Work Out” and “Straight Up”, I think the dance element that Abdul created in her work is lost, but J. Cole brings a chill persona to the work, allowing it to be a song to vibe out to.

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^ (black and white, grainy picture, dance elements)

 

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^ (color, light flare, remixing Abdul’s lyrics with his own voice)

 

 

 

Blog Post #4

I kind of wish I found this software/app when composing the original, but now know I can use it for my final documentary!

WordPress could not except the file type to my remix, so here is the link to view my Visual Narrative Remix.

I decided to leave out the text in the remixed version, considering the original work should be recognized in a good remix.

You asked us if our original Visual Narrative was still alive or dead, but since we are still talking about it and referencing it, it is still alive. A work goes dead when people stop talking about.

 

 

 

Blog Post #3

This was my first time using and encountering the Mosaic interface. I was a bit confused at first, not really sure of how this thing worked or why it was “different” than other databases. From playing around and taking the Scavenger Hunt, I was able to further my understanding and grasp of Mosaic.

When searching for my own terms, I was originally unable to get any results. I was searching terms like, “veganism, vegan, whole foods, natural eating, natural restaurants”. I continued to not get results and I was getting a bit frustrated. Initially, I thought this wasn’t going to be helping me at all.

I then started searching terms and subjects such as, “vegetable, fruit, nutrition” and I was able to see results. When navigating through the searches and tags, I was still feeling a bit jipped. My results were interesting, a census of fruits and vegetables grown and produced in Oviedo in the early 1900s, but completely irrelevant to my project and research.

I took your comment on my last blog post in to account. You asked me why my documentary would be different if I am not focusing on animal rights. I want to focus on nutrition and eating wholesome foods, NOT not eating animals. See the difference? With that being said, I would like to focus my documentary on “how easy and accessible it is to be vegan in Orlando”.

So, while the census and searches were informative and interesting to me, they did not really help me out with current times. I will be highlighting Orlando’s amazing vegan restaurants and cafe’s and I couldn’t find much info or sources on Mosaic in regards to the restaurants I have in mind.

I have full intent of coming back to this database and search around some more, and hopefully by playing around with my word choice for my searches I will be able to find some more relevant, current, sources to compliment my project and research.

Documentary Proposal

Approaching my one year- animal protein free- anniversary, it is absolutely incredible how much I have grown and learned in the last year as I navigate what I thought would have been uncharted territory.. veganism. Veganism is a tricky thing when talking to the pubic about it, because before they listen, most often times, they are already turned off. Many people not only lack the value of nutrition, but also think vegans are conceded salad eaters. Having first hand experience in “figuring out the whole vegan thing”, I have developed a strong passion in regards to both nutrition and world compassion.

Having being vegetarian for only a few weeks before dropping egg and dairy products, I have spent the majority of my time as a vegan, living in the Central Florida area… AKA I know all the good spots. I have had to learn from trial and error, make my own ways up, and continually learn more about this lifestyle choice from online forums and other personal experiences/knowledge.

I would like to propose a documentary focused on not only educating my audiences on nutrition and veganism, but also to showcase Central Florida’s many vegan options, and whats becoming quite the central florida “vegan” scene. From farmers markets to all vegan restaurants, Orlando’s got it all. In my documentary, I will be able to give some insight to what a vegan lifestyle looks like and offer nutritious, cruelty free, and environmentally friendly places to grub in and around Downtown Orlando.

Some questions I would like this documentary to answer:

What has caused this vegan trend to flourish throughout Orlando?

Why/Are outsiders drawn to the “vegan vibe”? For example, many non vegans will still eat at all vegan restaurants and shop at farmers markets/Veg Fest.

Why are people so scared of veganism? I already know the answer… miseducation/misinformation.

I hope to not only answer those questions, but to explore and dive even deeper. I have such a passion for vegan lifestyles and happy to educate and share what I know to others.

One important component I want to focus on when it comes to speaking about veganism, is that I want to get audiences attention on health and nutrition, rather than animal rights and slaughterhouses.

I am not entirely sure I know who I would interview yet, but off the bat, I think it might be cool to interview some employees of the vegan restaurants (to see what kind of crowd they draw) and obviously vegans and non vegans.

I want to make this documentary because I am inspired by the vegan lifestyle and think so many people need to be re-educated on the matter.