Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
- Educating the minds and spirits of students
- Advance truth and knowledge
- Extend the blessings of learning
- Develop friends for the University and for the Church
Educate the minds and spirits of students within a learning environment that
- increases faith in God and the Restored Gospel,
- is intellectually enlarging,
- is character building, and
- leads to a life of learning and service.
The Lord wants you to educate your minds and hands, whatever your chose field. Whether it be repairing refrigerators, or the work of a skilled surgeon, you must train yourselves. Seek for the best schooling available. Become a workman of integrity in the world that lies ahead of you. I repeat, you will bring honor to the Church and you will be generously blessed because of that training.
From the beginning of Neal's blog posts to the concluding post on landscape functions in film, his thought process as a writer has flourished. He has done extensive research and has had come across difficulties, not being able to get certain scenes from his Sjostrom DVD and others but he has been able to communicate with people outside of our classroom including Tom Gunning, the Chair for the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at The University of Chicago. His blog postings are frequent and not only does Neal responds well to peers blogs and his peers respond on his blog postings too which I think have helped him in his writing craftsmanship. Neal even dedicates a post where he includes comments from fellow classmates, Allison, Chris, and Heather and responds to their feedback. He is in touch with his readers.
The overall research of Neal's blog clearly focuses on landscape in film. He offers several different videos to show readers/viewers the impact that landscape has on film. Each blog post has sub headings that are easy for the reader to understand what he is about to discuss. One thing I have noticed from reading Neal's blog is that there is a clear thought pattern. He asks himself questions and then will answer them in future blog postings. He, in a way, posts his brainstorming which allows him to progress in his writing.
The posts relate well with each other and there is an overall flow of posting.
Neal narrates his writing process well in his postings as I have mentioned before. His main source of literature Victor Sjostrom's Terje Vigen is linked well with his writing process and he refers back to it throughout his postings. He profiles Tom Gunning in a post where he displays their e-mail conversations and how Gunning has helped shaped his project. Neal frequently in each post refers his readers back to his hub post and reformulated hub post which lead to the overall creation of his concluding post. He includes current event posts and even examined copyright laws on uploading film found in this post.
Neal does not separate himself from his writing. His thought processes are laid out well within his posts and he even in one post expresses his personal love for landscape and the outdoors. As a reader, he comes off as a person that I could have both scholarly and informal conversations with which gives the author more appeal.
Currency and History
Neal had the challenge of being the only one in our class to look at landscape and film and literature. Other classmates focused on civil disobedience, the sublime, and online identity, or a mixture of the three. I think that Neal accomplished this task of grounding his writings in historical film.
The main literary source is well analyzed throughout Neal's blog postings and he makes connections to it and his personal research. He takes his sources from all different areas: scholars, literature, and youtube to display a variety of context.
Neal engages scholars who are familiar with his topic and classmates are interested in his research and provide useful feedback for him to continue in his studies. I have linked Neal in some of my previous blog posts for the useful feedback he has given me and as mentioned previously, Neal responds well with his classmates. He has a very high level of interactivity.
A link to Diigo and other bookmark tabs are listed on Neal's sidebars. He also has avoided isolated work by demonstrating connectivity with readers.
Throughout Neal's posts he provides firm analysis on film and literature. In his post on "The landscape of landscape and film", Neal analyzes a text entitled Cinema by Tom Gunning. He provides quotes from the literature, provides his own feedback and then links his findings in Cinema to other research he has accumulated.
I think that some of Neal's blog posts seem long but only because of the font size. I think that they will draw readers in because of the media content, the way he forms his quotes and analysis. The format of his blog postings allows readers to easily read through his thoughts and writings.
There are links everywhere in the post! This can be a bad thing and a good thing. In ways I see so many links that I don't know which ones I should click on and then I end up overlooking many of them. It is important to link previous posts and research but I do think that Neal links extensively throughout his postings.
Media? Oh no media on this blog post! Absolute sarcasm right there. Neal uses media as his main source for each post. Media, film, drives his research and he frequently embeds videos for his viewers to watch in order to let them visualize and understand what he is aiming at in his writing. His blog posting on June 1 links four videos for viewers to watch linking the landscape to the narrative using Victor Sjostrom's early films as his case study.
I would have liked to see Neal's blog with more of a landscape and new media feel. Maybe have a piece of landscape as his background. I also think his pictures illustrated his topics of discussion.
Neal definitely has enough blog posts that have allowed the reader to regularly follow the blog.
Overall I think Neal did a wonderful job at fulfilling our assignment to take a topic and discuss it in a new media aspect. I have enjoyed reading his thoughts and as a reader of his work, I have been offered new insight into the importance of landscape in film.
I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave's government also. All men recognize the right of revolution...the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government when its tyranny or its inefficient are great and unendurable.
Thoreau wrote this text for all people in all places. The Zapatista battle has also been a battle of peaceful protest. A "peaceable revolution," Thoreau states, is "if a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood." The Zapatistas have partaken in Thoreau's ideology of peaceful revolution. Since 1994, the Zapatista army has abstained from using their weapons for violence. Instead, they have been determined to fight their war through words. Words relaying their actions and messages. The Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT) has greatly assisted in spreading the Zapatista message through using FloodNet software and other forms of ECD like Virtual Sit-Ins and Hacktivism.
Shortly after the attacks, Dominguez was brought into questioning, UCSD placing him under surveillance to see if any criminal charges could be placed for a professor that had just recently given tenure. Placed under scrutiny by his own "government", Dominguez "educated" his students and others by "serving the state with [his] conscience, and so necessarily [resisting] it for the most part" to be "commonly treated as [an enemy]." Through their protest, they "[refused] allegiance to, and [resisted], the government [UCOP]." Letters were written all over the globe in support for Dominguez's actions. Students and faculty performed a silent protest on campus in support of Dominguez and protesting the right to academic freedom, declaring their virtual protest as a new media form of art.
As I continue my focus on writing about Electronic Civil Disobedience (ECD) and tying it into Henry David Thoreau’s essay on “Civil Disobedience”, it has somewhat come to my attention that my more formal blog postings that I have somewhat failed at completely linking my primary text with my primary focus.
The beginning of my blog postings centered around Thoreau and his relation to social networking like Twitter and what his views would be today as technology has progressed. I then ventured on to discuss more about how civil disobedience has been seen throughout American history since the writing of “Civil Disobedience” and since then my main focus has been discussing the formation, background, and ins and outs of ECD and the Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT). Mentioning Thoreau here and there to try to maintain somewhat of a connection, my literary focus has not been as demonstrated through my postings. I have been faced with the challenge of introducing my readers to an unpopular subject matter, electronic civil disobedience, and defining the terms and background. In doing so that my readers are capable of learning and understanding all that I have come to learn and understand through my research. Action is absolutely apparent in all context of writing. Activists are modernizing the traditional.
Whether action is taken in the traditional civilly disobedient way or by a virtual aspect, the point is that action IS being taken. Stefan Wray said in his essay that “The Internet infrastructure [now] is not only a means toward or a site for communication, but the Internet infrastructure itself becomes an object or site for action.” A site for action, an opportunity to display protest and voice. Taking advantage of this action provides activists with the literal feel that ONE person certainly can make a difference and can have their views heard and seen within a new medium.The information I have given you will act as a source of reference as in my next post I solely analyze and compare Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience” with the EDT and ECD. Below I have included my more formalized blog postings that ought to act as a guide:
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
CD & ECD
Electronic Civil Disobedience (ECD) involves powerful “symbolic gestures” that enhance protest and relay messages for equality, rights of the people, and other liberties. ECD was first proposed in 1994 by the Critical Art Ensemble (CAE), which some reformers used to transition to the Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT). The CAE gave the proposed practice of ECD its name aligning the concept of electronic civil disobedience with that of civil disobedience, in an effort to draw legitimacy from the legendary leaders such as Henry David Thoreau, author of “Civil Disobedience”. Civil disobedience involves trespassing and blockading as tactics for protest. ECD involves itself in these tactics by conforming them in a new setting and in a slightly different aspect. Hacktivism, virtual sit-ins, and the use of the software FloodNet are tactics used by the EDT in sending messages of ECD protest. I have spoken about these forms in my previous blog posts: The Zapatistas and Electronic Disturbance Theater and An Info-War, a Virtual Sit-In, and Hacktivists...United for a Cause.
ECD in Recent Times
As I have mentioned before, ECD first arose in assisting in the battle in Chiapas, Mexico and the Zapatistas fighting for equality and the sanctification for human rights. In recent news, there have been recent publicized forms of ECD within the school systems in California. Dr. Ricardo Dominguez, a professor of electronic civil disobedience at University of California-San Diego, as mentioned in earlier posts as a co-founder of EDT and assisting the battle in Chiapas, Mexico, posed a virtual sit-in with his students towards the president of the university. Dominguez and students on March 4 utilized both traditional forms of civil disobedience and ECD to demonstrate protest towards the increased college tuition fee at UCSD. Students, interviewed by the school’s newspaper, The Guardian, examined the relationship between physical and virtual protest. Holly Eskew, a student of Dominguez said, “On March 4, when about 400 of us and then some did the virtual sit-in, at the same time we had our real bodies protesting. We are reaching the time when we can compare our real bodies to our digital bodies and online environment.” The term "digital bodies" suggests different digital identities, evolving our physical bodies to the cyber world, something my colleagues Becca and Heather are interested in writing about. The body in relation to technology like bodies to machines, EDT has placed a notion of "embodiment" under question. They have sought to understand specific possibilities for establishing presence in the cyber world that is both politicized and collective.
The goal of EDT is to take known forms and then subvert their message in order provoke thought, discussion, and emotion. The utilizing of new media and art allows EDT to take on a more modern form of Thoreau’s more traditional “Civil Disobedience”. Dominguez and other EDT members contributed to the EZLN’s fight for the indigenous people of Mexico. Crafting themselves as Digital Zapatistas, they “attacked” websites of the Mexican government and US governments. These “attacks” were never effective…only affective—something Dominguez stresses in interviews. By digitalizing the message of the EZLN, harm was never physically seen even though the government posed threats against them. FloodNet and Virtual Sit-Ins such as the one executed against the UC system for which Dominguez is under investigation for are ways of protest that send forth messages. The key difference between a virtual sit-in and a sit-in is that a virtual sit-in must be open and transparent. My previous post has discussed this in relation to “Distrubed Denial of Service Attack” (DDoS) that Dominguez has been accused of launching.
UCSD hired Dominguez on the basis of his work in ECD in 2005. He teaches his students about ECD, having them regulate and utilize an online lab called b.a.n.g. lab, a place for numerous art projects and discussion among the UC system. He was granted tenure in 2009. Those threatening to take away his job are the same who granted him tenure. He was granted tenure for his usage of FloodNet and the usage of Virtual Sit-Ins. They hired Dr. Dominguez because of his familiarity with ECD and EDT and clearly found so much interest in his research and studies to have a class dedicated solely to ECD and a speacilist to teach it. They clearly knew what he was capable of--launching virtual "attacks", hacktivism, utilizing the internet for protest. So when these virtual sit-ins and software like FloodNet are being utilized by Dominguez and his students to send across an important message, the UCOP decides to shut down Dominguez's computer and internet connection, accuse him of a DDoS attack, and see if they can press criminal charges against him. These previous sit-ins were praised and yet what makes this one so different? This is a question that I asked The Guardian newspaper and have yet to receive a response from the author. A professor and students protesting an increase in college fees. When stated like that, it seems commendable, understandable. So why is it that protesting against the fee increase lands a professor under criminal watch? Dominguez asks the same question, “[It would be] an unwise choice for them to attempt to stop academic research and artistic research that I was awarded for in past years,” he said. “Why now? What is different and what does the administration want?” UCSD administrators say they honor academic freedom, but need to look into any potential criminal activity.
Questioning and Support
As Dominguez was attended a meeting on campus to be questioned, students and several other supporters gathered by the Silent Tree on library walk at the unviersity. Dominguez, void of legal representation, fielded questions and chose to postpone the meeting. Students and supporters wore white masks with X's on them to represent the university's attempt to silence academic freedom. Something UCSD administrators said they honored... Dominguez rejoined the supporters, giving them thanks and listened as they read letters that spanned the globe, which voiced solidarity, alliance, and outrage at the administration’s criminalization of his work.
The digital Zapatista rose again and along the way educated this generation's youth of the importance of ECD, letting voices be heard and teaching students artistic ways to politicize using new media. As Thoreau once said:
The law will never make men free. It is men who have got to make the law free.
...and that is exactly what Dominguez, the Zapatistas, EDT, students, and virtual sit-in activists are trying to do.
Monday, June 14, 2010
As mentioned in “The Zapatistas and Electronic Disturbance Theater” post last week, I viewed the birth of the Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT) in relation to the Mexican Zapatistas and discussed a few of the technicalities of protest they demonstrate including their software FloodNet which allows activists to form some sort of electronic artistic way to send across messages of protest/disturbance. FloodNet has been the source of virtual sit-ins practiced by EDT members and participants all over cyberspace. A virtual sit-in is another form of electronic civil disobedience (ECD) created by the EDT.
Before I begin, please view the two videos which will discuss the information war, virtual sit-ins, and hacktivism—the main three topics of this post. Keep in mind that it is difficult to separate each topic into a category of its own because they are interlaced and cannot exist without the other. In these videos, you will see the uniting of the three…
Virtual sit-ins began in 1998 as an online activist tool created by Dr. Ricardo Dominguez which allows activists, using FloodNet, to potentially flood and take down a website. They use an HTML-based program that targets a specific website and allows other activists to join and participate. As each individual joins in the protest, the website is forced to refresh the page which draws in more traffic and eventually leads to a prevention of use. This form of technology reveals the reasons as to why individuals participate in the protest and tells how long it will last thus giving it far more meaning. But how?..
Stefan Wray, who has been mentioned in earlier posts, sees the form of virtual sit-ins, a new form of civil disobedience, when compared to the traditional form of civil disobedience, allows an ECD actor the ability to participate in virtual blockades and sit-ins from home, work, school, and virtually any location where there is access to the Net. Dominguez says in regards to electronic civil disobedience that it:
allows us to think about the question of art becoming a social manifestation, allows us to think about art allowing communities who do not have access to power to make themselves present, that allows the unbearable weight of human beings to put a stop to the crisis that is around us—especially the juicy crisis of education. It allows us to see that art is an active space in public culture and that it cannot be disregarded.Dominguez views virtual sit-ins from an active EDT member viewpoint. The art assimilated with cyberspace allows activists to voice their message of protest in a different and unique way.
The goal of the Electronic Disturbance Theater is to take the traditional and respected form of civil disobedience and attach it to the cyber world. A virtual sit-in on an internet website allows for the same purpose of protest in a different form. Just like an embodied traditional physical sit-in, in order to be effective, a virtual sit-in also needs a lot of people in order to make a purpose clear. Participants are noticed and seen as a force. For a virtual sit-in to be effective, it must be transparent and open access.
There is a difference between a virtual sit-in and a “Distributed denial of Service” (DDoS) attack. With a DDoS attack, unknown individuals become channels in increasing traffic to certain internet addresses, making it inoperable and threatening a crash of the system. In a DDoS attack, identity is obscured and there are extended assaults motivated by retribution, financial gain, and an attempt to censor freedom of speech. A virtual sit-in differs greatly in that the individuals participating in the sit-in have a goal, a reason, for protest and they make that known. Actions are stated, grievances are described, participants are known, and once it is over, there is no physical damage done. Participants use the FloodNet software and the reload/refresh button on a webpage that eventually sends a cross a message in the URL. The message is a digital artistic form of speech in protest. In order for these virtual sit-ins to uprise, hacking must occur and in an activist form, Hacktivism, comes to rise.
Hacktivism: “Words AS War, Not Words FOR War”—Ricardo Dominguez
Hacktivism, according to the Electrohippies, is a function that combines hacking and activism in a technological sense to provide “Hacktivism”. Hacktivism is a legal “tool for open and focused action against injustice and human subjugation.” Hacktivism uses creative ways as have been previously mentioned to send forth messages. Hacktivists take a piece of technology, a URL code, a website, and envision a use for it beyond what it was designed for. This innovative thinking combined with a hacktivist’s desire for truth and rights in a social or political context allows for progressive movements in digital protest.
Hacktivism has already been mentioned in my previous post and throughout this one. Using FloodNet, participants would visit a website and then download the Java Applet software which would access the target site and reload or refresh every couple of seconds. The protests allow protestors to leave personal statements on the targeted server error logs. With the Zapatistas, for example, browsers were pointed to non-existent files which included the names of those murdered in the Acteal Massacre on the target server. The server would return and log the message “[murdered victim’s name] not found on this server.” This was a creative form of protest with the intentions to send out a message of non-violent awareness, protest, and a re-visitation and reminder to the murderers. Brett Stalbaum, the creator of FloodNet characterizes the software as “conceptual net art that empowers people through active/artistic expression.”
Hacktivism is a peaceful form of protest that organizes a mass amount of people with using FloodNet to create a “symbolic gesture”. Digital activism and hacktivism allows people in different parts of the world to view things that have been censored by their government. Hacktivism exposes truth in an artistic and meaningful way. The video below shows the political exposure which raises awareness to citizens in several different countries. The traditional ways of protest are also viewed in this video. The concensus is that cyber-activism provides a platform for several more people to take a virtual stand to relay the same message across.
Electronic Civil Disobedience combining FloodNet software, the information war, virtual sit-ins, and hacktivism allows for an undoubted measure of activism and protest to come about through a mass load of messages and participants. But are these methods of protest even effective? Stefan Wray analyzes the word effective and defines it in the light of hacktivism in that "if hacktivism is to draw attention to particular issues by engaging in actions that are unusual and will attract some degree of media coverage, then the effectiveness can be seen as high...hactktivism appears to be a means to augment or supplement existing organizing efforts, a way to make some noise and focus attention."
Wray describes this generation as a period of expansion and not contraction. "The nature of cyberspace is extraterritorial. People can easily act across geographic political borders." Hacktivism on the rise provides for endless opportunities that exist in some combination of word and deed. Where is hacktivism going? In my up and coming posts I will be discussing modern forms of hacktivism in current events, its effectiveness and the frontier ahead.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
On January 1, 1994 as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) came into effect, the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation—Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional), a revolutionary group based in Chiapas, MX, reformed as a revolutionary movement. Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico, is one of Mexico’s richest states yet it suffers from a massive array of inequality and poverty. January 1, 1994, people have declared a war against the Mexican state. In declared opposition to the Mexican government, the EZLN believe that their wishes, needs, and desires of the (largely indigenous) Zapatistas and the supporting communities. They released their declaration of war and issued a First Declaration from the Lacandon Jungle. The Zapatistas gained power from the lack thereof. It would be impossible for them to defeat the Mexican (and US) army directly in armed conflict, so they attacked their oppressors with public democratic activity…and art. Resorting to the internet, the self-proclaimed libertarians have used nonviolent avenues like the internet to spread their messages.
A New Experimentation with Civil Disobedience
Ricardo Dominguez, a current professor of electronic civil disobedience at University of California-San Diego (UCSD), partnered with the Zapatistas in 1994 to “[develop] an intercontinental network of struggle and resistance.” (Dominguez) Dominguez along with others in 1998 co-founded the Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT). The EDT is composed of “a group of four net.artists and net.activists engaged in developing the theory and practice of Electronic Civil Disobedience.” At this time, EDT pushed for new experimentation with electronic civil disobedience actions aimed mostly at the Mexican government. EDT drew attention to the world through usage of the internet to show the war waged against the Zapatistas and others in Mexico. Since 1998, the Electronic Disturbance Theater has been working at the intersections of radical politics, recombinant activism, performance art, and software design.
In a lecture given by Stefan Wray on Electronic Civil Disobedience and the World Wide Web of Hacktivism, before 1998, Electronic Civil Disobedience remained in a large part a theory, a concept. However, after the Acteal Massacre of 1997 in Chiapas, a shift occurred into a more crossbreed position viewing the Internet infrastructure as both a means for communication and a site for direct action.
EDT produced Electronic Civil Disobedient software called FloodNet, created by co-foundersCarmin Karasic and Brett Stalbaum. FloodNet is a java applet that is the code equivalent of going to the target website and constantly clicking the reload button. Stalbaum discusses FloodNet on the ECD website. FloodNet functions by reloading a targeted web page several times per minute which “disturbs” the webpages. It is also used to function for the conceptual-artistic spamming of targeted server error logs. FloodNet performs automatic reloads of the targeted server and encourages interaction of the individual protestors. Voicing political concerns and the uniting of Netsurfers allows FloodNet to post a public call for participation in a tactical strike.
FloodNet has been the source of virtual sit-ins practiced by EDT members and participants all over cyberspace. The FloodNet software allowed EDT to invite participation to artists, digerati, and political activists in order to make a “symbolic gesture” in support of the Mexican Zapatistas (Wray).
The Electronic Disturbance Theater uses art and other forms of media to politically take a stand and promote electronic civil disobedience. FloodNet is an example of conceptual.net.art that empowers people through activist/artistic expression. They look for unique ways to send their messages across the servers. For example, activists will select a phrase such as “human_rights” and using the “bad” url, the FloodNet software is able to upload messages to server error logs by intentionally asking for a non-existent url, causing the server to return a message like “human_rights not found on this server.” This imitates the way many http servers process requests for web pages that do not exist. In Stalbaum’s article, this concept of using FloodNet has been practiced during the Zapatista battle for equality and proper treatment by the Mexican government. On June 10 activists protested when the names of the Zapatista farmers killed by the Mexican Army in military attacks on the autonomous village of El Bosque were used in the construction of the “bad” urls. Using art as an asset of FloodNet and the EDT, this was a way of remembering and honoring those who gave their lives defending freedom. FloodNet’s performance “symbolically” returned the dead to the servers of those responsible for their murders.
Stalbaum describes the philosophy of FloodNet in its relation to the Mexican Zapatistas:
The Zaps FloodNet represents just such a collective weapon of presence. Designed as a collectively actuated weapon, inverting the logic of wide open propaganda pipes by flooding network connections with millions of hits from widely distributed, fully participatory nodes, the FloodNet enables a performance of presence which says to Mexico (and its close ally the United States): "We are numerous, alert, and watching carefully." After the initial design, the roles played by communications artists are best described as only the initial low-dimensional attractors upon which the critical tertiary projection of similarity in the dynamic net-system of cybernetics is articulated. This is not only evident in user participation with the FloodNet performances, but in other similarly directed mass actions. Instead of the return of the Renaissance artist/engineer or the sedentary seclusion of the fortress, we seek instead the self-organization of human-machinic networks of good conscious, visibility, and presence.
Electronic Civil Disobedience
This form of non-violent civil disobedience borrows the tactics of trespass and blockade from earlier social movements such as Gandhi’s Satyagraha, protests against the Vietnam War (post link) and Martin Luther King’s public and non-violent sit-ins. Utilizing the internet takes the typical concept of civil disobedience, people physically blockading official entranceways or physically occupying oppenent’s offices and transforms it. An ECD actor can participate in virtual blockades and sit-ins from home, work, university, or any other place where there is internet access. Eliminating travel time from a three hour plane ride to Washington D.C., to seconds and mouseclicks away from delivering the same unified message of protest.
Monday, June 7, 2010
As I was searching for the next upcoming virtual sit-in, I instead came across the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict, an organization that works with like-minded educational institutions and nongovernmental organizations to educate the global public, influence media and and policies coverage, and educate activists and organizers. Their website includes a page of events for activists and learners to get involved.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Arizona's new law has reawakened Latino and immigrant communities. They're not about to let Congress and Obama dodge the question any longer.