Thursday, June 10, 2010

Out With the Old, In With the New

After a conversation with my "Writing About Literature" professor Dr. Burton, I've decided to take this moment to recap my project, and provide another hub post, so that I might tighten things up a little, and streamline my thoughts into more bite-size, but still inter-related chunks.

In my initial hub-post, I laid out a plan to look at landscape through the lens of Victor Sjostrom's early films, and thereby demonstrate the importance of landscape in our modern context. I had developed a plan to look at at least 7 different topics, only a few of which I have covered, including a historical look at landscape in early film before Victor Sjostrom, and a personal exploration of landscape painting. However, my posts have been long and generally include several different subjects, making the process of reading one of my posts feel a little muddy and disjointed.

So, this new hub-post provides an opportunity to re-establish my main idea (thesis?) and move in new directions with a fresh resolve to be concise and efficient. As I discussed with Dr. Burton, there is no reason why a blog can't have 5, or 10, or 20 hub posts, recapping previous efforts and re-formulating a path of research, but always remaining connected, like the webs in the image above.

For the moment, the following indicates a new path in my exploration of landscape, in an effort to involve a more contemporary perspective:

2. How does landscape in film provide elements of interactivity and immersiveness, especially with the new technology used in modern film showings?


  1. Neal! Excellent visual aid in what you're attempting to do here! I especially like that each web seems to have a "hub" and yet is still connected to the rest!
    Great questions and I am particularly interested in the first and third questions. I am using a "landscape" type analogy in my posts (thanks for your comments!) and think it would be neat to see you creating your web using a leaf -> tree -> forest type analogy as well. Just a thought.
    Question, when you refer to "'readerly' and 'writerly' texts" do you mean the text you have been talking about in your blog, like visual text, or actual traditional text?
    Great job synthesizing your main argument, self analyzing where you're at and taking your readers with you on your turn for a new approach!

  2. Neal, you succeeded in making this post more "bite-size" and I like it.

    Since I am starting to explore metaphors, thanks in part to you comment on my "email to the bloggernacle" post, I am also interested in your first question about landscape as an analogy in the digital context. I don't know how formulated you already have your ideas, but after reading your previous hub post I thought about this connection. You say "Sjostrom brought subtlety and beauty to the mise en scene of the natural world, surpassing the sort of place-holding role that setting and set design had been relegated to in a transitional period between the prominence of a "cinema of attractions" and the triumph of the feature film." What kind of role does the current digital landscape hold? Are we currently in a transitional period between paradigms? Is digital media merely a place-holder or a tool, or more? Should it be more?

  3. I think that this is a helpful reformulation. As for your first question regarding landscape as an analogy to the digital realm (and going off of Ben's quoting the concept of "mise-en-scene" from your earlier post) I'm now thinking that the digital realm does not have a natural landscape at all; any "view" of it takes place as mise-en-scene; that is, as something that is artificially composed. There is no "natural" vantage point for viewing the digital realm -- not even a computer monitor (with its "landscape" orientation).

    Natural, physical landscapes have distinct spatial dimensions, and most of the online world resists that (except perhaps virtual worlds like Second Life, or the realm of video games). There are efforts to use digital photography to represent the natural world impressively (look up Gigapixel photography -- some pretty cool sites to be seen through a billion pixels). But less literally, trying to conceive of the "landscape" of the Internet, requires data visualization. There's also the realm of interfaces that each provide a different "vista" from which to encounter or "see" the online world. It's certainly getting more varied than the desktop computer, especially with mobile access to the web on the rise. Maybe the artificiality of cinematic landscapes provides a better way to use this metaphor for things online or digital -- that's why the "mise-en-scene" concept is intriguing for me.

  4. Becca, you caught an important omission; the "readerly" and "writerly" that I refer to are in fact related to film, my goal being to argue that landscapes in film may provide a way to turn a "readerly" text into a "writerly" one.

    And my next post will address some of the things that Ben and Dr. Burton brought up in their comments.