Composing with Playing Cards, Images, and Oxymoron

We’ve done 2 composing activities in my Computers and Writing class over the past few weeks, so I thought I’d post images of my compositions here.

The first composition is my image poem “Land of the Queens.”  I composed using postcards and playing cards that some of my classmates provided, using repetition and juxtaposition as compositional strategies.

Land of the Queens

Land of the Queens close up

Today, we composed with rhetorical terminologies that we picked from a list – mine was “oxymoron,” a figure of speech that combines contradictory terms.  My composition is “Dark Light,” made from ripped construction paper and some crayons.

Oxymoron - "Dark Light"

Oxymoron – “Dark Light”

I’ve thought a bit about the element of play while composing both of these pieces.  For “Dark Light,” I ended up ripping the paper because someone else was using the scissors, but then I liked the ripped look and kept going.  For “Land of the Queens, ” I started using repetition because I saw 2 identical postcards and wondered what else I could find 2 of.  For both compositions, I ended up somewhere that I didn’t originally intend because of playing around with the available materials and making due with the resources I had.

Caption Fail?

This activity, from my Computers and Writing class this week and the guru-of-accessibility, professor Melanie Yergeau, was designed to see how accessible the caption feature on youtube really is for video material.  We recorded ourselves reading a paragraph of text (mine is me reading my blog response to the readings from the other day), and then we uploaded the audio to youtube, turned on the captions, and looked to see what would come out.  You can listen to and watch mine below, just click on the CC captioning icon when you press play to see the captions.

Overall, though, I’m surprised at how good of a job the youtube captioner does.  Ok, ok, so the captioner has no idea how to use a comma, and authors Bowie and Zdenek became “slowly and senate,” but who even knows how to say Zdenek’s name anyway?  And digi-rhetors became “digi-renters,” but I’m not even sure digi-rhetors is a word some of my colleagues would recognize if I said it to them face to face.  In class, Melanie mentioned that the youtube captioner does better with a man’s voice – maybe my voice is manly?!?  I am an alto, after all.

All in all, an interesting experiment in accessibility for digital video.  Maybe the youtube captioner technology is getting better, for which those of us who care (or should care) about accessibility can rejoice.

Words to Ponder re: Digital Delivery & Accessibility

Porter argues that we need a robust theoretical framework for digital delivery – a framework that will “help you write,” aid your productive action if you will.  His framework calls attention to bodies, distribution and circulation, access, interaction, and the economics of composing and delivering digital texts.  Bowie and Zdenek also call digi-rhetors to pay attention to the accessiblity of our 21-st century texts:  how can we take a “universe of users” into account as we design and research?  If and when we caption, what do we caption, and why?

These articles have important implications for my own (and my students’) rhetorical action as digital video composers, and I’m left with much to ponder.  I’ll represent the questions and ideas rolling around in my brain with some key words and phrases relevant to video composing:

remix; licensing; keywords and tagging; the posthuman?; to caption or not to caption; “soundtrack”; representing music in words; visual design; WHERE TO PUBLISH??…