“Digital art is an artistic work or practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process. Since the 1960s, various names have been used to describe the process, including computer art and multimedia art. Digital art is itself placed under the larger umbrella term new media art.”
What is YOUR creative potential in relationship to an image or images that you feel connected to?
How can intuitions, feelings, philosophies and or inspiration play a role in image-making?
You do NOT need permission to experiment with digital image making / digital art, so let’s get to it!
The academic commons is a perfect example of a platform (WordPress) that both supports and compliments image based content. File formats like .JPG or .PNG work well here! Let’s begin our reign of creative image-making and take over!!
LETS MAKE SOME DIGITAL ART!
We will experiment with some great “Free to Use” Digital Tools:
*I pre-prepared a series of transparent graphic assets that you can download and use for this, but feel free to make and discover your own, especially if there is specific context to your ideas. Here is the shared folder link:
Places to find Images online – Creative Commons based:
Pixabay.com – great resource for images and transparent assets! (we will use this for the workshop)
National Gallery of Art With the launch of NGA Images, the National Gallery of Art implements an open access policy for digital images of works of art that the Gallery believes to be in the public domain.
Digital Public Library of AmericaThe Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world.
NYPL – The New York Public Library Digital Collections Archive
Allow me to introduce my first post of the new year: “Creative Fun for the NEW Commons Website!”
That’s right, the commons has launched its long awaited update! Its awesome!
Have you checked it out yet? This post is a good place to start if you haven’t. Its very informative and helpful. Not to mention down right inspiring, (you will recognize some of the GIFs and Illustrations, wink wink wink..) I’m always excited to talk about the commons! Im lucky to be a sub-committee member, thats right, I signed up, got hooked, and now they cant get rid of me, and my GIFS!
Lets have some fun talking about the new site and the commons itself, shall we?
But wait, can this blog post be used as pedagogy? Can it be a class assignment example in disguise? Does a blog post have the ability to tell a story? A compelling one… hmmm, lets see..
I’m here to serve, share, learn, revise, connect, contribute, participate and evolve in this wonderful open-source space. I have been teaching a series of my CUNY classes between BMCC and York College via the commons for many years now, I have also created the open-source course from which you are reading this blog post. The fact is, the commons is a brilliant space that is awaiting your energy. It’s a free invitation to break free of anything default (like those prehistoric departmental templates!) Its time to tap into your “highest-creative-pedagogical-self”, (that’s right, that’s a thing now) and let that light been seen here.
There are so many ways to approach this!
Building a course website, portfolio or creating a group on the commons offers many options, and there is so much context to explore.. What do you want to create or experiment with? What would you like share, archive, organize, facilitate or help with? That’s just a starting a point of course. When I first started generating content here I created this site “The NET-Art Site” for fun as an example of the “ideal course” that I would “one day” love to teach… I’m very serious. It is not an actual 3 credit course at BMCC or York college, but it has become something so much more as both of those courses benefit from and contribute to the content. It’s an OPEN resource full of use-value in context to all of my teaching. Its worth way more than 3 credits, I mean, its like 100,000 teaching-karma-credits that gets legacy attached to it! (as sinister music drones into the background…. Im kidding, but then again..) What I’m trying to share is, I simply jumped in. I started making and sharing, creating opportunities and reaching out to others. Things took off and quickly began to shape just by starting and not worrying about how it would be received. The commons community supported it 1000%! Since then, we have collaborated with the NYPL and several other campuses on various projects, including workshops at the GC on graphic design & “play in the classroom” )and a cross-college collab with Gallaudet University.
As the new site was being built, especially in the final stages, I asked if I could help and contribute by making some visual promotional items. I kind of solidified my presence with the subcommittee as an artist and a rouge “GIF maker”.. well, ok, maybe I’m not that rouge but I love to make GIFS! Either way, it all started on a website here on the commons. I was riding the coat tails of my buddy and mentor MBS, who is the one who introduced me to the commons in the first place! I was hooked right away! This was back in 1977! (which was really 2010-ish but in 2022 year consciousness it feels that long ago!) Anyway, sheesh, I offered to help bring some of the new branding imagery and items to life. A perfect opportunity to contribute and also use the content for pedagogy. Thats right, this blog post becomes yet another example of the potential of how the commons can be used. As well as the potential to share how things can always expand as we place our energy into it. I teach Digital Storytelling at York College. (I love the course so much!) A large portion of the course work is creating a digital identity, learning how to blog and challenge the creative potentials of what a blog post can be. Can it be a vehicle for change, self-expression, self-transformation, activism, empathy, teaching, learning, compassion and creativity all at once? CT-101 students will surely find out as soon as they read this!
Well? Are you not enjoying this? Make a list of words that come to mind, take action and leave them in the comments section below, I’d be happy to help you get started if you need or want that kind of a push.
Lets give the whole commons team a big big round of applause! I have to say, they really nailed it! The new website is beautiful. Do you remember the old site? I mean, I do miss it a lil, its nostalgia, and all of the late 1990’s feels of those underground style blogs (kidding, kidding, kinda!) I really love the rebranding here. The new site has solved a lot of UX/UI and accessibility issues very effectively. The lighter color palette and integration of clean icons, page formatting, sections, and those light gestural lines makes one’s arrival to the site welcoming and inviting. It helps the visitor navigate effortlessly to where they want go, which may be intentional right away, but it also provokes exploration. I’m excited for my new students to get started this semester! What do you like most about the new site?
I hope that you are enjoying the GIFs and Illustrations as you read through this post. The post is getting a bit wordy and Im known to go off on tangents… stop me! My ambition was to induce some retro-feelings and imagery as metaphors to show the lineage of our Internet experiences. I started teaching college in 2002! I’m at my twenty year mark and this is my 40th semester teaching. (What!?) I actually had that flip phone used above in the illustration, as well as showing course content with slide projectors and VHS tapes! I had to represent VHS! As much as I love all things modern tech, I miss those analog days, and the clunky hardware that came along with it. I know that our friends at Reclaim Hosting agree! The beauty of technology is its ability to unite and connect us through access and inclusiveness. The new site works great on mobile devices now too! The commons has helped me find and meet so many other like minded people doing such cool things. The pandemic slowed the “IRL” experiences but the digital connections strengthened, our overall reach extended and our friendships prevailed. So, in essence the art works are about connection, togetherness and our collective awareness..
Thanks for reading along and checking it out!
Feel free to get in touch and say hello! Im easy to find here on the commons as well as on the web!
Ah, the speed and the beauty of the Internet! The Internet will always find out, and the Internet will compel you to share! Less than a week ago I was “woke” to mmm.page by my fellow colleague, collaborator, mentor and friend; MBS, aka Michael Branson Smith! MBS has an amazing acute radar for discovering all kinds of new creative digital tools! He always finds them first and so graciously alerts me right away! This past Wednesday he did this with mmm.page! He shilled me an example of what he created using his mobile device, I was impressed and activated! I jumped right in. I signed in. No password needed, just input your e-mail address and wait for the link to verify – that is all that is needed. Within 2 minutes I was in and creating…
I became reflective, immediately. A lot of digital artists and educators like myself may recall Net-Art creation sites like “newhive” and “to.be” back in the late 2010 – 2015-ish years. Those platforms were super cool for the time, purely web browser dependent, Net-Art making machines that pushed the context of the tool so far ahead. Both platforms created huge communities and produced a lot of new artists, art stars, web browser enthusiasts and educators. The creative potential of the web browser continues to excite me. The truth is, if you build it, they will come, mmm.page has brought this ability and energy back! I have been literally looking for something like this since both newhive and to.be vanished.. I know a lot of other artists, designers, educators and creatives also feel this way too. Bottom line, the site invites your energy, awesomeness and creative immediacy. Let me says that again, creative immediacy. Creative immediacy is the action that is taken once we become inspired and mmm.page is a bolt of lighting in terms of creative immediacy.
The site is for everyone! Of course I am speaking and sharing from my own personal interests, examples and awareness of how I want to use the tool, but, thats just one perspective. The tool can easily be used for digital art making, but more importantly to make beautiful websites of all kinds, and to expand the context of what a website is and can be. Plus, just how much creative control we have with in the web browser space itself. This is also a creative license to develop a digital identity! (And, we may create many!) This excites the hell out of me. The creator of mmm.page is called “xh”. xh -is a super cool person who is community oriented and has allowed for me to begin infiltrating the platform 🙂 I immediately reached out and made a connection. I love supporting new projects, participating and making new friends. Its always fun to connect with like-minded awesome peeps who want to make and share utilitarian tools that can help others. Cheers to xh!
This post is just part 1 of the many that I feel I can write about mmm.page! Im excited to bring the site’s capabilities back into the realm of teaching and creating a series of both individual projects and collaborations between students, faculty and campuses. And of course I hope that MBS will participate! (I know he will!) Im also excited to develop a new body of digital art works using the site and meeting new people in the community.
The first thing I did with mmm.page.. I applied MBS’s tip, I made a piece and shared it immediately as a part of guest talk and workshop I gave with CUNY Graduate Center students. The students were asked to use the site and jumped right in! – You can see that post here! (the results from the workshop are still flowing in as we speak)
I then got busy creating, playing and generating the examples below:
Here is the first series of my experiments made with mmm.page
(click each URL and take a tour – most pieces are made via the desktop version but the last two links were made via mobile)
Do you like what you see above? Great, I thought so! Now, below you will see how things can be expanded upon further. The images below are full page screen shots taken with “GoFullPage” which is a free google chrome web browser extension that allows one to, well, get a full page screen shot. You can save the screen shot as a .PNG or a .PDF file. I began doing this with my mmm.page creations and then opening them in Adobe Illustrator to live trace them into vector files (I know, fancy fancy). As you know, vectors are scalable, you can make them and use them as small or as big as you wish, and they print really well too. So, mmm.page became both a creation and teaching tool as well as a catalyst to push things further. And of course adobe illustrator allows for infinite recoloring potentials.. Perhaps these pieces below will become 1/1 edition NFTs? Hmmm, lets see.. In the meantime, scroll below. PS – I may re-use these as background image settings for my next mmm.page creation. (fist bump)
This new body of digital illustration, animated GIFs and animated video is a series of reactions and expressions that address the continued lack of Accessibility and Inclusion in our 2021 reality. The series is a continuum to my ongoing exhibition: “Communicating my Deaf & Hard of Hearing Self” – you can view that here.
I know, the title itself might be making you feel uncomfortable. Thats good because it may activate some action and accountability, or at least a series of questions. Are you up for it? Are you someone who continues to make and publish video content online with out adding captions or adding a written description of some kind to support the audio in the video? Are you hosting video or audio only based meetings with out closed captions or a live transcriber? Are you one of those people who has a podcast and shares it as an “audio-only” piece of media? Hmm, do realize how many people are left out as a result of that lack of accessibility awareness? The sad part is, you or the company or organization that you work with may have an expanded audience and a following of 1K – 30K – 100,000K people (or more). You widely use, or are asked to use and support various digital tools with out ever questioning if those tools are inclusive and accessible for everyone to receive your content? Why is accessibility and inclusion an after-thought for you and what are you going to do about it? I know, you may say; “its not ill meaning, or maliciously intended”.. I do empathize and have a lot patience.. but Im still waiting, and waiting.. will you do something about this?
A part of me feels that this new body of work can and should be shared as its own exhibition. Even though it is an expansion of the body of works mentioned in the link above, this particular series has been created over the duration of the pandemic. It is another response to the continued fight for basic accessibility and inclusion for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. Each individual piece is an expression to a range of narratives that have played out. I am using looping animations as a medium to share this conceptually as a cycle that seems to never end. The works also display the dichotomy of responses that I have experienced from people through various online platforms. This ranges from caption-less video chats & meetings, e-mail, text messages and social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn & Instagram. As I write this I am both happy and angry. Happy for the small changes that some people / institutions have made via our communication about the awareness of accessibility / inclusion and how to facilitate it. But I am really angry at those who have taken a more “salty” and “dismissing” attitude and approach after being called out on their lack of accessibility and awareness of inclusion. Feeling angry is a good thing, it allows me to channel and exercise the anger, I have done that through these pieces below.
“No Captions, No Transcripts, No Access”, 2021 Digital Illustration
“The Accountability of One’s Reflection”, 2021 Animated GIF
“The Caption-less Podcaster” 2021, Animated GIF
“The Continued Clubhouse Accessibility After-Thought”, 2021, Animated GIF
“The Overstimulated & the Excluded”, 2021, Animated GIF
“Even the Word Patience gets Anxiety”, 2021, Animated GIF
“The Oblivious & Caption-less Zoom Hosts”, 2021, Animated GIF
“The Endless Vibrational Run for Access”, 2020, Animated GIF
“But He Can Speak, Are You Sure He Can’t Hear?”, 2020, Digital Still Frame Illustration
“All of My Access is Chaos”, 2020 (revised from a 2017 iteration), Animated GIF
“Masked Garble on Repeat”, 2021, Animated GIF
“Accessibility & Inclusion? It’s Not Our Fault!” 2021, Looped Animated Video
Please contact for availability – ryan (at) ryanseslow.com
Welcome to the The “From My Window & Other Spaces” Workshop
Many thanks to my host, Nanda for the invitation! My name is Ryan Seslow, nice to meet you!
Lets talk a little bit about Creativity, Immediacy and Intuition:
In what order do these words go?
Creativity + Intuition + Immediacy = ……..
Reminder, we can always pause.
Pause, and become aware of this very passing second. I mean REALLY AWARE, so stop and be still.
You are alive. Contemplate that. What does being alive mean to you? Have you ever defined it beyond someone else’s interpretation? If not, its time to do this, and no, it can not be done in the next 3 seconds.. I believe that a big part of this life is to create and express that unique ability we all can contribute.
It will take some reflection.. More than this workshop and blog post, but perhaps this is a metaphor, a portal that lures you in and activates you.
You are a thinking, breathing, feeling, sensory being processing this exact passing moment. Exactly as you read this from the specific location that you are in, with the age that your body is, in the time zone of the highest level of what you understand consciousness to be. We can always expand this awareness. Its a metaphor (there is that word again), because all the while, you are simultaneously existing on a seemingly gigantic rock spinning through the “space” that the best of the best of the best world’s scientists keep discovering only keeps expanding into more….well, space. In the grand scheme of things, our gigantic rock may not be so gigantic when we think from this perspective. Its actually the size we think it is relative to our awareness of it.
How do you develop the ability to audit this awareness and ask yourself what potentials lay in this metaphor? And, how can we apply this other things that we wish to change or create from scratch.
It will require creativity, intuition and imagination. So go ahead and ASK.
Ask yourself: “What is the creative potential of my awareness of this moment, and how may I intervene?
When we turn this directly to our workshop and re-propose the question: “What is the creative potential of a window, my window and other spaces with in context?”
What would you like to express about this moment and the awareness of it? How will you do it?
Chances are, you are holding your “device or viewing this through a computer” as you read this.
You know what device I am referring to. Perhaps its a laptop, desktop, iPhone, android or a tablet? It doesn’t matter and either way, it first started simply as an idea. An expression of a collective need to expand, grow, learn and express. Much like the infinite expanding space that we mentioned above your device(s) is an intermediary tool to express the potentials of creative space. Our viewing are rectangles… sometimes they are held and viewed vertically and sometimes they are turned horizontally, but before any content is consumed, its a rectangle in its form. That rectangle is a window, and so is a web browser window..
You tech device(s) are remote controls for the planet!
We interacted with simple geometric shapes every single day, we take all of them for granted and rarely think of the doorways we are passing through as rectangles. Or the TV that we watch as the rectangle. As we walk up steps we rarely think of them as the horizontal rectangles that stack upwards or downwards.. You get the idea..
What is the creative potential of YOU and the rectangle that you are holding or looking through? (this is the part of things where you think Im a little weird, right? lol..)
SO what are you passionate about? What is that you always wanted to express and share with the world? What is it that holds you back? Is what holds you back on the other side of the window?
If you never “Start” then you will never have a result to work from. The only metric you have are the ones that you fear your expression wont compliment.
So, lets start. Lets express. Lets share this into that rectangle / window that you are looking through and make it a practice.
Lets jump into an exercise -lets experiment and create a space on the web that is yours and personalize it. Broadcast yourself!
Taking risks that benefit your growth and personal development while impacting and including your fellow human beings has serious mental, spiritual & emotional value.
This is your story, and storytelling is the communication pilot of the Electric Landscapes we navigate.
Photopea.com – is a free web browser based digital image making and manipulating application, we can alter and manipulate and prepare images in this space!
Places to find Images online – Creative Commons based:
Pixabay.com – great resource for images and transparent assets! (we will use this for the workshop)
National Gallery of Art With the launch of NGA Images, the National Gallery of Art implements an open access policy for digital images of works of art that the Gallery believes to be in the public domain.
Digital Public Library of AmericaThe Digital Public Library of Americabrings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world.
NYPL – The New York Public Library Digital Collections Archive
Many thanks to Luke & Lisa, and the ITP students for having me!
I thought that writing a blog post here would be both timely and fun for this talk. It might be full of typos, those happen, haha, they can always be fixed 🙂 This post serves as an example and a potential to create and expand the overall synopsis, dialog, resources, feelings, philosophies and of course necessary contextual links! I hope through our interaction both here and during our talk that it will inspire you to create a playful, collaborative project for yourself, for this class that you are in, for the ones that you are teaching, and also with me here on the Net Art site! This is an inclusive, accessible and safe public space for all.
After our talk, be sure to scroll down to the “Reflections & further Pondering” part at the bottom of this post to share your thoughts. No pressure of course 🙂
Words like “playfulness, play and fun” are and have always been an essential parts of my teaching and learning practice. I directly extract the physical energy and emotions that these words activate with in me. I visually connect those feelings to bright sunshine. I connect playfulness to an overall lighthearted and open demeanor that can be applied to almost anything. It’s reflective to childhood and the wonders of learning, creativity and intuition. Playfulness is such a great form of expression as a medium. It sets an open invitation to access rapport. We can help each other learn this way, it is a passion of mine and Im not going to stop anytime soon 🙂
(Above – “Communication” – finger-spelled hand-shapes in American Sign Language)
Everything comes down to Communication. We all want to be loved, appreciated, heard, understood and included. I believe that this is our greatest life’s work, to learn how to best and fully communicate from the inner knowingness of who we are. Of course this is a journey through our constant growth of challenging our life experiences and how we reflect on them. Communication is our birthright and we all must tell our own story.
And then.. the Internet shows up..
Links for Context and Usefulness
(Feel free to use, remix, hack and expand upon anything here)
The NET-ART 2020 – 2021 academic calendar is now accepting submissions on a rolling proposal basis in the following criteria:
Electronic Media / Experimental Pedagogy
VIDEO ART / Experimental Film
NET-ART (Works created in and displayed in a web browser)
Class / Course Collaboration
Digital & Analog ZINEs
Curatorial (A Curated Group Exhibition)
Related “Otherness” pitched to us
Looking for useful tools, apps & tutorials to get your submission started?CLICK HERE!
Looking for examples of “what” has been submitted previously? Explore here!
The NET-ART Submission Guidelines:
Submissions may be generated by CUNY faculty, students of all levels, alumni & community members. CUNY classes/courses may also submit collaborative proposals as a group. CUNY faculty & students may also collaborate with others from outside of CUNY as well.
All submitted works will be featured and published as individual blog posts as well as added to existing galleries on the NET-ART website.
Depending on the submission’s proposal, relevant and in context, various submissions will be published and exhibited as an individual page created specifically for the project.
All submissions should be described in written detail with a clear vision, context and meaning. Supporting images and links should be provided as well.
Authors of the submissions and their collaborators must be willing to participate, respond to comments and expand upon their projects with incoming queries via the commons, twitter and beyond.
The purpose of exhibiting submissions in various categories displays a platform for creative and experimental methods of pedagogy. Please consider how your work will contribute to a larger whole that will be archived for teaching, learning, reference and posterity.
We anticipate your submissions!
Question, Proposals & Submissions can be sent via e-mail or via Twitter to:
Rebirth of the Course Syllabus – The Visual Aesthetic – Part 1
(**YES, my intention is to make this a workshop or a course that integrates into existing courses**)
Let us start with this: “What are the creative potentials of a course syllabus? What role do visual aesthetics play? Why, are they important and for what purpose?” “What role do your values and beliefs play as the creator and facilitator of the process?”
I ask you to contemplate this as well: “Everything is default until we intervene, investigate, interact and define who we are in relationship to that thing.”
The “default departmental syllabus template” rears its head yet again, you know the format well, and it needs your attention! You have been selected to exercise this operation! You have also been selected to express your creativity and desire to apply it, and apply it you must into your new course syllabi! YES, ALL of them, but lets start with one.
Before we jump into the visuals and creation process, let us flex a bit of necessary awareness:
Its time to apply this mantra into the audit (of your old syllabi) and into the new creation process (if you don’t already) the following terms will now govern your new syllabus – Accessibility, Inclusion, Patience, Empathy, Compassion, Creativity, Understanding, Revision & Community
A few points to also remind and inspire:
1. There is no ego in teaching. Be an example of Accessibility, Inclusion, Patience, Empathy, Compassion, Creativity, Understanding, Revision & Community. Make this your mantra. Your energy and enthusiasm is contagious! Meaning, your vibration carries information to each and every person in the “classroom”. The word “classroom” has a lot of new context today, and certainly expands far beyond the face to face instruction model. The emotional state of your vibration creates rapport between people. You can set the vibration for the semester in your first-class meeting through expression. Start by expressing your gratitude, excitement, appreciation and enthusiasm for teaching and meeting your new students. Again, this is contagious energy! Invite the students to do the same. It is in the communal moments of expression that a foundation will be solidified.
2. Take acute awareness that your course(s) holds all of the potential to be an incredibly unique learning experience in and of themselves. Regardless if it is the same course, redundancy is a choice, creativity is the answer and solution. I mean this far beyond any of the specific course content that will be covered throughout the semester. Acknowledge, we are all powerful human beings coming into the course from various places and stages in our journey of constantly becoming together on this planet. There is always a part of each and every one of us within each other. Whether it is an example of who you once were, relate to now, or a reflection of the future you to come. There you are, and there we are. Include and reference the human experience into your course.
3. Think about the fact that yourself, and the group of incoming students will be having a new experience in the same physical and virtual “spaces” for the next 13-15 weeks. It does not matter if it is synchronous, asynchronous or a mixture of another hybrid form as this experience, with the exact same people, in the exact same space(s) and time frame will never happen again. Discuss and discover your similarities and collective strengths as a class and how those individual characteristics form the modular fragments that make up the whole. Every class is a community. It will function as one with great energy if it is declared collectively. You can facilitate, lead and guide by being the example.
4. Create a community! Every course holds the potential to be a powerful platform for collaboration and community building. This means, setting up a series of dialogs early on for learning about each other. What are the needs, passions, concerns and ambitions of each student? How are they taking steps to realize those things? Remind yourself before, during and after each class; what roll do you play as a leader and facilitator of inspiration for your students? Acknowledge and let your students know how they inspire you, your work, your teaching practice and life! Reflect and share what it is was like to be a student yourself. What you have taken with you and applied, what has been helpful and always stayed within your heart.
5. Realize, our students are teaching us far more than we are teaching them (read that again if you need to!) If you have a classroom of 20 students, then a minimum of 20 new potentialities, solutions, variations and iterations will be generated, worked on, crafted, discussed, written, spoken, presented uniquely and shared back to you (and the class itself) for each and every assignment, project, paper or discussion. (I know, thats a long sentence!) That is a tremendous amount of information and energy. Remember, there is no EGO in teaching, so whether these outcomes please your expectations or not, you have been exposed to a new opportunity to help, learn, grow and see things from another’s perspective. Perhaps you have been DISMISSING a lot with a focus purely on the right answers, or if a student followed “your” directions properly.. The sum total of awareness from openly experiencing things from another’s point of view is the diminishment of competition-based thinking, and the humble transition into seeing infinite creativity. There is always another way. There is always another solution.
6. Finally, do you really think that you are going to inspire your new students this semester by spending the entire first-class meeting time reading the entire default, all text version of the syllabus? If you still do this, I forgive you and love you still, but I urge you to stop and please change this! Place an emphasis on our collective human-ness first and foremost. Your class(s) are communities awaiting the declaration of its potentiality. Introductions should be the first thing that happens. Learn each other’s names, share stories, connect and learn about each other. Re-read the first part of this post again too.
Removing More of the Default:
Your syllabi can be serious deal breaker simply based on the verbiage that you use in it. Which could still be taken from the default template. I mean it, you really need to audit the entirety of it. Even if you DO all of the things that I mentioned above. Its time to ask: “Who is my syllabus written for, is it written to be accessible and inclusive for all?”
As I mentioned, it’s time for an audit. Start by removing words, terms and phrases that should have been squashed many years ago.
Here is a list of growing words, phrases and terms that need to be removed from all course syllabi:
Lateness is not acceptable
Will not be accepted
Impaired / impairment
Must / You must
Confined / confined to
Victim / victim of
Defective / Defect
Lame / Lame excuses
I know, you read this list above and are looking for more context as to “why”, thats good, but ask yourself again, “Who is my syllabus written for, is it written to be accessible and inclusive for all?”
The most common phrase that I continue to receive from colleagues (and many other people)when we first meet or a few weeks into a new connection: “Wow, you don’t look Deaf!”..
Of course, I die inside at first but then quickly forgive the unconscious non-malicious intent of my assassin for their pre-programmed response to never meeting a Deaf person before. Self-Awareness takes practice, resolve, forgiveness and the ability to “see the bigger picture” even while a wrong doing is happening in real time.
I am Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Being “Deaf & HofH” has an enormous range in terms of its spectrum of “how” one experiences their live as a person that is Deaf. I can only speak for myself as I best try to explain what I can and can not do. We must consider this as an example when we think of others. We do not know what another person is experiencing until it is communicated. We can not make assumptions, especially about disabilities and what we may “think” it means. Multiple forms of representation and communication have always played a huge role in how I communicate and “figure things out” as a result of not hearing. I am in a perpetual state of trying to get access to communication and also becoming a better communicator myself. I’m hyper aware of how the person(s) on the other end is receiving my communication. We are all so unique (wonderfully) I feel that it is important to make individual connections with our students (and as a whole class of course too). We need to learn how each student learns so that we can help them both individually and how they apply what they learn into the larger whole of the course. Back to the words, phrases and terms above, words are triggers to emotional blue prints and internal maps. Seeing words and terms like “Mandatory” or “No Excuses” sends a pretty sharp message. Consider HOW it is being received beyond your PERSONAL expectations. If you would like further clarity on this, and or more examples, feel free to write me.
Going Beyond the Surveillance Based CMS Systems:
I am a huge advocate for Open Education. I believe in transparency and I am here to help others. I believe that tools like BlackBoard and Canvas are useful and helpful. They help us to get started seeing the possibilities of a content management system. This is a good thing, it is the contrast that we need because we must also leave the BlackBoard and Canvas nest. I know, some of my college’s make it…. ugh, that terrible word, “Mandatory”. If they do, well,I simply place the minimum there, which is a weekly reminder to come to our class website that is located here on this URL (insert hyper-link). I have always used the web and built websites for my classes as a tool to facilitate my course content. Using platforms like WordPress as we do here on the brilliant CUNY Commons or OpenLab allows for us to easily create and publish content, share and update the content, engage with the content and also archive the content. A WordPress platform supports written text, images, image galleries, video and video walls, and so many other features to discuss and comment and participate. WordPress also supports a myriad of accessibility plug-ins and tools to help. My goal is always to provide as many forms of accessibility and inclusion for my students. I use hybrid “how-to” techniques that are both analog and digital – the written and spoken word, digital images, graphics, GIFs, drawings, Memes, videos clips and video tutorials that I create as well as draw and curate from the Internet. I also create most of my own content because it is super FUN to do. This summer, I am in the process of making more hands-on video tutorials where I can record my screen and also share more analog techniques using an overhead tripod. We all need to grow as the creators and facilitators of our course content.
The Visuals, A First Taste:
By now Im hoping that you are thinking of the course syllabus as an ongoing process. A creative process that metaphorically is just like us. A vessel of non-static creative electric becoming! I’m starting to create some fully animated course syllabi. Im experimenting and we all can do this. Im pushing the boundaries of what I have been exposed to, taught to do, and of course “told I had to do”.. Im making my syllabi more modern and consumable in a way that is already familiar via current technologies on the web, mobile devices and beyond. Yes, there will always be a standard text / pdf version, it is 100% necessary for accessibility and inclusion. Plus, who says that we cant have several variations for different contexts? I love this idea and it fosters the creative process.
Its now time to get busy with your syllabi’s creation process! Im going to show you how. Its a myth that you have to have professional design tools to do this. It is also a lie if you have believed that you are not creative! Stop using this false belief to hold you back. We all have creative abilities and potentials. Im your catalyst! Of course it would help if you have had some design training but it is NOT by any means a necessity. You can learn, we can learn, and learn we shall together. The graphic above, this is a “logo / promotional graphic” that I created for my CT101 – Digital Storytelling class. (Im building out this course on the Commons week by week this semester) The logo idea for the course all started with the type-face, then adding those fun icons (that have context to the course) above the typeface and then placing it together into this old TV to extend its placement, and to be fun.. The isolated logo is below.
I have customized my course title by creating a compelling visual graphic to accommodate it. This is simply one example of what I could have done. I think that this is a great first exercise in taking the creative reigns of breaking free of the default course title. Now imagine a world where every course had its own visual identity to express and embody the course. It can even change up every semester so that it becomes all inclusive. This can easily be a project that DO with your students over the course of the semester.
Oh yes I did. I took the static logo and I animated it into this welcome message! You will find plenty of that kind of stuff here on the Net-Art course website, but the process is contagious and so much fun.
Part 2 of this syllabus re-make series will indeed go further, with video tutorials, and many how-to’s, but for now, I would like set you off down the rabbit hole of this next piece of information. In the spring of 2019 I was so kindly invited to create a presentation and a workshop for graduate students in the DHI program at the Graduate Center. The presentation itself functions as a blog post (just like this one does, wink wink), and the blog post is an example of a creative potentiality for “what” is possible for the Rebirth of your Syllabus!
Please click on the graphic below and forward we go! (PS – I created that graphic for the presentation and it was made from OER materials)
Did you make all the way down here? Thank You! This blog post is “an example”. It is simply an iteration of inspiration to jump start the process and get you thinking. I know, there is a lot to review and re-read and re-cap so I am going to stop here for now. Part 2 of this series will dig into the visuals, image-making, crafting and curating creativity from a myriad of tutorials and how to’s on the way.
Forgive the typos – this is a 1st draft!
Accessibility, Inclusion, Patience, Empathy, Compassion, Creativity, Understanding, Revision & Community
Feel free to reach out in the comments below or e-mail me here – firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Generating New Forms with Household Items & Multiples
New forms are always awaiting entry here onto our planet! Its your job to participate in the process. Lets investigate a few news ways to see, create and explore forms using a common household item like transparent tape. The works in this tutorial are simply one way of executing the project. Im using transparent tape as a medium because it happens to be handy in my immediate space. Other types of tape can work just as well, but the idea with this project is to discover and leverage the application of multiple units. Im going to unify my forms by their material, shape and their size. From there I will create a few different compositions. Some will be applied to a wall in relief form. Some will be on a table top place and others will free stand 360 degrees in the round. My examples are below, and yes, I had a ton of fun applying a light source when it got darker outside. I suggest that you do the same!
1. A roll of household tape, this could be clear scotch tape, or blue painters tape, or any kind of tape adhesive that will “stick” to itself and other surfaces.
2. A surface to place and build your experiments on. A wall, a table top or an existing object that may have context or contradiction to the form and material, sky is the limit so lets get busy, jump down to the image below.
The technique I applied:
What you see in each image below is a 2 inch piece of transparent tape curled into a loop. I simply repeated this same form at the same size over and over. I built up each arrangement piece by piece. The more pieces (loops) that you have, the more opportunities you have to experiment. Plus, you will need to do some trouble shooting.
Artistic References / Influences:
Tom Friedman, El Anatsui, Antony Gormley, Tara Donovan, Ai Wei Wei, Tony Cragg & Andy Goldsworthy to name a few.
The image above was applied to a piece of white paper and arranged on the surface of the wall. I used a flashlight to add the shadow effects coming from under the piece.
The image above was simply turned 180 degrees and rephotographed. I used a flashlight to add the shadow effects coming from the opposite side of the piece and pointing downwards. Even the slightest alteration of the artworks position can add a dramatic change in its visual interpretation. I really love how this came out!
Here is an alternate camera angle for the same piece as above (ok, but with an additional few pieces that I added). This visual perspective shows the actual height and stacking of the individual pieces (loops of tape).
I applied a light source directly to the image above to capture variations of the lights glare effect. The glare effect almost makes it look like the piece is in motion. This discovery played a role in how I went about the next few attempts at this project. The next few images below are also subtle variations of the same image. What will you do to create some filters and effects using light or the placement of your pieces?
OK, so the image below.. I changed it up. We no longer need to use the table top plane to position our pieces stacked flat on top of one another. In the next series of examples I worked with my piece vertically. Again, light and the perspective of my photos play a big role in the capture of the artwork.
I really love this image! It makes me want to use the image itself as a reference for drawing with pencil. The image below is also a variation but I dont think it is as powerful as the image above, do you?
Im excited to see your results and experiments! Will you work with transparent tape or try another material that may produce a similar result? Either way, please share your work!
Carrying on the CT101 tradition, Digital Storytelling students at York College expressed their feelings towards their CT101 class by investigating and generating Internet MEMEs. Students were introduced to working with Adobe photoshop, applying images from the web and adding a text overlay.
Art MEMES ART?
Well, this is broad question, individual blog posts were generated by each student on the ct101.us website to answer and adress the question. This collection continues the tradition on the Net-Art community platform!