A classics professor was retiring from Reed College, and as a parting gift, a bust of Homer (one of his favorite Greek poets) was to be made at the Digital Fabs, a space located in the Reed physics building with 3d printing capabilities. After consulting with the classics department, I planned on finding a 3d model of Homer, then I wanted to alter the model, adding an engraving with Greek text of the Iliad to the base. Continue reading
The Performing Arts Resource Center (PARC) in the Performing Arts Building (PAB) has added two Moog analog synthesizers to our continually evolving A/V editing room 327!
On a calm and ordinary-seeming summer morning, we gathered around mugs of sweet-waffle-topped coffee and breakfast sandwiches and brainstormed future directions, exciting projects, and then some.
Part one’s project created a replica of a Chinese woodblock, in this case a woodblock from the 1970s that was in fairly good shape (at 40 years old!); the woodblock itself was intact, and the wood carving still had pretty crisp lines for printing. We were able to successfully create a new block from the previous artwork in a fairly straightforward manner.
Notices have appeared in the various media labs around campus: Reed is discontinuing all VHS support, beginning this Fall.
The news has come without fanfare, and those who did see the signs were, in all likelihood, even more surprised to learn that, until now, Reed’s A/V department actually still did support VHS. After all, nearly thirty years have passed since the format’s peak popularity. By the time most current Reedies’ autobiographical memories began, VHS was already on its way out; even DVD, its successor, is on its last legs. So, in some ways, we all said goodbye to VHS a long time ago, and the announcement comes as a formality.
For this project, the goal was to make a print from a Chinese wood block. The block depicts paper money that, after made into a paper print, is then burned up as an offering to ancestors during the annual Qingming Festival.
We didn’t want to use the original block itself for making prints for fear of causing damage to the original artwork, so we hoped to make a reproduction of the artwork. This was a great time to use the physics building’s laser printer, which could burn artwork into a linoleum block. From that, we’d create a replica of the printing block, then make new prints.
The original woodblock
Cyclocross is a one of those weird sports I’d never heard of until I moved to Portland. Essentially cyclocross is a form of bike racing that entails riding on pavement, trails and grass while occasionally dismounting to carrying your bike over obstacles. Surprisingly cyclocross complements another Portland oddity, the huge number of unimproved roadways in the city. These unpaved roads are great for cyclocross training!
Voyant Tools is one of my favorite text analysis tools because it is fast and easy to use, even for people who have no background in text analysis. Although Voyant offers a lot of options—which can be overwhelming—the interface presents basic results that any user can easily customize. The results of Voyant’s analysis can be downloaded as visualizations or in tab-separated or JSON data formats, and Voyant also generates embed codes for its tools (which I’m using for this blog post), as well as citations for specific analyses. This post will cover basic Voyant functions, including inputting texts for analysis, working with and understanding basic Voyant tools, and downloading data. Continue reading
Annotation Studio is an open-source browser-based annotation platform that allows members of groups or classes to take notes on a shared document. You might think of it as similar to the comment feature in Google Docs, without the ability to edit the text itself. Social annotation allows students to interact with a text and each other asynchronously. Faculty in literature classes might use Annotation Studio to highlight specific areas of a text and and ask questions on them before class or to ask students to select sections of a text they want to discuss in class and compose leading questions. In foreign language classrooms, students might comment on grammar or vocabulary they found difficult and ask for help from classmates, or an instructor could use Annotation Studio to provide glosses of difficult vocabulary or cultural context for a text.
Recently I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of working with our visiting composition professor Yuan Chen-Li and her MUS 314 composition class. Over the last six weeks I have conducted workshops with them at the PARC covering topics ranging from live audio capture (using the PARC’s mobile recording hardware and software) to electronic music composition using software synths (soft synths).
The class is using our set of special project iPads for their works this term, which I configured with the requested apps. As per professor Chen-Li’s assignment, the students are capturing live sounds. The students have leaned towards what she calls undifferentiated sounds — such as running water, microwaves, and chalk on a board — which the students then process and manipulate with the iPad using iOS GarageBand or on a computer using Audacity or Logic Pro.