February 7, 2008

music: emotional time travel

Ok, so it's late and I'm listening to the Counting Crows, a group that I absolutely loved ten years ago, but have not listened to in years. These songs, composed of multiple layers: piano, guitar, Duritz' voice, and yes, the haunting lyrics, drudge up memories from times long gone. But, these memories are not in the form of images, rather they are waves of emotion that move through my body, nearly bringing me to tears. Yet these are not tears of sadness. Instead they are tears of a knowing disconnect. A disconnect between my mind and body, brought on by the music which has transported my mind back ten years.

How can music do this? What is it about the pairing of sound and words? Do they create some unique form of narrative that covers the surface of our brain, blanket-like, yet anchored deep to the brain stem via tent stakes that jolt the body with emotional surges?

I can't help but think of the materiality that music has in terms of how it influences the body's physiological functions: heart rate, breathing, tears, clenched fists, all via emotional reactions to deep-seeded swirls, be they memories or emotions.

As someone interested in the various ways of making meaning, I often get caught up with the visual, and its related literacy practices. Yet, I largely ignore the rhetorical power and potency of sound.

Daylight fading Come and waste another year All the anger and the eloquence are bleeding into fear Moonlight creeping around the corners of our lawn When we see the early signs that daylight's fading We leave just before it's gone Counting Crows

With that I say good night.

January 28, 2008

playing with the body on canvas/screen

two fridas.jpg

"Two Fridas"

Again I'm thinking about the body, most recently while at the Walker checking out the Frida Kahlo exhibit that just passed through. What most caught my eye was the painting The Two Frida's and how it dipicts a multiplicity of identities. While I'm not an art historian, the painting seems to acknowledge that we present and live out multiple selves and that these selves are interconnected in a visceral way--hence the arteries dripping blood on her dress. I know that specifically this blood refers to her tumultuous relationship with d. rivera, but I'm still interested in how she is performing these different bodies. Some of her other paintings take up questions of the body and its representation as well. I wonder how Kahlo's play with the body on canvas and steel as she liked to do, relates to how so many of us play with our bodies on line--whether it be in Second Life, designing our avatars our on our blogs building textual bodies?

venado.jpg strings.jpg spine.jpg

March 3, 2007

Avatar: posthuman-cyborg body?

At the moment, I'm writing a paper for Tim Lensmire's class. I'm interested in exploring the Avatar and notion of "mary sue" as potential disruptions of gender storylines. I'd like to bring in some of Donna Haraway and Hayles work, but I don't know if the scope of this paper will allow for it.

More writing on this to come.

In the meantime, here are some helpful resources...

Angela Thomas' recent talk (at NCTEAR 2007) on "The Avatar as New Literacy"

Other slide shows on SecondLife:
A book review of Anne Balsamo's Technologies of the Gendered Body: Reading Cyborg Women
Durham: Duke University Press, 1996. (see excerpt below)

As is often the case when seemingly stable boundaries are displaced by technological innovation (human/artificial, life/death, nature/culture), other boundaries are more vigilantly guarded. Indeed, the gendered boundary between male and female is one border that remains heavily guarded despite new technologized ways to rewrite the physical body in the flesh. So it appears that while the body has been recoded within discourses of biotechnology and medicine as belonging to an order of culture other than of nature, gender remains a naturalized marker of human identity. (9)