More Reading

No matter how many times I sit down to try and write, I end up with more reading on my plate. Looking for literature on semio-pragmatics in film theory, I ended up at Warren Buckland’s The Cognitive Semiotics of Film. The first chapter is available as a viewable (and downloadable but not printable) pdf. I am quite sure that this is some sort of staple reading in Film Theory (I always feel so green when I come upon these books!).

When I went out to buy this book – which I could not find in any of the popular book chains (will have to look at Olivieri and other University book stores methinks). I ended up buying Deleuzes’ Cinema 2: The Time-Image. Another staple in film theory as I am finding out by how much it is brought up among my colleauges. I wish all I could do was read – this writing thing is slowing me down I tell ya! =)

Another Monthly Wrap-up

I cannot believe how quickly this month went by! Only two blog posts to boot. Every week this month was a short school week for my daughters (starting with spring break the first week). But even so, I managed to get a few things done.

I became a member at the Center for Research on Intermediality. They are a rather large, bilingual research group that has a wide array of events and activities and their own publication. I was looking forward to my first reading group, but I see that it was for this morning at 10am! There is, however, a workshop at the end of April on Art & Philosophy that looks quite interesting as well.

I have also been asked to join an up and coming web journal called Kinephanos – they are aiming for their first online issue for September 1st, 2008. Here is their first page bio:

Kinephanos is a bilingual, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary academic Web journal, which studies the issues affecting cinema and mass media. This site is mostly about the popular television series and films, video games, emerging technologies as well as fan culture.

Kinephanos is a Weblog for scholars and researchers who wish to share their views and to explain the results of their research work. The essays online explore the issues of the image in popular culture through different approaches, but mainly film studies, religious studies, philosophy and media and cultural studies.

I also gave my last presentation of the 2007-08 academic year this past Wednesday. It was on a methodological problem / issue that concerns my thesis research. I did it on inter-disciplinarity. It was more pedagogical, going through the differences between Cross, Multi, Trans and Interdisciplinarity and wrapping up with an example of the determination process particular to my work at the moment. I think it went over well for the most part – but I am just happy that it is done.

This weekend is looking pretty full – have company coming to watch the Habs resecure first place. Then I have to hunker down and finish a few small projects that have been lingering for the extra undergrad classes I have to take (a condition that was imposed upon entering a Film Studies degree coming in from 2 Sociology degrees – not alot of work, but work nonetheless). One of the papers might be fun – as I have been asked to work on something that involves both game and film studies, that is somehow related to my work, yet still had to fall under the topics taught in the class on Filmic Analysis. So I am doing Spectator / Player differences with the Resident Evil series. I know it is not a ground breaking topic – but it is something that can make me use film theory (since at the moment I have only really been reading). My goal has never been to stake out the differences between film and games, but as far as coursework goes, it could be alot worse 😉

On that note, its time to get the ball rolling, game starts at 7:30!

Speaking of Role-Playing

Just a short post really. But I was thinking of all of the conversations about what constitutes a “video game”, and I have been wondering about online role-playing games. Perhaps a little too late for me to start contemplating this since my entry has already been written and printed on this, but thinking about my daughter’s participation in online forum-style role-playing games I wonder if my original definition was too narrow – thinking mostly of games like Asheron’s Call, EverQuest, etc while omitting most games that exist solely on the web. Funny especially since the history comes out of text based MUDs. Is this my own (un/subconscious) delineation of what a ‘real’ video game is? Like the flash games versus ‘video’ game debate? [I will dig up some links later]. 

/wonders

Online Communities and the Delete Button

My oldest daughter has been part of various online, forum-style role-playing communities for the past several years. She has made quite a few good friends over the years, as the communities develop layers of interaction, social circles expand and she feels a real sense of friendship (unity) with individual members of each community. Over the years, one community has splintered into the next, dropping a few people while gaining new members – much like any other social group really. 

She has talked to me in the past about the deep sense of sadness she gets when these communities die. Sometimes, the fact that she has not had any physical (local) interaction with her online friends, perhaps makes this sense of loss a bit deeper – in the fact that once someone logs off thats it. No bumping into them at school, or on a nostalgic whim, calling them up on the phone. I know for certain occasions, she has gone back to the old boards to read the threads and reminisce old friendships and good role-playing.

Last night, before heading off to bed, she checked on one of her forums to see if there was any activity and she noticed a big chunk of the site missing. Seems there has been alot of conflict on the boards over the last few weeks over various issues including mod powers. What was once a safe place where individuals felt a sense of security (through the powers of anonymity perhaps) to share things about their lives they may not have done so in their daily lives, was becoming a place where harsh words were exchanged, feelings hurt and alliances drawn.

The creator of the site, and key moderator, decided to deal with the community issues in his own way – by deleting massive amounts of the site. My daughter and I talked about it as she was quite upset that all of the role-playing content that she has contributed to the site over the last year and a half was gone in a flash on the whim of teenage boy. No collective decision making, no talking to the moderators or even leaving a post on the boards that remained explaining his actions. Only after this, did he decide to pass on head moderator powers to a close friend of his. My daughter was happy – as she also had her mod powers reinstated (she was one of the founding members of this site).

She told me this morning that she is thankful some of the community is still in tact. Although it’s primary purpose is for role-playing games, it has also become a place of solace for many of them – a (safe) place where they talk about the problems they are dealing with in their daily lives. Such an aggressive use of the delete button made a few of them realize how valuable (and destructive) these places can be.

And We’re Back

Spring break is over, and it is back to the grind. The end of the semester is looming, and the work that looked so harmless in January and February suddenly seems a bit more threatening. It is a good thing that I have a tendency of needing to be a bit overloaded to be productive =)

Today is a day of frantic note taking as my library books are all due on Wednesday (The Analysis of Film by Raymond Bellour; Psychoanalysis and Film by Kaplan; Psychoanalysis and Film by Lebeau; Through a Freudian Lens Deeply: A Psychoanalysis of Cinema; Lacan and Contemporary Film edited by McGowan and Kunkle). Take a lucky guess this week’s paper is on!