How We Become Who We Are

How We Become Who We Are is my doctorate novel about the stories we tell that make us who we are online and the gaps between our real and virtual lives.

Is this myself, or are we merely fictions – David Shields reality hunger

From How We Become

‘Frankie knew the internet was a slippery thing. She knew how easy it was to get caught up. So many diversions, distractions, lies, fantasies, desires in one place. If it’s not selling you something it’s telling you something, making something, faking something. Sapping life out of the new, squeezing the value out of everything. Frankie had too often had enough. But as she watched the stats of her youtube channel pass 1 million subscribers she ascended from the merely ordinary to somewhat remarkable. It was a good feeling. A feeling she felt she deserved. For the first time in her life Frankie had assets. Assets that, if she played her hand right, could fundamentally change her life.’


Week 7: The Vision Dataset

Close reading questions for:

Vertov’s Dataset

By Lev Manovich

From The Language of New Media

  1. What does Manovich say about the contrast between cinema and computer users?
  2. What are the 2 types of montage Manovich refers to? Why is montage important?
  3. What do you think Benjamin means when he says the camera can ‘pry an object from its shell’?
  4. According to Manovich, whose vision is it? What does it privilege?
  5. What does Manovich mean by ‘a database imagination’?
  6. What, according to Manovich, are the 3 levels of Man with A Movies Camera?
  7. What is the Kino-Eye? How does it offer new ways of seeing and thinking?
  8. Why does Vertov’s film have particular relevance to new media, according to Manovich?
  9. What ways is the film a database?
  10. What is the significance of the ‘loop’?
  11. What is the significance of the ‘spatial montage’?
  12. What is the cinema an interface to? [According to Manovich]


The Introduction


  1. What is Manovich attempting to do with this analysis of New Media?
  2. What is his methodology?
  3. What is his key conceptual tool?
  4. What are the 5 key concepts addressed in the book?
  5. Explain the concept of ‘information culture’?
  6. What is a new media object?

Find the answers to these question in the given texts and be prepared to discuss them in the seminar.

Also the 4th project The Podcast will be set for completion in week 9.


Week 7: Psychogeography / Inner and Outer Journeys

psychogeography[1]This week we’ll be reading and thinking about psychogeography with a view to writing your next project [Project 5].  As a form or style or genre of writing it is, as with many of the forms we’ve explored so far, hard to define but it is characterized by the writer taking a solitary walk through a particualr environment. It is often a journey taken on the edge of places or that explore places on retreat or in decline. With this in mind much psychogeography is concerned with documenting loss or change. The 18th cnetrury poet John Clare is often cited as setting the precedent for this kind of writing – famous for his celebratory representations of the English Country side when enclosure legislation threatened an end to country life as was then known with its freedom to roam. More recently Will Self and Iain Sinclair have both – and with idiosyncraatic colour – made this style of writing a central part of their writing and intellectual practice.

Please read and watch the following and be prepared to come with responses and ideas for your own exploration of this for next class.

Sinclair on ‘motiveless walking’

Sinclair ‘On London’ extract

Sinclair ‘London Orbital’ ‘look inside’ chapter 1

Self – South Downs Way [extract]

The uses of Psychogeography – Self

What is Psychography?

Psychogeography has its soots in situationism of which Guy Debord was a key member Psychogeography was defined in 1955 by Guy Debord as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.”[. If you haven’t already read Perspective for Conscious Alterations of Everyday Life [see Week 2]  [Highmore Everyday Life reader] then do!

Watch [at least] some of this film:

There is a translation of French Voice Over available by following the link to a blog on the You Tube page. it’s very interesting to observe the way the camera’s eyes sees. With the v/o processes specific ideas and interpretations about ‘the seen’.

And for another fascinating filmic response to psychogeographical approaches to ‘landscape and journey writing have a look at Andrew Kottings Gallivant [UK 1995]. if you have a look at Sinclair’s web site you’ll see they’ve worjed together quite a bit.

dana boyd always has something interesting to say…

dana boyd is a researcher and expert on all things social media. her doctorate got her a job at Microsoft and an affiliate with Harvard University so safe to say her work is rated.

there are a number of articles and videos of her work and ideas online.

here’s a link to the talk entitled ’embracing a culture of connectivity’ that i’ll be showing in week 1 of The Networked Image course

be great to hear your thoughts.

No More Decisive Moments – Just Stream

Thinking about Networked Images and how snapshot or popular photography has changed the way we produce and consume images in this era of cameraphones, photo-blogging and global sharing, this article is a fantastic introduction to the subject offering historical context and many useful references to further research in practice and theory work.

A LIfe More Photographic

Read it and then consider these questions:

What is snapshot photography? Describe its key features.
How has the Internet changed the nature of snapshot photography?
How has the move to screen-based photography transformed the way we take photographs?
How has the practice of photo sharing or photo blogging re-instated the ‘marginalised practice of looking at‘.
What does Lev Manovich describe as ‘a new paradigm to interface reality’ ‘? Why is this significant for understanding the networked images?
Have we lost the ‘decisive moment’ in photography? Substantiate for your answer.
What implication does the artist Paul Frosh’s ideas about stock photography have for networked snapshot photography?
Elsewhere the internet has been described as a ‘network of desire for wealthy countries’.  How might this be considered in light of Rubenstien’s/Sluis’s understanding of ‘the rhetoric of personal photography’.

Be great to know what you think or post any related articles of interest.

Why Not Enter The Twitter Fiction Festival?

Twitter are launching the first Twitter fiction festival November 28th. WHy not try your hand at some twitter fiction. Learning to write engaging stories concisely and with impact is a skill every fiction writer could do well in flexing. Think of it as your time in the writing gym, shortreps that will build the necessary writing muscle and craft for tackling any of those bigger projects you have promised to do one day. Oh and you stand a very good chance of completing these

the wired article here adds some interesting comments of how this kind of fiction might well reshape our ideas of what fiction it and how we read it. it also has a bunch more links that are all really interesting.

Book 2.0 – Available Now as Free Download

It’s taken a while but finally here is: Intellect’s peer-reviewed journal Book 2.0 where my paper on my novel User is published.

‘Sarah Gibson Yates looks at how online and offline worlds intersect through the development of User, a creative writing work-in-progress that analyses how social media has turned the self into a creative work and a digital identity to be marketed. ‘

Be great to hear any thoughts, comments…,id=51520/

Shares in Me

Dr Aleks Krotoski spells out what is really for sale when Zuckerberg floats facebook.

The decision to sell shares in his ‘just want to make the world a more open and connected place’ philosophy may well be a tipping point for Facebook and its place in our lives but its the culmination of a trend that’s been gathering momentum and legitimacy for years. We all know what’s going on – we all know about cookies and profile gathering and consumer trend mapping blah blah…but do any of us really care? It would seem not. Not YET anyway. Perhaps some blood must spill first. Zuckerberg power over our lives is real and present. He may well appropriately be described as a ‘benign dictator’ but the question for us million users/prols/consumers is how do we protect ourselves if [when?] he ever decides to embrace the darker side of all that influence?

A New Era Has Begun [Officially]: GIW 1 [Global Information War 1]

Or WIW 1 [World Information War 1] if you prefer.

The new age has offically begun.

Click Here to Read Article

Flash Wars

Independent journalist and regular commentator on the BBC World Service programme Digital Planet, Bill Thompson on Open Societies Need Open Systems.

Click Here to Read Article