Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vid Workspaces

Hey vid world, hope you've all been doing well. Pretty wrapped up in writing chapter 3 of my thesis at the moment, and I was wondering if anyone out there would care to send me a photo of their vidding workspace, maybe with a word or two about what kind of equipment you use.

Por ejemplo, here's mine...

This is my uni office, where I have a standard desktop PC I never use, but I hook my personal laptop up to the awesome widescreen monitor for spreadsheets, multiple Word documents, and most importantly, vid watching (pictured here: killabeez 's "Little Lion Man" for SPN). The unfinished LJ post I'm in the middle of writing, and pics of Australia I've taken are there, as well as some from VidUKon... and ten miles of tangled headphone/microphone cord. My laptop is a beautiful little HP Pavilion dv6 with an 18" monitor, 500GB memory, and 2GB RAM.

In any case...

If you wanted to email me a photo of your workspace, there is the possibility that I might include it in my dissertation, so be aware of that. I'm over at fanthropology@gmail.com. :-)

And I'm starting to feel a little guilty for constantly asking for stuff without giving anything back. But I can promise is 100,000 words on vidding sometime in the next 18 months! *sheepish*

Seriously, though, you guys rock. And now, in proper Aussie fashion, I'm off to a springtime BBQ.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Recommended Readings on Virtual Worlds & Second Life

Boellstorff, Tom. Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.
  • A bit of a tough read, but well-worth the effort. Anthropologist Boellstorff applies traditional ethnographic research methods to Second Life.
Meadows, Mark Stephen. I, Avatar: The Culture and Consequences of Having a Second Life. Indianapolis: New Riders, 2008.
  • Unusual and fascinating look at some of the personal and subjective issues involved in having a virtual world representation of yourself.
Malaby, Thomas M. Making Virtual Worlds: Linden Labs and Second Life. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009.
  • Another anthropologist, but in this case examining the Linden Lab staff, and detailing how the libertarian ethos of the company affects the thousands of Residents of Second Life.
Castronova, Edward. Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
  • Analyzing the economic and business side of online games.
Au, Wagner James. The Making of Second Life: Notes from the New World. New York: Harper Collins, 2008.
  • Written by the founder of influential Second Life news service, New World Notes.
Dibbell, Julian. My Tiny Life: Crime and Passion in a Virtual World. New York: Henry Holt, 1998.
  • A highly personal and engaging tale of life lived in the virtual world.
Dibbell, Julian. Play Money: Or, How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot. New York: Basic Books, 2006.
  • Dibbell attempts to make a living for a year solely from virtual cash, and then claim it on his income tax.
Ludlow, Peter and Wallace, Mark. The Second Life Herald: The Virtual Tabloid that Witnessed the Dawn of the Metaverse. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2007.
  • The rise and conflicts of the Second Life Herald. Deals a lot with The Sims Online as well. Documents the strange conflicts between the news service, the virtual world residents, and the companies that own the systems.
Taylor, T. L. Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006.
  • An ethnographic study of popular MMO Everquest, looking at the role of gender and gaming.
Turkle, Sherry. Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.
  • A classic study of MUDs and their social lives. Heavily influenced by psychology, this book explores how and why different people use MUDs for different reasons.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Looking for sources

hey vid world, i'm looking for anyone who might happen to know who created these two LJ icons:

i'm hoping to include them in my dissertation, and I want to make sure I give credit where credit is due.

*fingers crossed*

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Writing continues, and how I use quotes

I may not be dead, but I have fallen into a pit of writing, conferences, and research work here at uni. Probably about time, though, lol.

For anyone who was curious, I've completed my second chapter (barring some minor edits). This chapter is about my methodologies - what types of data collection methods I've used and what - and a general introduction to the vidding community online - about how many people, some demographics, and that sort of thing. I also address issues like privacy, consent, confidentiality, and things like that.

I've now moved on to third chapter, which I've tentatively titled "The Practice of Vidding". It is sort of a background information chapter for my readers who may not be familiar with vidding, and covers the 30-odd year history from slides to digital, and then gives a summary of how current digital vids are made (as I've mentioned before, I am focusing on contemporary, digital vidding for my dissertation).

I already have, and probably will continue to, be sending out some emails in the near future to various vidders I've met or interviewed, and also some I haven't, asking for permission to quote sources outside the range of personal interviews or focus groups (which is covered by the consent form you would have signed). This may include things like individual's Livejournal posts, or comments in someone else's LJ. I will be quoting from general posts to communities without tacit permission, because a larger/more public audience is assumed for these. However, I will request permission to quote by email for any comments in any LJ, and personal LJs. And I will ask permission for each quote, and not just assume a blanket permission to take words wherever I please (unless the vidder indicates this is okay).

I am planning to include a DVD of several vids along with my dissertation for the examiners / my supervisors. I am going to be sending out consent forms which need to be signed by the vidder in order to include it here. You can check out the consent form here if you are curious: http://docs.google.com/View?id=dfn5rwh3_114cbkv3pfd. It usually comes with the participant information sheet, which looks like this:

Of course, if you receive a request to quote or for vid use, you can always refuse me with no hard feelings. I'm not here to expose anyone or disrupt anything.

Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be able to run a final focus group as I may have desired. I have some tight deadlines coming up and really need to get on those. My apologies to everyone who volunteered! However, if there is anyone out there who would like to read portions of my thesis as it is written, please let me know. I am looking for some vidder/vid-watcher feedback. :-)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


editing second chapter particularly painful today. for those keeping score at home, chapter 2 is the only one i've written, and it's kinda multi-pupose, an introduction/demographics/methods/ethics chapter. it's probably 85% complete - fully written, but needing some sections expanded on.

decided to take a break from the editing struggle to crunch some statistical data that i'll need for one part of this chapter, where i basically describe what sort of vids are posted to the main community, what shows are being vidded, and what the community is talking about just to give an overview.

so for the past 6 months (feb-july) i've been writing down a basic summary of everything that's been posted in an excel spreadsheet. i figured it would be a bit tough to analyze later on, but at the time of recording i only wanted it to be easy to take down.

and now i'm kicking myself in the face for it.

i never studied statistics, or learned how to crunch quantitative data in my undergrad, or even in my postgrad. i'm sure it would have been excruciating to sit through such a class, but MAN do i wish i knew a better way to do this.

bumped into a colleague of mine on the way to the library, another arts postgrad, and i was telling her about this problem, and she turns to me and says...

"you know, they have computer programs that do all that for you now, right?"


Monday, September 07, 2009

Wrapping up Interviews

It's weird, but I get a bit sad when I'm wrapping up interviews with my participants, both in-person in scattered locations around the globe, at conventions, and by email over the course of a month or two. I almost wish I had more questions to ask, because I want to hear more about vidding, and keep the conversation going. But I've got to move on from collecting information, and into analysis and writing.

I'm considering the possibility of an online focus group to wrap up my data collection phase, but am not sure of the best way to do it. (I'd like to go out with a bang!) Drop me a PM or a comment if you're interested in participating (if you've been interviewed before or not). Also: any suggestions on a good place to host it? Maybe a communal Google chat? Here in my LJ? Skype? What do you think?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The multi-faceted definitions of vidding

Or... "Can't we all just be friends?"

You know, this whole vidding thing that's been going on (which I'm going to call The Great Vidding Kerfuffle of 2009) makes me suddenly really terrified to actually make any sort of statement about vidding one way or another. It seems like such an ephemeral thing, such a contentious thing, and it's obviously something that people care a lot about (myself included) that I'm almost hesitate to say anything about it, one way or another. So... I'm just hoping that I can avoid any possible vitriol or shit-storming in my journal. Please play nice in comments.

The definition of vidding I have used for my thesis is: "a fan-made remix video (known as a "vid") whereby favourite television or film texts are edited to music and shared online", with a second line describing it as "a unique new media form that combines pre-existing sources in new ways which often convey meanings not intended by their original creators".

I was trying to create a definition that was relatively more inclusive, because at the time I was unsure if I was going to include a chapter on trailer mashups or AMVs (although I no longer am for length/focus reasons).

And I can see a hundred contentious issues pop in just my two sentence definition. I think many traditional vidders (coming from the slash/VCR/Escapade line) would take issue with the phrase "new media form", as this refers explicitly to digital vidding and suggests that it has arisen in the last 5-10 years. I've also noticed that vidders tend to avoid the word "remix" as well, as this brings up connotations of DJs, political remixers, and other digital media artists. I've also included that vids are "shared online": while this has not always been the case, I believe it is such at the current moment. The last section I think is especially important: imho, vids often convey new meanings, but not always. I think vids are inherently transformative, but not necessarily interpretive or analytical. That's a criticism that's often heard of AMVs - they're not vids because they are not critical or interpretive. There's a value judgement there. So many vids are simply about joy, about love for fandom, about expressing that joy. And that's what I love about vidding the most: the emotion. (Please don't hurt me.)

So for anyone wondering, here's the type of vidding I'm going to be discussing in my dissertation:

I hope to provide a snapshot of contemporary vidding. It will be heavily informed by the history of media fandom, and I hope to detail the evolution of vidding as a practice and a community from its inception with Kandy Fong's slideshows, through the VCR collectives, and into early digital collectives. But what really interests me is what has happened to this original tradition since the inception of YouTube, new media cultures, and the mainstream accessibility of digital remix.

I am fascinated by the tensions, conflicts, communities, changes, and individuals who are involved in vidding: the new styles, the experiments and ground-breaking changes, and how they affect and effect the original ethos of the group. What happens when new people start joining the group, and the dynamic shifts? When the definition of vidding is no longer so straightforward?

I've been fortunate that I have cast my interview net far and wide, and have managed to talk to AMV editors working on their first live-action vid, YouTube vidding community members, professional editors, VCR vidders with 20+ years unflagging love for editing, mainstream artists, and so-called visual fan-ficcers on three continents, men and women (and some in-between) from eighteen to sixty. But they've all got a few things common: they love TV, they love music, they love the craft of editing, and they all call themselves vidders.

I consider myself pretty lucky, as a researcher, to have shown up on the scene at such an interesting moment.

So I like to consider a more far-reaching and open-ended definition of vidding for myself, but simply for the sake of scope I will be dealing with the Livejournal-based vidding community with its roots in media fandom-- and how YouTube and digital remix culture has affected it-- for my dissertation.

A big part of me doesn't even want to post this at all, because I'm afraid of blowback. And I really wish I wasn't.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Vividcon Vid Recs

Finally, I've decompressed enough information to pass on my vid recs from Vividcon, which I just attended in Chicago. Here are just a few that have popped into my head. More later, probably.

"Intergalactic Friends" by dragonchic. Smallville set to a Beastie Boys / Dandy Warhols mashup.

Inherent awesomeness of the music aside, I really loved how this vid evoked the entire Superman mythos, pulling it up and out of the context of Smallville itself, and connecting it to the entire history of the character. Shirtless Clark and evil, plotting Lex also help. Michael Rosenbaum is the best Lex ever cast, no competition. (Sorry, Kevin Spacey.)

"Seven Nation Army" by Charmax, to the Matrix, I Robot, Doctor Who, BSG, and Terminator.

This vid really knocked my socks off by drawing the connections across so many franchises, and I really shook my booty to it at Club Vivid.

And the most inexplicable award goes to...

But is it a vid?

check out this entrancing remix for mary poppins:

Friday, August 28, 2009


Okay, so back in Australia... stressed out about all the things on my plate right now... but hey that's the life of the PhD student!

I'm currently working on an short article for the TWC's upcoming issue on Supernatural, and have been swimming through my mountain of SPN vids to choose which to talk about. And hey I'm just curious: what's your favourite meta-y SPN vid, or one that tickled your thinky brain, and why?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Vividcon Unpacking: Vid Recs

Absolute fav vid of Vividcon: bradcpu and laurashapiro et al: Hard Sun for Firefly. This vid pulled something right out of my brain, set it to music, and put it up on a big screen for everyone to enjoy. For me, it is an extremely intimate and personal vid of that little moment where you are walking along, listening to music, and thinking about Firefly. I've had that experience, and I know a lot of other Browncoats and vidders out there have had that experience too. And it was so beautiful to see it expressed in vid-form, utterly compelling and beautiful. It also gave me a powerful sense of SHARING that experience with other fans, walking their local streets doing what I'm doing. This vid just sang to me: "We're all in this together." Yes.

Closely followed by jescaflowne's vid Can Delight: Pure, cheerleading joy. I saw it at Club Vivid, and I just had to stop dancing and stare, slack-jawed, at the screen and admire it. A must-watch.

More recs to follow, and perhaps also some comments on the simmering bad feelings surrounding the con (which is a shame, because I enjoyed myself thoroughly and was upset to hear that some people didn't).

Vividcon by the numbers

Back from Chicago, finally. Utterly exhausted and useless, and here's why: Over 4 days, I collected:

16 hours of recorded audio.
10 interviews.
1 focus group.
75 pages of notes.
200+ vids watched.
15 library items checked out.
15 GBs harddrive consumed.

and 14 hours of sleep required upon return in order to recover.

But I had a fantastic time. Proper detox post still forthcoming.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Windy City, Here I Come

My flight leaves in 14 hours for Chicago: I am finally going to go to Vividcon. This trip has been a year and a half in the making, and now that I'm finally going I can only say that I'm both extremely relieved, and extremely nervous. A lot of things have changed for me in the past 18 months, that's for sure.

In any case, I have a pretty packed schedule during the few days I'm in Chicago. Lots of interviews with fantastic vidders and vid-watchers alike that I'm supremely excited to talk to. Getting to know individuals, learning about their history and their vids and techniques and thoughts on the community is the most engaging part of this sort of research.

And I can't wait to squee wildly over the gabillion vidders I admire. Fangirl at heart, what can I say.

I am worried that my schedule is too packed, that I'll be run absolutely into the ground by the end of the weekend. But hey, I've done cons before, forgone sleep, and lived off pixie sticks and coca cola, and I can do it again!

I'm coming, Chicago.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


deep breath... Vividcon is only ten days away... I leave in just over a week.... HOLY CRAP I'M NERV-CITED!

Friday, July 24, 2009


Okay, I'm finally going to do it. I'm going to make my own vid. I'm really nervous, but my horoscope says it's a good time to start a project and I'm house-sitting for a few days so that should give me enough free time to really dig my teeth in and get started. Hopefully a good head-start will provide me with enough momentum to keep it going, and not abandon the project 1/3 of the way through like I tend to do. *looks at her mountain of unfinished fanfiction*

Taking the advice of many of the vidders I have met so far, I am planning to limit my source material as much as possible to make it a little easier as a first-timer. I'm thinking of making a chara vid for Saffron/Yolanda/Bridgette from Firefly. While singing in the shower the other day, one particular song made me think of her character for some reason out of the blue. Going to listen to it a little more closely now and see if it will suit as well as I hope.

Wish me luck, I think I'm gonna need it!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Effects Research...

...why are you so painful? As much as I love anthropology, I hate sociology. BLEGH.

(In other news, Happy Bastille Day.)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Eroticism, Sex, and Consent in the Field

I'm currently reading the fascinating collection "Taboo: Sex, Identity, and Erotic Subjectivity in Anthropological Fieldwork", edited by Don Kulick and Margaret Willson (London & New York: Routledge, 1995). Despite the fact that I only did anthropology for my undergraduate degree, I find the methodological, ethical, and subjective issues of this particular field endlessly interesting (nerd that I am). The collection of essays deals with issues of eroticism, sex, and sexuality in fieldwork, a topic that most fieldworkers are silent on. There is an unspoken rule that sex while in the field is unethical, and it is assumed that all anthropologists are somehow celibate while performing their fieldwork. I find this book very confronting in that it acknowledges the possibilities, risks, and even benefits of sexual desire for one's fieldwork. Most of all, the honesty and candid accounts of various ethnographers' experiences is touching and brings up a lot of issues that I think should be addressed in more anthropology training in universities.

Consider this passage from Ralph Bolton's chapter, speaking as a gay man who frequently had sex with his participants while researching the gay community and the AIDS epidemic in Brussels:

"I cannot imagine doing fieldwork without sex, perhaps from a feeling that life is too short and one must enjoy it while one can. We don't get younger. Perhaps it's because I came out late and am 'catching up'. In truth, it's probably because I enjoy sex too much to remain voluntarily abstinent. It is most definitely not a sacrifice I would make for my profession. But the question of identity is implicated as well. In the hierarchy of components of my personal identity, gayness ranks higher than ethnicity, nationality, and profession. And that aspect of my being is expressed and celebrated through sex." (pg. 149)

This passage just floored me. What a brave statement to make, first of all. I commend Bolton for so openly stating such things. The role of the body, of emotion, of sex, and indeed of love is one that hardly ever enters ethnographic discourse, and certainly not in such frank terms. The scandal of Malinowski revealing his sexual desires in the field in his "Diary in the Strict Sense of the Term" shocked and scandalized the anthropological discipline. Despite all the recent hubbub on self-reflexivity and auto-ethnography, the silence remains.

And as someone who always struggles with issues of consent and ethics (even though my research has never been with high-risk communities), I find this also deeply unsettling. Obviously Bolton's partners were all consenting adults, and likely also educated Westerners, but obtaining data through pillow talk seems questionable.

Later in the chapter, Bolton details the ethical concerns in performing this type of research. Regarding consent, he explains that he did not obtain signed consent from any participants (partially out of concern for their privacy), and did not hide that he was researching when asked. But would these men have consented to sex if they knew in advance that Bolton was studying them? Would it have affected their decision in some way?

Or am I placing my own subjectivity onto this? Bolton seems unworried for the consequences, and I am neither gay nor male, and certainly cannot claim knowledge of the role of sex in the gay male community. Bolton states that he engaged in sex for personal and not professional reasons, but if he stood to gain professionally from the encounters I believe he should have obtained consent in advance. "...The purpose of informed consent is to prevent hard to the individual, or if harm could occur, then to obtain permission and acceptance of that risk by those who would incur it. In my judgment, no risk was involved in the Belgian fieldwork." (155) I find this statement problematic for many reasons: if someone slept with me and then started quizzing me as an anthropologist, I would feel at risk. I wonder how Bolton's participants felt. I agree with Marshall's review of his work, when she called it "passive deception", even though Bolton himself does not.

Bolton also points to the necessity of participating in sex in order to fully be a member of the gay community, and of course participant observation is the cornerstone of anthropological methodology. You learn by doing. My own participants have insisted that I make a vid myself in order to fully understand their practices, to be "in" I need to become a vidder myself. Could Bolton have achieved his research goals while abstaining? I doubt it.

I can just imagine the reaction from the UOW ethics committee if I even thought about suggested a project like this!

Focus Group at VVC

Just sent out a bunch of invitations for people to be interviewed at VVC, and I'm going to send out another round soon.

I'm wondering if anyone is interested in participating in a focus group while at the con, which is kind of like a group interview with four or five people all together. I've found this type of interview format to be really useful, engaging, and tends to be more social and fun than traditional interviewing. The questions will be a bit meatier and more open-ended, and are designed for everyone to discuss and debate with each other, dealing with trends in vidding, remix culture as a whole, the role of gender in the vidding community, and fair use and copyright issues.

If the idea of participating in this appeals to you, hey, let me know! I'm sure we can arrange a time for all of us to chat together at some point, perhaps over dinner?

Email me at fanthropology@gmail.com if you'd like to participate, or leave a comment and I'll get back to you. You're welcome to join the focus group even if I'm interviewing you separately as well!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

History of Vidding: The Struggle

Struggling to write my chapter relating to the history of vidding... It's probably because my supervisors are pushing me for another chapter before I go back to Canada, and I really haven't done enough research on this yet to write about it with any confidence. I've watched Francesca Coppa's great documentary on the genealogy of vidding from the DIY conference, checked out the Fanlore articles... But it's really scattered and I'm finding it difficult to piece together. I really do need to wait until I get back from Vividcon and manage to meet some VCR vidders and such there to get a more complete picture before I write any more. If anyone wants to help me out, let me know!

In other news... my ambitious side wants to plan a small vidding convention here in Australia somewhere. How sweet would that be?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

VVC Here I Come

I just made my hotel and flight reservations for Vivicon... So excited!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Any Canadian / Australian vidders out there?

Because I'll be travelling a bit these next two months, I'm wondering if there are any vidders out there who might be interested in being interviewed. Any Sydney / NSW vidders from now until early July, and then I'll be in Brisbane, QLD in early July and in Toronto, Canada from mid-July to mid-August. If you're out there and interested, drop me a line!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Guest post

I just guest-posted on Supernatural fandom, vidding, and intertextuality over at FandomResearch.org. Check it out!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dear Vidding: How are you so awesome?

Just finished writing up a guest post for Fandom Research (I'll post the link when it goes up) on the different ways Supernatural vidders manipulate genre and use outside sources to tell their stories. Ten seconds later, I am scrolling through the latest Meta Vidding Newsletter and downloaded Ash's "Supernatural at the Movies":

How utterly amazing is this vid? Especially in terms of how useful it would be for my own research, as lately I've been focusing on how vidders are so media literate that they are able to make use of television cinematography, editing, and genre conventions to manipulate the source footage to tell any sort of story they desire.

And here it is!

Ash, between this vid and Channel Hopping, you are my new favourite person in the whole world. XD

Monday, June 15, 2009

Holy crap

I'm FINALLY done my transcriptions from VidUKon! It only took... oh... 9 months?? I really need to do a better job getting my data down after Vividcon. I don't want to still be transcribing when I should be writing because it's very distracting.

But I will say there are worse ways to spend your time than sitting outside in the Australia sun, even in the 20 degree C "winter", listening to vidders chat about what they love.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Video Remix Origins

Check out this parody of a German propaganda film from 1941, which takes footage from Nazi rallies and edits it to a popular musical number from the period to make the German WWII troops look ridiculous:

Link Here.

It may not be of the vidding tradition per se, as that grew out of fandom in general and the fanfiction tropes and traditions specifically, but I think it certainly does constitute one of the earliest video remixes I've ever seen. Fascinating!!

Thanks to my colleague Ruth Walker for pointing this out to me.

Monday, June 01, 2009

What I Do In My Office All Day

I probably watch 5 vids a day, every single day. Some days, it's up to 25-30 if I'm cataloguing the vids from the vidding discussion thread on LJ. and i figure... why on earth am i keeping all these to myself?! so i'm going to try and rec more vids as i find them, so here's today's:

the aforementioned thread has been flooded by star trek vids in honour of the new film, and i have to share a few with you. i've never been into trek - every other fandom on the planet, yes, but i seem to have missed this one. but i found the new movie to be really fun and enjoyable even for a non-trekker.

so i'm recommending "Who Found Mr. Fabulous?" by kuwdora. it's fast-paced and tons of fun to watch. check out the imeem stream here.

here's a great one for classic trek: steady as she goes by jesuit24. it's a deliciously fun and campy romp through TOS. check out the stream below:

and for something completely different: i highly recommend chamalla's "dust in the wind" for the whole of BSG. it's a heartbreaking overview of the series now that it's over.

switching gears again so as not to depress you all to death...

SPN slashers has discovered misha collins (aka: castiel/jimmy) and i giggled myself to death watching danegen's "luv song". god help him. check it out at imeem here.

that's all for now, folks!v

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chapter Two

A Wordle art for my second chapter. Excerpt forthcoming.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

CEDIR Second Life Workshop

Our workshop to-do list:
  1. Border authentication
  2. Creating an account
  3. Logging in
  4. Friending: Click "Communicate", then and add Rina Ethaniel as your friend
  5. Groups: Click on "DIGC101 New Media Communication" in my profile and join the group so that I can communicate with you.
  6. Moving
  7. Communicating - main and IM chat, group chat, voice
  8. Using objects / interacting with the environment
  9. Profiles
  10. Search
  11. Map
  12. Teleporting and Landmarks
  13. Editing Appearance
  14. Inventory
  15. Freebie Sites
  16. Making Money

A list of useful in-world locations you can link to, known as "SLurls":
  • Sandbox . Head here if you need to unpack a box!
  • The Pond. A Telstra-run island with some great builds of Australiana.
  • ABC Island. The ABC's own island with tons of cool buildings and sites to explore.
  • Vassar College. A recreation of this American college's campus, featuring an exact replica of the Sistine Chapel built by the students.
  • Alliance Library Island. One of the many libraries in the SL library system, where you can check out information on a variety of topics, with support from actual librarians.
  • October Country. A Hallowe'en build that plays old radio dramas. Sit around the campfire and listen to the plays by turning on your audio (click on the "play" button next to the music notes above your Inventory).
  • Bogart's Jazz Club. A formal dance club that plays classic jazz music. Make sure to turn on your audio, and be warned of the etiquette codes of the club!
  • Alice's Looking Glass. A fun build based on Alice in Wonderland. Fall down the rabbit hole and look for the club.
  • Jokaydia. A build by an instructor from Wollongong TAFE, this island is used by a variety of SL educators to teach classes in-world.
  • Chichen Itza. A build by Tourism Mexico in an attempt to promote the site for one of the Eight Wonders of the World.
  • Avilion Grove. A medieval role-playing group. Be careful of the etiquette requirements of the sim.
  • Georgia State University. Check out the library for a extensive selection of landmarks in various fields. They also have a library of notecards on how to use SL.
  • Princeton University. Explore how the university promotes itself in-world.
  • Ohio University. Another great example of how universities are able to promote their campuses in-world.
  • RMIT University. Check out this space for a completely different take on university presence in world.
  • Australian Film, Television, and Radio School (AFTRS).
  • Garden of Da Vinci. A really unique build which models the different inventions of Leonardo da Vinci.
Feel free to explore any of these sites or find ones that interest you through the search. If you are having difficulty, try asking another Resident for help.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

VividCon Fieldwork

I'm gearing up to prep for my fieldwork at VividCon, and I want to talk a bit about what I'm planning to do there because I think it's important to be transparent about your research methods.


Here is a short rundown of the methods I plan to use while there.

- Participant Observation: this is a classic anthropology method which essentially involves me being a convention attendee - attending vid shows, listening to panels, etc. - and making notes on what is going on.
- Short Interviews: The formal term for "asking questions". I might ask someone what they think about fair use, or using YouTube, or the vid they just saw. Very straightforward.
- Extended / Formal Interviews: I would like to sit down with some people individually and go through a list of questions on your vidding practices, the vidding community, copyright and fair use issues, and issues around fandom in general.
- Roundtable: The ConCom has asked me to give a roundtable presentation on my research, where I will be outlining my approach, theories, and research thus far so that people can give me feedback and ask questions.
- Focus Group: If people are interested, I would like to get 4 or 5 people together to talk with me in a focus group, which is similar to an extended interview but tends to deal with more complex questions and lets all the group members discuss it together with me.

Ethical Concerns - Consent, Confidentiality, and the Right to Decline

My University requires that each participant read this participant information sheet and sign a consent form like this one before particpating so that everyone is fully informed. All must be over the age of 18. You need to sign your real name on the consent form, but after that I will assign you a random pseudonym and obscure your personal details so that you remain fully anonymous unless you choose to be identified by name or by a particular nickname (like your vidder name or LJ handle). I know some people are concerned about copyright suits, and I will do my utmost to protect your identity. The consent forms will be kept locked a file cabinet in my office and destroyed after the end of the project. You may refuse to answer any questions, and may cease participating at any time with no hard feelings. :-)

Research Guidelines

I have been in touch with the ConCom, and they have provided me with several guidelines to follow for your protection and mine. They are as follows:
- Consent forms will be required from all participants.
- Interviews will mostly be arranged in advance but you can also approach me and ask for one at the event.
- I will be introduced at the beginning of the con so that people know who I am and can approach me or avoid me if they are not interested. Please do not feel shy about telling me you do not want to participate - I completely understand and I will not be offended.
- I will be interviewing away from the main con space where there is some privacy.
- I will not make any recordings or take any photos during the convention. I would like to audio-record my extended interviews, but these will happen away from the main con space and I will ask each person individually for permission.
- I am going to be handing out a flyer at the con with details on my work and how to contact me.

For more information, please don't hesitate to contact me. You can email me at fanthropology@gmail.com or leave a comment at this post or at my LJ. You can also contact the ConCom and they will be able to pass your concerns on to me anonymously. If you haven't yet, please fill out my survey over at Survey Monkey.

I'm really excited to get to attend this great vidding event and meeting some of my vidder heroes!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Practice what you preach

Well, following the example of several of my colleagues I'm going to try and follow the practice of transparent, open-source scholarship to try and garner some collaboration opportunities and such. So in that vein, I would like to share the presentation I gave at the PCA conference I just attended in New Orleans. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know and I will be happy to answer them for you. Feel free to use any part of this as long as you cite me.

PCA - Veni, Vidi, Vids!

Veni Vidi Vids! - Katharina Freund

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

It's Conference Time!

I'm going to be off to the Popular Culture Association National Conference in lovely New Orleans on Tuesday to give a paper on my thesis topic, hoorah! I've already been in contact with some people who are going to be attending. I'm really looking forward to doing some networking with the other people studying vids and fandom out there.

I'll be giving a modified version of the paper I gave here at the Postgrad Student Conference, which I blogged about before. I'm going to be focusing on how vids can manipulate the source in a multitude of ways by using a variety of vids from Supernatural that take the essentially action-thriller-horror show and change it into a melodrama, a slash romance, a AU about serial killers, a critical commentary on women in the media, and an intertextual masterpiece.

As much as I adore it, I had to take out "Things That Make You Go Hmmm..." by deirdre_c because the presentation was just way too long the last time I gave it and I have another slash vid in there already ("Here In Your Car" by dalyn03).

Got my suit tailored and bought new shoes, so I'm all ready!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thoughts on "This World" vid by Buffyann

I first saw this vid at VidUKon, a vidder's convention in the UK, back in October while I was doing my fieldwork there. It played as part of the "Unexpected Choices" vidshow, due to the unusual selection of the nouveau-jazz / trip-hop song "This World" by Zero 7 (confession: it's a favourite band of mine) to scenes of violence, destruction, warfare, and general angst from the early seasons of Battlestar Galatica.

What struck me was just how much the musical choice can affect the interpretation of the vid. I noticed about 3/4 into last year that I was putting way too much theoretical emphasis on the visual aspects of vidding, and was forgetting entirely that this is an AUDIO-visual medium. At VidUKon many of the editors patiently explained to me that the idea for a vid tends to grow out of a SONG first - that the music somehow reminds them of a certain aspect of their favourite television series. The music is the instigator for most vids, from what I was told (there are, of course, exceptions but this seems to be the trend.)

Back to the vid in question, then. Consider how different this vid would be if we traded the cool beats and mellow voice of Zero 7 and traded it for a punk rock song? Or an operatic aria? How differently would we interpreted the intention of the editor in such a case? To me, at least, this particular musical choices makes this vid a thoughtful meditation on these humans of the Galactica and the fleet and their struggle to survive.

But I'll let the vidder herself describe to you how she understands the show both conceptually and aurally:

"The idea for this came very early on from watching the pilot of BSG and whenever the opening credits came in, there was just something about them that totally marked me then. It wasn't the usual SciFi music, it carried so much more, so much pain and hope as well. it was clearly established then for me, how the show was not about scifi, but about this lost civilization looking for a meaning and a way to survive. It's always been what dragged me to BSG. And so this vid is suppose to mirror this idea. The lyrics tell you the rest better than me."

--Buffyann, http://buffyann.free.fr/battlestar.html

For Buffyann, who I had the pleasure of talking to in the UK, the lyrics of the song describe the story she is trying to tell. The song is the backbone that ties all the visual scenes together and knits it into a narrative rather than just a clip show. Have a look, and let me know what you think.

BSG - This World - Buffyann

Monday, February 02, 2009

sowing misconceptions

One of my mailing lists pointed me towards this documentary on SL by the CBC. You can watch the entire video online through the website.

I was so struck by the misconceptions and sensationalism in the doc, even from the very beginning - it continually refers to SL as a game and never brings up the term "virtual world" or "online world" at all. I was also disappointed in how SL was blamed for the problems in these people's marriages when I suspect that those problems already existed, and SL was an escape bringing some happiness to them. I don't like to see the platform scapegoated for ruining marriages. Also, it made me really angry when the doc kept saying that these women had fallen in love with "fantasies" - there are real people using those avatars, communicating with them and listening to them. Also quite tickled to see the scenes framed as being of an "unhappy household" of the woman in Pennsylvania showed the husband cleaning up around the house, doing the shopping, and spending time with the children while the wife got some time to herself. I personally think she took it too far, but I still strongly disliked how the doc made it seem that she should be the one doing all these things while her husband got to leave the house and be "breadwinner". Last time I checked, CBC, it was 2009, not 1952.


Monday, January 26, 2009

still not dead

just got back to oz last week after a month back home in canada for xmas. desperately trying to get things back on track with this thesis, as i've ended up quite behind as of late due to a pile of interferences.

i'm currently in the pipeline to upgrade from an MA thesis to a PhD dissertation... i was offered a scholarship, but there seem to be some problems getting it approved so i'm currently in limbo because i can't afford to do a PhD without the free monies. argh. it's been 6 weeks or more now with this awful limbo... if i get the PhD it will drastically change how i proceed. i need to know one way or the other so i can get my act together and bash out some actual work!

still trying to transcribe all my notes from my time at VidUKon - how sad is that? like i said, i've gotta get on this...

(p.s. happy australia day!)