Here is a roundup of my contributions to PopMatters so far this year:
A few years ago I had the idea to start an online journal devoted to film and video work in/on/about geography, but at different points technological, financial and support issues became barriers to getting the project launched. Recently, I decided to readjust my thinking and reboot the journal as a “channel” on Vimeo, “Moving Image Geography”. You can go to the homepage, and also get content notices via Twitter. If you have relevant interests and qualifications, I am looking for additional moderators. Contact me with inquiries if you’re interested.
In the meantime, here are two of my initial selections:
A couple of days ago, my March column posted to PopMatters. I look at the impulse among creators, readers, and critics of comics to relate the form to other media:
Such references can be problematic, unintentionally implying that comics is subordinate to film both historically and as a form of art, but they are also culturally convenient and the adaptation of terms from film analysis to comics can be an effective way for artists, critics, and readers to explain the meaning, significance, or effect of a particular book, page, or panel. As I already implied, this is how a critical and practical language for film was initially innovated: by borrowing, and bending, concepts related to other, more established and critically recognized, arts and forms of expression.
I use my latest column to look at comics art and the exploration of senses of place:
Places never look and feel one way all the time to everyone. The manifest subjectivity of comics makes it a medium almost perfectly suited to exploring varying senses of place, from the city block you might live on to the most fantastic world you can imagine apprehending with your senses.
My newest column posted yesterday on PopMatters. I take a critical look at James Stokoe’s Godzilla mini for IDW with a particular focus on how the artist has adapted the monster for the page:
The need for an adequate approach to the Godzilla sound is indicative of the particular challenges to making comics from licensed properties. In an interview with Josh Bell at Comic Book Resources, Stokoe sees his task in this way, “A licensed property like this, I feel like you need to really think about it and try to take more care,”, adding further, “There’s been precedent established, so you can’t just wing it like it was your own. You need a respect for the material, and a desire to try and dissect what it is you like about it” (see, “James Stokoe Tackles Giant Monsters in ‘Godzilla: The Half-Century War’”, 22 June 2012).
It’s Spring term and I find myself without time and energy to do many rewarding activities, like keeping up-to-date with my news feeds and maintaining this blog, but I have finally collected a few items to share.
Last week, Inside Higher Ed featured a story on the efforts of librarians to archive internet documents so that scholars in the future have the same kind of access to those texts as they do to print materials. The article is a good illustration as to why librarianship needs to be a professional and academic field, no matter what some in college administration might think.
Also last week, at The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates has an incisive blog post challenging assertions of “black privilege” and anti-affirmative action politics. The most salient point is that most who see themselves as victims of discrimination as a result of affirmative action also fail to see their own privilege and how being white has historically been a benefit in America.
And here’s another moment of mundane beauty in Spacing Toronto’s “Street Scene” series.
End of the term, so the link compiling has been slow, but here are some good pointers:
On her Reassigned Time 2.0 blog, Dr, Crazy has an entry on what it means to teach a 4/4 load. She notes that most graduate school experiences prepare people for the R1 research track, and its corresponding 2/2 or lighter teaching. From that perspective, teaching 4/4 seems like an impossible burden on “one’s own” work. Crazy argues that this is a particularly blinkered way of seeing the kind of work that most PhDs are likely to find themselves doing, and lists a number of teaching and research strategies she has developed to be satisfied in her position, however far removed it might be from the grad school ideal.
In my comment to her post, I note that Western is on quarters, which turns 4/4 into 3/3/3, but in either case, I think her reflection is valuable for what it says about what working at a small, undergraduate teaching focused public university is not, and keeping the relationship between teaching and research in perspective. (I should note that her post is in response to this short piece by Notorious PhD).
Two entries on Guy Davis leaving as the regular artist on B.P.R.D. One, by Sean Collins on Robot 6, looks at seven of the best moments from Davis’ work on the title (the choice of seven is explained in the post, but should be easy to figure out if you read Hellboy and B.P.R.D.). The other is by Andy Khouri at ComicsAlliance and looks ahead to new artist Tyler Crook, about whom I know little.
From The Mary Sue, two items about art created by young girls. Jamie Frevele points to a hand drawn “video game”, and includes a link to an audio file where the kid explains her design. And, also from Frevele, is a series of photos showing some neat little hand painted rocks inspired by Exit through the Gift Shop.
Via Inside Higher Ed is this short item quoting Steve Jobs on Apple and the integration of technology with the liberal arts and humanities. No comment, just find this thought interesting.
Finally, I have been looking at the work at Moviebarcode for a couple of weeks now, and I am still not sure what to make of this art. This piece, which is Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love, one of the three films I will cite as my favorite, is what moved me to post about the project.
On the one hand, I can see where these images could make lovely prints, blown up and framed. On the other hand, they are given the same title as the films they concentrate. What of In the Mood for Love is in the image? Would I know that this is that film without being told? Sometimes when I look at it, I see colors and partial figures that evoke the movie. At other times, I see little connection, leading me to think that this is an interesting formal exercise, but it is, fundamentally, separate from cinema.