DS106 BootCamp, Out

It’s been a real trip going through the DS106 BootCamp. In a mere matter of days, I have:

1) Set up a Tumblr blog – because some quick research showed most people though Tumblr the most difficult blogging platform to master, and I always like a good challenge.
2) Decided I hate the Tumblr dashboard, but not before populating my blog with a fair bit of content
3) Migrated my content to WordPress. I’m only semi-happy with the way it looks; I’m not sure the current theme exactly reflects me, but I value its simplicity
4) Created two animated gifs (oh the frivolity!)
5) Shared, embedded media, added my Twitter feed on it
6) Expressed myself in a way I haven’t in years. I’m not a big fan of wearing my heart or mind on my sleeve or anywhere else despite the fact I write for a living

As for my more reflective, philosophical take on the last days – It’s the beginning of a journey of self discovery, as cliché as that is.  I’m thoroughly enjoying being a student once again, albeit one outside physical confines and I guess that’s the beauty of the entire process and a perfect segue to Gardner Campbell’s ‘A Personal CyberInfrastructure’, his videos and DS106 classroom session.

A visual representation of the article:
No digital facelifts: thinking the unthinkable
(Giulia Forsythe)

My key takeaways:
– We’re living in the middle of the highest increase in expressive capability in the history of the human race.
– Gardner’s own exploration of a personal cyberinfrastructure began with how to extend the structure of the classroom and make it an enduring part of lives.
– And in that, it’s not about using the new mediums to tell the same stories; in effect, story-telling can be transformed by the new mediums we have (the animated gif exercise and the setting up of our blogs and using different formats in them are but the first casual experimentation for novices like me)
– The extension of the classroom to the digital space is what promotes an inquiry driven existence. Education is prohreammed for discovery, rather than instruction.
– Hence anyone who needs and wants to Get It, cannot see themselves as adopters of the new capabilities open to us, we must see ourselves as participants and inhabitants of a community, where the act of creating and connecting fuels creation. And to that end, three recursive practices of Narrating, Curating and Sharing is what will keep us straight.

    “New modes of communication change what can be imagined and expressed. Any technology gradually creates a totally new human environment. Environments are not passive wrappings but active processes. The ‘message’ of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs.”

The art of animated gifs

So I have two original gifs to my name. Now what? As I’m fast discovering, there’s a method to the madness of DS106. Unit 1 had kicked off a discourse on ‘What is Art’ and the concept of A Personal CyberInfrastructure (my thoughts on this to follow) to create art and express oneself through; the simple task of creating the gif gets at exactly the same question – are gifs, as a form of expression, be considered art?

I loved the perspective shared in the video “Are Animated GIFs Art?”

The science of animated gifs – Part 2

My 2nd attempt was a far less ambitious one than the first yet was very much more focused. I wanted to achieve 2 things, to capture my nephew in some characteristic action and to yield some laughs from the family.

Attempt 2: Nephew’s Flying Kiss
I coaxed the little bugger to do a flying kiss and video-ed him on my phone. He protested for all of 10 seconds then gave in. With that precious resource I sat down to work trying to create the gif with what I remembered about the process. Took me only 20 min this time. At the very least, his mum, my sis-in-law, seemed pleased with the result.

Nephew gif

The science of animated gifs – Part 1

DS106 Task: Create an animated GIF

I hadn’t before given much thought to the animated gifs that have passed through my mailbox, chat groups, or favourite sites. The most recent ones that stand out in my memory is perhaps the recounting of Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance – each offensive twerk, tongue twitch, dry hump – told through animated gifs.

I approached this task with mixed feelings – could I possibly dedicate a couple of hours to creating something I considered a simple (and frivolous) tool for humour and not much else? Would I have the patience to see it through? How difficult would it be? How easy could it be??!?

The fact that the DS106 task didn’t provide the answers but simply asked that students be resourceful in discovering the how-tos themselves was challenge enough for me. I’ve always counted resourcefulness as one of my better traits, and if no one was handing out answers, you bet I’d find them out for myself.

Attempt 1: David mind-fucks Ricky
I was more excited about getting it done, than what the gif should express or what response it should illicit. I was of course at some level looking at it to scare and shock a little; I wanted animated gif show the metal rod go in one side of Blaine’s arm and poke out of the other. It certainly looked better in my mind. Why I even settled on that video to create a gif out of I’m not sure. I am a big fan of Ricky Gervais.

Whatever the case, 2 hours of downloads and dabbling on a youtube convertor, mpeg streamclip and gimp gave me this.

Animated Gif - Trial 1