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HSS8123 – An Index of Plagiarisms

Now that the pamphlets for my final project are mostly done, here’s an attempt at to list all the different sources and techniques I used in creating them:

SOURCES:
Summary Judgement
The Big Bang Theory (TV show)
Soft Kitty – Edith Newlin (song)
“Let’s Go Crazy” #1 – Stephanie Lenz (video)
Let’s Go Crazy – Prince (song)
Photograph – Ed Sheeran (song)
Amazing – Matt Cardle (song)
Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice (song)
Under Pressure – Queen (song)
Chocolat – Mi Casa (song)
Chocolate – DJ Novi (song)
Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke (song)
Got to Give It Up (Marvin Gaye)
Melissa Ferrick (musician)
Spotify (music website)
Napster (file-sharing website)

Beautiful Infighting
Catcall – Rob Bliss (film)
Shoshana Roberts (actress)
Starr Mazer DSB – Imagos Softworks (game)
Alex Mauer (musician)
Cool Cat Saves the Kids – Derek Savage (film)
Review of Cool Cat Saves the Kids – I Hate Everything (video)
Review of Cool Cat Saves the Kids – Your Movie Sucks (video)
Bold Guy vs Parkour Girl – Matthew Hosseinzadeh (video)
Parody of Bold Guy vs Parkour Girl – h3h3 (video)
The Slaughtering Grounds – Digital Homicide (game)
Review of the Slaughtering Grounds – Jim Sterling (video)

Changelogs
Pokemon Red & Blue Version – Nintendo (game)
Pokemon Silver & Gold Version – Nintendo (game)
Cooking Mama – Nintendo (game)
Super Mario Bros. – Nintendo (game)
Pokemon Uranium Version – InvoluntaryTwitch (game)
Pokemon Black and Blue Version – PETA (game)
Pokemon Red White and Blue Version – PETA (game)
Cooking Mama: Mama Kills Animals – PETA (game)
Mario Kills Tanooki – PETA (game)
Super Meat Boy – Team Meat (game)
Super Tofu Boy – PETA (game)
Bioshock – 2K Games (game)
Fallout – Bethesda (game)
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest – Konami (game)
CR Pachinko Akumajo Dracula – Konami (pachinko machine)
Donald Trump’s Real Estate Tycoon – Activision Value (game)
Supreme Ruler: Trump Rising – Battlegoat Studios (game)
Super POTUS Trump – Emerson Design Inc (game)
An Index of Plagiarisms in Lanark – Alasdair Grey (prose)

Oulipean Pataphysical Plagiarising Nonsense
The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost (poem)
A Red, Red Rose – Robert Burns (poem)
Funeral Blues – W.H. Auden (poem)
I Found the Quine – Jackie Kay (poem)
Sonnet 18 – Shakespeare (poem)
Daddy – Sylvia Plath (poem)
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night – Dylan Thomas (poem)
This Be The Verse – Philip Larkin (poem)
Mother Any Distance – Simon Armitage (poem)
Green Eggs and Ham – Dr Seuss (poem)
The Tay Bridge Diasaster – William McGonagall (poem)
To His Coy Mistress – Andrew Marvell (poem)
The Lovesong of J.Alfred Prufrock – T.S. Eliot (poem)
Sonnet 43 – Elizabeth Barrett Browning (poem)
The Lady of Shalott – Alfred Lord Tennyson (poem)
Dulche Et Decorum Est – Wilfred Owen (poem)
The Jabberwocky – C.S. Lewis (poem)
The Waste Land – T.S. Eliot (poem)
Tyger Tyger – William Blake (poem)
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats – T.S. Eliot (poem)
Halfway Down the Stairs – A.A. Milne (poem)
The Lord of the Rings trilogy – JRR Tolkein (prose)
Dungeons and Dragons – Wizards of the Coast (roleplaying game)
The Golden Shovel – Terrance Hayes (poem)
We Real Cool – Gwendolyn Brooks (poem)
The Workshop of Pataphysical Semantics – Hubert Kowalowski (review)
20 Things I’ve Stolen – David Weinberger (poem)
The Church of Scientology – L. Ron Hubbard (cult)

METHODS (Oulipean and otherwise)
Summary Judgement
Chronograms – derived from the year the lawsuit in question was filed

Beautiful Infighting
Beautiful Inlaw/Beau Presente – derived from the names of the litigious parties involved

Changelogs
Centos – derived by taking lines from various sources and recombining them
Definitional Literature – derived by substituting each word with in the text its dictionary definition
Redaction – derived by blacking out certain parts of the original text
Acrostic/Mesostic/Telostic – poems where the first/middle/last letters spell out a particular word or phrase (often used in combination)
‘Titling’ – taking the title (and first line) of the work from another work
Abecedarian – in which each word begins with the next letter of the alphabet (here combined with an acrostic)

Oulipean Pataphysical Plagiarising Nonsense
Centos – derived by taking lines from various sources and recombining them
Redaction – derived by blacking out certain parts of the original text
‘Find-and-replace’ – derived by replacing the proper nouns of a work with the proper nouns of another work
N+7 – derived by replacing each noun in the text with the next noun in the Dictionary but seven
Golden Shovel – derived by taking each word from the source poem as the final word of each line
Pataphor – derived by replacing non-figurative language with metaphor, then replacing each metaphor with pataphor (i.e. extrapolating it to a new, more literal sense)

HSS8123 – Success!

Well, that didn’t take long. In fact, it took less than a minute for an unlisted video to get blocked, so either the ghost of Prince was standing right behind me when I uploaded it, or it YouTube’s algorithms are pretty good at policing video content. Good to know.

HSS8123 – …aaand we’re back!

Which is to say the course blog is back up and I’m back, with two weeks off from my new job to really knuckle down and make all the scattered ideas from the last few months into a coherent reality.

Here are the three posts that went up on my other blog while this one was down: one to introduce my degree project on my personal blog, two a poem about theft by David Weinburger (which I discovered while researching and really resonates with what I’m trying to do) and three excerpts from my final project.

And finally, some more teasers in the form of video/image collages that came about as a byproduct of the poems I’ve been writing:

More documentation and excerpts to follow, although I might find myself focusing more on the dissertation as opposed to writing the kinds of explanatory posts I normally do. We’ll see, I’d like to write something about the Oulipo and Lawrence Lessig, and maybe some of the bits and bobs of plagiarism that I don’t feel like I’ll be able to give enough context in the work itself.

 

 

CPP Derivative Works – Kanto Centos

A cento is a poetical work composed of verses or passages taken from other authors
Wikipedia – Cento (poetry)

No matter what their specialties or aims, there is one code that they all follow—when two Trainers make eye contact, they must have a battle
Bulbapedia – Pokémon Trainer

 

Seafoam Islands
Hey, wait up! What’s the hurry?
You looked at me, didn’t you?
I never saw you at the party.
That glance… It’s intriguing.
What do you want? Why are you here?
Are you on vacation too?
I was getting bored.
Have you ever gone swimming in the sea at night?

The Fighting Dojo
We martial artists fear nothing!
I haven’t seen you around before. So you think you are pretty tough?
Nothing tough frightens me! I break boulders for training!
Hey there! I’ll take you on!
I’m going to take you down! Prepare to be shocked!
My chance of losing? Not even one percent!
Huh? Who? What?
That can’t be!

Silph Co. Office Building
You! How dare you enter uninvited?
It’s off limits here! Go home!
Our invisible walls have you frustrated?
Stumped by our invisible floor?
Does our unseen power scare you?
Why did you come here?
I don’t care if you’re lost.
Only the chosen can pass here!

Mt. Moon
What’s beyond the horizon?
Did you come to explore too?
What’s most important in everyday lives?
Ahh! Feel the sun and the wind!
The sea cleanses my body and soul!
Isn’t it relaxing just floating like this?

Ssh! My brain is picking up radio signals!

 

WTFU (a transformative work)

Creative Uncertainty and Door to Door Poetry

With the degree show looming, everyone’s under increasing pressure to identify their practice and put together an impressive project. This has been making me increasingly uneasy, because not only do I have to draw together a fairly scatterbrained range of interests, but I’m also struggling to figure out what I’m going to do for a job once I graduate, and how my practice is going to fit into that – will I just be doing something unrelated with arts on the side, or will it be a central part of my career? And if so, how do I make my degree show project contribute towards that?

For the time being, I don’t have much of an answer. The most likely options seem to be:
1) making small games and commercially publishing them (however little for) in order to try to get a narrative design job
2) pushing the workshops/public engagement side of poetry (more on that in a minute) to work towards a public sector arts facilitation job (with Seven Stories, New Writing North, somewhere like that)
3) doing copywriting/content writing to make some freelancing money on the side, potentially feeding into more stable work in the future

The upshot of all this is that I’m being pulled in a lot of directions at the same time.  I certainly can’t carry on just picking and choosing whatever seems the most fun and manageable at any given moment, but having failed to really get anywhere on the above fronts has drained me of a lot of my enthusiasm, making it hard to get invested in any new projects.

So! No use being hard on myself. To counter all that moping, I figured I’d focus on examples of things that have been going well or have captured my interest for the next few blog posts, and see where that gets me. Case in point: cool poetry things.

I’ve been going into a local school and doing supervised afterschool writing groups, which has been fun and well-received. That’s what I’m up to tonight, in fact, so expect a post going into more detail on that front soon. Its been great, and as a way of helping people engage with creativity I think its very rewarding (for me and the pupils), and this reminded me of the practice of another poet – Rowan McCabe, the Door-to-Door Poet.

He’s a very talented poet (see video), which I why I was so excited to have him on-board for the Seven Stories/Late Shows event, but it’s the way he reaches his audience and engages with them that is really interesting. It’s in the name – he goes from door to door, knocking on people’s doors and asking to write them a poem. He finds his topics by talking to people and asking them about their interests/what’s important to them, and he does it for free (although he recently received some Arts Council funding to support his endeavours).

So far he’s done this in four  suburbs in the North East from Stockton to Darras Hall (which is close my neighborhood, out on the edge of nowhere). I really admire this work for what it does to bring poetry alive for people and save it from the stigma of being an art form owned by posh/dead people. The results are generally light-hearted or funny pieces which strike a really nice balance between parodying and celebrating the lives of the people he runs into (although he’s done some more involved pieces as well). I think this is partly because this is an easy and fun kind of poetry to engage with – certainly its a style I try to reach in a lot of my writing as well.

This isn’t something I’m about to go out and try to copy, but it has given me a lot to mull over in terms of making writing as a practice accessible and relevant to its audience. Its definitely an audience-first kind of practice. Food for thought.

 

SUNK

Well, the second screenplay idea didn’t work out. I should have known better than to try to scrape by with a colour-by-numbers idea I wasn’t really invested in, but I was fairly disillusioned with the course at the time.

I ended up going back to my original idea – the surreal animation about the drowned man journeying towards the afterlife. I called it SUNK, because I felt it captured the essence of the idea without tipping it too much further into complicated pretentiousness. I was fairly happy with it in the end.

It’s probably a right mess according the criteria we were given for what makes a good screenplay, so I’m not expecting a good mark. I do feel sorry for people who mark screenplays – not only do they have to deal with all the subjective merits that the creative writing tutors do, but they don’t even have the finished film but rather a prototype for a film that might end up being good or crap independently or the quality of the screenplay. But I’m creatively satisfied, at least.

Anyway, I realise that I’ve been banging on about this module with no actual examples of what I’ve been working on, so I’ll add some below. Take this image as an idea for the visual aesthetic and tone I was going for:

(damn, I wish I’d found this image before, I would have put it in my reflective report)BLACK SCREEN

FADE IN:

SCENE 1: EXT. SEAFLOOR – NIGHT

Far away, a body floats some thirty feet above the seafloor. Anchored by a long chain, it forms a crucifixion-like silhouette against the vibrant blue.

Moving closer, SHAW comes into detail: early thirties with a castaway beard, average build, wrapped in chains and unmistakably dead.

Intimately close, the only movement is the stirring of his hair in the water and a crab crawling across his waxy cheek.

SHAW raises his head, and opens his eyes.

He looks around. His eyes widen, and he begins to thrash wildly, accompanied by a note of rising panic.

TITLE CARD: SUNK

SCENE 2: EXT. SEAFLOOR – NIGHT

SHAW sits on a rock, staring at his mottled, dead hands. His eyes are wide and shaking, and he does not blink.

Behind him is the anchor embedded in the sand, joined to him by a chain wrapped many times around his body.

Far away but approaching break-neck fast, a scrap of purple fabric is buffeted closer on the current.

It strikes SHAW, wrapping around his face. He stands and grabs it, holding it draped across his hands.

It is a faded scarf, embroidered with pale blue flowers and the faint words ‘forget me not’.

MATCH CUT

SCENE 3: INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT, FLASHBACK

SHAW stands in sailor’s clothes. He is shaven, healthy and alive, holding the same scarf, only new.

He looks up and smiles, with easy affection.

Standing opposite is LORNA, dark-haired and modestly pretty, smiling expectantly.

The surrounding room gives a snapshot of their life: a small bed, a threadbare rug, a rocking chair, a table with a lantern and a DOG curled next to a fireplace, all packed into one small room.

They embrace.

***

SCENE 10: EXT. GATE – NIGHT

Cresting the brow of a slope, SHAW comes to a wide vista.

A procession of drowned men and women follows a winding path along the seafloor, towards a gate and fence hewn from coral.

Where the line reaches the gate, a SEA DEVIL wielding a long trident sits atop a ship’s crow’s nest buried in the sand.

Closer in, the SEA DEVIL’s bottom half is that of an octopus and its top half humanoid but with a crab-like carapace.

It obstructs the DROWNED MAN at the front of the line with its trident and inspects him, menacing but impassive, before allowing him through the gate.

SHAW watches this process repeat from behind a rock, and then steps out and approaches.

To the side, he spots something – the scarf snagged on a piece of coral.

He picks it up, puts it on, and joins the back of the line.

***

SCENE 13 EXT. ABYSS – NIGHT

SHAW lies motionless on barren seafloor, the anchor a short distance away and the lantern lying further off, its glow fainter now.

SHAW stirs.

Blurry, the lantern comes into focus and SHAW stumbles toward it.

SHAW’s boot comes down next to a half-buried shell, setting off eddies of sand that swirl around it.

The shell un-buries itself, revealing itself as a HERMIT CRAB, which scuttles after SHAW.

SHAW reaches the lantern and picks it up.

Straitening up, he is startled as the lantern reveals a gruesome angler fish, uncomfortably close with nightmare jaws stretched wide.

SHAW holds the anchor as if about to swing at the angler, when a pebble strikes it in the eye. It darts away.

SHAW turns to see the HERMIT CRAB next to a small pile of pebbles, bouncing another in its tiny claw.

SHAW smiles weakly, before the scything beam of the lighthouse sweeps overhead like a searchlight.

SHAW turns, gives a whole-body sigh, and pauses.

He begins pursuit, hefting the anchor onto his shoulder once more.

As SHAW walks, the DOG is momentarily walking beside him in place of the HERMIT CRAB.

HHS8121 Seven Stories/Late Shows followup

Whew. It’s been quite a month. I’ve just about recovered from the barrage of coursework (although there are still a few little deadlines to mop up), enough to get my hands on all the photos and videos of the Seven Stories/Late Shows event, which went really well!
The pop-up performances worked better than I could have hoped for, really suited the venue and feel of the event. The culture-crawl premise of the Late Shows and the way the venue encourages you to wander around an explore really lent themselves to creating a sense of discovery as people got caught up in performances without necessarily planning to even see them.

I can’t take all the credit for the night, of course. Mike had a really interesting setup printing chapbooks in the studio, the performers’ talent was all their own, and credit for most of the documentation goes to Garry and Jade. But there is a certain amount of satisfaction in seeing that parts of the programme that I organised go off (mostly) without a hitch. I remember someone telling me that the best way to succeed in the arts is to team up with people more talented than yourself, and there’s definitely some truth there (-:

I had steeled myself for a lot of logistical difficulties, as well as the challenges of mediating between a venue and a lineup of potential performers with different needs, but everything went remarkably smoothly (although it certainly helped that I was mentally prepared). Didn’t stop me from being stressed out on the night. My own performance was… passable, in my own opinion. I could probably have pulled off a better set if my focus hadn’t been on coordinating everything else. But it was a lovely crowd, and a fun set nonetheless.

And now, a long overdue shout-out to the great local performers who came along, and went the extra mile, tailoring their sets to the themes of the exhibits and the venue. Follow the links below the check out their various pages and a sample of their work:

Doug Garry – old friend from the Edinburgh poetry scene, and one of my favourite spoken word performers. Also one of the Loud Poets.
Jayne Dent – amazingly talented solo singer, who also studies fine art here at Newcastle University.
Rowan McCabe – the Door-to-Door Poet. He does exactly what the name suggests, and he’s great at it.
Rosie Calvert & Will Finn – half (two quarters?) of acapella folk quartet the Teacups, and unfairly talented musicians in their own right.

That’s it from me for now. Expect some further screenwriting grumblings (its back to the drawing board again for me), followed by (hopefully) some new projects! In the meantime, here are some tasty video clips from the event: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJNHS2Lo-SiSS99CJTsedQi-4vT8AOAEQ

 

HSS8121 Interface Critique

Since I ended up learning a lot about interaction design in a short space of time, I figured it might be interesting to take a look at some of the programs and websites I use a lot and see how they measure up to some of those criteria for good design. Let’s see which ones come out on top!
Warning: may contain frivolous misapplication of design criteria and bad comparisons.

1. Adobe InDesign
Professional desktop publishing software
The number of clicks required to achieve any goal is usually very few, generally 1-2 to find the tool you need and 1-2 more to apply it. Considering the sheer volume of things you can do, does this make it a ‘generous interface‘? You can accomplish a ridiculous number of things in very fine detail, using only the buttons available on the main screen, but considering how tiny they are and how very few of them can be used intuitively without going through a lengthy tutorial or spending 20 minutes googling them first.  InDesign does its job perfectly, but you really have to work for it. Which I suppose isn’t that bad a verdict, for a piece of professional design software.

Pros: mediates a lot of content simultaneously, good on both big picture and fine detail
Cons: interface must be courted with caviar and roses before it will consider helping you
Final Score: 7 out of 10


2. Runescape
Online MMORPG I’ve been playing too much of lately

I know MMOs are complicated, but seriously, how many different menu tabs do you need? How many different kinds of menus do you need? Zoom in on this screenshot and you’ll see icons for combat styles, daily tasks, skills, quests, armour, inventory, 9 different kinds of chat settings, friends, groups, contacts, settings, emotes, music, health, money… it just goes on.

I suppose it gets credit for having that many things onscreen without the game becoming unusable. I like this game, but considering that I’m already paying to play it I don’t enjoy the nagging suspiciousthat its much better at showing me the content that encourages me to spend more money than how best to experience what I’ve already paid for.

Pros: provides the comforting illusion of setting yourself goals and then achieving them
Cons:
 the interface and the mechanics feel like they’re getting in the way
Final Score: 5 out of 10


3. Youtube

Video browsing website

A bit more alike in form to the digital archive/collection interfaces I’ve been studying, because it mediates content in a more linear way. Following this train of logic, I suppose Youtube is a pretty strong interface, given how easily and enjoyably you can get sucked into browsing material for extended periods of time, which includes discovering things you didn’t intend to search for. Pretty good on the ‘big picture -> subsection -> individual piece of content’ front too. Shame about the algorithms that recommend new content though; for my money they present you with videos that are too narrowly similar to the ones I’ve already been watching.

Making a channel, uploading videos and making playlists is much worse though, partly because the things you do as a browser and the things you do as a content creator are needlessly entangled. The screenshot above represents my channel, but only about a quarter of the visible screen deals with uploading and posting videos at all.

Pros: easy and intuitive to start browsing, and keep browsing for ages
Cons:
you’ll mostly find more of the same, and managing a channel is much less intuitive
Final Score:
 8 out of 10 for browsing, 4 for uploading

 

4. Steam
Digital storefront and library for PC video games

I’ve always thought of Steam as the iTunes of video games, and I’ve generally liked it a lot more than iTunes and the other musical equivalents like Google Play that I’ve tried. Those always try harder to show me new things I might buy than to make it easy to navigate the songs I already have. On the other hand, Steam divides the storefront and the things I’ve bought from the storefront into two categories (and does a better job of handling dual purposes than Youtube).

As far as the storefront goes, its easy to search specifically and browse generally. The presentation of the library is lacklustre, but then again, it only has to represent a list of things you’ve already paid for, so chances are you know the contents pretty well already.

Pros: looks nice, handles the store/library distinction well
Cons:
recommendation algorithms have the opposite issue, casting the net a bit too wide
Final Score:
 8 out of 10


And the winner is… 
hard to say really. As much as they could all stand to do certain things more intuitively, is it really in their best interests to do so? Arguably they are all generous, browseable & aesthetically pleasing to the extent they need to be, and no more. This was probably a doomed enterprise from the outset, but its been interesting to think about the interfaces I unthinkingly use in a more critical way, even if I mostly just ended up venting.

A brief musical interlude

In a welcome brake practice (i.e. writing things on my laptop and occasionally going to poetry gigs) I actually went outside today and made some music in the sun, helping my old buddy from Newcastle Allstars Steel Orchestra host a musical workshop at Harambee Pasadia Afro Fusion Music & Dance Festival today.

Aaaand just to prove I was actually there and teaching music, some photos: