Re: looking for good intro text

From: Jonathan Walley (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Dec 07 2009 - 08:13:02 PST

I've been on this list for over 10 years, and it never fails that the
most interesting and active exchanges take place during the busiest
times of the year!

I'm not convinced by the "death of the book" argument (any more than
I am convinced by the "death of film" argument). I don't necessarily
mean that the bound paper objects on my shelves will always be
around, but that the value of the sustained, systematic, multi-
faceted historical or theoretical argument does not pass into
obsolescence just because students are (increasingly, it seems)
resistant to reading, or in light of the current fashion for wikis,
Blackboard, blogging, email listservs, etc.

Patty is right that it is the job of instructors to do everything
they can to activate their students' interest in and "engagement
with" the material, even when the students don't deserve it (students
who whine to administrators about being made to read books, who
remind me of students who complain about having to watch projected
films in our screening room when they can easily access the same
films on Youtube). Or when the students find it so difficult as to be
burdensome - and Tony is right that their command of the language is
lacking. The current generation of undergrads has clearly not learned
how to read and write properly.

But I'm not sure how compelling a solution the web is to problems of
access and, especially, of student engagement. For one thing, I've
seen far to many instances of faculty merely fetishizing web
technology because it is new and different without considering
whether or not it is truly a suitable replacement of/addition to more
traditional modes of teaching and learning. New technology is always
seductive, and I see too many of my colleagues turning to the web on
the apparent assumption that new technology, by dint of its being
"new" and "technological," must offer the solutions to the problems
we face in trying to do things "the old way." In essence, they ask
"in how many ways can we use the web in our teaching," rather than
"does the web offer real solutions to specific pedagogical problems
(and without raising new, worse problems)?"

For instance, if students are that resistant to reading, I don't
imagine they are going to produce particularly compelling blogs, wiki
entries, etc. Nor would I expect them to be particularly keen on
reading the blogs, wiki entries, etc., of others. Dangling the web in
front of them as a carrot might increase their degree of
participation - that "engagement" we seek - but what, ultimately, are
they "engaged" in, if, again, they haven't been asked or even
required to delve deeply and thoughtfully into complex ideas,
arguments, historical accounts, etc., that have to be read?

Lest I be branded a luddite (keeping in mind that I LIKED the
Luddites), let me say that I agree with Patty that the web does offer
easier access to a wider variety of resources, many of which are
actually useful, informative, and thought-provoking. This list,
though relatively low on the scale of "technological freshness"
compared to blogs and interactive websites, is an example of such a
resource. I'm just not settled yet on the location of some important

1. The line between using the web effectively to solve specific
pedagogical problems and using it merely to pander to students who've
been brought up to believe that the web is the end all be all of
information and won't respond to anything else.

2. The line between real information and mere info-tainment on the web.

3. The line between being in control of technology and being
controlled by it (and turning higher education into an unwitting
advertisement for its wonders).


Jonathan Walley
Assistant Professor
Department of Cinema
Denison University
Granville, Ohio
email suppressed

On Dec 6, 2009, at 6:31 PM, Beth Capper wrote:

> How about...
> make your books available as downloadable pdfs!
> On Sun, Dec 6, 2009 at 4:20 PM, Patricia R. Zimmermann
> <email suppressed> wrote:
> I hesitate to dive into this "book" issue for film classes, but
> nonetheless,given the Web 2.0 zeitgeist, I must.
> I totally agree with Tony about books. The undergraduates I teach
> at Ithaca College have actually often gone to our dean to complain
> that I actually USE books in my classes (for those who don't know
> me, I teach history/theory, not production). The norm for theory
> classes in liberal arts at most schools is 5-8 books--and all the
> students do in cinema studies courses is complain and then take
> action against this. The few overachievers who buy books are all
> focused on getting into graduate PHD programs.
> The sad aspect of this anti intellectualism is that students are
> shooting themselves in the head and the foot by not reading. They
> are entering industries and arts cultures with highly education,
> liberal arts, humanistic thinkers with analytical edge. By not
> reading they are tracking themsevles into the hidden class system
> of the media ecology.
> That said, I do think that the current contradictions of this
> moment in higher education offer all us new ways to imagine
> inviting students into a larger disciplinary based conversation
> that is both legacy and innovative. Here are some ideas I've culled
> from colleagues that I'm going to steal to propel more engagement:
> 1. Use websites on the syllabus and have students INTERACT with the
> website
> 2. use blogs and require blogging and require linking
> 3. require students to participate in and comment on smart blogs in
> our field (there are a lot, in fact, I have one myself)
> 4. Use blackboard and post your websites
> 5. Do webinars and conference calls (it's free, they dial in) with
> people in the field who have knowledge you want them to know. I
> taught a course a few years ago and we had Scott MacDonald as a
> "course listserv" guest. I taught a course in film festivals,
> online, this summer, and we did four conference calls withpeople in
> the field, requiring students to read the websites and bios BEFORE
> the networking call)
> 6. About ten years ago, our own Tony Conrad had me on a conference
> call with his class to discuss an article I had written. I think
> he had me call into a phone line he put on speaker phone. I had a
> blast. I didni't have to travel to Buffalo, and I enjoyed it and
> felt comraderie with Tony.
> 7. Use Wikis to engage dialogue
> 8. Use teleconferencing to bring in conversations with people
> around the world
> 9. If you can't find a book on a topic, that means your class it
> breaking new ground. Treat it like a film festival and bring people
> involved in those organizations or those films into your class via
> all of the above--see if your school can get them some minimal
> honoraria or trade them something.
> 10. Be optimistic, have fun, let go of old assumptions, invent new
> ways to invite students into the field through engagement.
> All for now--good luck. Pedagogy is changing, and it's really been
> an eye opener for me. We no longer need to wait for books to be
> available, since most books now don't fit most film classes, they
> are monographs.
> Thanks, Tony, for making me think.
> Patty Zimmermann
> -------
> Patricia R. Zimmermann, Ph.D.
> Professor, Cinema, Photography and Media Arts
> Roy H. Park School of Communications
> Codirector, Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival
> Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies
> 953 Danby Road
> Ithaca College
> Ithaca, New York 14850 USA
> Office: +1 (607) 274 3431
> FAX: +1 (607) 274 7078
> email suppressed
> ---- Original message ----
> >Date: Sun, 6 Dec 2009 16:35:17 -0500
> >From: Experimental Film Discussion List
> <email suppressed> (on behalf of Tony Conrad
> <email suppressed>)
> >Subject: Re: looking for good intro text
> >To: email suppressed
> >
> >Hi Bernie--------
> >
> >You will probably not like this message.
> >
> >But yesterday I received my copy of a new Taschen book, Art Cinema
> >(9783822835944), that takes a swipe at the huge project of
> connecting cinema, in
> >its origins and full sweep as art, with the contemporary art
> media. In it you
> >will find Bresson, Pipilotti Rist, Aernout Mik, Len Lye, Muehl,
> Sharits, Arrabal,
> >Tracey Moffatt, Dreyer, Greenaway, etc. etc. (but no community-
> based video at
> >all). Of course this book is a failure, but it connects viscerally
> with things
> >students are interested in (sex, surrealism, movies), and is
> loaded with pix and
> >lite on text. In fact, I will consider it as a textbook for
> certain of my own
> >classes.
> >
> >That said, my experience has been that students don't buy books
> any more,
> >especially big beautiful picture books--- however useful. I used
> Michael Rush's
> >book Video Art as a text, and I felt that nobody in the class
> owned or really
> >read it very much. The fact is that students will access a
> compilation of
> >websites more readily than they will use reserve texts at the
> library, even when
> >in the library itself. The only books that average students
> regularly acquire are
> >"textbooks" they are required to swallow page by page, in
> business, science, and
> >pre-med courses. Except among over-achievers, books are over.
> >
> >:-)
> >
> >-----------t0ny
> >
> >
> >
> >On Sun 12/06/09 10:22 AM , Mark Webber email suppressed sent:
> >> bernard
> >>
> >> this sounds something like a book i've been working on for a few
> >> years, and i'm afraid it is still a few years away.
> >>
> >> my project is an oral history of the development of 'avant-
> garde' film
> >> from the 50s to the 70s, predominantly covering the US situation,
> >> which will be told in the words of those directly involved. it
> is more
> >> of a social / cultural history of the ways in which the films were
> >> made, shown, distributed and discussed rather than a study of the
> >> films themselves.
> >>
> >> i've conducted 70-80 new interviews to date. eventually, copies
> of the
> >> complete interview transcripts and recordings (many of which are
> 3-4
> >> hours long) will be deposited at archives in new york and london,
> >> where they will be available for other researchers.
> >>
> >> details below of a related (free) event in new york this
> evening. (not
> >> sure if it's just me, but i didn't receive part 1 of the this weeks
> >> listings)
> >>
> >> mark
> >>
> >> ...
> >>
> >> New York Gershwin Hotel
> >> Sunday 6 December 2009, at 7:30pm
> >>
> >> In the 1960s, filmmakers investigated new forms of production in
> >> dialogue with radical shifts in art, music, performance and popular
> >> culture. Following the example of the Beats, the counterculture was
> >> alive with protest, freedom of expression and the breaking of
> taboos,
> >> and from the Film-Makers� Coop to Andy Warhol�s
> Factory,
> >> portable 16mm cameras were bringing a whole new way of seeing
> to the cinema
> >screen.
> >> These heady days of �underground film� were
> captured by
> >> Gideon Bachmann in a spirited broadcast for German television.
> Rarely seen
> >> today, it is one of the few surviving documents to show aspects
> of New
> >> York�s independent film community during this exhilarating
> >> period.
> >> Gideon Bachmann, 1967, black & white, sound, 51 minutes
> >>
> >> Shirley Clarke grows carrots on top of the Chelsea Hotel and meets
> >> Jonas Mekas and Michelangelo Antonioni at the Film-Makers�
> >> Distribution Center. Allen Ginsberg, Susan Sontag and Tuli
> Kupferberg
> >> protest for peace before being shipped off to the Department of
> >> Correction. USCO freak out in their intermedia church and
> Maurice Amar
> >> stages a happening at the Movie Subscription Group. Gideon Bachmann
> >> goes on location with Adolfas Mekas in New Jersey, George Kuchar in
> >> the Bronx, and Carl Linder in his bedroom. Bruce Conner dances in a
> >> diner, and Andy Warhol fakes it for television.
> >>
> >> Presented by Mark Webber, the Gershwin�s outgoing artist in
> >> residence, who is currently researching an oral history of
> avant-garde cinema
> >> from the 1950s through the 1970s. Some of those interviewed for the
> >> project will be present.
> >>
> >> Free Admission.
> >> Arrive 7:30pm. Screening 8pm.
> >>
> >> at
> >>
> >> The Gershwin Hotel
> >> 7 East 27 Street (between 5th & Madison)
> >> New York, NY 10016.
> >>
> >> Subways: R, W, 6 at 28 St or F, V at 23 St.
> >>
> >> On 4 Dec 2009, at 09:02, FRAMEWORKS automatic digest system wrote:
> >>
> >> > Date: Thu, 3 Dec 2009 19:25:44
> >> -0800> From: Bernard Roddy OO.COM>> Subject: looking for
> good intro text
> >> >
> >> > Greetings, frameworkers:
> >> >
> >> > Can anyone think of an introductory text that
> >> combines a history of > experimental film and video IN THE U.S.
> with a
> >> strong discussion of > the history of artists' organizing,
> writing, and
> >> distribution IN THE > US?
> >> >
> >> > For Great Britain there's David Curtis' A
> >> History of Artists' Film > and Video in Britain. This has the
> distinct
> >> advantage of combining > film and video art criticism with
> strong (and
> >> introductory) writing > about the social history behind
> production,
> >> distribution, and > critical reception. It includes discussion of
> >> "little magazines," > the "schooling" of film artists,
> >> institutional support for artists' > work in film such as the
> Experimental
> >Film Fund
> >> and the Arts > Council, as well as issues motivating and
> >> confronting artists' > organizations like the London Filmmakers'
> >> Co-op.>
> >> > I'd love to find something like this for the
> >> U.S. It would include > a history of things like Canyon Cinema
> and the
> >> Film-Makers' Co-op, > Cinema 16 and Anthology Film Archives, in
> >> addition to offering a > critical context for student work.
> >> >
> >> > Thanks in advance.
> >> >
> >> > Bernie
> >>
> >>
> >> __________________________________________________________________
> >> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at om>.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> >__________________________________________________________________
> >For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.