Wikipedia and Art History


The popular site, Wikipedia, is composed of a variety of topics and is constructed by collective intelligence. As defined by Henry Jenkins, this is the “ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others towards a common goal.” This knowledge is constructed through networking by being able to pull information through the different sources of individuals.

For this assignment, I researched one of my favorite subjects – Art History.  While I could have explored any specific movement, I believe the general subject page was the most interesting to read over.  While the introduction of the subject as a whole was very accurate, you really can’t learn about the subject through the page. You get directed to a completely different page (History of Art) but this page also left out a lot of important movements in art history and it did not mention many famous individuals (such as the general art history page also did not) which I consider very important in the make-up of art history. To anyone who was learning about art history for the first time through Wikipedia, they would not be able to gain very much knowledge of the subject. Art History is composed of a variety of movements, individuals, and artistic works in many mediums and techniques. I believe this page could be heavily expanded by, at least, adding a timeline linking each specific art period to it’s wiki page. It was also lacking in images of artworks, which is a big part in learning of the subject.

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The subject is very vast, I wondered if that was the reason it was not compromised of so orderly. I viewed the talk page next to see what many editors had brought up with the concern of this page, and I was proven to be not the only person to address the oddity of this “collective intelligence.”  There seemed to be not much negotiation between how the art history page should be constructed when it came to the history of art in detail.

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Now venturing into the view history page, it was not surprising to see the lack of edits over time.  There were very few edits done per year, and it made me conclude that perhaps this Wiki page was so poor overall because not many Wikipedians are knowledgeable in the history of this subject.  Perhaps if this was the page of a movie or a game (anything relatively popular in this modern day) the page would be much more updated.  Also considering it is an educational subject, there is probably many other websites with more credible information.

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The community around the art history page is severely lacking in information. If the subject had more people who have a better understanding of it adding their knowledge to this page, it could be a lot stronger, and the increased collective intelligence would give a better overview of the subject. Overall, the page does not do a bad job to a person who just wants a brief description of what the subject is, but it mainly discusses how we reached art history as a subject and not necessarily the incredible history of art as many would expect to gain by viewing the art history Wiki page.


Sources:

Jenkins, Henry. “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us About The New Media Literacies (Part One & Two).” Confessions of an Aca-Fan. Wordpress. 26-27 June 2007. Web. 6 March 2015.

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A Further Look Into the Land of Arendelle


Originally starting out as a typical disney movie, Frozen has moved into a transmedia wonderland. Transmedia is a multiform story, meaning that, “multiple formats are used to cross over a single plot line or story.” Aside from the movie, Frozen has evolved into numerous books, graphic novels, fan based text, video & computer games, interactive storytelling apps, a wide variety of merchandise, and a website that includes many blogs, quizzes, and other activities for the audience to dive into. Frozen’s wide use of transmedia has kept the film alive and still spreading since it’s release in November of 2013.

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Beginning Sequence from Frozen’s “Double Trouble.”

If this movie had been released when I was young, I know I would have been especially drawn to the computer mini games for the series. These games allow you to play your favorite characters and get a better feel for some of the scenes in the film. For example, the online game, “Double Trouble,” depicts the journey between Kristoff and Anna as they venture off to reunite with Elsa. It lets the player play as both characters and get through the forest (with numerous challenges) until they reach Elsa. While this was just a small scene in the movie, it is the whole idea of the game.

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Remade version of Arendelle Castle in Disney Infinity.

Through these games, it adds a sense of worldbuilding to the story. As said by Henry Jenkins, “transmedia stories are based not on individual characters or specific plots but rather complex fictional worlds which can sustain multiple interrelated characters and their stories.” These games add into the world of Arendelle and give the viewer a better sense of the world they first saw through the film. Disney’s popular game, Disney Infinity, also has incorporated Frozen inspired levels which further allow players to deeply explore the world Frozen has created; either by participating in levels other people have built or by creating their own.

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This allows people to utilize their freedom to create exactly how they think parts of the world would look. It also adds to the additive comprehension for others. This means that an addition of new material makes the audience revise the understanding of the film. Disney’s Infinity allows players to further explore the world and be a part of it. “It makes a unique contribution to the narrative system as a whole,” Jenkins said.

With the help of interactive games, players can explore details that were overlooked by the overall story of the film. They gain new information and insight that was not originally received but is now attained by being able to participate in the story themselves.


Sources:

Jenkins, Henry. “Transmedia Storytelling 101.” Confessions of an Aca-Fan. Henry Jenkins, 22 Mar. 2007. Web. 21 Feb. 2015. <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html >.

Murray, Janet H. Hamlet on the Holodeck. New York City: The Free Press, A Division of Simon and Schuster Inc., 1997. PDF.

Gifs – Helping Avoid the Social Awkwardness of the Internet


Throughout the course of the internet, “Gifs,” (graphics interchange format) have become a popular method of socialization in media. They allow moments from TV shows, films, video games, and many other medias to be shared by people all over the world in one simple format. Gifs commence social cues between individuals that may not have been ignited without them, and they have become a new form of socialization and way of continuation in those bonds.  But, just what is it about gifs that make them so sociable?  Through my experience on a popular gif orientated site, Tumblr, I’ve noticed one series in particular whose gifs never fail to be funny – Bob’s Burgers.

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In this gif, Tina Belcher (eldest child in Bob’s Burgers) sensually dances for her crush, Jimmy Pesto Jr.

Now, what makes a gif of an awkward, animated girl so popular? It’s funny, and majority of tumblr users probably identify with it. No shame, but that’s just it.  Gifs are primarily used as a sense of expression that words no longer can convey.  They serve as social cues among individuals to capture internal emotions that sometimes words or text messages just don’t cut.  It’s become a new form of socialization in this consistently growing digital culture.

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That feeling you get when you make an A on a difficult assignment.

As stated by Nancy Baym, people associate “media characteristics as resources to pursue social and relational goals.” (Baym, 59) Gifs add to the online conversation and clear up possible misunderstandings.

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The spread of this socialization has not stopped in the form of gifs but into many remixes and mimicries as well.  These original ideas lead to the formation of new products. (Shifman, 19) For example, through mimcry many viewers are able to create their own sources of fanart and make recreations of a particular series.  Simple gifs of the Belcher family have evolved into a greater input in digital communication. (click for larger image)

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A fan made gif.

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Belcher family crochet.

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Original fanart.

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And even, cosplay.

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In the terms of remix, people crossover the simplicity of their interest to pertain to other interests, expanding once again the humor and sociability of the content.

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Tina crossover in Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros.

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“Nighthawks,” by Edward Hopper aka “NightBurgers.”

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Queen Tina and Queen Beyonce.

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I’ll end this blog post with a gif I created of one of Tina’s most popular quotes.  Gifs provide to us laughter, but they also serve as sources to easily aid messages.  This enjoyable method of social activity is what will allow gifs to keep recurring and because on the inside, we are all secretly Tina Belcher.

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Sources:

Baym, Nancy K. “Communication in Digital Spaces.” Personal Connections in the Digital Age. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2010. PDF.

Shifman, Limor. Memes In Digital Culture. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2014. PDF.

Click on images/gifs for source.