Welcome to my Site!

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Hello internet users, welcome to my umwblogs site!

My name is Lila Spitz and I am a senior at the University of Mary Washington majoring in American Studies. I am particularly interested in Social Justice Issues, History, Museum Studies, and Education.

I also enjoy listening to Jazz, Swing, Funk, Broadway, and Classic Rock music, reading biographies and realistic-fiction, traveling within the U.S. and around the world, admiring Modern Art artwork and Art Deco architecture, and playing and watching tennis.

The purpose of this site is to document my work in HIST 428: Adventures in Digital History.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts and I encourage you to write a comment about my posts if you have a comment, question or suggestion about what I write.

Example Blog Post

This is a blog post. Blog posts can be journal entries, reflections, a piece feature piece, a short argumentative piece, an analysis, a small photo gallery, and much more. Blog posts by default can be categorized and tagged, meaning they can have taxonomy assigned to them. Using categories and tags will keep your blog posts organized and improve the searchability of them. You can also set a featured image for blog posts which will act like as thumbnail or defining image for the post.

The Making Of “A Gangster & A Gentleman”

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For my final project, I knew I wanted to step out of bounds and construct a story around a genre I was not too familiar with. Instead of a more modern approach, I chose a character from the Film Noir scene. Humphrey Bogart was one of those guys who dominated crime/drama/gangster genre back in the early to mid 1900s. After viewing many scenes/clips from his numerous films, I knew I wanted to focus on him in that era. No one will ever fill his shoes, or the love connection he shared with Lauren Bacall (the two actually got married in real life, just after a year of meeting on set).

As far as the storyline goes, I did not really have one developed when I started. I just began downloading several clips from youtube and imported them into iMovie. From there, I started to cut different scenes, and slowly developed my story as I went along. The length of the video was not even on my radar, I just kept going with it until it seemed fitting to me.

The silent film idea just came naturally, so I muted all the audio in the clips. I was going back and forth from editing and writing the narration of the story in Word. Once that was complete, it was time to add some text here and there so the viewers could follow the story line with ease. I thought it would be a good idea to add some still images in between scenes, along with text to switch it up a bit. For the title and credits sequences, I found some real cool early 1900s font that fit perfect with the theme.  Lastly, this story needed a soundtrack. I watched the three different scenes over and over until I finally decided which instrumentals to use for each. I wanted theme music that would capture the feeling of each individual scene, and I think I did a hell of a job on the selections.

All of the digital elements that were used for this final project were ones that I enjoyed creating over the semester. In my original post for “A Gangster & A Gentleman”, you will notice that besides the narration/text, I have added a video (which I edited) that plays along with the story, a soundtrack (audio) that fits the story wonderfully, some GIFs from scenes in the video in between the narration, and two movie posters I re-designed in Photoshop. I honestly had a blast working on this project, thanks for viewing.

A Gangster & A Gentleman (Final Story Project)

Poster

Poster 1

Humphrey Bogart was born on December 25, 1899 in New York City. He grew up to be a well-mannered kid, until the death of his father at age 17. His mother tried to cover up the truth about his death, but Bogart Jr. eventually found out the real reason from the kids on the street. From that point on, he was never the same.

Within a year, he was kicked out of prep school for smoking and drinking. He had so much built in anger due to his father’s passing, which led him to act out and become involved in street activities. The gangsters on the block eventually took him under their wing, throwing him cash to do side jobs. He quickly became obsessed with the lifestyle, working up the ranks and becoming a man that people respected and feared.

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Over the years, he was known on the streets as “Bogie”. Men feared him, but the ladies adored him. He was a real smooth talker, and it seemed as if he had a new lady every week. Attractive women were his weakness, and it showed. He would quickly transform from a tough guy into a gentleman whenever gorgeous women were in his presence. Deep down, beyond his gangster mentality, all he wanted was a partner who was loyal, and would accept him for his true identity as Humphrey Bogart Jr.

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It wasn’t until the age of 44, when he met the stunning Lauren Bacall. The two hit it off and made an instant connection. Bogie was not one to fall quickly for any woman, but within the first hour of conversation, he knew she was the one. Although she was 20 years younger than him, it did not bother her one bit. As time progressed, Lauren overlooked his dark side, and appreciated the good qualities he had to offer. If any one could make Bogart Jr. leave the “underworld” lifestyle behind and walk a straight path, it was Ms. Bacall. Their love and loyalty for each other was indestructable. The two lovebirds ended up getting married about a year later, and are expecting their first child.

Poster 2

Poster 2

A Reflection on ITCC 327

Being a double major in historic preservation, I like to examine how people use the built environment. Since both the ITCC and the History of the Information Age are new, I wanted to reflect on how our class functioned in our classroom space. I don’t think the format of our class was best suited for the space and vice versa. The classroom was too large for a discussion-based seminar. The spread apart tables frequently made people look inward instead of facing outward into the conversation. I think the discussions would have flowed better if we sat around a large table or pulled our chairs into a circle. However, the space was well-suited for our warm-up activities.  The large center space  was perfect for playing trainwreck and using the white boards. Similarly, the computers at each table were wonderful for activities requiring us to explore our own technology and information usage. If the History of the Information Age is taught in ITCC 327 again, perhaps the focus should be on group work more than discussion. If so, maybe some of the readings and parts of the syllabus need to be reworked so the groups can digitally explore topics such as early communication during class. Otherwise, maybe the class should consider having one seating arrangement for group work and another for discussions.

Documentation of Final Project

For my final assignment, the overall process took approximately 15 hours total. The project incorporates both appropriation and GIF-making, both of which are skills I have developed throughout the semester in Digital Approaches to Fine Art. Appropriation involves incorporating someone else’s work in your own work order to make a new piece of work, and GIFs are short, forever-repeating frames. I chose to use appropriation by creating a GIF of images from different seasons. My goal was to portray season change by putting together about 40 found pictures of all four seasons.

The 15 hours put into this project went as follows:

First, I had to think of an idea for an ambitious project that would properly demonstrate the technical, aesthetic, and conceptual skills which I have developed over time in this course. Coming up with an idea and planning it out took about three hours. Then, I gathered content. The content consisted of images from the Web of trees during different times of the year. I had to be sure to search for large images, as well as a variety of images representing each season. Gathering content took four hours.

Gathering content from the Web

Gathering content from the Web

I then had to group each image as one of the four seasons. I gave each image the name of a season, as well as the time period within that season. For example, early, mid, or late spring. This took about two hours.

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Grouping images by season

Uploading all of my images onto Photoshop was the next step. Once I uploaded the photos, I had to specifically order each image chronologically, in order to imitate season change as process. This step took two hours.

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Uploading images to Photoshop

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Ordering pictures chronologically

Next, I had to resize, crop, and choose time between each image in the GIF for each individual image. This took an hour and a half.

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Editing images in Photoshop

Once I completed all the steps to make the GIF, I saved the image for the Web. Completing the final GIF and saving it took approximately two hours.

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Saving completed GIF for the Web

Throughout the whole project, I documented the process and the steps I took to completing it. This took half of an hour. To view the completed project, see my previous post, and click on the image. Enjoy!

The Digital Divide in the United States

I chose to create an infographic representing the geographic digital divide in the United States. When I conducted my preliminary research on the digital divide in the United States, I was struck by how few scholars focused on geography and population density. Understandably, they primarily studied contributing factors such as race/ethnicity, gender, age, income, and education levels. I decided to create an interactive map showing the percentages of households with Internet access per state, although a county-by-county map would have been more accurate.  I used a gradient to highlight the geographic trends among the states. States with the smallest percentages of households with internet access are the lightest colors, while those with high percentages are the darkest. Each color represents a 5% increase in households with access. The viewer can see the exact percentage by hovering their cursor over each state.

The maps show that rural households generally have less internet access than urban households. Still, only 50%-75% of urban households have internet access. However, people living in urban areas also have greater access to internet outside of their homes. Primary factors impacting rural internet access include infrastructure and income, while income, race/ethnicity, and education level have a larger impact on urban internet access. The digital divide in America has huge implications. The digital divide makes it difficult for people without internet to access information quickly. The digital divide also impacts these people’s visual and digital literacy, affecting everything from their ability to deconstruct images in a political campaign to their ability to find a job in the 21st century–ultimately helping to reinforce income inequality.

I used Piktochart and a 2007 survey by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

 

Sources:

National Telecommunications and Information Administration. “State by State Internet Usage.” 2007. http://www.internetworldstats.com/am/USA_Internet_Usage_2007.pdf (accessed December 1, 2014).

Real, Brian, John Carlo Bertot, and Paul T. Jaeger. “Rural Public Libraries and Digital Inclusion: Issues and Challenges.” Information Technology & Libraries 33, no. 1 (March 2014): 6-24. OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost (accessed December 2, 2014).

Warf, Barney. “Contemporary Digital Divides in the United States.” Tijdschrift Voor Economische En Sociale Geografie (Journal Of Economic & Social Geography) 104, no. 1 (February 2013): 1-17. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed December 2, 2014).

Sabine Gruffat

Sabine Gruffat is a filmmaker and digital media artist. She has experimented with animation, photography, and creating iPhone apps within this spectrum. Gruffat lives and works in North Carolina, and teaches in the Art Department at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and her MFA from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Her most well-known work is a feature film called “I Have Always Been A Dreamer”, and analyzes the contrasting themes of the two cities of Dubai and Detroit. This was an internationally screened film, including a screening at the MOMA. She also has a collection of digital media works for the purpose of public space display, and has produced interactive installations. Currently, she is working on producing a feature documentary on the Spanish housing crisis.

I have an appreciation for the diversity in Sabine Gruffat’s work. Although she focuses on digital media, she experiments with many types of digital media in that field. This makes her portfolio of work interesting, because it is hard to predict what a piece of her work may be like. Shown below are some stills from one of Sabine’s video animation works. The entire length of the video is eleven minutes, and it experiments with color, shape, and sound.

Sabine

Sources:

http://www.sabinegruffat.com

http://video.wpt.org/video/2248332675/