Tuesday, February 15, 2011

USING TECHNOLOGY OR USED BY TECHNOLOGY? (in part a response to the Spalding/Bieber Quesadilla incident)

I hope that you've found your documentation of your relationship with technology insightful. This post is a followup of that investigation, a followup that you can listen to, if you've noticed the two audio blog options now available here: Odiogo (the clearer voice, I think, and the more fluent reader without voice options at sign-up, and iSpeech with a choice of female or male voices and different forms of English: US, Canadian, British, Australian, but without the clarity and fluency of Odiogo. Try both options simultaneously).

How pervasive technology is in our lives —and how fortunate, or this post would not be happening —but should it happen? That is, is it necessarily a good thing that technology is all but completely omitting the lag time between response and delivery of response to an audience. Think of the information delay that accompanies traditional book and magazine publication.

Are we giving enough thought to how we're wielding the power of technology?
This video made it to youtube shortly after the Grammy Award for best new artist went to Esperanza Spalding instead of to Justin Bieber (please forgive the expletives, but they are necessary in this context, just as the profanity is even more necessary in The King's Speech):

Just to provide context for the object of the above video rant,
here's Esperanza Spalding performing Prince's If I Were Your Girlfriend at the BET Music Awards:

and performing on the David Letterman Show:

In addition to enabling the rant video, technology also assisted Bieber's fans in committing some temporary digital vandalism against Spalding's wikipedia entry.


NEW YORK (CBS) It seems that fans of Justin Bieber weren't too pleased that he lost the Grammys' best new artist award to jazz singer Esperanza Spalding.

After Spalding was crowned the surprise winner on Sunday, her Wikipedia page was vandalized.

The valdalism since been removed, but Gawker was able to get a screenshot of some of the changes. Among them, Spalding's middle name was changed to "Quesadilla" (and then "Justin") and the page noted that "She now has the 2011 Grammy for being the Best new Artist! Even though no one has ever heard of her! Yay!"


"BIBER 4 LYFE !" was also tacked on to the end of her bio.

If you were just Googling "Esperanza Spalding"—tonight's surprise winner of the Grammy for Best New Artist—you may have been surprised to learn from her Wikipedia page that "SHE IS F****** RETARD," or that her middle name is either "Justin" or "Quesadilla," or, for that matter, that she beat out "Nominee and gay favorite Justina Bieber" for the award. Well! Far be it from us to cast aspersion on the accuracy of a user-edited font of knowledge like Wikipedia, but it certainly seems possible that fans of losing nominee Justin Bieber (or, perhaps, people who like to throw poop around the internet) may have been "vandalizing" her Wikipedia page, adding possibly-untrue facts like:

Her middle name is "Quesadilla"

"She now has the 2011 Grammy for being the Best new Artist! Even though no one has ever heard of her! Yay!"

" JUSTIN BIEBER DESERVED IT GO DIE IN A HOLE. WHO THE HECK ARE YOU ANYWAY?" (n.b. this does not really seem to be a "fact" about anyone)

"HaHa Justin Bieber, you're just a little boy with no Grammy for Best New Artist."


Because of the speed of just-a-click uploading and publishing, technology helps us capture the authenticity of the emotion of the moment, the moment not tempered and filtered by time, helping us avoid some of the regret that can be the aftermath of impulsive actions.

Please give some thought tonight in class, as you continue your exploration of the many applications available in DL1, to think of ways to use this digital technology to communicate better, to enhance and improve the still-prevailing single-mode delivery of most academic papers.

How can you use digital technology to construct an environment in which to experience more of the complexity of an idea system?

Think about what it can mean to produce an idea as an environment instead of as a printed, usually, text piece. What are the differences? How can you use digital technology to accomplish more than what the printed text piece accomplishes, provided that it is: a more that is useful, a more than extends understanding, and inspires further engagement with the idea, further exploration?

By the way, if anyone is interested in a better quality audio version of Esperanza Spalding's cover of Prince's If I were Your Girlfriend, let me know with a comment to this post.


  1. Omg.. this is crazy... that girl is going to be so embarassed five years later.

  2. It seems like these Justin Bieber fans are using the internet as a forum to express their immediate sensation. The issue becomes that these immediate sensation are then archived online- their is no 3rd part on Wikipedia that can control it at the rate in which it is going up. Is this negative? Bieber fans are using the internet to give themselves a voice- to express themselves. Yet, these comments are compromising the legitimacy or rather authenticity of information.

    How can you use digital technology to construct an environment in which to experience more of the complexity of an idea system?

    I find this questions to be extremely engaging. I hope that we can discuss ways in which one can manifest environments to develop or propel idea systems. For example, I am doing two performances in March. These performances involve projecting videos that I act in. I will be performing in front of these videos in order to bring a sense of materiality or presence to the work. I conceive of these works as living installation pieces that refute the instant gratification that youtube culture brings. The audience is made present- they cannot fast forward to the apex of my performance, etc. But I wonder how idea systems come into play here with my work? IDEAS???