Author Archives: Matthew Boyle

Yay II



textual cohesion—the methods and strategies that language speakers employ to make the units of the text (lines, sentences, stanzas, paragraphs, etc.) come together as a whole.


The Digital has doubled the text. It is writing and action. Text can be read and executed. In the Digital, text is thought and deed at the same time.


Violent Rap (Data Project)

Purposefully running against technology and methods of analysis in order to assert the presence of a “unique”, human validating form.

I am interested in “cultural analytics”. I also really like this music. The effects if produces as well as the mindset of the creators: It is possible to dismiss as misogynistic and hateful. True claims. But it matters to people (specifically men from 15-25)*. Unique following emerges defined through the Internet and networks of connectivity. Sometimes this manifests into real-life encounters (such as saving money to fly to California). Many times the “mainstream” websites cannot carry the videos and audio of producers of music such as this. They then take alternative routes and it would be my supposition that their creation runs through and by the eternal promise of running in opposition to the mainstream methods of distribution. Although Youtube and other content “Providers” envision themselves as at the cutting edge and key to liberality of a democracy, there is new things popping up; a contingent of dissension which demands new forms of distribution through the unacceptability of their current content. Anti-censorship. It becomes a game of searching for clues: you prowl through the Internet looking for signs, hieroglyphics really, of the wormholes around which this content congregates.

One of those areas could be the comments sections of videos. This is the video: I used Voyant for analysis and the data was all the comments in the comments section of the video.

It has been said that comment sections of certain websites may be more illuminating than the content itself. The networked opinion of the hive-mind; the idea being not to “dominate” and/or provide the final say and exist as a standalone object of critical opinion, but to stir and funnel discourse through associated channels defined in the video. What I am analyzing is not an article: It is a music video. The comments clustered around the video are not surprising. They seem to mirror and/or repeat what is said within the content of the lyrics itself.

Any conclusions I reached seemed redundant and patterned on my perceptions of the lyrics as displayed from the progenitors of the video itself. Perhaps a larger dataset consisting of all comments and all related videos (as defined subjectively by me) would provide a more useful and illuminating dataset. The one thing which did stand out to me was the preponderance of the word “parents” in the comments section. The comments section can be seen as a form of metadata about whatever content is itself displayed. They all express concern for who the parents of Mike Dece are and where they came from. Thus the word “Brazil” pops up. Someone has gained access to this information through unique insider information and then spreads through channels such as this. This alters your experience of the video. You learn he is 16 and his parents are from Brazil. It is known he currently lives and works in Miami. This all becomes opinion enshrined in the hive-mind and a knowledge of which is presupposed from the “right” to comment on the video. Somehow the experience of the video is changed by knowing his parents live in Brazil and the artist is 16. Humanoid elements are added to what can on first glance seem ridiculous and/or unworthy of analysis. You become closer to the artist and others who share this exclusive knowledge with you. You feel part of a “community”.

Conclusion: the metadata contained within comments sections can alter and change a user’s experience of the content itself – bringing them closer inside the “networked circle” they seek to/have defined themselves as part of by taking the time and effort to provide a commentary.

* Subjective figure

Audio Sampling As Decoding + Manipulation

I would like to propose an alternative to the sort of mixed reality video games Steve Jones places a huge emphasis on. It is just another expression of the same underlying idea (I am doing this out of fear that video games be taken as paradigmatic source of the idea and not merely one of its many manifestations): It comes down to personal choice. What I would like to present is sample based music.

Sampling produces an entire aesthetic and philosophy. You take someone else’s sound and (in Steve Jones’ words) “decode and manipulate”.

1) Decoding: I hear a sound I like. I look it up on Youtube (or I search for some vague term like “blue and grass”). I take the resulting sound and plop it into a website which converts Youtube videos into mp3 audio files and then download it onto my hard drive.

2) Manipulate: I import the file into an audio editing program and tweak it using a variety of parameters.

In lieu of getting too stranded from my initial point, that this is merely another product of the “mixed reality” Steve Jones points out we live within, I want to give a context of how this happens. I fear I am being narcissistic here but this is how it really happens and what I think of when I look for concrete examples of this mixed reality: I am in my car driving home from a friends house and turn on a radio station I know to occasionally play songs I like: 89.1 on the FM dial. There is a song playing which perks my ears and I immediately think of not how I am listening to the song and enjoying it at that very moment, but how when I get home I know exactly how to access it and manipulate it. It is that easy. And that is the sort of mixed reality I think Steve Jones points us towards which I think is a valid one, though not without it’s problems (which I may elaborate on in a future post, or which anyone else should feel free to propose); a reality which is about criticism through production.

Computer Programming is the new Latin

This quote has been festering in my head from the readings last week: “A debate about whether or not students should learn computer programming was ongoing. Some felt that it replaced previous hit Latin  as a “mental discipline” (Hockey 1986).” The key: “as a mental discipline”; a way to train the mind that serves universal cohesion and collaboration. I studied Latin in high school, prodded along by the wishes of my grandmother, a woman who sincerely believes in the value of an ‘old-school’ education. But what about computer programming? She couldn’t wrap her head around it. ‘Why were they in the same sentence?’. I told her about it, the class I am taking: “Digital Humanities”. Have fun explaining that one; I give a different answer to nearly everyone I ask; but there is something there. I don’t speak the language yet, the ‘universal’ core, which maybe at one point was Latin, and is now computer programming (all I remember about my high school Latin is a massive amount of tables — filling in and creating conjugation charts and applying said tables to various activities — which from my understanding is what under-girds a lot of programming: tables, and the relationships therein) but I hope to get there. The separation of  powers between the humanist with the ‘idea’, and the programmer with the ‘skill’ to bring this idea into the concrete reality of 1s and 0s (and maybe 3s) will hopefully be blurred and people who think like us will get some agency back.