Instant Communications Technology

“Our embrace of high-tech gadgetry could turn life into a series of rushed encounters and clipped exchanges, producing ideas of diminishing depth.” – Langdon Winner

What effect does “instant communication” have on you? What effect does “instant communication” have on your relationships with other people?

Corners of our lives once sheltered from direct technological intervention are now bombarded by the demands of incoming and outgoing messages … However, people text-message alone. It is mainly an isolating experience in society … Of its role in the future only one thing is certain: it will be larger than ever before. – S.D. Robinson

Film Creation Idea:
Write a script for a text messaging dialogue between two friends (they are not face-to-face) for one of the following scenarios:

  • two friends discuss running against each other in the student council election
  • two friends argue about an environmental issue
  • a person tells a friend who has taken a part-time job that he/she is upset that they are spending less time together.

Film your script while paying particular attention to your actors non-verbal behaviour, watch out for various types of body language. Add the “dialogue” – the text messages – as titles to each scene in iMovie. It is not necessary to have any audio captured with the video at all.

  • What is the person doing with his or her hands? Is the individual tapping a finger on a table? Are the arms crossed?
  • What is the position of the individual’s body? Is the person leaning forward? Leaning back? Is the body turned away from another person?
  • What is the position of the individual’s legs? Are they crossed? Is the person tapping his/her foot?
  • Where are the eyes looking?
  • Does the person smile? frown? yawn? cough?

Consider these and other questions in your planning:

  • Who are my 2 friends? Describe their emotional and psychological states, too.
  • Where are they? Remember that the video you shoot will be shot at school.
  • What is the issue? What point are you trying to make?
  • How will you show that their conversation is rushed, incomplete, frustrating?
  • How can you show that their responses to each other lack depth?
  • How can you show or demonstrate how alone they really are?
  • How can you demonstrate how texting is an isolating experience?
  • How can you show them being “bombarded by the demands of incoming and outgoing messages”

Consider capturing/grabbing your iPhone/iPod message screen and then get those pics into an iMovie.

iPhone spell-checker frustration.

Love Songs, Love Poems

Robert Burns (1759-96), a popular poet from Scotland, lives again each January 25th, when millions around the world celebrate his poetry. In his poetry, Burns expresses his concern for people of the working class. He is also one of the first poets to question the treatment of women and children in society. Robbie Burns is best remembered for his love poetry. The following selection is one of his better-known ballads.

A Red, Red Rose, by Robert Burns

O my luve is like a red, red rose
   That's newly sprung in June;
My love is like the melodie
   That's sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonny lass,
   So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
   Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
   And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
I will luve thee still, my dear,
   While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only love!
   And fare thee weel, awhile!
And I will come again, my love
   Though it were ten thousand mile.

Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-94) is a well-known poet of the Victorian period. She was acclaimed for her poetic skill and distinctive style. Some recurrent themes in her poetry are of unhappy, delayed, or frustrated love. “A Birthday,” one of her best known poems, has a more positive theme.

A Birthday by Christina Rossetti

My heart is like a singing bird
   Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
   Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
   That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these,
   Because my love is come to me.
 
Raise me a daïs of silk and down;
   Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
   And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
   In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
   Is come, my love is come to me.
  1. Burns and Rossetti both use a common literary technique, the metaphor, to describe feelings of love. Identify and discuss the similarities and the differences between the two poems.
  2. What effect does the repetition of the phrases create in the poems? Do you like the effect that is created? Why or why not?
  3. Choose your own personal metaphor for describing love. Write a poem, song, or short narrative or create a collage of images which incorporates your metaphor for love.

Could It Be Love?

The two following poems express different attitudes toward love. The first poem, “How do I Love Thee?,” was written in the nineteenth century and the second one, “First Person Demonstrative” was written in the twentieth century.

"How do I love thee?" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
"First Person Demonstrative" by Phyllis Gotlieb (1926-2009)
I'd rather
heave half a brick than say
I love you, though I do
I'd rather
crawl in a hole than call you
darling, though you are
I'd rather
wrench off an arm than hug you though
it's what I long to do
I'd rather
gather a posy of poison ivy than
ask if you love me

so if my
hair doesn't stand on end it's because
I never tease it
and if my
heart isn't in my mouth it's because
it knows its place
and if I
don't take a bite of your ear it's because
gristle gripes my guts
and if you
miss the message better get new
glasses and read it twice
  1. How did you feel after reading “How Do I Love Thee?” How did you feel after reading “First Person Demonstrative”? Which poem do you like better? Why? Which do you think is the more appealing poem?
  2. Compare the thoughts and feelings of the two poets. How do the poems differ? How are they similar? Does this comparison change your feelings toward either of the poems?
Picasso: The Two Saltimbanques
Picasso: The Two Saltimbanques

Looking at Masks

Masks have been worn in many different cultures over the centuries. No matter what culture or time period it is from, the visual impact of a mask is often dramatic. Even though you might know very little about the cultural or historical significance of a mask, you can still understand a great deal about it by considering its effect on you.

  1. Brainstorm a list of masks that people wear. Consider masks worn to protect as well as masks worn to disguise. How do you feel when you encounter someone wearing a mask? Does your reaction depend on the situation? Explain your response.
  2. Brainstorm a list of movies, songs, plays, short stories, comics, and television programs featuring characters that wear masks. Why do the characters wear masks? How does the mask affect your perception of the character?
  3. Write about your own experience wearing masks. On what occasions have you worn masks? Did wearing a mask affect your actions and feelings?
African Masks: Baule Mask - This type of Baule mask is known as a Goli mask. It is used in dances during harvest festivals, in processions to honour distinguished visitors and at the funerals of important figures.
Jacque Plante's original goalie mask