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It is hard to pinpoint what I would be doing if I had unlimited time, money, skills, and resources. I’d love to say that I’d obviously own my own company, travel the world creating products that everyone would desire. I’d be famous, rich, and swimming in ass. But I’ve learned through my graduate school experience that I function best when I have a partner to my work and vision, a client who creates a dialogue that helps me via real world constraints and focus and deadlines. Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of networking and crowd sourced projects, so my client has become a group of people that I am trying to serve/enable. I have enjoyed working from within my own social group, like the Tap2Post project that used my classmates as the peer group using my mobile photo upload site. I enjoyed the feedback and the scene that was created around the project. So I like to be my own boss, but I need someone to answer to.

I’m 98% extroverted. If I’m left to my own devices/alone, I would rather just take a nap. I need a group to stimulate my energy, and I don’t want to be the guy behind the computer screen 9 hours a day digitally designing my life away. That’s what I do now for work at my job, stare into the abyss. I want to talk to people, be out, like go out for drinks and have fun and have conversations about art, current events, media and culture. When online, I crave the connectivity of commenting, news blasts, status updates etc., if I can’t be with the ones I want. So blue skies, I would be surrounded by attractive accomplished gay men. If I were looking for a husband instead of a thesis, ideally it would be a New York Jew. So, I’m trying to recruit that user group/social network by reaching out to the New York promotors “He-bro” as part of my research.

My thesis seeks to enable my own community to connect in ways that don’t currently exist, utilizing current technologies and popular forms of communication like mobile apps. Although Grindr is the most popular app on the market right now [and I would love to work for Grindr seeing as it has revolutionized the way gay men interact with one another.] I hope my project is more playful and more intelligent than the closest set of pecs. That is why I would like to prototype my analog “kiss card” at the next He-bro party: Christmas Eve. I am meeting with He-bro founder Jayson Littman to discuss what he thinks of social media this week. He seems interested in what I’m doing, though he has put me off a couple of times now and he’s a busy New York promoter. I also need to make contact with the gay and lesbian synagogue, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. The only problem is that I am more interested in the social aspect of the religion that the worship part. This is definitely an exercise in networking and meeting people and trying new things. I don’t quite know where this is going yet, but I hope to soon!

I am also attracted to celebrities, and people who don’t have a filter to their social media. I think that’s the way I would describe my connectivity: no shame. I think it would be a good idea for me to start compiling content from filtered searches of social media to see how and if Jewish gay guys are connecting now. Although it is a specific user group, I think others share the view that “Jewish guys are hot/cool/smart” and would want to friend up to my appxperience. I was thinking of aggregating content and branding myself across Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, the web. Working title is Heeb Hub. This is what I hope to have ready to present on Thursday next week. I really want to create an honest, meaningful experience, but this could serve as my business card and launching pad AND I want a feedback loop that I can tell the people I’m meeting how they can participate/get in touch.

So what if I could do anything I want… didn’t ever really answer that question and I’m not sure I know the answer. I know what I want to work on right now, but not sure where I see myself [working] after school. Blue sky, I’d probably be hanging out with New York gay Jew celebrity: “Andy Cohen is currently the Executive Vice-President Original Programming and Development at the Bravo cable television network, a subsidiary of NBC Universal. He hosts the network’s reunion shows and their topical weekly show Watch What Happens Live.” He is 46 and that’s all according to Wikipedia. I like him. I like his work. I want to know more. I see him as an idea guy who is a tastemaker packaging up content. On air, he is very Jewish, gay, smart. I’ve thought about incorporating an Andy Tracker project into my thesis (based on his frequent tweets), but it seemed a little too stalkerish. I need to reconcile some privacy issues as it is, with all this social networking. I don’t know what I want to do professionally, but I guess I could see myself as part of a team that would incorporate smart guys like Andy Cohen hanging out and coming up with big ideas. Maybe I could interview him for my Jewish Husband thesis?

Sep 282011

Precedent video by Jonathan Harris
Looking at “Life Tracking” via 365 Project
dropped the sex worker study for the moment…
Precedent to show for Writing Class

Building on a platform I developed, a group photo blog with a daily limit of one photo per day, I want to explore introducing a social network to a marginalized community to see how connectivity can enhance their lives. How an invitation to express and document their lives as captured on the go via mobile phone can enhance their sense of self. I believe sex workers are smart phone enabled and not traditionally in an office type job where facebook would be an appropriate medium to connect with people from a similar work situation. I think I can customize an app that would be suited for their needs.

What kind of app would a trans sexual sex worker want to use?
How can you spark a community to participate in an art project?
Does the group need to rely on one another? Is there a safety aspect in being connected?
How does my thesis expand on other life trackers, participatory artists, and photo bloggers?
Is this simply using technology when it would have been better off left alone?
Can connectivity provide a sense of self to a community that deserves to be recognized?

There is benefit in expressing and documenting individuality and community. I want to explore other options, but I believe that this tap2post thesis could create a visually robust experience over a length of time that reveals exclusive content, the complex, mundane, patterns of behavior of a variety of people. It’s a documentary practice that is inspired by the aesthetic of gritty photo realism and snapshots as art. Where meaning and behavior can be seen in mundane activities with friends.

Exploring community and identity through self-documentation, technology distribution, and participatory art to enable people to create, express, and document their lives in order to make sense of their stories, who they are, ‘to remember and be remembered.’

Why would sw’s post images of themselves or share any info online that would identify them as sw’s? There could be branding ambiguity and or privacy settings, advocates/outspoken sw’s, sponsorship via the Sex Workers Project acting as their app/yearbook/event/platform, customized to their needs, art project to create community, benefits of journaling/ documenting.

Why this method? online? tap2post? This is my first thesis idea, because I have a successful prototype w/ proven track record. The platform allows freedom to post any expression of self, but in an image-oversaturated world there is constraint. A full sense of a community is created through a range of images. This is the first platform I can provide/that I’m interested in, because people want to connect/view/post. It’s habitual, snowballs, creating a very meta community with its live feed/commenting/connectivity. It lends itself to a gallery reception at the end that could be a celebration of everyone.

My critic, Scott Pobiner suggested I research a school of “life recorders.” Many documentary and culture studies would relate to my exploration. Previously I was exploring photo bloggers throughout history, more as a gritty urban sexual aesthetic and less of the act of displaying photos on the actual web. Participatory art projects in the past have utilized design and technology distribution to curate shows and I am building on that. I think my product doesn’t exist on the market, that people aren’t exploring or working in this type of medium specifically and that I can choose the content that I want to see.

Sep 202011

MODULE 1 PRESENTATION, the first chapter (as a google doc)

Sep 152011

by “Leif Parsons” via NYTimes

Mostly I’m motivated to complete Thesis so that I can graduate and get a slip of paper that says I am MFADT approved and ready to conquer the world. More importantly I think it will improve my portfolio to have a project of such depth and commitment of time and thought. I think it will be good for me to do all the work, even though that doesn’t motivate me at all. As for tap2post, I am motivated to help and connect people who may be marginalized politically and culturally. I am motivated to enable people with new ways to communicate, when the old ways (old like Facebook) are tired and boring. There is a voyeuristic appeal for me as well, in which the mundane activities of someone else can seem fascinating to me (and other viewers.) I had a very successful prototype, and that definitely keeps me focused. I’ve presented the app many times, recently to some app development companies, and they were very impressed with it. Interest can only increase as the project develops. Embarrassingly, I’m motivated by success, money, and maybe a bit of fame. I don’t want to be forgotten, which is one of the major themes of my THESIS. I guess I should add that I do actually like my project, and I want to work on it.

Chapter 2 Language and Rhetoric
Syntactic ambiguity refers to the sentence structure could lead to misunderstanding.
Vague terms may be used to hide weakness in an argument.
Secondary connotations of terms that go beyond the necessary requirements to be that term
Quantifiers often lack precision (“nearly all”) are vague (“some”) or lacking entirely (“researchers say”) or are generalizations
Rhetorical ploys like an appeal to popularity
Equivocation–using vagueness to substitute and mislead

First paper map

Using my tap2post platform, (a social networking app/ for mobile photo blogging/ with a one photo per day constraint. To build community and connectivity) I would like to curate photos from a community of New York sex workers, or transexuals, or transexual sex workers by hosting photos of their day-to-day lives, captured by users on their smart phones. Through the collection of images, a true and self-documented portrait of the group will emerge. My hope is that the photos will be collected and displayed beyond the app.

I believe that historically, in addition to being marginalized culturally and politically, sex workers have been underserved by existing social networks like Facebook, which relies on a 9-5 corporate style for its user base. Some of the domains I’m exploring are: crowd sourcing, the art of collecting stories and experiences, web for social change, meaning and behavior in mundane activities.

There are too many precedents to count, but Jonathan Harris, Nan Goldin, and Norene Leddy come to mind immediately. What does it mean to enable a group via current online tools and technology to document lives that are going undocumented? Jonathan Harris said he did a 365 project so as not to forget his life and to not be forgotten.

Domain and Precedent Map (if you would like to make this much bigger, click into the image twice)