DS106 on the couch

Tag: noir106

Koinonia in DS106


<before I get going here, I hate the new editor. Tumblr sort it> 

So we were chatting at the splendiferous pre-show for our radio show and Jim asked us why we do it – ‘it’ being DS106 #4life. We said for fun and he joked he was talking to a bunch of fun junkies. It was hard to have a serious conversation as we laughed at Uncle Jim futzing the log in to DS106 Radio’s servers, we had so much fun and the show rocked. Please ignore unfounded reports that DS106 is an immortality cult, we just make art. This post is not about that, though. This post is about this: is it something bigger than fun that makes us collaborate across continents and work hard at producing something nobody is asking us to produce?

I have been reflecting on this question for the last few days, it is something bigger than just fun. I have spent a lifetime supporting groups in various contexts become a ‘team’ ‘work collaboratively’ ‘manage a virtual teams’. I can, and often do, drone on about best practice in group facilitation.

Yet, this question echoed to the learner in me not just the educator. 

I could go to my usual space of creativity theory and the environment that makes creativity possible to answer the question.  Or the place of ‘hard fun’ a la Papert and say DS106 is all that and more and paraphrasing Papert’s kid say: "It’s fun. It’s hard. It’s DS106.“ 

All the above would speak to the why, but there is more.

Today I was grading papers on Bohmian dialogue; one of my students answered the question for me as she quoted Bohm on Koinonia,

And perhaps in dialogue, when we have this very high energy of coherence, it might bring us beyond just being a group […] Possibly it could make a new change in the individual and a change in therelation to the cosmic. Such an energy has been called ‘communication’. It is a kind of participation. The early Christians had a Greek word koinonia, the root of which means ‘to participate’ – the idea of partaking of the whole and taking part in it; not merely the whole group, but the whole .

The other day, with another group of students, we talked about how hard it was to collaborate virtually when your team is spread out around the world. In the context of business, this seems almost impossible to do and people mostly complain about it and pay consultants to help them do it. For the first time, since I have been involved in DS106, I thought about DS106 in the context of my work in my business school – in DS106 we sign up on a Google doc and make it work. 

The holly grail of large businesses – what is the difference that makes the difference? My students and I had a conversation about DS106 and they immediately said: Well, but that is not work! There are no problems likely to arise in that situation. I disagreed, but I could not put my finger on why. I took it to my reflection space. 

rockylou22 and I were talking about the show this week, as we discussed work and play and expectations,  Frame Analysis and Goffman came to mind. We use unconscious frames as a way of explaining "what is going on” and determining salience in a given experience. We filter important information, discard noise and build basic cognitive structures to guide us in our understanding of what is going on in a given situation. We do not manufacture these ‘life frames’ but adopt and adapt them depending on the situation. As we receive the email ‘shall we do a Radio Show?’ we put one frame around it: This is play. When my students get an email ‘shall we collaborate on this project?’ they put a different frame around the event ‘This is work and will be hard’. 

Play carries with it a very different set of expectations than work. We treat people differently in one context or the other. Problems do not arise because there are no expectations, we ask unconditionally for what the end result might need and somebody may or may not step up to help. We marvel at the potential for partaking in the whole. In the pre-show with Jim we kept saying we had no idea how it would all come together. We are genuinely creating in the unknown space of possibility. As Bohm said, we participate to create not to impose our view or idea on the situation. We attend to the situation, and notice how ‘it’ is shaping. We support and participate within that. There is a sense of connecting to something that is even larger than Jim’s ego 🙂 – there is a sense of participating in a whole larger than the group and larger than individual ideas. 

Why do we do it? Because it is a place where we can create together without expectations. What is the difference that makes the difference? The play frame we put around it allows us to check the ego at the door and work together in the service of something more. What? Making art, damn it! 

For those of you wanting a clear how-to, the google obliges: The spirit of Koinonia offers some steps to follow, but this is beyond steps and skills – it is a way to be in the world that is truly precious. #4life 

An example of collaboration

So I became obsessed with friction matches in Noir and wrote about that a while back. 

I created a script based on something I heard on Double Indemnity and made a video commercial. I was not happy with the voices as I did them myself and then changed them in Garageband. As we were working on a collaborative radio show for Noir106, I decided to turn it into a radio commercial and asked for help from the community.

This is the kind of thing that makes the open web so special. I asked dogtrax for help and he did the most awesome voiceover. I asked Karen Young (@karenatsharon) for help and she did the greatest femme fatale voice ever. With such great voices and script, I had to find some awesome music and who better than The Headless Inkspots to provide original noir inspired music? DS106 is pretty lucky to have them as part of our community.

In sum? I think this is the best commercial ever, and it shows how a simple idea can turn into something special as different people bring their gifts to it. Thank you all, and roll on the Fabulous Femmes Fatales Show on Rockylou Radio this March with the irrepressible Ms Talky Tina in a starring role as Daphne de Beauvoir. 

Stop press: Ms Talky Tina in conflict with Rockylou Radio Productions. Read all about it!

Well, DS106 made me do it…again.

We have been watching noir films and forgive this quirky mind but it got distracted with these matches all the flawed heroes in the films have. What were they? I had never seen them. No box. Just the match and it lights up. I asked on Twitter but nobody cared about noir matches ( I wonder why…) I started to think about a commercial for these matches. First I needed to do some research. (Have I lost all my friends, yet?)

So they are called friction matches, but the famous brand is Strike Anywhere Matches. And yes, there are other eccentrics out and there is a web site with the history of matches

Then there was the matter of the script. I remembered one line from Double Indemnity that started my current obsession ‘They always explode in my pockets’. I looked at various scripts and then decided to adapt the Double Indemnity dialogue:

I bit off the end of my cigar and put the cigar into
my mouth. started tapping my pockets for a match,
as usual I can’t find one.
I hear some smart alec in the distance:
They give you matches when they sell
you cigars, you know. All you have to
do is ask for them.
Heck, I know I say. I don’t like them. They always explode
in my pockets.
In truth I just don’t know how to light them.

Strike anywhere matches. Extra Thick for longer burn time
….but you need to know how to light them.

And yes, somebody has uploaded to You Tube instructions for how to light Strike Anywhere Matches. This is what I like most on the web, I can always find someone who seems more eccentric than I am! So, we download that via Clip Converter. Then pop it into MPEG Streamclip to remove the audio and trim it. 

New iMovie is pretty cool. But before that, GarageBand to the rescue to change my voice and record the script. It does female to male, deep and soulful, but there was no femme fatale…

Then, audio and video into iMovie, via an image of the matches. And yes, I think I need to get a life. I had such fun though. I plan to record this for our Radio show as a radio commercial but I am going to ask for help with the voices – Dogtrax does a mean noir hero voice, I need to get my femme fatale though. Any nominations? She just needs to record the last two lines.

Learnt about matches, about how you can find any script movie online, learnt a few more tricks in iMovie. Getting the style right is interesting: black and white not enough, you need high contrast. The transitions matter, I remembered seeing the circle open/close transition in some noir films. Used that. And others details I will bore you no further with.

…and I still laugh when I watch it. Never underestimate the value of a daily smile!

My first creative edit for #noir106. It is tough to work in black and white! Original poster by Jessica Parker, new DS106 logo by Martha Burtis, I think. And adorable puppy is Eric. Tried mixing Metropolis and Typewriter fonts to see how they blended. Enough. 

Here is the HD at Gfycat worth a look!

So, I am starting to explore Cine Noir for this run of DS106. At the risk of being burnt at the stake, I am not interested in watching the films! Yet, I love the style of them and the way in which ‘the sets and atmosphere reflect the characters inner turmoil’ or so I read in my overview google dive last night. I also love the typography and how it uses the form to express the emotional tone of the story. It is surprisingly difficult to find out detail about the original types. I have found two fonts that I want to play with: Metropolis and   Stroke. It looks like Typewriter can also be used. So how do you get the ‘noir feel’ to an animated gif? Best way to see that was to make one from one of the most famous film Noir I know! Use of light, high contrast and that closed in vignette around the image. I noticed also that everything seems sharp and clean – clothes, posters, people and typography. I like that. How the figure gets closer and closer….scary!

I know nothing about Cine Noir. I now something about Tech Noir as most of my favourite films are about dystopian futures. 

There is a lot to learn and, heads up, creative edits of Cine Noir posters will be a pig of a job to do! 

The how of this gif will have to wait for now. The joy of being an open participant, no deadlines!

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