What The Heck Kind of Course is This?

At the core this is a bonafide on the ground course in Networked Narratives at Kean University, with registered students who will spend some time each week in a classroom. Last year it was co-taught by Mia Zamora at Kean join via the interwebs by Alan Levine who beamed in from his home Arizona. Several of you participated.

This time around, Alan is the sole teacher, still beaming in, with the assistance of TAs Hailey and Marissa. Mia is this year teaching at the University of Bergen in Norway, and her class there will overlap with ours as well. And for a middle segment of the course we will be connecting with students of Maha Bali at the American University Cairo.

Also, as an open connected course, the experience is open to anyone else on the internet who wants to do all or part of the same activities and assignments. Why? Because that’s what networks allow and enable. – Alan Levine

Everyday there is a prompt to create something digital, a Digital Daily Create (dda), to post online and/or tweet; #dda132 for example.

#dda132 A Spin of the Google Translate Roulette

If you connect your blog, both registered students and “open participants” (like me), your posts appear on the Networked Narratives website. It’s all very interwoven and mysterious and fun!

For my “Spin of the Google Translate Roulette” I chose a “song” that emerged from Ken Kesey’s Acid Tests in the 1960s. A musical improvisation with a nod to free jazz, there are thousands of recordings available and no two are the same. Originally created by the Grateful Dead, “Dark Star” is now performed world wide and a band has taken the title for the name of their “orchestra.” American movie director John Carpenter (Halloween, Escape from New York, They Live) chose “Dark Star’ for the title of his first film. The song lyrics are credited to Writer(s): Robert Hall Weir, Jerome J. Garcia, Philip Lesh, Ronald Charles Mckernan, Michael S. Hart, Robert C. Hunter and William Kreutzmann on AZLyrics.com.

Dark Star is often performed as part of a larger medley and improvisational ‘jams’ can extend the ‘song’ to nearly an hour. These ‘jams’ appealed to 60s concert goers more interested in “an experience” than in just listening to recorded songs performed live. The first version I ever heard was recorded live at the Filmore West and released as a double album titled “Live Dead.” Years later I had the good fortune to work with Bob Thomas, the artist and graphic designer who painted the album cover (and created the skull and lightning bolt the band used to mark their equipment), at the original “Renaissance Pleasure Faires”, but that’s another story…

I translated “Dark Star” from English to French, from French to Chinese, from Chinese to Hindi, from Hindi to French and from French back into English. To quote an English rock band I never cared for;

“The Song Remains the Same.”