A typical day for me is something like this.
9:00- 8 week Shih tzu vaccine appointment. Owner doesn’t believe in vaccines.
9:15- Litter of found kittens presents for vaccines, and three of them are sneezing and have “goopy eyes”.
9:30- Pet store brings in a group of 3 guinea pigs with bald…
Ha! This is lovely! Love the pug wrestling. The onion toxicity one made me snort my dinner.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Do you love octopuses, like our aquarists do? Turns out they may have the supreme power to love you back, since a male octopus has three hearts! Not only that, but they skip a beat when introduced to a female.
So jealous, I could cry.
(A bunch of people have asked about my class on transformative art, so I thought I’d put up some of the images and talk about what we said. I’ll try not to drone on, but it was an awfully fun class. Plus there were butts.)
During the last class session of Intro to Media and Popular Culture, we looked at a whole bunch of transformative art, including a fic by aderyn, one of Amy Kinley’s videos, a bunch of stuff students brought in from different fandoms—and the following images. (I did a pretty complete analysis of the fic, which I’ll post separately.) I didn’t just want to explain the content of fanart, all the usual stuff such as where the artist gets their ideas, is it copyright infringement, why people like it, etc; I also wanted to explain how one goes about interpreting it—that is, not just what fanart is but what it does. How it works. So with all of these, we practiced the five interpretive strategies Henry Jenkins outlines in Textual Poachers, reading each in the context of: canon, artist’s work, subculture (are there, say, inside jokes that a member of the fandom would get?), trans-generic stories (casting the characters in different types of stories, like Arthurian quests or such), and intertextual relationships (whether the work includes an element from some other text). By actively interpreting the art we kept away from the “do you like it/do you not” mindset which lets students remain passively distanced. You can’t just ignore the work when you’re asked to do something with it. You have to take it seriously. (And I know y’all are probably sick of my tagline, but there it is.)
The sequence was fairly long, and started with Bill Mudron’s “Baywheux Tapestry,” which tells the whole history of Doctor Who in the form of the Bayeux Tapestry (the 1000-year-old embroidery that tells the history of the Norman conquest of England).
I love this work, because the fan artist takes a story about a man who travels through time, and travels through time himself by using a touchstone of Western art history, bringing the viewer along with him. And much like the original tapestry, it’s at once an art object, a historical record, and an educational tool: it’s cool to look at, it records the doings of all the Doctors, and it can indoctrinate the newbie fan.
(This was a canny, perhaps questionable, move: I began with a male artist, and a work that mimics traditional methods and values. I wanted to bring skeptical students in with something that didn’t fit their preconceptions of fanart, that it’s shallow, or made only by women, or only for erotic purposes. Of course, we talked about these prejudices once I had shown the rest of the art—why would I need to do this? Did it work?) (Because sexism, and yes.)
Next we ran through a long sequence of images, starting with some alicexz. We did the five-fold interpretation, but also talked about how she uses light, line, color, and style.
Look at this lovely genius work. Very nicely done!