Academic Cypher

In hip hop culture, the cypher is a circle of MCs, B-boys/B-girls, beatboxers, etc who freestyle and/or battle one after the other without interruption, exchanging rhymes and flows back and forth or around. The cypher is where training takes place and skills are tested, where people collaborate, and where people create "off the top" or written/choreographed, tapping into the place where thought and action come together to share energy and advance the craft...the Academy should aim to do the same.

Tag: Network

Final Reading Notes: Rickert, Ambient Rhetoric, Hip Hop

I have had several discussions about ambience over the years. The reason being that before I came to English Studies, music was my life. We often discussed ambience in regards to which space would produce the best sound. It is easy for a violin to be drowned out without the right atmosphere. We used to provide background noise to some songs, so they seemed like they were recorded live or recorded near busy streets. A clear crisp sound was not a part of “gritty” hip hop. While my musical worlds were drastically different, I understood the importance of the character of the surrounding.

Thomas Rickert’s Ambient Rhetoric: The Attunements of Rhetorical Being provided a Frankentheory that I could get behind. Although I thought, Rickert’s work would be very challenging (i.e. Foucualt), it was not as daunting as I had imagined. Like Castells, I wished for more time. I felt rushed to absorb everything, and I added it to my lists of text to return to in the future. I also added Rickert’s work to the list of theories that were both enjoyable and accessible. The others are rhetorical situation theory, CHAT, neurology, and affordances. Within Rickert, I could CHAT, ANT, ecology, affordances, Foucault, and the rhetorical situation. He in a sense completes the circle or better yet, extends the network. What I took away most from Rickert was the connection between ambient rhetoric and Heidegger’s conceptualization of dwelling. (Before English, I was also a philosophy major).

Rickert presents ambience as follows:

We are entering an age of ambience, one in which boundaries between subject and object, human and nonhuman, and information and matter dissolve” (1),

“So ambience here refers to the active role that the material and informational environment takes in human development, dwelling, and culture, or to put this differently it dissolves the assumed separation between what is (privileged) human doing and what is passively material” (3).

“Ambience, then, becomes a useful distillation of ongoing dynamic shifts in a vibrant, robust environment that we seek to understand, explain, and work through; ambience is itself ambient, meaning, in part, that ambience, even in such seeming subjective forms as recognition, is not solely human doing” (5).

In Chapter 7, “Ambient Dwelling”, Rickert focuses on ethics, particularly ethos as presented by Hyde as a “dwelling place.” Rickert challenges this notion and asserts that rhetoric is always wordly. He argued in Chapter 5 against rhetoric being “discursively grounded.” Since we are conditioned, impacted, and attuned by the world, we cannot exclusively focus on discourse. Rickert presents: “Our ethics are not something exterior we bring in and deploy but rather a set of comportments that emerge from life as it is lived, from what we do, say, and make” (223). Rickert uses Heidegger to examine how we “dwell with things and each other in the world”

<iframe src=”http://prezi.com/embed/vwck5kkelp0d/?bgcolor=ffffff&amp;lock_to_path=0&amp;autoplay=0&amp;autohide_ctrls=0&amp;features=undefined&amp;disabled_features=undefined” width=”550″ height=”400″ frameBorder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozAllowFullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>

I found this interesting given that the topic of Dr. Phillips’ Literature Seminar was Dwelling. It was even more so interesting in that my topic for this class was exploring hip hop and diaspora, especially the connection between Heidegger’s dwelling and the construction of home via hip hop.

I argued that the elements of hip hop, participants in the culture present stories of lived experience, which are usually spatially oriented to particular cities and neighborhoods. These cultural practices allow practitioners the ability to define, create, represent, and build a sense of home. Heidegger’s presents that building has moved away from the original definition of being to the idea of constructing shelter. Heidegger refutes this arguing, “We do not dwell because we have built, but we build and have built because we dwell, that is because we are dwellers” (148). Thus, Heidegger provides both a material and ontological discussion of dwelling as existence, construction of home, and connection to community within a particular space and time.

Hip Hop has a regional and territorial nature in the sense of city, community, neighborhood. Hip Hop culture provides the tools needed for these displaced and oppressed individuals to represent themselves, construct home, and dwell within often inhospitable spaces.

cypher2

Under Cyphers Hip Hop Festival 2012 www.thebboyspot.com

This was also interesting in light of my Oos switching to the cypher, an important concept and place within Hip Hop. Rickert’s ambient rhetoric, with its focus on humans, nonhumans, materiality, and ecology, provides a great lens through which to examine language and its movement within hip hop, hip hop’s connection/integration with place and environment, and the role of material to hip hop. I was especially intrigued by the idea that “the nodes do not exist prior to the network.” I feel like I am entering a chicken or the egg debate. Which came first the networks, the connections, or the nodes? In regards to hip hop, I can see how the structure/environment provided the foundation for the connections to take place. The foundation and connections took shape because of the surrounding environment. The individuals within also shape the environment.

Below is an example of a cypher from the BET Hip Hop Awards. This is more formal than usual, but it gives you the general idea. Disclaimer: This is uncensored

MindMap#11: Neurobiology

Never thought I’d be typing the words Neurobiology. This week’s mind map was the easiest one for me. As I was doing the reading, I was thinking of connections. I imagined myself drawing lines from How Stuff Works to Dendrites and Axons and then drawing connections between Buses and Action Potential and Snapchat. I did all of these things for this week’s mindmap. The neurology jumped out at me, especially in regards to Action Potential, which I felt captured movement in Snapchat perfectly. In my reading notes I discussed:

The movement of the nerve impulse forward via the opening and closing of channels and the inability of information to be sent backwards made me think of Snapchat communication as a nerve impulse. The user taking the snap after being sparked by an event or situation. The user receiving the snap and having that small window of time in which to consume the information. This entire process is not as fast as a nerve impulse and much simpler, but worth exploring.

These connections were important to me because I think this week’s reading finally helped me to understand the network as metaphor.

 

 

http://popplet.com/app/#/1626026

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 5.57.47 PM

 

 

Reading Notes #10: Neurons and Networks

This week’s reading on Neurobiology reminded me why I am an English Major. I have no interest in science (beyond chemistry, which helps with cooking) and lack the ability to understand “sciencey” words.

“A single cubic centimeter of the human brain may contain well over 50 million nerve cells, each of which may communicate with thousands of other neurons in information-processing networks that make the most elaborate computer look primitive.” (Campbell and Reese qtd in “Neurobiology,” 1).

What intrigued me the most about the reading was that neurons communicate constantly. I immediately thought of the communication networks that many of us depend on today. We are constantly communicating in some way, using some technology. Neurons primary activity is cellular communication. This system has billions of neurons and trillions of connections. What does neurotransmission look like?

There are big neurons and small neurons. Each neuron has two ends dendrite (tree that branches) and axon. The axon end is made up of presynaptic neuron and the postsynaptic neuron. The interesting part of this, to me, were the vesicles. The vesicles–described as soap bubbles–enable neurons to listen and talk at the same time. Vesicles are loaded with transmitters and stand-by waiting for release the neurotransmitters. What was inside the vesicle ends up outside of the cell (exocytosis).

Neurotransmisson from Wikipedia

This entire process reminded me of HowStuffWorks? from the beginning of the term. The discussion of computers, WiFi and Mobile, and Networking. We examined hardware systems and the infrastructure needed for our devices. There are several networks that work together to allow our devices to function and to allow them to communicate with one another. As complex as all this seems, it has nothing on the connections that neurons make. Neurons transmissions are highly complex. Neurons use “both electrical and chemical communication” (1). This complexity is exemplified by the fact that the neuron, as sophisticated as it may be, is assisted by other cells in the brain (glial cells).

Another aspect of the journey into neurobiology that intrigued me was the nerve impulse, or action potential. This is “a series of electrical responses that occur in the cell” (4). Action potential requires depolarization in the membrane, which allows sodium channels to open up. The sodium ions enter the axon, causing a change in charge. One the voltage becomes positive the channel becomes inactive, and the potassium channels open. The potassium ions exit the axon, causing the charge to change to negative. These channels stay open until the membrane “becomes even more negative than the resting potential for a brief period” (4). The action potential lasts only a few milliseconds (Amazing!). This entire process made me think of magnets. The switching of positive to negative moving the nerve impulse along the axon. I also thought of Leslie’s post on buses.  Buses allow data to transfer from one component to another. Both focus on transferring, moving information, through the network.

Action potential. Unit 10: Neurobiology from Rediscovering Biology online textbook.

This foray into neurobiology was not as horrible as I thought it would be. The neuronal network is quite remarkable. We learn about all this in school, but I never noticed the communication aspect. The neuronal network is all about communicating and transmitting. It is receiving data and transmitting data simultaneously. It moves the information forward and has a system in place to prevent information from going backwards and causing confusion in the system (sodium channel refractory period). The neuronal network is replicated (accidentally? intentionally?) all around us in the devices that we use everyday.

Snapchat

Action potential or nerve impulse also made me think of Snapchat. The movement of the nerve impulse forward via the opening and closing of channels and the inability of information to be sent backwards made me think of Snapchat communication as a nerve impulse. The user taking the snap after being sparked by an event or situation. The user receiving the snap and having that small window of time in which to consume the information. This entire process is not as fast as a nerve impulse and much simpler, but worth exploring.

Works Cited:

Does, Amy, Johnson A. Norman, and Teresa Thiel. “Unit 10: Neurobiology.” Rediscovering biology: Molecular to global perspectives. (n.d) . Web. 31 March 2014.

MindMap #10: Ecologies

This week’s mind map made me regret the week by week layout of my mind map. The week by week mapping has forced me to circle back to the top in order to connect to weeks that are on the opposite side of the screen. Anyhow, I added the following nodes: niche, Frankentheory, ecology of composition/writing process, and distribution,emergence, embodiment, and enaction.

I connected most of these nodes to CHAT, ANT, and Ecologies. These stood out to me because I see Syversons reworking or re-framing of the writing process as being similar to the remapping of the rhetorical canon done by Prior et al. I also felt that this Frankentheory approach was similar to ANT. Actor Network Theory pulls from a variety of areas. It is interdisciplinary even though it centers on re-framing sociology. As I’m writing this, I feel I should have made a node that said re-framing. It seems that much of what we have done in the course focused on re-framing existing ideas or theories flattening them and removing any binaries or dichotomies.

I think these things jumped out at me because I am starting to think that Snapchat may require a Frankentheory approach because the conversations about Snapchat continually frame it as something that it is not, so much so that everyone has just accepted this new conversation as the truth. I think I want to push back against that.

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 5.47.43 PM

 

© 2020 Academic Cypher

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑