26 Jan

Lecture explores oral culture in digital age

first_imgWilliam Butler Yeats and Federico García Lorca may have been writing 100 years ago, but English PhD candidate John Dillon suggests their works from near the turn of the 20th century reflect a moment of change similar to today’s cultural upheaval.Dillon, the Notebaert Graduate Presidential Fellow in the Department of English, delivered a lecture Friday titled “From Oral Culture to Open Access: Yeats, Lorca and the Digital Turn.” He argued that the current digital or information revolution mirrors the Industrial Revolution that catalyzed European Modernism at the turn of the 20th century, and that by examining the work of writers like Yeats and Lorca today’s readers can better understand the current cultural climate.Explaining the fascination the writers had for the folklore of their respective Irish and Spanish cultures, Dillon said both were immersed in folk culture and for them, the artistic event of a folk tale was far more remarkable than written word.“If folklore, as Yeats and Lorca would insist, is not what is kept in the archive but in the heart, then one should reconsider their engagement with folklore based on how they encountered it rather than what they collected,” he said.Dillon said Lorca especially was “highly suspicious of the written word” and had a deep commitment to creating a “living art” as “alive and pulsing as a frog.”Because of Lorca’s upbringing in southern Spain, Dillon said the poet was immersed in the rural, folkloric culture throughout his early life.“For Lorca, any sort of cosmopolitanism is completely a second language,” he said. “Growing up in Fuente Vaqueros, a folk way of life would have been as natural as the ground beneath his feet.”Lorca’s early works, notably “Poema del cante jondo” and “Romancero gitano” reflect this deep-rooted identification with Spanish folklore, Dillon said. Similarly, Yeats’ understanding of the organic nature of art allowed him to think of literature as an activity or a game being played, he said. Because of this, Yeats created a “potent” and “ephemeral” art.“This is a living art; it’s stitched into life,” Dillon said. “This is perhaps the critical characteristic of the art … in this way, the awareness that what one is doing is art flickers in and out, which makes it spontaneous, organic and undefinable.”The intersection of folk culture and European Modernism in Yeats’ and Lorca’s writing is important because it affects the way today’s scholars view literature, he said.“If the aesthetic catalyst at the beginning of the 20th century was the Industrial Revolution, then the digital or information revolution bookends this century,” Dillon said. “We can hold up the former as a foothold for perspective to see the latter.“It seems to me that with the digital turn … we are moving towards a form of art which is quite like the type of living art I have been describing. It’s strange; we are moving forward in time but we’re aesthetically regressing.”Dillon said the digital revolution creates a type of “gold rush,” where people anxiously attempt to preserve and archive today’s culture.“We have to digitize everything. Everything must be in an archive,” he said. “We are the contemporary folklorists… [and] this rush of anxiety parallels the development of new tools for recording and preservation.“More can be recorded, so more must be recorded. We also see an obsession with metadata, taxonomy and classification.”In the midst of a moment of cultural change, Dillon said both writers and readers must resist the marketability of art and remember that content is not created for the market.last_img read more

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16 Sep

Mani rises from reserve to captain

first_imgEvery successful team needs players whose work ethic, determination and leadership make the difference in the team’s ability to grind out results, especially in a conference as competitive as the Big Ten. And for the UW men’s soccer team, that player is Colin Mani.Mani, a senior for the Badgers this year, provides far more for this team than his stats may show. In starting 12 games as a defender this season, he has played a major role in helping the Badgers earn four shutout victories thus far, a number that already brings them to one more shutout victory than they had all of last season.Still, Mani’s true worth to the team comes in his ability to lead his teammates by example.“Coming into the season, we knew that with Colin we would get determination and true bravery on the field that not all guys [have],” head coach John Trask said. “That is what you hope to get out of your seniors. … If you’re not committed into attack or winning a loose ball, heck, you’re not going to get the freshmen to do it.”Despite having not been a starter up until this year for the Badgers, Mani was a natural choice to be one of the three captains this year, along with fellow seniors Josh Thiermann and Arnel Zahirovic, due to the unrelenting effort he puts forth in every aspect of the game.“All the players, when I talked to them about naming captains for this year, had Colin Mani as an immediate name off the list,” Trask said. “Out of everybody, they respect him as an athlete; they respect the amount of work he puts in to get ready for the season, and they respect him as a person.”As a result, Mani has been vital in helping transition a young defense to the intense, competitive atmosphere that is the Big Ten conference. Out of six players that have regularly played for the defense this year, only Mani and junior Kyle McCrudden had more than one year of experience coming into the season.The younger defenders look to Mani as an example of the right way to play defense and as a model to follow as they finish their own college careers. Freshman defender AJ Cochran had nothing but praise for his senior teammate’s attitude and mindset towards every game.“He is just a straight up leader; he brings leadership to our backline, having been here for four years now,” Cochran said. “Every single game … he makes sure the rest of our backline is ready to come out to play. He brings a whole different energy level at every game, and it’s awesome to play next to him.”Mani’s ability to help guide his younger teammates through the college game has been an influential factor in the Badger’s significant improvement on the team’s 4-13-3 performance a year ago to a record of 7-5-2 overall this year.On the field, Mani brings a fairly unique background to the defense. Throughout high school, Mani played as a midfielder before switching to defense in college, and he even scored 12 goals his senior season at Edgewood, just across town in Madison.As the old sports adage goes: Sometimes offense is the best defense. This has certainly held true for the Badgers this year, as the longer they possess the ball in attack, the less chances their opponent has to score goals. Mani believes that his knowledge of the offensive side of the game has helped him to set up the forwards and midfielders with better passes this year, passes that then set the offense up for more productive possessions and ultimately more goals.“I think having those experiences as a midfielder have really helped me,” Mani said. “As a result, I am able to make the passes to my teammates that I would want if I was in their position.”Looking ahead to the final few weeks of the season, the Badgers currently hold sole possession of first place in the Big Ten standings at 3-0 with three Big Ten games left to play, and with Mani anchoring the defense, the team looks poised to make a run at the Big Ten title, a title that could prove to be the perfect parting gift for the graduating senior.last_img read more

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