Archive for 2007

Getting the research back to the name of this blog.

Friday, March 16th, 2007

photo of razorclamsFinally. I am currently spending my first research week on the island. My main objective during this stay is to arrange future stays, check out the general way things have changed in the course of the last 10+ years, get back into touch with people, and take a lot of photographs of the island’s coastline, nature, buildings, places, and people. Some of the photos serve more or less aesthetic purposes, documenting the attractions and peculiarities of this place, others serve as a background for future assessments or comparisons.
Time passes both more slowly and more quickly here. To keep a grip on this and the many other things and thoughts that I encounter here, I have started writing a more thorough log than I did for any of my past research projects. I am pretty sure solid logging practices (as recommended by Lofland & Lofland in their great book Analyzing Social Settings) are a very good idea for a long-term project such as mine. I can only recommend OmniOutliner to those of you using a Mac. It is as useful for keeping a log as it is for writing outlines.

Workshop on video analysis.

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

On May 11-12th I will participate in the workshop Video Interaction Analysis – and how to do it (PDF) which is organized by Ulrike Tikvah Kissmann. As she writes: The aim of the workshop is to bring together video analysts with different methodological backgrounds and to discuss how their approaches differ. For that purpose, the presenters have been asked to make the stages of their analysis as transparent as possible. I will try to dive into the transparency or openness and offer those video sequences for discussion in which people display their stance (scepticism, interest, evasion…) towards me and my camera. The title for my presentation is Video research in the open – researcher, camera, and others. I am really looking forward to the workshop and I am confident that the atmosphere and setup of the workshop will be allow for fruitful, non-defensive discussion of methods in practice.

Small tip for those who have to check their spam folders.

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Since no spam filter is perfect and nothing is worse than ham classified as spam, I have to check the contents of the different spam folders of my e-mail accounts somewhat regularly. For some of them, several hundred spam mails per week are not a rare occurrence – thus it can be a real drag to check all of their titles for possible ham (that is e-mails that are good and actually addressed to me, not unsolicited ads, phishing stuff, and all the other stupid things). Last week I tried something new to help my perception: I ordered the contents of the spam folders by subject! Incredible, isn’t it? That makes picking out potential ham much easier, especially in those cases where you have lots of spam messages with almost identical subject lines. Probably you have already figured this out on your own, but maybe not – and then you owe me one ;)

Not too glamorous, not too moving.

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

The Oscars are over. We spent a long night in front of the TV, watching the same stupid commercials over and over again until it seemed that Pro 7 did not have any sponsors left so that they fell back on only sending commercials for their own products. I was actually very happy that Das Leben der Anderen won the Academy Award for best foreign movie – in my experience, it was the best movie of the past year. Although I have to admit that I have neither seen Clint Eastwood’s flicks nor Pan’s Labyrinth. It was a good movie season. The ceremony itself however, was not too exciting. Some nice dresses, a good life performance by the Dreamgirls singerettes, a great Forest Whitaker and, of course, a stunningly beautiful Cate Blanchett. For my taste there was much too much Al Gore embracing and too little of the heartfelt political critique as it was expressed by Chris Cooper when he won his award for best supporting actor a few years ago.


Sunday, February 18th, 2007

montage showing a blackboard, a foggy mountain valley and nordic skiingDer Strategieworkshop der Darmstädter Stadtforschung im Kleinwalsertal war inhaltlich und dynamisch ein voller Erfolg – Stadtforscher der Republik: haltet die Augen und Ohren auf und bereitet Euch innerlich auf das vor, was da so kommen wird…!

Das Leben der Anderen – Schmerzvolle Entschlüsse.

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

Dieser Film ist wirklich hervorragend. Buch, Darsteller, Regie, alles greift ineinander, so dass sich vor meinen Augen eine Geschichte abspielt, wie sie besser kaum sein kann. Hier wird das Gute im Menschen auf eine Weise verhandelt, die sehr rücksichtsvoll ist, die aber auch zeigt, dass nichts leicht ist. Vor allem nicht, gut zu sein. Ich will nicht viele Worte über diesen Film verlieren und stattdessen nur allen empfehlen, die diesen Film wie ich schon viel zu lange noch nicht gesehen haben, dieses so bald wie möglich nachzuholen.
IMDb entry | Trailer

Babel – more than words.

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

Desert, borderland and the metropolis – these are the places in which the stories of this movie unfold. The places are well chosen, showing how fear and isolation can creep into every part of this world. This movie is quite humanistic, telling us about the difficulties that we face when engaging an other. Difficulties that exists because of the distance between cultures but also in the distance between individuals. I have been told that this movie tells a story about miscommunication. That is true. But it also shows how people interact with more than words. Words and bodies struggle to transport meaning and care, always looking for love or at least some help and sympathy. But they also hurt and might even kill. The film shows a very corporeal form of communication, quite in contrast to the title which seems to suggest that it is about spoken language. Thinking about it, I very much enjoyed this movie, perhaps even more so that during the time I spent in the cinema. However, I certainly won’t complain about that time: Cate Blanchett is breathtaking as always and Gael García Bernal might even be my favorite male actor, the rest of the cast doing very well, too. Go and watch this movie. Do it in the cinema, landscape is important in this movie.

IMDb entry | Trailer

Motivationen und Ausgangspunkte für ein neues Projekt.

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Am vergangenen Freitag habe ich im Rahmen des neuen Graduiertenkollegs das erste Mal mein zukünftiges Forschungsprojekt vorgestellt. Vom Vortrag habe ich mit Hilfe meines Laptops einen Audiomitschnitt angefertigt. Diese Tonspur habe ich nun unter die gezeigten Folien gelegt und die Übergänge entsprechend synchronisiert, so dass der Vortrag jetzt als Film zur Verfügung steht. Die Gliederung des Vortrags und ein Link zum Film finden sich auf der dazugehörigen Seite: Gezeiten und Ströme, Erholung und Erosion – Motivationen.

Das gute Leben in Darmstadt.

Friday, January 12th, 2007

eine Espressotasse und ein Glas WasserFindet sich bei der allnachmittäglichen Betrachtung des eigenen Espressos im 603qm.

Wie schreibe ich meine Dissertation?

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

Da ich in meiner neuen Position als Postdoktorand am Graduiertenkolleg Topologie der Technik auch für die Betreuung und Beratung der neuen Doktoranden zuständig bin und da ich auch von ein paar anderen Leuten angefragt worden bin, habe ich in den letzten Wochen einen Teil meiner freie Zeit dafür genutzt, ein Mischwesen aus Erfahrungsbericht und Ratgeber zusammenzustellen. Gestern bin ich damit fertig geworden: Dissertation schreiben – Anregungen und Erfahrungen. Für Anmerkungen und Korrekturen bin ich sehr dankbar.

The Prestige – powered by Bowie-Tesla.

Saturday, January 6th, 2007

Christopher Nolan is a guarantee for complex and surprising scripts. This is also true for his most recent movie The Prestige, which I saw a two days ago. The plot involves several characters taking the place of each other – in a literal as well as ideal sense. People, animals, and things disappear and appear, die and do not die. The script and the pictures are full of allegories – some of them more hidden, some more explicit. Open your senses when you walk into the cinema, and let yourself be fried by the electrical flares generated by Nikola Tesla’s strange apparatuses. The less distance you have to what happens, the more you will enjoy it, I guess. Definitely an entertaining movie. And keep a lookout for Gollum.

IMDb entry | Trailer

Dunes, wind, the whole package.

Saturday, January 6th, 2007

dunes on the island JuistAh, what a wonderful time. This year we spent our new year’s break on the North-Sea island Juist. The weather was a perfect mixture of wind, rain and sun. Sadly, the last grains of sand have been washed away during yesterday morning’s shower. Since my new research project will take place on this island, you can expect more pictures and a story or two in the coming two years…