Accused! ds106 on Trial

It’s been 12 or 13 years since its inception and I must say it’s kind of wild that ds106 won’t die. That’s gotta say something about how awesome it was/is/will be, right? I guess it really is #4life!

Few people have done more over the past decade to keep this course chugging along than the great Paul Bond. So, when Paul approached me with the idea of putting ds106 on trial at Reclaim Open, I was in. Paul and I have worked together over the years on a few classes, and ds106 was just one of them. We co-taught the True Crime course as well as the Internet Course at UMW, both of which were laboratory experiments in the spirit of the hallowed ds106. So when Paul framed the session as a trial we immediately went back to our True Crime roots.

Paul decided to frame the session as a sensational trial using the Aesthetic of the colonial American trials often predicated on a public display of shame and condemnation. Paul wrote the script, created the awesome trial poster above, and essentially did all the work. He was to be the accused, Martha Burtis the ornery judge, I was type-cast as the boisterous prosecutor, and the audience played the jury. It was really quite fun.

To promote the talk, Paul not only hung the poster in the main conference area during the art fair, but we also staged a short, impromptu performance wherein Paul was seated near the poster and I gathered the attention of the group loudly and started listing his crimes against ds106, while imploring attendees to join the session later that day to find this miscreant guilty of….

  • The infiltration and usurpation of the ds106 course
  • Unauthorized coat-tail riding
  • Slothfulness in the presence of an evolving web
  • Remixing without a license
  • Engaging in online pirate radio broadcasts
  • Promoting “blogging” and other vulgar forms of authorship
  • Enabling cultural commentary through media manipulation
  • Behavior unbecoming of a well ordered web

I mean, that list of abuses is pretty awesome, no? Paul is pretty awesome, and once again he delivers for ds106 because he’s definitely guilty of being #4life! You can see the entire session below:

Both the impromptu public shaming and the official trial were loose, rough, and a total blast, much in the spirit of ds106. But what was even cooler was the response from the audience calling for more art, dammit. It was even floated that the whole trial was just a ruse to re-engage some of the original ds106 crew to get the band back together. I can neither confirm nor deny any of this, but I will say after seeing what Michael Branson Smith did with the A.I. Levine session at Reclaim Open Paul, Martha, and I decided we are interested in creating a class for Spring 2024 that would essentially be a ds106 course focused on AI. Any folks interested in collaborating on such a project? Any schools willing to throw a course at it? Or have us teach a course for your campus? Let us know.

Dr. Oblivion!

A ds106 focused on AI means we may be able to coax Dr. oblivion out of hiding to run this course. He was always a staunch champion of interrogating the contested future of digital storytelling, so it may be high time!

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6 Responses to Accused! ds106 on Trial

  1. Eric Likness says:

    I for one suspect the dangling of one Prof. Brian O’Blivion as an enticement for “anything” is a sure fire bet to make more art dammit. C’mon sheeples!

  2. Alan Levine says:

    It could not be a more supreme court! AI Levine is still writing an opinion. Brilliant script writing there, that’s the full #4life spirit.

    Doesn’t the judge have a history of criminal activity?

    This calls perhaps for Dr O’blivAIn — no that does not really work.


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  4. Pingback: ds106 Hacked and WordFence to the Rescue | bavatuesdays

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