I was amazed at the confidence and certainty so many of y’all had when presenting your project idea…amazed, and a bit intimidated: I have a lot of catching up to do!

Truthfully, all of my ideas for a final ITP project are nascent, defined as much but my thoughts on usefulness and work load as by a particular vision of a final object. Some of those thoughts:

a) I’d like the project to have a clear, utilitarian value, whether by teachers or researchers

b) I’d like the project to present data surrounding theatre and performance, less overt claims or theses, more organized information with which interested people could develop their own claims or feelings

c) I’d like the project to be technologically focused; I expect I’ll need to learn some new tools, and I want depth rather than breadth here (i.e. 1-2 technologies at most), for the sake of both my sanity and the final product

I have three main ideas I’ll present below, though in all honesty, these are simply two of my several floating concepts that I’m going to develop here for the sake of the assignment.

ONE: From the pedagogical side, I’m wondering about trying to create a resource where teachers, students and researchers could visualize canonical theatre events (plays/performances/performative events, which could include mass gatherings, political rallies, etc.) in terms of quantitative data. That would probably involve determining a few metrics—how much money the event cost or made; how many people it served in its live incarnation; amount of time it persisted—and then perhaps organizing them onto a map of some sort. I imagine that starting to do this, and then allowing some tagging of the event by theme or type, might allow for some intriguing overlaps or correlations that could suggest room for understanding or argument.

TWO: This is as much a history as theatre idea, but I have an idea of an interactive map that tracks places where riots occurred in New York City. Using ArcGIS, I would collect data on violence and tag both the cause of the violence and/or the “cause” that it was pursuing. As a resource that might hopefully suggest overlaps in how the city has become commercialized space that interacts with its surroundings, this could be something really valuable. In some ways, if I could choose one of these and will it into existence, it would be this one. In entirely different ways, I worry about the extent of data collection for a project that might only tangentially relate to my larger dissertation research.

THREE: I have only the tiniest inkling about doing a podcast about selected acts of performative or theatrical violence (riots/coups/etc. as well as notably disturbing or violent theatre pieces), and discussing them from a theatrical vantage. While there’s arguable use here, the truth is that this would be something akin to developing chapters of a disssertation and I quite frankly will be nowhere near that place next fall…

I’m still thinking and hoping one idea comes to me that will present itself as the definitive right way to go, but until then, friends, I leave you with a blog post.

3 thoughts on “”

  1. After reading your post, I think you should not be intimidated and are in a good place right now. I can not speak for others, but today’s confidence is tomorrow’s insecurity. Looking over each of your ideas and admitting my bias towards history, I like the second one. I would look into some augmented reality apps created that show places around NYC as they were historical. I share your concerns on the data collection. Technology-wise I think it would be manageable. The third idea seems like a perfect place to outline where you think you want to go. Perhaps each episode might be an introduction to the concepts that you want to explore more in-depth later. This could generate a structure that will help in the future, and you could continue to add to the site as you produce your dissertation. Who knows, you could generate a working project that not only informs on the topic but creates a timeline of how you produced your dissertation.

  2. Thank, you Stephen, for sharing these thoughts, and I agree with @fmanitas that where you are is totally fine. You have three compelling ideas here, each a different kind of challenge.

    Your first idea seems motivated by the hypothesis that revealing quantitative data trends will emerge across the corpus you build. But what do you think these trends will tell us, or, if it’s related to your potential research questions, what might they help you realize? This project will require you to learn to work with data in new ways, and to learn how to visualize and then present those data. Is that a priority for you in your own development as a scholar? In short: it’s a lot of tech to learn if you don’t think that tech will have utility for you beyond ITP.

    Your second idea brings to mind the first digital project I did as a graduate student, which is on the syllabus later in the semester. This project would require you to learn mapping technologies, and also to do a significant amount of research on New York City history to then represent different events geographically. Riots are complex events, with many meanings and impacts (see the work of George Rudé on this), and it would be challenging to approach this in a metahistorical way (especially since the geography city itself has changed over time, as the “Hypercities” project reveals). All this said, if you want to explore mapping as a way to present analysis of the past, ITP can certainly provide the context for doing so– but the event or dynamic that you hope to map will require more consideration.

    Podcasting, too, is a valuable method to explore via ITP– several students have done so in the past. It’s noteworthy that riots appear here as an area of interest, this time with a reference to the theatricality of performance during such events. It’s instructive that you added some additional detail there, and you might reflect on why. Podcasts needn’t be as planned and researched as dissertation chapters. Some are stories, some are conversations, some are interviews, some are journalism, some are performances. Some combine all of the above and more.

    In short: you have a lot to work with! Looking forward to more conversation.

  3. Your ideas are full of potential, and I believe more details will come to you throughout this semester. As the readings for this week suggest, agile development is superior to the waterfall methodology in many ways. No one can predict how the original plan will change later on. At this moment, we are all at the first iteration circle, and the picture will get clearer and clearer.
    Same as Francisco, I like the second idea the best. I think different layers of mapping can showcase much important information, like the correlation between violent acts and the gentrification level, or the relationship between the causes of the violent acts and the different districts or boroughs. I agree with Luke that it’s important to define violence since this will impact how you collect and process data. In all, I am looking forward to the development of your project!

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