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AWP 2015: Off-Site Events

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Minneapolis is about to be flooded with more than 15,000 writers, editors, and publishers. The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference and book fair takes place this Wednesday through Saturday. Although it costs about $200, it is akin to SXSW, in which there are plenty of off-site events that will offer comparable content with an intimacy that the Convention Center does not offer. These are all from my Facebook and (*) denotes my picks.

Wednesday

Mn Artists is having this kickoff at the Walker’s posh Skyline Room. $5 w/ cash bar; 5–7pm @ Walker Art Center.

Cave Canem is doing a very large reading as a fundraiser. Reading will feature Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Malika Booker, F. Douglas Brown, Mahogany Browne, Kyle Dargan, Alyss Dixson, Kelly Norman Ellis, t’ai freedom ford, JP Howard, Bettina Judd, Nate Marshall, Kyla Marshell, Jamaal May, Jonathan Moody, Angel Nafis, Ife-Chudeni Oputa, Ladan Osman, Katy Richey, Aaron Samuels, and Kevin Simmonds. $10 suggested donation w/ cash bar; 7–9 pm @ Loft Literary Center.

A reading with Rae Armantrout, Sarah Gerard, Ian Dreiblatt, and Nicholas Rombes. Free; 7 pm @ Magers And Quinn Bookstore.

The readings are performances. Readers include Natalie Shapero, Hadara Bar-Nadav, Catherine Pierce, Jay Nebel, Timothy Liu, Sharon Mesmer, Elisabeth Workman, Maureen Thorson, Danielle Pafunda, Krystal Languell Megan Kaminski, Tyler Gobble, Stella Corso, and Alexis Orgera. Free w/ cash bar; 7–10 pm @ New Century Theatre.

Co-hosted by Curbside Splendor Publishing, Anvil Press, Civil Coping Mechanisms, featherproof books, Barrelhouse, and Tyrus Books. Readers include Dasha Kelly, Cyn Vargas, Jon Paul Fiorentino, Brandi Wells, Mairead Case, Justin Marks, and Jim Ruland. Free w/ open bar; 8 pm @ Crooked Pint Ale House.

Minneapolis. Prince. This is an all-Prince party in the dance party alcove of First Ave. Readings and dance party to follow. Readers include Stacey Lynn Brown, Cornelius Eady, Khary Jackson, Saeed Jones, Allison Joseph, Rachel McKibbens, Nate Marshall, Angel Nafis, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Patrick Rosal, Roger Reeves, Sam Sax, Danez Smith, Patricia Smith, and Alyesha Wise. DJ’ed by DJ Shannon Blowtorch. $5 w/ bar; 10 pm @ The Record Room.

Thursday

Free stuff and a playlist by Rachel Kushner on the Walker’s Garden Terrace. Free (with AWP badge) w/ cash bar (drink tickets for the early); 5–7 pm @ Walker Art Center.

Readings by John Beer, Jamalieh Haley, Lucy Ives, Danniel Schoonebeek, Rich Smith, and Drew Scott Swenhaugen. Free; 5:30 pm @ James & Mary Laurie, Booksellers.

Avenues is raising awareness of youth experiencing homelessness. Readers include Roxane Gay, Marlon James, Saeed Jones, Nick Flynn, Stephen Elliot, Melissa Febos, Eduardo Corral, and Eileen Myles. Free with RSVP; 6–8 pm @ Minneapolis Central Library.

Co-hosted by Forklift, Ohio, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety, H_NGM_N Books, Poetry City, USA, Slope Editions and Yes Yes Bøøks. Readers include Katie Byrum, Caroline Cabrera, Russell Dillon, Alina Gregorian, Matthew Lippman, Tanya Olson, Caryl Pagel, Ross Robbins, James Schiller, and Mary Austin Speaker. Free w/ bar. 6–8 pm @ Triple Rock Social Club.

Readings by four ex-Minnesotans: Alex Lemon, Amanda Nadelberg, Gary Dop, and Stephen Burt. Free. 6:30–7:15 pm @ Walker Art Center.

Readings by Anne Carson, Peter Gizzi, Eleni Sikelianos, Cole Swensen, Dara Wier, Forrest Gander, Pierre Joris, and Nicole Peyrafitte. A party afterward. $10 w/ bar. 8–11 pm @ Walker Art Center.

Co-hosted by Graywolf Press, Milkweed Editions, Riverhead Books, A Public Space, The Loft Literary Center, and Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Free w/ bar. 7–9 pm @ The Open Book.

Hosted by BIRDS, LLC. Readings by Eric Amling, Jerriod Avant, Ben Fama, Elaine Kahn, Kelin Loe, Monica McClure, Guy Pettit, Niina Pollari, Sara Jane Stoner, Jennifer Tamayo, and Mike Young. New works presented by many publishers. Free w/ bar. 7:30pm @ Sisyphus Brewing.

Readings by Samiya Bashir, Tarfia Faizullah, Ladan Osman, Solmaz Sharif,and Safia Elhillo. Free. 7:30pm-10:30pm @ The Common Table.

Readings by Lara Avery, Joshua Edwards, Ian Hatcher, Lara Mimosa Montes, Nick Montfort, Alexis Pope, Danniel Schoonebeek, and Talin Tahajian. Free and BYOB. 9 pm @ a mansion at 1818 LaSalle Avenue.

Friday

Co-hosted by Triple Canopy and Revolver. A discussion on the nature of poetic work and research and readings by Harmony Holiday, Lara Mimosa Montes, and Jared Stanley. Workshop to follow. Free. 1p–3pm @ Nina Hale, Inc.

Readings by Amelia Gray, Tarfia Faizullah, Janaka Stucky, Adrian Matejka, Monica McClure, Brian Foley, Lisa Ciccarello, Sampson Starkweather and Sheila Squillante. Music by William Tyler & Frankie Teardrop. Free w/ discounted PPR & free pizza (probably heggies). 5–8 pm @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge.

A reading-free happy hour hosted by Tumblr, Tin House, Coffee House Press, Unnamed Press, and Guernica. There’s a raffle, too. Free w/ open bar. 5:30–7:30 pm @ The Local.

Hosted by Columbia College Chicago’s Center for Book and Paper Arts and Department of Creative Writing & DoubleCross Press. Readings, a letterpress printing demo, and a tour of the facilities. Readers include Matvei Yankelevich, Matthew Shenoda, Lisa Fishman, Joshua Young, Justin Limoli, Krystal Languell, Robert Alan Wendeborn, Ian Dreiblatt, Gracie Leavitt, and Tonya Foster. Free. 6–9 pm @ Minnesota Center for Book Arts.

Co-hosted by Conduit, Fence, and Ugly Duckling Presse. Readings by Corina Copp, Ben Fama, Dobby Gibson,, Jennifer Mackenzie, Hoa Nguyen, James Shea, and Dara Wier. Free w/ bar. 7 pm @ Harriet Brewing’s Tap Room.

I did not realize Amber Tamblyn was a poet, too. Okay. Hopefully you can find a seat. Readings by Patricia Smith, xTx, Roxane Gay, Amber Tamblyn, Franny Choi, and Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz. $5 suggested donation. 7 pm @ The Loft Literary Center.

Co-hosted by Coconut Poetry, Inter|rupture: a journal of poetry and art, Smoking Glue Gun, T E N D E R L O I N, Slope Editions, and ILK journal. Readings by Adam Day, Gale Marie Thompson, Carrie Murphy, Aubrie Marrin, Sam Sax, Lynn Melnick, Kristin Sanders, DeWitt Brinson, Jennifer Tamayo, Shelly Taylor, Danielle Pafunda, Lucy Ives, and Kit Frick. Free w/ bar. 8 pm @ The Nicollet.

EQ is the Loft’s series dedicated to building communities of color through spoken word. Headliners are Patricia Smith and Regie Cabico. Many, many other short readings. $5 suggested donation. 9 pm @ The Loft Literary Center.

Co-hosted by Our Flow Is Hard, Weird Sister, and Dancing Girl Press. Readings by Jia Oak Baker, Ashley Barr, Jessica Rae Bergamino, Emily Brandt, A.T. Grant, Bettina Judd, Juliana Delgado Lopera, Kelly Morse, Morgan Parker, Caitlin Scarano, Kimberly Ann Southwick, Zayne Turner. Dance party afterwards. Free w/ bar. 7 pm @ Honey.

Readings by Julie Brooks Barbour, Alicia Catt, Kelly Harwood, Sara Leavens, Mary King, Jean Ho, Vanessa Borjon, Janice Sapigao, Jennifer Hanks, Sarah Xerta, Jill Khoury, Jade Hurter, Clare Harmon, and Hannah Baggott. Dance party afterwards. Sliding scale w/ bar. 7:30 pm @ MXDXMXE (ask around for the address).

Hosted by Revolver, this will be a dance party driven by your favorite rhythmically interesting sentences. Cocktail bar by The 1887. Hosted in a historic mansion. Not to be missed. $10 suggested donation w/ keg until it runs out. 10 pm.

Saturday

With the opening of International Pop, the Walker’s exhibition on the global emergence of Pop art from the 1950s to the early ’70s, this is the perfect opportunity to peruse the galleries. Readings based on the collection will be presented on the tour. $10 gallery admission. 2 pm @ Walker Art Center.

They say it’ll be the “most memorable experience at AWP 2015.” Readings and performances by Adam Atkinson, Jessica Rae Bergamino, Lucas de Lima, Johannes Göransson, Rj Equality Ingram, Saeed Jones, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Andrea Lawlor, Joyelle McSweeney, Megan Milks & Sam Cohen, Carrie Murphy, Sade Murphy, Ife-Chudeni Oputa, JD Scott, Sarah Smith, Christopher Soto (aka Loma), Jennifer Tamayo, Cassandra Troyan, and Ronaldo Wilson. Free w/ bar. 7 pm @ Kieran’s Irish Pub.

Readings by Corina Copp, Nick Demske, Nathaniel Farrell, E. Tracy Grinnell, Johannes Göransson, Stefania Heim, Lucy Ives, Chris Martin, Daniel Poppick, Susan Scarlata, Mary Austin Speaker, and Matvei Yankelevich. Free. 7–10 pm @ The White Page.

Readings by John Beer, Marina Blitshteyn, David Buuck, Christopher DeWeese, Karin Gottshall, Cecily Iddings, Montana Ray, Kit Schluter, Emily Skillings, and Ronaldo Wilson. Free. 7 pm @ Gamut Gallery.

Micro-readings by Amelia Gray, Brandi Wells, Dessa, John Brandon, John Jodzio, Lindsay Hunter, Laura van den Berg, Safy-Hallan Farah, and Simon Jacobs. Dance party afterward. $5 w/ RSVP & bar. 8 pm @ Public Functionary.

 

I’m already exhausted. There are plenty of other things to do in Minneapolis, so be sure to take a break from all the words.

Apply now: Superscript Blog Mentorship Program, presented in partnership with Hyperallergic

To put ideas discussed at the Superscript online arts journalism conference into practice, we announce the Superscript Blog Mentorship, presented in partnership with Hyperallergic. This responsive blogging program will create a pop-up newsroom in the Walker Art Center Library and engage a trio of enterprising bloggers in covering the three-day convening. We are seeking three […]

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To put ideas discussed at the Superscript online arts journalism conference into practice, we announce the Superscript Blog Mentorship, presented in partnership with Hyperallergic. This responsive blogging program will create a pop-up newsroom in the Walker Art Center Library and engage a trio of enterprising bloggers in covering the three-day convening.

We are seeking three bloggers to create live online responses to the conference—under the guidance of three world-class editorial mentors, led by Hyperallergic’s Jillian Steinhauer—through quick-hit blogging, Q&As, profiles, issues essays, and other formats. Each participant will produce a series of blog posts to be published on the Walker blogs and Mn Artists throughout Superscript, leading up to longer piece for publication on Hyperallergic. This program aims to create a dynamic documentation of Superscript 2015, for attendees and online audiences alike, while offering emerging writers invaluable instruction from seasoned arts journalists, publication experience with three digital platforms, and access to the speakers and attendees of Superscript.

Each mentorship participant will receive:

  • Free admission to Superscript (a $200 value)
  • Journalistic mentorship from three top arts editors
  • A $100 publication fee paid by Hyperallergic
  • Publication bylines on Hyperallergic, the Walker Art Center blogs, and Mn Artists
  • Access to the speakers and attendees of Superscript
  • A Superscript t-shirt

Applicants must:

  • be available for a one-hour training session on Thursday evening, May 28 and throughout the duration of the conference,
  • have a fluent command of English (spoken and written),
  • have a working knowledge of key digital tools including WordPress, Skype, Twitter, Instagram, etc.,
  • have knowledge of and interest in contemporary art in all its forms (visual, performing, moving-image art, and new media art; design; architecture; public practice) as well as online cultural publishing,
  • have access to a laptop and camera for use during the conference,
  • be self-motivated, energetic, and open to learning,
  • be calm under pressure, communicative, resourceful, and efficient.

Open Call for Participation

Applicants must be within three years of graduation from college and cannot derive their main source of income from arts writing. They must have a demonstrable interest and commitment to the arts as well as enthusiasm and high energy.

To apply, please email the following to superscript@walkerart.org, with “Superscript Blog Mentorship Application” in the subject line:

  • Cover letter stating in 500 words or fewer why you’re interested in the program and what you hope to gain from it,
  • CV,
  • 2–3 writing samples (published or personal writing accepted)

All application materials must be submitted as a single PDF.

Deadline for applications: Wednesday, May 6, 2015.

Superscript: Arts Journalism and Criticism in a Digital Age is a three-day international conference to be held at the Walker Art Center May 28–30, 2015. Copresented by the Walker and Mn Artists is convenes artists, critics, editors, and writers—including Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber, poet-critic Claudia La Rocca, the New Inquiry editor Ayesha Siddiqi, artnet News editor Ben Davis, and many others—for a discussion on digital cultural publishing’s present realities and its possible futures.

About Hyperallergic

Hyperallergic is a forum for playful, serious, and radical perspectives on art and culture in the world today. Since 2009, Hyperallergic has published more than 500 writers and is read by close to 1 million people per month.

@hyperallergic

The Team

jillians-sqJillian Steinhauer, the project’s lead editor, is senior editor of Hyperallergic and a writer living in Brooklyn. Her work has been published in Slate, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Paris Review Daily, and other publications. A graduate of NYU’s Cultural Reporting & Criticism program, she was recently nominated for a 2014 Best Art Reporting award from the International Association of Art Critics. She’s served as juror/judge for art festivals, cat video festivals, and tote bag competitions.

@jilnotjill

nicolec-sqNicole J. Caruth is the former editorial manager at Art21 and founding editor of the Art21 Magazine (est. 2013). Her writing has appeared in a range of publications, including ARTnewsC MagazineGastronomicaPublic Art ReviewWalker Art Center Magazine, and the Phaidon Press books Vitamin Green and Vitamin D2. She has held positions at the Brooklyn Museum, School of Visual Arts, and Wangechi Mutu Studio. She is currently Artistic Director for Exhibitions and Public Engagement at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts.

@nicolejcaruth

islaly-sqIsla Leaver-Yap works with artists to produce texts, events, and shows. As the Walker’s Bentson Film Scholar, she researches and publishes on works in the Ruben/Bentson Film and Video Study Collection and examines its context and legacy within the field of artists’ moving image in contemporary art. She is currently working with artists Moyra Davey and James Richards on producing new works for the collection. She is based in Glasgow, where she is the Project Director of LUX Scotland, and commutes twice a year to the Walker.

@islaly

Staff

Paul Schmelzer is editor of the Walker homepage and blogs. A past editor at Adbusters, he’s written for Artforum.com, Art 21, Cabinet, Medium.com’s re:form, Raw Vision, and Utne Reader, among others. Former editor of the Minnesota Independent and managing editor of its DC-based nonprofit parent, he’s the first digital journalist in Minnesota history to win a Society of Professional Journalists Page One Award or a University of Minnesota School of Journalism Frank Premack Award for Public Affairs Journalism. He blogs at Eyeteeth.org.

@iteeth @walkermag

Susannah Schouweiler is a writer, arts critic, and editor-in-chief of Mn Artists, an artist-driven, online media platform based at the Walker Art Center covering the art and artists of the Midwest. Before her work with Mn Artists, she served as the editor of Ruminator, a nationally distributed art and literature magazine. She lives and works in St. Paul, Minnesota.

@susannahs @mnartistsdotorg

“Gamechanger”: Early reviews of the new Walker website

Launched late last week, the new Walker website is generating plenty of reactions from art bloggers, journalists and our colleagues in the museum world.

Launched late last week, the new Walker website is generating plenty of reactions from art bloggers, journalists and our colleagues in the museum world.

Tyler Green of Modern Art Notes offered a quick response last week, calling the site a “game-changer, the website that every art museum will have to consider from this point forward.” He followed that up with a more in-depth piece today that both praised the Walker (“no American art museum is more prepared to produce journalism than is the Walker”) and offered some challenges (“How probative will the Walker site be about its own institution, which dominates the presentation of contemporary art in a huge section of the country?”).

“Art museum websites typically pretend that the museum is an island unto itself,” he writes. “The new Walker website rejects that approach by presenting the Walker as both a physical and a virtual community hub — and it defines its community appropriately broadly, as both the art world and the Walker’s home state of Minnesota. With its audience thus defined, the new website promises to provide not just information about the Walker, but information about art and artists wherever they are, with an special and appropriate focus on its home region. That’s smart. Next up: We’ll see how the website delivers on that promise.”

Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic writes that the site “should be a model for other institutions of all kinds.” He writes: “What I love most about what the Walker is attempting to do is that they seem to have realized that they can do more than stave off a slow spiral into irrelevance. The Internet means that the Walker can become a global art powerhouse from the comfort of the upper Midwest.”

Seb Chan, recently named director of digital and emerging media at the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum, interviewed Walker staff about the technology side of the site, noting that “it represents a potential paradigm shift for institutional websites.”

Museum Nerd, the popular anonymous art-tweeter and blogger, followed up a tweet from Friday (below), with a fleshed out analysis at Artlog. Calling the site an “earth-shaking gamechanger,” Museum Nerd writes, “They’re not just positioning themselves as an arbiter of taste (the connoisseurship thing has long been in every art museum’s bailiwick): the Walker is also placing themselves at the center of the conversation that their mission is all about.”

Marianne Combs at MPR: “As a reporter, I find this shift particularly interesting, because it marks a significant step forward in an ongoing trend. Namely arts organizations, faced with a lack of media coverage, are creating their own coverage, and taking the dialogue directly to their audiences.”

Secrets of the City: “[P]retty darn cool. The new look moves the site into more of a content focused direction, but also makes it easier to see what’s happening in the galleries.”

The Getty:

Minneapolis Institute of Arts:

ICA Philadelphia:

MoMA:

The Mattress Factory:

Museumnerd:

I’ll continue to update this post as more reviews come in.

Updates

12.06.11: Nina Simon at Museum 2.0:

“Here’s what I see: a website as a unique core offering–alongside, but not subservient to, the physical institution. Walkerart.org is not about the Walker Art Center. It is the Walker Art Center, in digital form.”

 

12.08.11: The Independent (UK):

“It’s curation, but not as we (or other galleries) know it yet. It ought to help hugely the Walker’s role on the arts stage…”

Minnov8:

“To say I was impressed is an understatement: the design is fresh, exciting to view and the content compelling. The breadth and depth of coverage of art and design quickly shifted my mind toward a completely different place, one of consideration, thought and ideas instead of my typical focus on the tech ‘flipper-flappers’ and ‘eye candy’ of this new website they’d delivered.”

12.09.11: It’s Nice That (UK):

“It’s a great step forward that should be welcomed by all creative types – the writing is excellent and it looks great too with lots of interesting web design tricks producing a thing of real beauty.”

 12.20.11: Alissa Walker, GOOD:

“A vibrant and thoughtful portal for the local creative community… Museums everywhere should take note, yes, but publications should be paying attention as well.”

Changes in New Media, job opening for a web designer/developer

There are changes in store for the New Media Initiatives department. After being with the Walker for four years, I’ve taken a position across the river Minnesota Public Radio as a Web Designer/Developer. It is very hard for me to leave the Walker, but I’m excited about working on new projects for an even larger […]

There are changes in store for the New Media Initiatives department. After being with the Walker for four years, I’ve taken a position across the river Minnesota Public Radio as a Web Designer/Developer. It is very hard for me to leave the Walker, but I’m excited about working on new projects for an even larger audience at MPR.

This means there is a job opening in New Media, and if you’re a web nerd, you should consider sending in your resume. My title at the Walker is New Media Designer, but the job posting is for a Web Designer/Developer. This reflects the changing nature of the work I’ve taken on over the years, including doing more back-end development work on the Walker Channel and Mobile Site, amongst other projects. In the future, we have work planned around an overhaul of major portions of the Walker website. Our tool of choice is Django, but even if you don’t have python or django experience, consider applying. I didn’t know a lick of Python or Django when I tackled My Yard Our Message, but it was easy to get up to speed and make things happen.

Full details for the position are listed on jobs site, and the deadline for applying is September 3rd.

Announcing the new Walker Channel — HD video, improved design, search, accessibility

The Walker Channel, in existence since 2003, has recently undergone a re-design. The old Walker Channel was originally built to serve Real Video and stream live webcasts using Real Video. It had slowly evolved over time to use more friendly MPEG-4 and H.264 video, and even moved from Real Video for live streaming to the better ustream.tv. […]

The Walker Channel, in existence since 2003, has recently undergone a re-design. The old Walker Channel was originally built to serve Real Video and stream live webcasts using Real Video. It had slowly evolved over time to use more friendly MPEG-4 and H.264 video, and even moved from Real Video for live streaming to the better ustream.tv. But it never really caught up to the modern, YouTube era of video. The re-design we just completed did that, and added a few other goodies.

Visual Design


Quite obviously, the site has undergone a major visual overhaul. The old site had almost no hierarchy to the video archive, which worked OK with a handful of video, but with 200+ in the archive, it became unwieldy to find a particular video or just browse.

Just like with our iTunes U site, we’ve split our internal, museum centric departments into more logical genres. For example, instead of just “Performing Arts”, we have Dance, Theater and Music. We also highlight content by it’s recentness, and, more importantly by it’s popularity (view count). None of this is ground-breaking in 2010, but it’s a big upgrade from 2003.

Streaming H.264 Video

We’re now serving all our video content as streaming h.264 video. This means you can watch a video and jump to any place in the timeline before it has buffered to that spot. Using h.264 enables us to easily switch to HTML5 and support other devices down the road. We converted all our older Real Media video into h.264 mp4s.

We also utilize YouTube to serve many of our newer videos. We have already been putting all our Channel content on YouTube for about a year, so there’s no need to upload it twice. YouTube serves a relatively high-quality FLV or MP4 file, and this means we do not pay for bandwidth, which is not an insignificant cost consideration.

Where we’re not using YouTube, we’re using Amazon CloudFront and their new Adobe Streaming Media Server. This means that we don’t have to run our own instances of EC2 and Wowza to encode & stream the video. We upload our video manually, so we don’t need to encode our video in “the cloud”.

High Definition Video

We also upgraded our camera and video capture equipment to enter the beautiful HD world. We now capture all lectures in HD and webcast them live at 640×360. Going forward, archived versions will be posted at 720P (1280×720). Drawn Here (and there): HouMinn Practice is our first video posted in HD, and it looks great. Here’s a visual representation of what this new video means, comparing the resolutions we have from older content:

Click to enlarge and get the full effect.

We have also added a video switcher to our hardware repertoire. The switcher lets us show the presenter’s slides, in-stream, rather than just pointing the camera at the projection screen. This switcher enables a dramatic improvement in video quality, and will be especially useful for Architecture / Design lectures, which typically feature many slides.

Transcripts and captions

Starting with our new recordings in 2010, we’re adding closed captions and transcripts for nearly every video. This video is a good example. That means a couple things:

  • Videos are more accessible for deaf or hard of hearing viewers
  • It enables you to visually scan the contents of a video to key on a section you want to watch. In the  example video, clicking on the time code on the right jumps the playhead to that point in the video.
  • It gives us much more meaningful text to search on. Search engines are still text based, so having more than just the video description to search, is a great thing.

We create our transcripts by sending our video to CastingWords. The transcripts that CastingWords generates is then fed into YouTube’s machine caption processing feature, generating a captions for the video in the form of a .SBV file. The .SBV file is then pulled back into the Walker Channel, where we convert it on the fly to W3C TimedText format for use in jwplayer as captions.

We also re-format the captions as a transcript for display in the Transcript tab on the video. Captions tend to be broken up not by sentence, but by how the speaker is talking and how they’ll fit on screen. Transcripts, on the other hand, are read more traditionally, and should be read in complete sentences. So we break the captions up and re-form them in complete sentences with associated timecodes. Here’s an example screenshot:

Note the fragmented captions (in video) with transcript (below), in full sentences.

Comments and video jumping

We’ve added comments! Like what you see or want to add your thoughts? Leave a note. One neat thing in the comments that we convert mentions of specific time into a link to jump the video playhead. So if you leave a comment with 3:13 in it, it will turn into a link to that spot in the video.

Similarly, when that happens we change the hash for the page to a link to that spot. The URL will change from http://channel.walkerart.org/play/my-video/ to http://channel.walkerart.org/play/my-video/#t=3m3s. Using that link anywhere else will jump the playhead to that point in the video. YouTube does the same thing, so we borrowed the idea.

Search and backend

We’re using solr for the search engine on the channel. Nate had great success with solr on ArtsConnectEd, so using solr was a no-brainer for us. The rest of the logic for the channel is built using Django, a python web framework that I also worked with for the My Yard Our Message project. To connect Django and solr, we’re using django-solr-search (aka “solango”). It was necessary to sub-class parts of solango to get it to present solr’s more-like-this functionality that we use for the “Related Media”. In retrospect, I probably should have used Haystack Search instead, since it supports that natively. As we move forward using solr and django in other areas of the Walker’s website, we’ll probably switch to using Haystack.

Funding

Funding for aspects of these updates came from the Bush Foundation, under a grant entitled “Expanding the Rules of Engagement with Artists and Audiences and Fostering Creative Capital in our Community“. This grant has many applications within the Walker as a whole, but for the online Walker Channel, it is specifically funding the upgrade of our camera and video equipment.

Do one thing in April…

… blog about it in May! Museums and the Web 2009 wrapped up with a challenge to all the inspired delegates: use the energy and ideas generated here to get one thing done in April.  (The idea being that many small steps build momentum, and it’s too easy to ignore the small upgrades we should […]

… blog about it in May!

onview

Museums and the Web 2009 wrapped up with a challenge to all the inspired delegates: use the energy and ideas generated here to get one thing done in April.  (The idea being that many small steps build momentum, and it’s too easy to ignore the small upgrades we should constantly be pushing out.)

Yesterday I pushed out a few small upgrades to our aging collection site:

You can now limit your search to objects that are On View

What works by Dan Flavin can you come see right now?

browser_searchOpenSearch capable

Can’t get enough of our collection?  Add it to your browser’s built-in search box!  When you’re on the Collection site, you should be able to pull down your browser’s search field and add “Walker Art Center”.

Developers (Piotr!): you can now use the Walker collection in your Yahoo Pipes tool without having to scrape the results!  Not an API (yet), but a good step.  Check out the XML for ideas.

Bring it all together:

You’re a busy person.  You’d love to come see Chuck Close’s Big Self-Portrait, and you know the Walker’s got it in their collection, but you see it’s not on view.  You don’t have time to check our website every day, so how will you ever know when it goes on display?  Easy:  build a search that finds Big Self-Portrait, then turn on the “On View” flag.  The object disappears (not on view), but you can subscribe to the OpenSearch RSS feed for this query (click the rss icon).  Now, when Big Self-Portrait is available to see in the galleries, the object will show up in your RSS reader!  (note: I picked this painting randomly.  I make no guarantee about seeing it in the galleries any time soon.  :)

So, baby steps.  Get one things done that opens more doors.

#didonethinginapril (I tag Andrew at the MIA to get one thing done in May!)

Walker Channel live streaming with flash video

If you’ve tuned into the live streaming events the Walker Channel has carried in the past, you have been forced to use Real Player to watch. Real was great back in the day when the Walker Channel was launched, but in 2009 it is a little dated. Flash streaming is much more convenient, and the […]

If you’ve tuned into the live streaming events the Walker Channel has carried in the past, you have been forced to use Real Player to watch. Real was great back in the day when the Walker Channel was launched, but in 2009 it is a little dated. Flash streaming is much more convenient, and the VP6 codec flash offers is quite good. 

For tonight’s The Art of the Book panel discussion, we will be using ustream.tv to stream the event, rather than Real Player. No fancy plugins or separate applications required. It is also free, and doesn’t require us to run our own Real Media server. It will also help us decrease the turn-around on getting a recorded event into the Walker Channel, iTunes U and YouTube. None of this is rocket surgery, of course. Other places, like The UpTake, have been using free straming services very effectively, we’re just a little late getting on the bandwagon. 

We’re doing tonight’s lecture is a test of ustream, and we will be working out any kinks. We’ve done some testing already, but haven’t used it in a live setting where anyone other than a handful of people have been watching. 

If you’re watching and run into any problems, let us know. Shoot me an e-mail (click on my name to get the address), hit us on twitter, post here, or join the chatroom on ustream.

mnartists.org has a blog

Starting today, mnartists.org has a blog on the Walker Blogs. If you’ve visited the Walker Blogs homepage, you’ve no doubt noticed it. The first post in the blog is a Q&A about why voting yes on the The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment is important and will help fund artists and arts organizations across […]

Starting today, mnartists.org has a blog on the Walker Blogs. If you’ve visited the Walker Blogs homepage, you’ve no doubt noticed it. The first post in the blog is a Q&A about why voting yes on the The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment is important and will help fund artists and arts organizations across the state, not to mention help protect our great natural resources.

Over time, the mnartists.org team hopes to use the blog to relay more behind the scenes information on the day to day running of mnartists and all the events and activities they take on. The blog isn’t meant to replace articles on the mnartists.org website, which will continue to be focused directly on arts happenings rather than the off the cuff meta-information that the blog will provide. We hope you’ll enjoy participating in it’s evolution and that it will add more dialog to the Minnesota arts community.

Walker Channel now available in iTunes U, Beyond Campus

The Walker recently launched a new site in the educational area of the iTunes Store called iTunes U, Beyond Campus. Beyond Campus features a broad range of audio and video material from sources other than colleges and universities, such as American Public Media, PBS, the Museum of Modern Art, and Smithsonian Global Sound. Now iTunes […]

The Walker recently launched a new site in the educational area of the iTunes Store called iTunes U, Beyond Campus. Beyond Campus features a broad range of audio and video material from sources other than colleges and universities, such as American Public Media, PBS, the Museum of Modern Art, and Smithsonian Global Sound. Now iTunes audiences can easily search, download, and play Walker content just like they do music and movies.

For the Walker, this is the first step in a redesign and branding of the Walker Channel. Today, the Walker Channel is generally recognized as the webcasting branch of Walker public programming available at channel.walkerart.org. Future plans aim to redefine the Channel as the Walker’s digitally distributed network of variable content (largely rich media) that is made available to people through different mechanisms, both on-site (computer displays, projections, cell phones) and on-line (Walker domains and broader web).

Visit the Walker Channel in iTunes U

My Yard Our Message winning yard signs

We’ve tabulated the results for My Yard Our Message and the 50 winning signs are posted. The wisdom of crowds looks like it has paid off, too: the winning designs really are the cream of the crop. The top vote-getter is “peace,” by teri_kwant, with 130 people saying they would put the sign in their […]

We’ve tabulated the results for My Yard Our Message and the 50 winning signs are posted. The wisdom of crowds looks like it has paid off, too: the winning designs really are the cream of the crop. The top vote-getter is “peace,” by teri_kwant, with 130 people saying they would put the sign in their yard. If anyone wants to share the entire set of winning signs on another site, I’ve set up a simple widget, as seen to the right.

We were very pleased with the results of voting: Over 900 users registered to vote, and over 24,000 votes were cast. There was a flurry of voting in the first two days after voting opened, then a steady trickle, with another uptick before voting closed.

Yard Signs Map

One cool feature in the project is the neighborhood aspect. We’re seeding three neighborhoods with sets of winning signs. Lindsey has more details about this in the ECP blog. To facilitate the community gallery aspect of the project, we’ve set up a signs map that we hope everyone who has a sign will use to let us know where it is. There aren’t many signs yet, but eventually there will be. To manage having many signs on the map, we’re using a handy google map plugin called Cluster Marker. This allows the map to automatically set the correct zoom level to see all the signs, but hide signs that would otherwise be too close together at a high zoom level. Every time I work with google maps, I am please with how robust and thought-out the map api is. It will be exciting to see the map flesh out as people add signs to their yards.

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