Tuesday, February 18, 1997
Critical Studies students publish visual media journal on
InternetBy Trinh Bui
Daily Bruin Contributor
With the resources available on the Internet, UCLA’s Critical
Studies students are venturing into cyberspace. "Strobe," the
upcoming UCLA film and television webpage, plans to stretch the
technological limits of the World Wide Web.
Originally conceived by "Strobe" editor Julian Scaff, a
second-year M.A. student in Critical Studies, along with Jerry
Mosher and Victoria Duckett, both associate editors, "Strobe’s"
goal is to publish critical essays about visual media over the
Internet. Scaff believes "Strobe" is the first journal specifically
geared for the Internet.
"This is a new type of journal that has not been created till
now. ‘Strobe’ is a journal for the World Wide Web that publishes
scholarly work in a conceptual space rather than a paper document,
with video, animation and audio clips," Scaff says.
"Strobe’s" publishing itinerary for this year consists of
putting out three issues over the web and releasing a printed
anthology of all the material displayed on the "Strobe" webpage.
Along with the staff, "Strobe" has two faculty advisors to help
with any problems that come up.
Peter Wollen, a faculty advisor and chair of the Critical
Studies program, sees the advantages of publishing on-line rather
than standard print.
"The students already have access to computers and technology,
and with the Internet you eliminate the entire printing process,"
The journal’s first issue will be released on March 21 with no
running theme. The second issue deals with digital media, and the
last issue focuses on film and television. By printing on the web,
"Strobe’s" readership goes beyond the student body.
"On the Internet we have the potential of reaching people
throughout the world, not just people at UCLA," says Wollen.
Although the Internet will give more people access to the
journal, the difficulties of creating the journal take time.
"Strobe" will leave two months between each issue for planning and
publishing. After the issues are posted on the net, the staff will
have the opportunity to update essays and articles. The chores of
maintaining and running the webpage belong to Scaff and graduate
students from the Critical Studies department. Through "Strobe,"
Scaff wants to shed some light on Critical Studies.
"Critical Studies consists of many things. It includes
theoretical analysis of film, television and media. It also
includes historical perspectives, film criticism, archival work. It
deals more with the intellectual work of film and television that
doesn’t have to do with the skills involved in a production," Scaff
says, "Partially, ‘Strobe’ will showcase what critical studies is
doing here at UCLA, as well as tests the limits of this new medium.
People will realize that the web is not only as a method of
distribution but as a place for multiple applications."
For the "Strobe" staff, working with digital media is as
important as the essays themselves. According to Scaff, digital
technology assimilates other forms of media into itself. Digital
media takes the best traits of film, television and radio and
incorporates them with the Internet. Scaff hopes "Strobe" fleshes
out the importance of this new medium to its audience.
"Hopefully, the readers will get a deeper understanding about
the medium. They will learn what it can be used for and understand
that digital media is more than the distribution of textual
information and is really an idea about space. We are trying to
approach it as a journal space," Scaff says.
With the technology available on the net, "Strobe" intends to
add life to their articles and essays by adding sound and movie
clips as well. The journal itself is divided into two sections,
features and reviews. The feature section consists of essays
slanted toward academic research and analysis of visual media while
the review section follows traditional critiques of films and
television. But Scaff points out that "Strobe" is more than just
another entertainment magazine.
"Being an academic journal, we’re not really interested in
commercial products, so we’re going to be doing a lot of
experimenting in the medium and trying things that may or may not
work. We are trying to push the medium as far as possible," Scaff
says. "I think ‘Strobe’ will be a combination between a
journal/magazine and a movie website with downloadable images."
For the most part, "Strobe’s" content is exclusively revolving
around the visual media and anything pertaining to media. The
journal opens its pages for submission from anyone attending UCLA.
Ideally though, Scaff likes to see an average issue with half the
written material from graduate students and the other half from
people around campus. The process of selecting articles falls under
two groups: editors and an arbitrary committee. The committee
selects pieces on an objective level and passes those articles to
the editors who have the final say as to what goes on the
Scaff envisions an intellectually diverse journal with this
balance of contributors.
"We want to include scholarly work by people working with visual
media and people not working with visual media," says Scaff.
"Ideally, we like ‘Strobe’ to be very eclectic and still represent
the melding of digital media."
"Strobe" can be reached through
"We are trying to push the medium as far as possible."