Made-to-measure rhetorical acts from James P. Beasley

RSA Conference Paper 2016: "From Consumption to Critique" Intro

From Consumption to Critique: Augmented Reality as Spectral Change



Hello, and welcome to our panel.  I’m James Beasley from the University of North Florida, and I will be speaking to you today not only about the “Transitions in Environmental Rhetorics,” but also about the “evolution of my own rhetoric on environmental transitions”, specifically as it relates to the environmental transitions of one of North Florida’s most visible spectral sites, the Players golf tournament, which you may have seen just two weeks ago.  In 1980, PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Bemen and golf course architect Pete Dye eviscerated over 400 acres of northern Florida wetlands to create the TPC Stadium Course, home of The Players golf tournament. In 2006, the course underwent a massive overhaul, including the construction of a 77,000 square foot clubhouse and gift shop. As such, TPC Sawgrass is an ongoing process of spectacle and consumption. By consuming the wetlands surrounding the course, large spectator mounds were created; but by increasing spectral spaces, the greater the increase in consumer expenditures. The rebuilt 77,000 square foot clubhouse, with its appearance of age and permanence, both conceals and reveals its dependence on the elimination of the previous clubhouse with its grass-tiled roof, often eaten by neighboring goats. The cement cartpaths and stone course markers both conceal and reveal its dependence on the elimination of 400 acres of wetlands. This examination was the focus of a book chapter for Jeff Rice’s collection, Florida, published in 2013. In this collection, Jeff Rice writes that the contributors “problematize these spaces as such spaces they have studied or worked in by reading the space’s current status against past history. Some of the contributors trace the benefits and problems of these spaces as such spaces continue to function for the authors as heuristics and sites of invention” (8). So, after the publication of my chapter on TPC Sawgrass in the Florida collection, I became dissatisfied with the permanence of my own critique. I felt as if my own words were too permanent, like the hastily built, artificially constructed 77,000 foot clubhouse.  In the evolution from wetlands to a site of consumption, TPC Sawgrass has become a site of spectral change itself. While the wetlands of Ponte Vedra were altered to create this spectral site of consumption, what if the Stadium course could be altered to create a spectral site of critique? What if I could continue to “read this golf course’s current status against its past history” using forms more adaptable than even a Parlor Press publication? What if I could continue to use TPC Sawgrass as a heuristic and site of invention?  In the spring of 2015, therefore, I approached the University of Florida TRACE Augmented Reality Critique staff about featuring TPC Sawgrass as part of their ongoing commitment to Greg Ulmer’s Electronic Monuments, or Disasters In Action. This paper presents the results of using Augmented Reality software to create an augmented critical experience at the Players Tournament, altering the cycle of spectacle and consumption inherent in the TPC site. For this project, the most visible spaces on the course were chosen as “trigger images”: the clubhouse, the famous 17th island green, and the “parade of flags.” These three spaces in particular are highly visible narratives. Providing counter, critical narratives of predatory capitalism, ecological devastation, and white privilege, therefore, changes these spaces from sites of consumption to those of critique.  What I would like to do with the remainder of my time, then is to discuss some of the overarching theory for the TRACE Augmented Reality project, then discuss specific sites at the TPC Sawgrass course and how those have been digitally altered to return these sites of consumption back into sites of critique.

RSA Conference Paper 2014: "Object-Oriented Ontology and Assessment" Intro

“Object-Oriented Ontology and the Material Borders of Invisible Red Ink”

            Hello. I’d like to thank Ehren and Nathan for their participation and important contributions to our panel, particularly in their attenuation to the notion of symbolicity. I’m James Beasley from the University of North Florida, and my contribution for our panel considers the [quote] material borders of invisible red ink [unquote]. Most of us know that the Latin term for “red ink” is the word from which our word “rubric” comes from. Therefore, my contribution to this panel will discuss the implications of rubrics as material beings and the consequences of the failure to understand assessment in these particular terms.

I’d like to preface my remarks by stating that I am not an object-oriented ontology theorist. Both my colleagues on this panel and others in this room have written much more extensively on the subject than I have or will in the foreseeable future. However, my research in the history of composition assessment and its corresponding cannibalism of writing pedagogy forces me to consider Object Oriented Ontology as a viable response to the contemporary assessment situation. By utilizing Levi Bryant’s conception of ontological materiality, this paper will define the borders between “bright objects,” or, according to Bryant, “objects that strongly manifest themselves and heavily impact other objects” and “dark objects,” which are, according to Bryant, “objects that are so completely withdrawn that they produce no local manifestations and do not affect any other objects.” Perhaps the proliferation of trait-specific rubrics in writing assessment is not the result of an increased commitment to assessment, but perhaps assessment is the result of an increased commitment to material “brightness” as a construct. If this is the case, then an examination of the materiality of these borders utilizing object-oriented ontology is not only essential to an understanding of the assessment culture, but it is also necessary in order to diminish the influence that the assessment culture has had on writing pedagogies.