Trying to succicntly state my feelings about Occupy Dayton…

When does the present become the past, and at what point in this chain of events is history actually made? An interesting metaphor has recently been proposed, rekindling a long winded historicist debate–this is the “metaphor of historical distance.”[1] In a discussion of this idea, Hollander, Paul, and Peters maintain that, “Distance and perspective: this is what historians have long regarded as indispensable prerequisites for historical interpretation.”[2] Yet it would seem that the issue of historical distance means as many things to as many historians who may ponder about the idea to begin with. How much time actually needs to pass in order to allow enough perspective to make unbiased and logical historical interpretations?

This oral history project tested those rocky waters. It has been roughly thirty-two months since protestors took to the streets all across the United States. Actually, it was bigger than just the United States. It was international. The protestors came with their signs, their slogans, and most boisterous of all—their tents. One blogger for the New York Times, Nate Silver, estimated that over 70,000 protestors took to the city streets across the United States on October 15, 2011.[3] The vast majority of the media attention has coalesced around the events that occurred in New York City, and with good reason. The occupation of Wall Street was symbolic of almost everything the entire movement stood for. However, dozens of other occupations occurred throughout the country. The Midwest protests were generally smaller than the protests that took place in the large cities on the east and west coasts. This is certainly true of Occupy Dayton, the primary focus of this oral history project.

If anything is clear from the copious hours of research that have been dedicated to this project, it is that people still do not know what to make of Occupy. Was it a protest? Is it a movement? Whatever it is, people are talking about it—a lot. Occupy remains to be an active topic of discussion. Everyday my RSS news feed fills with at least half a dozen news articles that hit with the keyword Occupy in the title. Gauging the topic by present conversation, a historian might be inclined to think that the event will be remembered as significant. However explaining this more concisely would certainly be subjective at this point. The historian may argue that we need more time to gain the proper perspective and understanding of such a recent event. Can we only see history from the rear view mirror, or maybe we just are not ready to look for it in the first place?

This was the context in which the Occupy Dayton oral history project began…

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Interview 6 complete

Just letting you all know the sixth interview of the Occupy Dayton Oral History project has been complete.

There are some things I need to review in it before I can post it up, so it will be a little bit.

Next two weeks will be hell for grad school, so I wouldn’t expect too many updates until my schedule frees up a bit.

Thanks all!

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The finish line is near

Well I was supposed to have an interview last Sunday, but she had to cancel because she was sick. Which is a real shame because I think she would have been a key person to interview. Hopefully we can reschedule it.

In other news, I’ve been in touch with two other people. One guy said he would meet up with me and do an interview this Sunday. The other is a girl and I have been trying to get a hold of her for a while. Turns out I have been messaging this person on Facebook with the same name, but not the right person. No wonder they never sent me a reply! Awkward! At any rate, this lady said she would be willing to do an interview, but we have not set a date up.

It is becoming quite apparent that I will not be able to finish this project entirely before I finish graduate school. According to them, I have already done enough work and could have stopped a while ago. But I think this extra effot will take the collection from simply okay, to just awesome!

If I do an interview with someone, I am kind of obligated to get a transcription of it to them, and I will do that whether I am in school or not.

I just realized today that not only have I put a huge amount of effort in this project but money as well. Not that I have been counting or anything, but between research, interviews, transcription, meetings, reviews, I bet I have easily put at least 150 hours of time in this. If not more.

And if you count money, the cost of the Tascam DR-40 was $150 and the microphones were about $80. Granted I owned those before the project started.

Then I dropped the DR-40 down the steps and broke it so had to drop $200 on a new DR-100mkII. Had to buy microphone stands, XLR cables. Oh yea and tuition to take the Community Voices class with WYSO. I’m not even going to tell you how much that cost. More than the stuff I listed combined…

So hopefully some researcher heads out to the archives one day and really appreciates these interviews. I have put a lot of work in it.

 

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Interview 5- Jeff

Well good news, I just finished my fifth interview earlier today. So the project continues to move forward!

What I really love the most about each of these interviews that I have done is that each person has their own personality that they bring. You have this one event, Occupy Dayton. All of these people are linked together by that one event, but everyone has their own angle to it. Their own reasons for participating in it. Their own unique way of processing what happened. That is what makes every interview original.

Sometimes I listen to these interviews and I just think: “Ugh, I’m such a bad interviewer!” I say “like” too many times. So I’ve been trying to really like, you know, be more conscious of how I like talk. I do not even know why I even care though. Well I guess I do, I mean if it were for TV or the radio (oh wait wasn’t I trying something like that?) then it might matter. I don’t know. It’s who I am.

Jeff had mentioned to me how he was always conscious of having that microphone there. It really does change how people talk. Well most people. There is just an interesting dynamic that is added when people know what they are saying is being recorded. Some people seem to step forward, and it makes them want to talk. But for most people, I think that it holds them back (I got that feeling with this interview).

Just a little bit that was on my mind. I’ll get back to this research paper I’m supposed to be writing.

Without further ado (what a strange word… ado), I bring you Jeff:

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Update

Well it seems to be time that I update the site with a little more thorough of an update.

It feels as though I have had a number of interviews scheduled. Then something happens and we have to reschedule. This can be a bit frustrating at times, but it comes with the territory I suppose. What it looks like right now, I have an interview lined up on Wednesday, then another on Sunday. Hopefully it works out this week as I would really like to hit my target of six interviews. The logistics of an oral history project can be challenging. So if it seems that there is nothing going on lately, well there is. Its just happening behind the scenes and I see my workload in graduate school being pretty chaotic over the next 2-3 weeks and then my schedule should really open up.

I am really pleased to see that this blog has had over 215 unique visitors this month. I’m really impressed with that personally. Granted the majority seem to leave after like 30 seconds, but I seem to keep the attention of half the people for a few minutes at least.

It is approaching the last month of graduate school, so add +10 to the stress factor. I have a couple other projects I’m working on, papers and such. We are also installing a museum exhibit in one class. There was something else I was worried about–oh yea–that whole employment thing when I finish school.

I’m still working with WYSO and we had our third community voices class yesterday. We spent a good portion of the day listening to interview clips and getting input from the group about our story ideas (in my case its Occupy Dayton). It is good to have a group like that to help develop ideas. I like the training we are getting about developing a story arch, something many oral historians might lack. At the end of the day, producer Noah Adams talked to us about what it is like to work with NPR, developing a story from start to finish. Very interesting.

So our homework this week for WYSO was to make a thirty second promo for the station. I thought I’d share mine, even though it is a bit silly. My friend and I recorded it with two microphones and played the music off my laptop. We read the lines off a notebook. It is a bit silly, but hey, we had fun!

 

Told you it was ridiculous!

Well hopefully I’ll be able to come in on Thursday or Friday with some new material as far as interviews go. My fingers are crossed!

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Quick update

Well I had a couple interviews scheduled for this week, but things seem to have fallen through with some of them. Hopefully the one tomorrow still comes to fruition. I still want to hit my target of six interviews.

It has been a very busy week for me, so I have not been able to make as many updates as I like. My schedule should free up in the next week.

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I’m actually on the no-fly list

So I thought I would share another clip, this one is from the interview with Emmsen. It might be my favorite little excerpt from the whole project. Unless someone else can top this one.

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That one moment where we were all just together…

I know most people aren’t going to sit down and listen to a whole two hour long interview.

So I thought I’d share this minute and a half excerpt. Christina is talking about doing the “human-mic” for the first time. Well not just talking, but feeling. I think the emotion is pretty strong here:

 

 

 

 

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One more interview uploaded today

Well I know some members of Occupy Dayton seem to disagree about David Esrati’s affinity to the group. Regardless, here is the interview I did with him. This one actually kicked off the oral history project back in January. That was before I knew so much about some of you. Creepy huh?

I’ve also made some changes to the site, so it will hopefully be easier to navigate and more conducive for future use.

In other news, I might have the next interview lined up. Maybe.

But for now:

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Posted in Occupy Dayton, Occupy Movement, Oral history, Recording

An update, a question of the future?

Well the new recorder arrived today. It is a Tascam DR-100mkII. I have yet to try it out, but hopefully I will be able to do that soon. Unfortunately, as of right now, I don’t have any new interviews lined up. I have decided I want to catch up with what I have now before I continue. This means getting the transcriptions done, getting the indexes complete, the biographies.

This project is an archival project first. I’m not just doing these interviews for fun. I am doing these interviews to deposit them at the Archives and Special Collections of Wright State University. So I am doing the interviews, then transcribing the text, and adding an index that shows the topics discussed at each time during the interview. This material will then be deposited at Wright State University. In addition to this, I am going to print off every single news article, blog post, discussion, forum content, and any other such material related to Occupy Dayton. This will be added to the collection. So that if it should ever be removed from the internet, some record of it will be available in print form for future research. I’m in graduate school to be an archivist after all.

If everything works out, I will be able to use some of the audio material to make a short feature story that will air on WYSO. I am taking a radio editing class with them right now. If I find that works out, I may do my own independent audio documentary. This is all just “what ifs…” So how do I plan to do it? I don’t know yet.

This website was actually just a side project. It was basically me saying: “Hey I want to learn how to use Word Press.” So I bought a domain and started blogging. Then I realized I could use this site to share my interviews with the interviewees. I never really tried to promote the site until very recently. I emailed the good people at the Occupy Wall Street Library. They shared my site. All of sudden I’m actually getting traffic to this site. It’s pretty cool actually. But I now realize that this site, in and of itself, can serve as a tool for researchers. So I forsee it changing from the side project it currently is, to something a little more. Who knows what. I have a layout in my head, but my current web development skills just don’t allow me to make it happen.

So I apologize for the haphazard layout of this site. I’m working on it, trust me. It might not be today, or tomorrow, but I’m going to continue to develop this site.

Thanks all, – Kyle

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