California Surf Culture Exhibit Week 3

Our group (Jake, Golsa, Totianna, and Arwen) constructed an exhibit titled ‘The Original Everyday Surfers’. The exhibit included  a brief introductory webpage as well as gallery, narrative, and Malibu Beach web pages. The intent of our exhibit was to present California Beach Culture from the perspective of the ‘original everyday surfer’, who through hard work, countless hours of practice, and brutal beatings of their bodies managed to disseminate California Surf Culture across the entire Southland. From the color videos of these anonymous surfers in the golden age of surfing in Malibu in the 1940s and 1960s, we were able to capture the magnificence and historical significance of these ‘everyday joes’ in their limelight.

From this place of beginning, we developed a gallery of photos of surfing joes that were not quite so average, notably Miki Dora and Greg Noll. These icons are described in further detail in our narrative webpage. These narratives traced the development of the icons careers, their contributions to the competitive sport of surfing, the establishments they raised to promote the sport, and the specific boards they developed.

The Malibu webpage incorporated a geographic approach to the historical development of surfing in one of Southern California’s favorite beach cities. References to famous films and music in popular culture expands the influence of the Original Everyday Surfers on the nation as a whole. The spectacle, paradise, and wonder that they created inspired musicians such as the Beach Boys and Hollywood film directors to flock to the city to capture the magic of a sport, culture, and lifestyle in its infancy.

Personally, I felt this exercise allowed myself to become comfortable with Omeka software, which I found to be extremely simple to use. The process of importing data, building a collection, and curating an exhibit felt like an excellent introductory crash-course with this professional historical discipline. Allowing us to build an exhibit about surfing at The Beach seems appropriate and was educational. With the ease of access and editing this material, I feel that the this software could easily be integrated into a classroom and adapted for K-12 students. In addition to fulfilling an educator’s technology in the classroom requirements, this style of interactive research, design, and curation would prepare students for college-level learning. Despite the apparent and frightening consequences of copyright infringement, teaching students to be able to properly cite and provide metadata for projects that incorporate media would bring a dramatic and needed shift in connecting classroom learning to contemporary life.

Furthermore, this class and project allow us to remove ourselves from Microsoft Word and create a product that educates, inspires, and intrigues. The satisfaction of viewing an aesthetically pleasing finished exhibit is far more rewarding that holding a packet of paper with printed English on its fore side. I feel that the product could also become a play to raise and earn money for nonprofit organizations. Selling and advertising related products and novelties would boost morale, viewer interest, and interest in the historical discourse presented. I believe that this will replace historical mediums of the past (the traditional textbook).

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