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Week 12 – New Media Art

24 May

By using interactivity, I hope to promote an understanding of the world as interdependent; destroying the illusion that each of us, or any phenomenon, exists in isolation from the rest of reality – Scott Snibbe (2010)

Although there is no accurate definition for the term ‘art’, it has been traditionally considered as, in simple terms, a visual form of expression, imagination and human creation.

Advancements in new media technologies have blurred the lines between traditional, old visual art and new media art forms and processes. This genre encompasses artworks created with new media technologies including computer graphics, digital art, animation etc and is referred to by the term “new media art” (Wikipedia) Today, we tend to associate art with the products of film, television, and popular music which has allowed for new areas of expression therefore making the process of creating art a much more experimental and immersive experience.

An example of the experimental and interactive nature of new media art is the works of media artist Scott Snibbs who’s work is frequently interactive and requires viewers to physically engage with diverse media include mobile phones, lighting and digital projections.

I came across Snibb’s full-body interactive work, Boundary Functions (1998) which can be viewed below. The project is interactive in that it involves is a set of lines projected from above onto the floor, dividing people from one another. As soon as there are more than one person on the floor, a single line cuts between them bisecting the floor, and dynamically changing as they move. With more than two people, the floor divides into cellular regions referred to as Voronoi diagrams that are particularly significant as they surround each person with lines, outlining his or her personal space – the space closer to that person than to anyone else. Snibbe states that this work “shows that personal space, though we call it our own, is only defined by others and changes without our control”. (Snibbe, S. 2010). The projection of this diagram reveals the invisible relationships between people and the space around them.

Interactive media like this allows the audience to participant in the artwork. This time, they are not simply viewers but are immersed into the artwork and this experience is what impacts  and shapes their perceptions of art.

New media art has been subject to criticism as it lacks a solid theoretical foundation as these new interactive forms in a sense defy the traditional classifications of art. However, what I have come to notice is that all art is subject to criticism as nowadays the meaning of art can be absolutely anything at all.

References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_media_art>

Scott Snibbe Bio – http://www.snibbe.com/ (2010)

Week 10 – Science, Technology & Innovation

24 May

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OA to research data could enable others to validate findings and re-use data to advance knowledge and promote innovation –

Adrian Janes , 2012

Week 10 was all about how new media affects science. Year after year we continue to witness advancements in new media technologies that are impacting on many aspects of science as a result. In the lecture for example, Andrew Murphie talked specifically about how improvements in communicative technology have sped up scientific communication processes, improving and allowing access to certain scientific data quite quickly and conveniently. Although such technological innovations are continuously proving to be beneficial, at the same time they have caused a variety of new issues to arise.

In this weeks reading, Elizabeth Pisani speaks about the issue of data-sharing, in particular, the positive side to sharing medical data but then also refers to the issue being the lack of recognition that researchers get from doing this. Pisani believes such innovations will no doubt provide efficient progress and better quality of data, however, she fears that scientists, including herself, will lose ownership of their work. New communication methods such as blogging, streaming podcasts and online forums have allowed science to become more accessible and transparent, granting scientists with the opportunity to access, add to and edit scientific data in any part of the world. Whilst this database of information may in fact assist in future research and discovery, it is also a lot more difficult to keep track of who said what.

Nevertheless, new media allows for discoveries, innovation and development in the medical field as it shapes the way experiments are run, providing new methods and techniques for a clearer understanding of our environment, the workings of the human body, plants and animals. Such innovation also allows the public to be aware of scientific issues, and for journalist to be up to date with innovations.

References

Murphy, A (2012), University of New South Wales Lecture titled: The Generosity of New Media—Science, Technology and Innovation. Week 10, May 2012

Pisani, E (2011) ‘Medical science will benefit from the research of crowds’ The Guardian – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jan/11/medical-research-data-sharing

 

Social Organization – Micropolitics, Networks, Designing for and Living in New Communities

5 May

A single ant or bee isn’t smart, but their colonies are. (Miller, P. 2007)

Stemming off from framing and transversality, many groups, businesses and corporations are now using new networked media to collaborate, facilitate communications and create through the sharing of knowledge and ideas of social media. This system of networking can be easily understood through the collective abilities/swarm intelligence of animals. For example, ant colonies.

As described by Peter Miller, the swarm intelligence of ants “relies upon countless interactions between individual ants, each of which is following simple rules of thumb which scientists describe as self-organizing” (P, Miller, 2007).

This sort of system requires no management or leadership. Each ant follows simple rules, each acting on local information, coordinated by simple interactions. The same system goes for humans and therefore relates also to human micropolitics.

Peter Miller asks: How do the simple actions of individuals add up to the complex behavior of a group?

New forms of media have provided intricate forms of networking to people all over the world who use these platforms to engage, interact and create by forming a swarm. This enables them to contribute their individual skills and knowledge to make decisions and reach a collective goal through the formation of a “collective brain” (Zimmer, C. 2007)

Blogging, Facebook and Twitter allow individuals to link up and hence promote new forms of collective action and creativity required to mobilise change.

One of this weeks examples was the public interest and group called ‘Coalition of the Willing’ (CotW) by Knife Party. This particular volunteer group aims to combat issues relating to climate change through engagement and collaboration with the public in which they aim to harness social and technological innovation to find solutions to climate change. This networked system provides an alternative to government action as they believe it should be up to the public to take action. They collaborate through forms of social networking to promote their group and invite users to events and local meetings.

What we can notice through the introduction of such networks is the decentralization of power from government bodies and centralized systems to the general public.

Below is a collaborative animated film directed and produced by Knife Party about the online war against global warming.

References

Miller, P. 2007 ‘Swarm theory’ in National Geographic’

Available at: <http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2007/07/swarms/miller-text>

Accessed: May 2nd 2011

Knife Party and Rayner, T. and Robson, S. 2010 Coalition of the Willing

Available at: <http://coalitionofthewilling.org.uk/>

Zimmer, C. 2007 ‘From ants to people, an instinct to swarm’ in The New York Times

<http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/13/science/13traff.html>

Transparency and Citizen Journalists

4 May

The naked transparency movement marries the power of network technology to the radical decline in the cost of collecting, storing, and distributing data. Its aim is to liberate that data, especially government data, so as to enable the public to process it and understand it better, or at least differently. (Lessig, Lawrence, 2010)

As media technologies continue to develop and advance, we as individuals have been granted multiple opportunities, allowing us to actively participate in the journalistic process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information, also known as the act of citizen journalism. However, as citizen journalists, we are not only restricted to weblogs. Everyone and anyone is engaging in new forms of participation applications. This engagement is what We Media describes as participatory journalism. This accessibility to such content has indeed transformed and influenced our historical political, and cultural boundaries through the exposure of participatory news, data and facts. The spreading of ‘unprofessional’ pubic perception, ideas and opinions through modern applications such as text messaging is in fact killing traditional journalism. Andrew Murphie uses the example of the Rebekah Brooks phone-hacking sandal found here, as a form of digital, unprofessional journalism.

This brings me to this weeks topic, Transparency. Media transparency ‘deals with the way the media is viewed to the public today and concerns why the media may portray something the way that it does.’ This type of communication can heavily influence and alter change whether it is political or social as social media participation will deermine whether or not certain data is accepted by the government. There is no doubt that social participation is more likely to expose biased information, which can severely affect public policy. However, depending on how transparent the news article is by an unprofessional journalist, whether or not the information provided is reliable or accurate can easily be verified by readers who are then able to draw their own opinions. Robert M. Entman once stated “the only means of influencing what people think is precisely to control what they think about.” (Entman, R. 1990)

Web2.0 is therefore shifting power to the audience as they are continuously being emerced in this concept through the provision of various platforms in which they can voice their opinions as well as the opportunity to access and interact with political leaders.

References

Robert M. Entman (1990) – ‘Democracy without citizens: the decay of American politics’ (1990) pg. 75

Wikipaedia – Media transparency (2012) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_transparency#Media_transparency_and_power

Lessig, Lawrence (2010) ‘Against Transparency: The perils of openness in government.’<http://www.tnr.com/article/books-and-arts/against-transparency?page=0,0>

Transversality, Music and Journalism

3 May

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Image: ‘A twitbird journalist’

Andrew Murphie defines the term ‘transversality’ as “a line that cuts across other lines, perhaps across entire fields – bringing the fields together in a new way, recreating fields as something else” (Murphie 2006) Originally used in mathematics, transversality is applied to media and focuses on the relationship between media frames.

According to Murphie, pretty much everything is framed a certain way impacting heavily on the way we perceive the world around us. In fact, we are all being framed without even knowing! What we think, feel or do is constantly being heavily influenced by the media’s powerful framings. Murphie gave us the example of the course reader as a media form that frames what we think/do in relation to the course. In order to illustrate this concept of transversality, I will be focusing on music as well as online news and journalism.

Firstly, we are all aware that the music industry is said to be dying as a result of copyright breaches and digital advancements. In this sense, it may seem as though the music industry is in fact diminishing, however advancements such as peer-to-peer sharing, iPod’s and download links are giving users various opportunities to access music. In this sense, music is in fact more alive than ever, linking listeners and producers in ways that were once not available. Traditionally, to listen to music we would go to a CD shop and purchase a CD. However, these new advancements, digitization and the shift of music to the web reveals how this traditional frame has been altered and shaped as a result of transversality. We now have a wide variety of different genres to choose from, artists are using the Internet to distribute and share their music and become known and listeners are accessing music by the click of their mouse. As consumers, we are being framed by peer-to-peer groups involved including LimeWire, Napster and Pirate Bay. The result? Music labels must now begin thinking transversally in order to continue selling records. 

The concept of transversality and the power of framing has also heavily influenced the journalism industry. Traditionally, we would access information and news through methods such as radio, newspapers, print journalism and television. Since the birth of the digital age, old mediums and digital media platforms have collaborated in attempt to mix these old frames with the new. Online news articles are perfect examples of this idea. When we view an online news article, we notice that most incorporate elements of traditional journalism such as print as well as digital elements such as video and imagery. The combination, and crossing of these two frames provides a basic demonstration of this concept of media transversality as journalists are now faced with a challenge against online users and bloggers.

 

References

 Murphie, Andrew (2006) ‘Editorial’ the Fibreculture Journal, 9 http://www.nine.fibreculturejournal.org – accessed 20th April, 2012

Memory, Knowledge & Technology

25 Mar


Nothing frustrates me more than when I come up with a genius idea in the shower or when I wake up about what to do in my day or about my work or anything that I want to come back to….and 3 hours later, I’ve completely forgotten.

It has become so frequent that I find that the only way I can remember something is by writing it down. If I don’t, then ill be bashing my brain all day trying to figure out what it was.

Solution? I conformed to the rest of society and bought myself an iPhone and ever since, remembering things has never been so easy! Whenever I think of something I need to buy, I write it in my notes application. I set multiple reminders throughout the day that alert me automatically. For example, I was at COFA campus the other day and parked in a 2hour parking spot. I then set a reminder to move my car when the two-hour time period was up. If it weren’t for that reminder, I would have probably racked up $130 in parking fines.

On the topic of parking, I came across this interesting article the other night about an iPhone application that even helps you remember where you parked your car!

Today, our iPhones are acting as our memory, which brings me to this week’s topic, Globalising Memory, Thinking, and Action. The readings brought me to the conclusion that in order to sustain, maintain and access our memories, we rely heavily on media technologies to archive, store and preserve our experiences and individual knowledge.

According to Bernard Stiegler, there are three types of memory.

1.     Primary memory: is the preservation, which is part of the now of a temporal experience.

2.     Secondary memory: is the storage and the recollection of past experiences

3.     Tertiary memory: is a reproduction/combination of both the primary and secondary memory.

In the reading ‘Hypomnesis and Anamnesis’ by Stiegler, he refers to the concept of Hypomnesis as a human’s extended memory. External objects such as mobile phones and GPS can be seen as an extension of the mind. For example, we use a GPS to tell us where to go and what routes to take to get to a particular destination.

Although many argue that these media technologies are in fact resulting in knowledge being lost, we cannot deny that for most individuals, these technologies aids and extends our human memory and hence forms our knowledge.

 

Stiegler, B. (2006). Anamnesis and Hypomnesis. – http://arsindustrialis.org/anamnesis-and-hypo

The Alphabet & Ecologies

15 Mar

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Paul Levinson’s article The First Digital Medium defines the concept of a ‘Media Ecology’ as the study of human beings and their relationship to media and the environment these forms media create. His article focuses on the changes in media ecologies and how these changes affect our understanding of society and the world around us. Our relationship with our television, our phones, social media platforms and the news is what builds our media environment. Stemming off from McLuhan’s theory that all media technologies are extensions of human capacities, it is this relationship between technology and humans that form media ecology.

This concept can be interpreted in many ways and Levinson cleverly uses the development of the alphabet as an example of the tricky concept, which made it a lot easier for me to grasp. He compares the changes and developments in language and the written word to the changes brought upon by continuously developing media ecologies, otherwise known as our media environment.

The term also involves the concept of technologies. Every time we engage with a medium, we are altering the environment around us and at the same time, our perceptions are being influenced. For example, rather than choosing to buy the paper and read the news in print, I rely heavily on online articles. This change in our attitudes and habits reflects the effects of media ecology as it continues to shape our society as advancements in our media environment continue to take place.

Like many, I broke away from all the text and took to YouTube to find a more visual interpretation of the concept of media ecologies. I came across this short video of Lance Strate sharing his own knowledge of Media Ecology.

 

Levinson, P (1997) ‘The First Digital Medium’ in Soft Edge; a natural history and future of the information revolution London: Routledge:p11-20