Week 14

With the technology constantly advancing, it is inevitable that it will impact media in a distinct way. When I hear the phrase “new technological media” my mind immediately goes in a couple of different directions. The first is virtual reality. This is not simply limited to virtual reality films, but video games, and virtual reality as a means of healing an ailment (such as different forms of vision impairment). To “hear” and “see” through new technological media, is a description of the different ways our bodies react and interact with media. With the virtual reality example, a few different companies (HTC and Sony) have developed glasses that individuals with visual impairments can wear so that they are able to experience “sight” in a way that they haven’t before. Perhaps it isn’t the way that those of us who do not have visual impairments “see”, but it does allow for some sort of sensory awareness.

In terms of aesthetics, I think that new technological media is incredibly positive. We are constantly learning how to interact with the world in new and different ways, and therefore it allows us to produce different types of work that we may not have been able to do in the past. We discussed in class a few weeks ago about “playing music” through your computer. Although some will argue that if you aren’t using an instrument, you aren’t actually playing music, but the thing is, you’re still able to get the notes out that you want. You’re still able to produce some form of music.

December 1st, Week 13

Dewey and Brun discuss artistic express, and what it means to be an artist in a way that is represented over time. Dewey, a naturalist, sees an artist’s connection to his or her work of art as an impulsion from an incredibly personal level, to the act of actually creating art. To me, this seems like Dewey see’s art as the interconnectedness between the artist and their creation. It seems as though Dewey would not consider some forms of art (that we practice today) to be considered real art due to the level of mediation taking place. For example, technology has changed the way human’s produce art because it gives additional tools to the individual (often aiding the creative process) in a way that wasn’t present in past years, decades, or centuries. Therefore, to Dewey, there is a lack of truth to the work of art.

Brun, on the other hand, takes a different stance when it comes to art and the development of technology. By contrast, Brun sees the development of technology in the art world as a plus because it has opened up the world of art to individuals who may not have been able to access it in the past. Thus, even though there is additional mediation taking place that was there before, he doesn’t necessarily see it as hindering artistic creation. I tend to agree with Brun on this point because I feel as though our generation has easier access to creating art, than people in the past. If you have a computer, or even access to a computer, you have the ability to create works of art, whether it be music, graphic design, video production, or the like. Although some of this software is still expensive today, we are not limited by having to buy specialized cameras, expensive musical instruments, or paints and paintbrushes.

In addition, in this day and age we are exposed to art in a way that we weren’t in the past. Via the internet, any individual can access basically any famous (or non-famous) work of art. To me, this can only boost an individuals’ creativity because it exposes us to something that we may not have access to in person, but are interested in creating or re-creating something similar.

November 17

Benjamin and Ranciere discuss authenticity in aesthetics in interesting ways. When Benjamin talks about art, I see it as a discussion of individuality, authenticity, and creativity. His issue with mechanical reproduction is that through the development of technology and the use of mechanical reproduction, we lose the meaning of art and aesthetics, and replace it with something inauthentic.

Ranciere on the other hand, relies more on the way humans interact with “art”. And art for Ranciere can mean a wide variety of things, not just a production. For example, he sees the world around us as art. When discussing mechanical reproduction, Ranciere is more concerned about losing the closeness that humankind has with art, nature, and the surrounding world. This could have an effect on us politically in a sense that we could lose that authenticity of the moment.

In my opinion, I tend to lean more towards Benjamin’s understanding and issue with mechanical reproduction. Not only do I see it as forgery, I see it as a deep loss in the authenticity of the medium itself. This goes for writings as well. How can we develop and progress as a society if we are simply repeating what others have done, without deviating at all? It seems more like a stagnant place, vs. making any sort of progress.

November 10th

The three terms immediacy, hypermediacy, and remediacy, while different, are inherently interconnected. To me, Bolter and Grusin’s understanding of immediacy, is a persons’ desire to create a reality that brings them closure to the medium of their choice. Virtual reality is a perfect example of this. This program was designed by people so that the person experiencing the virtual reality could be completely immersed in the subject, without having to perform an actual function. With immediacy, there is also this desire to make the medium or technology more natural, and without the drastic difference between the virtual world and the real world. Therefore, images created for VR devices come as close to reality and nature as possible, while still allowing the user to have a certain level of distance from the actual phenomenon.

By contrast, hypermediacy strives to make the connection between technology and the real world as stark as possible, so that the person feels like and actually is interacting direction with the interface. For example, when a person is exploring a website they know that what they are interacting with is fragmented from their reality, and that is its intent. This way, instead of being completely immersed in an alternate reality, the user is able to experience multiple forms of media (images, videos, sound, etc.).

I see remediacy as one step backwards from immediacy and hypermediacy, theory-wise. We see hints of remediacy in McLuhan’s writing because he talks about how the original medium, is another medium, and that you must rely on the medium that comes before you in order to develop a new kind of medium. Thus, there is a reliance on older forms of media in order to develop new media.

Understanding that mediation exists and being able to see it in the development of new media, is helpful in remembering the contrast being reality and virtual reality. This goes beyond just the development of technology, though, and can be true from the content we absorb from different forms of media. Mediation is present everywhere.

November 3rd

In Norbert Wiener’s work “Cybernetics or control and communication in the animal and the machine” he discusses the idea of “communications as a relation”. Hayles takes an in depth look at this idea. When Wiener discusses his concept of cybernetics, he is really discussing a flow of information in any form. For example, Hayles discusses the idea of the blind man and the cane. Because the blind man cannot see, he must use a cane, which transforms information from the outside world to the man (a flow of information). In addition, Wiener makes comparisons between human and non-human animals in a sense that they are far more similar than they may seem from the outside perspective. The idea of communication between non-human animals is developed prior to the development of a language. Therefore, non-human animals and humans develop their communication methods in a very similar way.

The advantages of thinking about humans and technology as part of an integrated system are beneficial in a variety of ways. In my opinion, the flow of information and the capacity of learning is exponential when developing technology. Humans will have the capacity to develop technology to perform tasks that they are not able to do, therefore spreading the flow of information as an idea, into an actual function. Therefore, I do believe that everything can be reduced to system theory. Much of what is discussed in cybernetics is the being’s response to stimuli surrounding it, and therefore expanding its’ capacity to perform function.

Week 9

In Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century”, she discusses her concept of the cyborg, which differs in a way from the general populations understanding of the concept. To Haraway, the cyborg represents not just artificial intelligence, but a persons’ connectedness to phenomena outside of our social constructs. In particular, she discusses the connection between the cyborg and feminism. She argues that we see the world from a divisive stance (animal vs. technology), but in a postmodern society that idea no longer applies. Feminism is a concept deeper than our general understanding of it. There are many aspects of feminism that are below the surface, and we shouldn’t think about it as a single concept but a combination of many different assets.

Lathi’s article discusses the in-depth progression of video games. They have progressed so much since they were first invented. For example, in the past, there was still some level of separation from the characters you were playing “as”, but now when we play video games we become the characters themselves, therefore transitioning from simply existing as a human and becoming more technologically advanced. You can also see this in virtual reality movies, but it is more immersive in a video game because you have control over the character and are helping create its’ reality. The idea of immersion and embeddedness relate to each other in some ways, but are displayed different from each other in our society.

Week 7

In my opinion, the single biggest issue in mass media today is the misrepresentation of people who do not fall into the white, cisgender male category. This includes women, members of the LGBTQ community, people of color (and specifically women of color), and many more. To me, this is a representation of a much larger issue than just what we see on television, hear on the radio, read online or in the newspaper. In fact, this is an issue of who holds power in our society and how those groups in power exert this on other underrepresented groups. It is blatantly obvious that the group in power is white cisgender men. This is incredibly important in the media industry, though, because of the massive impact it has on all consumers of media.

Media classifies people in a wide variety, albeit very specific, way. For example, Gray discusses the underrepresentation of African American’s in all fields of media. One of the biggest issues with this fact is that, it has been this way for so long, that the general population doesn’t quite grasp that it’s an issue. White men dominate the movie industry, and not just because they get more acting roles or play a major role in the production side of things, but also in the way that they are compensated for their work. This goes for women and members of the LGBTQ community as well. Recently, people have become more outspoken about this, but it has not made that much of a change in the industry. In the grand scheme of things, this affects the way people who absorb media, see themselves. If you are part of the underrepresented group, and you see someone who looks/acts/feels the way you do in a marginalized role, you start to see yourself in that way in your personal life. For so long, women were considered second class citizens (and I would argue that this is still the case in many ways today), that women tend to let that permeate their lives. In Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In she discusses how this idea is front and center in the business world as well. Women tend not to ask for raises as often as men do, etc.

If the media industry did a better job of representing all types of people, I believe that we wouldn’t see this impact our culture the way it does. As an audience member, perhaps we wouldn’t see ourselves in a certain way because we wouldn’t be portrayed in a marginalized way in all forms of media. I see this as a major issue that affects a person’s self-worth and self-esteem. Perhaps more women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community would go after jobs that they perhaps wouldn’t, if it was represented evenly in the media.