Week 14

The term new technological media offers human beings tremendous opportunities to experience new things. With the technology of touch screen and Virtual Reality, we can easily assume that anything is possible in the near future. With technology allowing us to “hear” and “see” and “feel” things, new technology brought art aesthetics onto a whole new level. With each sense being added to the new media experience, we as human beings are becoming closer as well. For example, telephone allows us to listen and talk to each other from a long distance. television provides sound and image from different parts of the city, even the world about different stories. Now with internet, we are closer than ever compare to decades ago. Video games evolutes from a single simple graphic game into interactive worldwide connected games. With that being invented and created, from an aesthetic perspective, new technological media allows us with more interaction and more dynamic experience. Now the 360 degree VR videos online allows this sensation of real life experience. If a video is shot in 360 degrees, viewers are able to experience the whole room or environment without physically being there.

However, nature did not provide us with all these technologies. We still have to observe, learn and master the “secret” regarding new technology. With that being said, people who are not capable of learning new technologies will be limited access to the world. People who simply cannot afford these technological devices are being restricted from entering the world. In this transitioning phase, we are facing so many issues, as what we are “hearing” and “seeing” may not be true.

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Dec 1 Week 13

There is no doubt that modern technology and new creations shaped art works and the mindset of artists completely different in comparison to art works back in the early 20th century.  In Dewey’s work “Art As Experience”, he emphasized on “experience”. He claims that experience is the result of the interaction between nature and the environment. When experience reaches the perfect state, it develops into an experience, then to aesthetic experience, and finally to art. Aesthetic originates from experience, experience leads to aesthetic.  An experience not only restored the continuity of art and life, but also expanded the scope of art. But of course, with the new technological inventions, his thinking becomes biased and partially irrelevant, art and life leading to infinite will cause approximation of tiredness.

Burn, on the contrary, talks about the significance of modern media created through computerized programs and electronic systems. The modern technology and new forms of art continuously give instant access to people. For example, the generation who grew up with the computer technology will have infinite access to their own art creation with or without any “professional” training. With Dewey’s theory, music as an art form requires physical score writing, instrumentation and transferring to a digital form. Burn’s theory eliminated the physical restriction of art creation and made digital art, or new art possible and accessible to everyone.

Art, especially for modern days, is a way to express a feeling, an understanding and a gateway to self understanding. In my perspective, art does not have to be a “high-end” way of leisure, it exists in everyday life, in every possible way.

week 9

Nowadays people rely on technology so much that we forget how we lived for thousands of years without it. In Martti Lahti’s work As We Become Machines, he mentions the huge impact technology, especially video games has on us human beings as we can easily get suck into ging for hours and become fully engaged in the stories of the game, as well as their development and character well being in the game, that players distance themselves from their real world and immerse into an imaginary fantasy that they have sole control of.  Lahti introduces the evolution of gaming and how 3D, virtual reality video games were introduced to enhance the immersive experience of players. He believes that with the advanced technology, human beings are being pulled away from the phisical body and the organic world, creating a distance between virtual reality and reality, when playing a game, players immerse themselves robotically into the fantasy and solely escape what is really happening in their lives. Their emotions wave up and down as their characters lives in the game.

On the contrary. As a cybernetic organism, Haraway arrugues the future of technology immerse into human life and because of its unique “characteristics”, there is no inequality in any way and as human creates the cyborg, a creature of social reality and social fiction, humans immerse themselves into a fair environment when it comes to solving issues with possible unfair times. This being said, Haraway believes human immersive with technology can go as two parallel lines together for social improvement, while Lahti truly believes in the separation between human and machines.

It is complicated to live life without technology for sure, however, unlike the technology of yesterday, virtual reality technology is more advanced then ever, many big electronic companies have invented take home VR machines where you can game, watch a movie and interact with one another with them. Kids in the future will probably communicate with each other completely depend on their laptops and technology, without being face to face. The sensational game Pokémon Go! Introduces the world into a whole new level of gaming. In the game, you see fantasy creatures walking and breathing on the same streets you’re walking on from your screen, you catch them and train them to make them stronger. It’s like in a real reality when you look after and train your pets, only this time it’s fictional. While kids are actually gathering around and walking on the street together, they enhance their personal communication skills with the game, however, they are still mainly focused on the game, and they are fully merged into the characters. Their emotions and feelings will rise when a creature gets stronger, and they certainly feel the anger when they lose or let a creature escape.

Maybe this is what our world is becoming, no one can avoid anything from happening, however, immersion and embeddeness serves two complete different roles in society, with technology advancing, people are most likely to fall into both of them equally, as anything has ever happened in human history.

Week 7

Media not only is a medium that provides information to the public, but also a representation and classification of a certain society. What mass media produces everyday is highly opinionated and influential to the general public, therefore, media shapes the public opinion by how it portrays different types of people in different matters, including politics, race, religion, culture and art.

Media, and media content, generated by people in higher power to adjust public trends and opinions, has the absolute power to represent anything towards its desired result, this can be adapted in content creating, as well as stereotyping certain groups of people in our society. In the history of television and popular culture evolution, people of color struggled through different phases just to get an appearance, however, directed under white directors and producers, those tv contents and show materials enlarged the racial stereotypes, with the manipulation in mind,  their target audience deeply believed in the images and creations they saw on their screens.

Although more diversity has been introduced and represented in mass media content, media creators are still classifying different people with some “popular” or “correct” stereotypes, making audicne believe a certain category of people all behave similarly. Just recently an anchor from Fox News was sent to China Town in New York City to interview people on the street regarding their opinions of the election. Sounds like a fair news piece by the general description I just provided, correct? Absolutely wrong. Fox News has no intention of collecting Chinese Americans’ political opinions, instead, they reintroduced and emphasized the typical “Asian stereotypes” by doing a series of disrespectful actions, and insulted older generation who can’t speak English fluently. They also used all sorts of “Chinese Stereotypes”, with some of the most ridiculous misunderstanding of Asian culture including practicing Karate, which originated from Japan as Chinese martial arts in a taekwondo studio, which originated in Korea. After creating and awfully represented the “Chinese” in China Town, this Fox News piece went viral on the internet, with many of the Fox News loyal viewers believing the existence of Chinese immigrants is a burden to the country and screaming their rights of “making America great again”, and all the Asians, Asian Americans protesting the discrimination against them, stating the unappreciative white Americans and their biased racial opinions. One 5-minute video caused such chaos, with people on both sides believing what they saw through Media. But as a twenty something millenial global citizen, I clearly know that not all Fox News viewers believe in what they produced or are Trump supporters, and maybe 80% of people residence in China Town knows their political opinions as well as English, who also don’t understand why some white Americans always yell at them to “go home”. But this is just a small incident happened in this world, with mass media producing contents non stop, the stereotyping and classification will one day deeply rooted in our heads.

Media has the almighty power to control minds and shape public opinion, it’s horrifying when media tries to shape audience’s mind by classifying and stereotyping other people and guides the audicne on how one should think about other people. In 2016 only, there’re countless protests against racial discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination, the media then takes on research technology to navigate how to appeal more to their target audience? Then takes the opportunity to advocate its “belief” on a broader scale, causing a larger debate on those social matters.

WEEK 6

It is undeniable that media has the power to control and manipulate the public behavior in a variety of fields. The majority of the population get their information on different topics through mass media, which is controlled by the central power of the society, which only a small amount of people are authorized. Everyday we take in information from different sources of media we “trust”, spreading our own understanding or interpretation to people surround us and our closed ones, forming a certain opinion as a group the authorities want us to have, and believing it’s the truth. As media consumers, we are thoroughly  controlled by the content provider, and our behaviors change based on the opinion we were given. As media authorities, they constantly observe and experiment on the general public, tease the public, trying to shape the public opinion even more. The birth of the internet connected the world, however, at least in this generation, where traditional media is still in power, people argue with one another based on their own belief, which in a majority of time, came from their local media source.

It’s always interesting to observe the information media gives out on the same topic in different parts of the world. I personally do not like to talk about politics, so I’m presenting an interesting observation of a popular cosmetic brand called Neutrogena. In Asia, especially eastern Asia, the common beauty standard is to have a whiter, paler face, as oppose to western standards, which is a healthy, beautiful tanned face. People in eastern Asia would do anything and spend tons of money on whitening beauty products. Therefore, Neutrogena, with its famous natural tone and tanning beauty products, becomes popular by providing all kinds of whitening products in Asian countries that would not sell at all in Western countries. Similarly, media sources report on world news, political issues and even natural disasters differently, and watch how the general public react to them, certain protesting arguments are most likely to be blocked or banned, in order to keep the media environment “clean”, making the society an invisible prison of minds, just without the physical restrictions.

I believe the function of panopticon is more of a psychological device. The circular structure in an actual prison allows only one guard to watch all inmates at the same time, and by doing so threatens inmates that they never know when are they being watched, it causes mental distress and inmates are forced to behave well at all time, because otherwise they will face penalties and punishments. Same as this “cage free” real life prison, where we are constantly being watched on what we are browsing, texting, calling and producing personal contents online. Starting in the 18th century as a better organizing  system in prisons, it enlarged itself and made our everyday life under the influence of media a big prison. Given the “right” information without looking outside the “walls” (aka the protects boarder of mass media) we are much imprisoned by our own trusted media powers. Not saying it’s absolutely evil, because society does need certain discipline and control, however, it is quite frightening to dig through the surface ad find out we are constantly being watched and controlled.

Week 5 Ideology and Public Sphere

Based on the historical background in Europe during the 18th century, Habermas analyzed the European bourgeoisie society and its public places, defined the term “public sphere” as a space between the society, the general public and the nation, the combination of the three create this space collectively, and hypothetically all citizens have free rights to speak, express, and emphasize on whatever they believe in, without any interruptions by the nation. In another word, a public sphere is a space where political power is eliminated, and democracy is the basic condition for free discussion of public affairs, participate in activities and form a personal belief. The crucial meaning of a public sphere is that it’s a place for public engagement and opinion, isolated from the nation’s political structure, however still critical of the political powers, under the general control of the law enforcement.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels stated that a ruling class exists in every society during anytime, it relates to the economic ruling class, which by virtue their economic status rule and govern all aspects of social life. In this modern day world, ideology formed in public sphere can mostly be found in media sources. Newspapers, radios, TV and the Internet all have a huge influence on forming the public opinion in a certain society. Habermas argues that the mass media we get in contact everyday is the most effective way to shape the society.

The power and the technology of Internet forms a different type of public sphere, with an enlarged society. Ideally, with the convenience and sources on the Internet, people now have the freedom to discuss issues and public affairs with a larger crowd. However, the society will not escape the consequences of propoganda, on the contrary, the different mass media and Internet resources have shaped people in various ways. With the development of the entertainment industry, people are gradually shifting their attention from political matters to what entertains them. Hence all media stations and platforms rearranging their focus when reporting the news to meet the entertainment needs of the issue. In the Jon Steward video, he claims the political news are revolving around entertainment and market prices that they are being twisted to what people want to see, instead of expressing proper, accurate thoughts. So obviously, if media publications don’t give their news pieces justice, the public opinion will be shaped differently.

Ideally, Public sphere gives people an opportunity to learn, discuss and shape ideologies properly using the recourses provided in life, however nowadays every small aspect from which soda tastes better to which politician to choose as the president is being controlled by some power, in order to benefit certain people. While we can’t escape this “trend”, we should all sometimes take a step back from all the heated debate and discussion, to ask ourselves, will democracy and the ideal ideology ever be possible in our lives?

Week 4 Blog

The culture industry, or the mass media, according to Adorno and Horkheimer, has become a tool of manipulation of the general public, they argued that the daily media content the general public is exposed to (radio, television, film, book, magazines) is no longer a form of art, but a “system” or a “factory” producing the same, predictable contents in order to obtain highest profis. With the advance of technology, consumers and audiences are pushed to obtain such mediums as the resource of information. However, except for the similar point of views, in Bernay, Herman and Chomsky’s theories, they argued that the culture and media content is highly controlled and manipulated by those who are in higher powers to filter out information from the real world and force the general public accept their ideas towards the society, a certain matter, even the world.

It’s inevitable the culture industry is becoming a business, with its core people making an income on a single project most everyday civilians impossible to make in a lifetime. Take a look at the industry, everything is based on profit. If a newly released single gets on top of the charts, different version, remixes will be created for more attention, if a movie is successful, sequels, remakes, movies with same content will be released in a short amount of time. For that cartoon Ice Age, there is a total of 7 movies, all similar contents, with different popular stars voicing the characters. As audience, we jump up and down when the new sequel comes out, throw our hard earned money into the box office and ask for a spinoff afterwards. It’s sad how the culture industry becomes an invisible product line, producing endless, but same products, just like Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times.

Bernay argued that how power shifted from the king to masses, and how a small amount of people learned to control and shape the masses, the control manipulation mainly concentrates on how to make the general public to believe in one  idea. His opinion towards propaganda focuses on how people in higher powers directly control the rest. An accurate example would be the 1966-1976 Culture Revolution in China. The 10 year chaos cost countless damage in the country and stopped the country for 10 years. It all started with a wrong decision Mao made, indicating “modern communist China” does not need the influence of capitalism and western culture,  but an article criticizing a new show published on the most popular newspaper triggered the initial explosion of the event. The article was secretly controlled by the government, the criticism of the show indicates the “correct” direction government wants, it also destroyed several government officials who were against the then communist party. In the rest ten years of the revolution, the government propogandas were strictly instilled deep into everyone’s heart, those who stood up to fight against all faced serious penalty, even death. All institutions and schools were shut down, except for those that only taught Mao spirit and communist spirit. The “Red Army” broke into homes, took away and burn down all the western literatures, arts and spiritual wealth. The twisted propogandas, along with the manipulation through radio, public posters, newspapers, “schools” and parental educations tortured the country for 10 years long. Up to this date, some of the ordere manipulative group of the generation who survived still believe in those propagandas.

It’s very powerful the influence culture industry has towards the general public, propogandas plays the essential role in shaping ideas in the society, just as all the theorists claimed in their works.