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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Week 9 Immersion and Embeddedness

Immersion and embeddedness are related but differ at the level of analytic capabilities and levels of objectivity. An immersive experience like getting “sucked in” to video games hinders the articulation of an objective reality. Immersive experiences tap into our unconscious perceptual habits that guide our actions and decisions, rather than rational reasoning. We are overtaken by our emotions. This implies that the agency of the player or participant is questionable as they rely on the integrated circuit they are part of, without consideration for a larger perspective.

Embeddedness, also implies being part of a circuit of information, but, as in the case of Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto, it is a recognition of being part of that system and examining that place within it. An analysis that takes into account our embeddedness within a larger system, is a truer representation than one that looks at a situation or system from an imagined outside. Acknowledging our embeddedness includes understanding that we are part of the problem, and understanding the instrumentalization of agency in the social sphere. It lets us think about the ways in which oppression operates in terms of self-oppression. That being said, immersion can be a very effective tool in understanding other people’s experiences, and can serve as a useful input in social research. Getting outside of ourselves is important in this sense, as it frees up our imagination, and lets us think outside logic through lived experience.

Haraway’s approach is one that acknowledges the alienation of the human by technology, and in fact celebrates it. The human subject that is threatened by the idea of the cyborg is to a large extent the white male colonizer. The logic that separates human and machine, and human and animal, is the logic of nature vs culture, where nature is something to be dominated. Therefore, the view that is challenged by the idea of the cyborg is one of domination. By recognising that we are all already part human, part animal, part machine, we are recognising our embeddedness in a system, which challenges the superiority of any one thing. Additionally, Haraway is in this way challenging the myth of origin that acts as a confinement based on a “natural” way of being, that has been the enslaver of women throughout history.

Utopian approaches to technology are focused on the future, imagining emancipation without reconciliation with the brutal and complicated history of humanity. Haraway’s approach is one based in materiality and social reality, not only looking to the future, but also reconceptualising the past in an attempt to break out of the recurring cycles of enslavement and liberation.

Week 14 Learning New Media

As new media afford us new perceptual capabilities that we didn’t have before, we have to learn how to perceive through them. An example of this is the microscope, suddenly we could see things that we couldn’t before. Or the telegraph, that restructures language because of the structure of the system that demands short, concise messages that carry a lot of information, in other words: code. How do we understand this new information? By learning to see we are placing it in the wider context of our learned perceptive skills that have developed over our lifetime. Anything new is understood in relation to what we already know, and then tested repeatedly as we are exposed to this new medium, building up an understanding that is both conceptual and embodied.

Using new media in representation and artmaking will always start as a testing of the capacities of the media, seeing what they can do. As new media become established in everyday life, the aesthetic challenge is to see what they can do beyond what they are used for in a mundane way, or perhaps just to focus on precisely what their mundane use is so as to make it strange. This would have the effect of when you repeat a word over and over until it sounds strange to you and you are no longer sure you are saying it right. Or in Taussig’s text, “A shot of a traffic light held too long is no longer a traffic light.” This is also a way of learning to “hear” and to “see” through the medium, but it is a deeper understanding that may in fact alter the way that the medium is understood generally.

Politically, new media can be a huge problem, because it can be used to get behind the critical barriers of the public. With traditional mass media, there is a common knowledge, however simplistic, of inherent problems and a sense that not everything that is communicated is to be taken at face value, but because no critical discourse has been developed and disseminated with regards to how new media works and how it can be exploited, the public is caught unawares. In this way, new media technologies can act as a Trojan horse, infiltrating the everyday lives of people by accessing their domestic routines and habits. By blurring the boundaries of the personal sphere and the public sphere, the integrity of public discourse is compromised. On the other hand, new media have the potential to be turned into an advantage for progressive politics, engaging more people in humanitarian causes and the struggle for equality, as well as disseminating critical engagement itself. We are all, always re-schooled by new media in a process that has no end. As we develop new tools, those tools in turn develop us, and create a need in us for other, new tools.

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.

Week 14: Aesthetics and New Techology

 

In the era of new technological media, the aesthetic experience is enhanced by engaging multiple senses and creating a message that can more effectively reach the target audience. With the innovation of the telegraph and subsequent telephone, people can now hear media, and with the innovation of videogames and movies, people can simultaneously hear and see media in an advanced aesthetic experience. The implications of this new technology have stretched beyond aesthetics and into human consciousness, perception, and politics.

New technology has allowed media to expand beyond visual representations and provided the ability to hear through media. The telephone offers individuals the ability to communicate messages and make connections across vast distances. Hearing the voice of a loved one has a much stronger aesthetic effect than reading their words on a page. By adding another dimension to the media landscape, the level of interaction with media is increased.

Furthermore, videogames are an example of new technology that combines audio with visual elements to create and aesthetic experience that is even more dynamic. Videogames build on the human concept of storytelling, giving the player great agency in determining the course of the story, whereas other forms of media storytelling are far more static. Videogames build on the foundation of hearing media to allow both hearing (via sound effects) and seeing media to work together and further increase levels of interconnectedness.

In terms of aesthetics, new media is clearly continuing to engage other senses and create a more complete experience. However, the implications of this phenomenon expand to other areas of society as well. For example, with videogames the divide between reality and illusion is heightened as the media forms become increasingly more realistic and develop an alternative reality within themselves. The divide brings the dimensions of reality and illusion into conflict. Furthermore, engaging multiple senses allows politicians to use propaganda more effectively, as it can creep into the alternative reality provided by media. Evidently, innovation is transforming both aesthetics and society.

Week 14

When using new technology it is essential to understand how the media works for the message to be sent correctly. When movies first came out, the language of cinema had to be learned by both audiences and film makers; events that happen in a film can jump location and time but audiences generally understand the relation between the two events even though it is not how vision works in the real world.

Similarly, new technological media must be learned to be understood. New tech media is moving extremely fast and possibly faster than audiences are able to keep up with. Twitter is generally understood by the public at this point but it took a long time. The trend of Facebook’s impact on the current election cycle, though, was not fully understood at the time, and still really isn’t. The presence social bubbles  created by trending topics tailored to interests had a huge impact, often because people weren’t aware that the press they were seeing wasn’t the only press that existed.

This too can be true of so called “fake news”. Older generations aren’t as familiar with how internet sites that publish these sites work i.e. that they can write things that are completely false without ever noting it. In the time of print journalism, if there was a headline it was generally true. This eventually evolved too, however with the creation of tabloids that generated news that was completely false. It was only with time that people learned this and which sources to avoid. Because of this, we have to learn how to “hear” and “see” through these new mediums to understand what experience is meant to be had, and what message is meant to be sent.