Week 14

In Johnathan Sterne’s “Audile Technique and Media, he explores the expansion of audile technique in media contexts. Looking at the history of sound, what becomes apparent is how sound is perceived over time. From being a medical listening device used , it turned into sound telegraphy, that was a major milestone in American history.Collective versions of technical listening were designed to allow many people to hear the same thing at once while putting the sound directly in their ears.

Further, In Torben Grodal’s writing “Stories for Eye, Ear, and Muscles,” the invention of film created a new medium for the simulation of basic story experiences. It made possible to present events in a direct perceptual form.In this new technological media, the dominant temporal dimension then became the present tense where we directly witness the events. The computer which came in a few decades later further created a difference of what we hear and see.Video games simulate perceptions of space and objects that are present to the senses but can be influenced by our actions.Video games then are the closest to having an embodied experience due to its interactive capability.Another interesting point is that video games have an aesthetic of repletion as compared to films that are experienced as a unique set of events. In video fames , the experience is similar to life where we learn and control by repetition.Viewing a film may create a great level of suspense but video games on the other hand evoke suspense through the final outcome of the game.

There are many implications of changing technology where the lines between the reel and the real are getting blurred. From video games, we have now entered a world of virtual reality- created a system of mimesis, as discussed by Taussig. We are now in a world where there is not only a dependence on media to run our day to day activities, but we embody the medium itself- whether its through tracking devices or virtual reality.


Week 14: Dec. 8

Taussig discusses mimetic faculty and how the eye plays an important role in how we perceive and understand the world around us. It is perhaps impossible for us to be able to truly “experience” an original of something. Our eyes are interpreting light, which is then a copy of the original light rays. We are not receiving the “purest” experience because it is impossible for us to — it seems every interaction with media or a stimulus is in some way a remediation.

To me, it’s most obvious when we encounter a new technological media. I first thought of virtual reality. The distortion of VR videos is difficult for new users. Many people struggle in perceiving and understanding the “artificial” world that has been constructed for them. However, with extended use, the artificial world becomes more natural. The eyes and hears learn to remediate, perceive, and understand the environment. For me, it’s frightening to think that perhaps one day our senses will grow so accustomed to a virtual world that it may become preferable to the new one. Why experience something that is entirely out of your control, when you can alter every bit of an artificial experience? However, as Taussig writes, it seems that we are already in some ways living in a remediated world of mimicry.

I think this has scary implications for human perception and politics. For example, how can we ever be sure that what we are experiencing is “real” or the original? Our eyes and ears remediate every experience anyway. For me, it heavily implies that we live in a world based on imitation. It’s a mimetic world, and as such, I think it has greater opportunity for exploitation. Or, rather, paranoia.

Week 14:Hearing and Seeing

In Johnathan Sterne’s “Audile Technique and Media” he discusses the evolution of sound from a tool used in mediate auscultation, which was a medical practice, into a commodity good. Something that he emphasizes is that there was a shift in how sound was viewed. Instead of only being a medical listening device, it transformed into a technical device to connect networks of people through the implementation of telegraphy. From that point on technological advances in telegraphy became more sophisticated moving from visual written messages into audio messages, which allowed operators to move more quickly.

It also changed the aesthetics of the office. Workers were able to sit more comfortably in cubicles that were isolated from other workers, and long paper tapes were replaced with note pads and audio devices that relayed messages through a number of taps. All of these changes marked the importance of listening in telegraphy as a skill, and related to the idea of sound being a form of cultural currency. It also influenced the use of audio in more novelty ways of sound production. For example music, which is essentially just a group of isolated and organized sounds, has become a major profession. In essence, sound became a way for people to communicate their stories and messages to each other from anywhere in the world.

In Torben Grodal’s writing “Stories for Eye, Ear, and Muscles,” he talks about narrative and how it is typically only defined by the way it is manifested in media. For example, if I want to give an example of love, I may refer to the film Romeo and Juliet, instead of my own personal experience. This relates to virtual reality’s tendency to present an embodied brain approach, which simulates basic structures and aspects of real life occurrences. This relates to the concept of mimicry and the desire “to get hold of something by means of its likeness” (Taussig 206). Story mechanisms allow people to orient themselves in virtual space by integrating perception, emotion, cognition, and action. It can make people feel like they are experiencing something real, but virtual reality is not as accurate or complex as real life. This is one of the implications of virtual reality.

The concept of people having to learn to hear and see through a new technological media is a reflection of the progression that society has made in terms of tools for audio and visual imagery. However, it is also an indicator of our dependence on media as supplementary learning devices, instead of real life experience. Sound and imagery transport people to another place where their inner monologues can become more realized and they can act on inner thoughts that they would not typically be able to. However, people should also experience life in real time. Sound and Imagery is also capable of unifying people under a common thought and way of viewing the world. So in terms of new technological media, there has to be more caution and positive intentions placed into the messages that people are hearing and seeing.




Week 14 Blog

To “hear” or to “See” in a media sense is not necessarily to be exposed to a mixed messages or any form of art within a medium. It is an experience, an interaction, it is a type of contact between us as human beings and the machines (media).

When we are listening to a song on the radio, we’re not simply exposing our audio analytics to this piece, we are singing along, visualizing things, imagining scenarios, thinking about specific situations, dancing and moving. even though we only used our “ears” as a sense.

Same thing when we “see” a commercial on TV, we have physical/emotional reactions to it.

What I want to point out is how us as human beings we use our eyes and ears to decode and understand mixed media messages and interact with them

After reading Torben Grodal’s theory on Video Games, Media Stories and The embodied brain, I believe that interactive visualizations such as online games, Xboxes, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and all types of advanced technological games presented to us in the market today are pure example of how our brain is being transmitted into a virtual world simply by exposing our eyes and ears to a specific game.

We see a game and we hear the music/sound effects in the background whenever we’re playing a game. That’s the basic/shallow thing to happen but technically, our brains are being taken away into a virtual world and our bodies are going through an experience.

We can say that video games penetrate our minds through our eyes and ears so they an grab our brains and generate physical reactions through our bodies.

Which makes me think. Well how about sensitive topics such as Violence. What if they were portrayed to young children in video games. What will their physical reaction be?

young children cannot understand and react in a full-functional way at a young age so when they are playing an R rated game (Mortal Kombat) at the age of 8, how will their brains be triggered and how will their bodies react? will that lead them to be violent when they grow up?

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 13 – Expression across material difference

In ‘The Expressive Object’, Dewey explains how the artist uses the attributes of the medium in which they are working for expression. He makes an important distinction between expression and statement, that serves to get at the essence of what art is. A statement uses signs to point to a distinct goal with as much accuracy as possible, as exemplified by scientific notation. An expression however, does not seek to lead the viewer to an end but to create an association in the audience by way of experience. In the statement, the specific qualities of media are irrelevant, or worse, a hindrance to clearly conveying a message, while expression relies on the same completely. It is the artists “emotion”, as Dewey chooses to define it, the inner impulsion, that is worked through the material of the medium to gain the status of expression. Past experience is activated by new experience to form something new. Simple gushing forth of emotion is not expression, as expression requires thought and engagement with the world. The expressive object is the result of the mutual causation of individual and world, and the only way anything new may enter the world. As emotion changes material, material in turn changes the emotion and thus the individual themselves, and moves from personal experience to shared experience, from emotion to expression, thus becoming meaningful.

The re-ordering necessary for expression could not take place without abstraction, even life-like depictions are to some degree abstractions. The artist’s “imaginative vision” does not just see what is there literally, but also infers relations that lie outside the scope of the actual depiction. The expressive object says more than what is there, it goes beyond mere draftsmanship. Expression is dependent on the artist’s “integrated experience”, and can take the form of any medium.

Brun shares the view that we can never know what art or music is, because it is not defined by an end goal. Music itself is an experience not a statement, and can thus not be explained away. Brun says instead that there is something forever changeable but fundamentally consistent in music, and that is what distinguishes music from all audible phenomena, or art from life. Importantly this distinction is permeable and dynamic. Both composer’s and listener’s ideas of what music is change over time and in constant relation to the world and the emergence of new media.

Brun argues for media-specific analysis in saying that in order to really hear a piece of music you must know the system it is based on, to know the parameters it works against and that give it definition. In this account, relations between acoustical events are what make music rather than the acoustical events themselves. Every medium has its affordances that provide parameters for the final piece. Thus, it corresponds with Dewey’s principle of expression as necessarily engaged with material (or immaterial material, such as sound). According to both Dewey and Brun, the medium should be chosen with reference to the idea, how it may be most suitably expressed. The medium and its inherent qualities will then feed back into and alter the idea itself. Bad art comes from blindly sticking to your guns, or conversely, allowing the material to wash away the impulsion.

Because of the organic nature of the relationship between the artist and the world, new media influences “old” media and how we use and perceive them. Changes in the material induce changes in the imagination, or emotional reservoir of the artist, giving rise to new impulsions. The impulsion is given meaning by its association to things outside of it, creating a whole of which it is part.

The universality of these concepts and the obvious correspondence between Dewey’s and Brun’s texts, even though they are considering different arts disciplines, lets us deduce that the artist’s engagement with new and “old” media is in fact based on the same principles, and thus does not differ in kind. The engagement that is the result of impulsion and the world is the same for all expression, however the artist decides to engage with material. The different materials facilitate different types of work, while the artist’s engagement remains in principle the same. Through expression, art lifts things out of habitual association to be seen anew, in whatever medium.

December 1- Week 13

The creation of art throughout time has changed significantly with the technology. Dewey, and people in his mind set, see the “old” media of paintings, sculptures, classical music, etc. as high art, and would likely discredit much of the art produced today. The classical mediation between the artist and a painting for example is much different than a digital artist today. The material of a canvas and paint is limited to only so many strokes and redos, and thus what is put on the canvas is planned out more. Similarly, because of economic restraints, an artist does not have as many opportunities to create something. This is especially true of something like sculpture; each hit of the hammer takes away a piece of marble, etc. that can not be re-added.

Modern technologies allow both more mediation and less demand for it. An artist can meticulously plan a piece of architecture or sculpture for months with digital programs. Conversely, much of the art produced today does have an undo button, both literally and figuratively. Anything done with photo editing software can be undone. Alternatively, the proliferation of supplies in modern day and their relative cheapness means that if something goes completely wrong during an artistic piece’s construction, an artist can start anew with much less of a hassle.

This is especially true with music, which Brun discusses in depth. For a large part of the 1900’s recording music had a sense of permanence. Getting something pressed to vinyl was (and still is) incredibly expensive and permanent. Digital music, however, flourishes in its non-permanence. There are multiple takes and remixes of most songs produced digitally. An even more recent example is Kanye West’s most recent album, The Life of Pable. The album itself was released once, only to be taken back and re-arranged several times with different versions and additional songs on the album weeks later. As such, understanding the media is very important to understanding the efforts of mediation. Things can be put out prematurely only to be rereleased later.