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Category Archives: Fran’s section

It was interesting to read the point about the post-digital age being partially exemplified in a move past the digital aesthetic of blue as a cool, medium defining (or maybe not defining, perhaps reflecting?) color, mostly because I think this is something that I’ve always recognized but never seen legitimized and proclaimed in such a straightforward manner. For example, in both the original and the remake of TRON, the majority of the environments are blue. (although I think The Matrix may have introduced/helped inseminate green as a color people myself included associate with digital-ness as well). Yes, digital spaces portrayed in pop culture will most likely be blue. And know I understand it is because blue literally is the coolest color in the color spectrum. But why does blue convey cleanness? Do we associate the cold with clean?

I think that the post-punk metaphor is a good one in terms of explaining the idea that we are very much still a culture that is digitally focused (or obsessed) but that we have moved onto a distinct new stage of said foes or obsession. I also enjoy Cascone’s understanding of post-digital as a reference to an era wherein the disruption brought upon by digital information technology is no longer perceived as disruptive.

Also interesting was the highlighting of the year 1990 as the split of how people being born would perceive the internet, those after it seeing the network as a largely corporate entity.

I felt that the argument that there is no such thing as digital aesthetics because we can only perceive information as analog, was a bit unnecessarily literal, and not really productive in terms of discussing aesthetics, only productive possibly in exploring the schism of analog vs. digital.

A lot of what Wark said was very reminiscent of Baudrillards theories of the simulacra and simulations, in that this gamespace we live in can at times be indistinguishable from games we play all the time. Also in the slow encroachment of this space over our reality. “THE GAME has not just colonized reality, it is also the sole remaining ideal.  this is strikingly reminiscent of the image of the tattered map becoming indistinguishable from the desert, the birth of the simulacra.

Also, a lot of what he discussed reminded me of a concept that I learned of in Alexandrina Agloro’s class last semester “Gaming of the Oppressed” called gamification, or the constant infiltration of game mechanics into every day life, as a tool of consumerism. Wark explains that our lives are made up of these gamespaces, “The computer games that the gamer finds there are the ruins not of a lost past but of an impossible future. – p15 Is gamification societies collective push towards this unattainable “game” future?

One thing that I disagree with, or at least do not fully understand, is exemplified here: “You trifle with the game to discover in what way gamespace falls short of its self-proclaimed perfection. I have not experienced this gamespace of ours to have been self-proclaiming itself as perfect. If anything, I have experienced the opposite, everyone who is inhabiting this space reinforcing that it is quite an imperfect and unfair space.

Right at the start I am intrigued to be reading a text on Anonymous that has been approved by a professor of mine, because to date, I have not seen a media report whether on television or an article online that does not completely miss the point or misunderstand the notion of 4chan and anonymous. I hope, as I read on, that the incredibly fascinating 21st century social and digital amalgam that is 4chan/anonymous is investigated with the same attention to detail as other critical texts. (Update: 1 paragraph in and I have a good feeling about the rest of the article.)

I find it interesting that Coleman sees 4chan’s labeling as cyber vigilantes a “misunderstanding”, as it seems, while much of their antics are done with a veil of trolling and mischief as their chief motivation, my perception of them is that in the end of the day this cyber vigilantism is at least some part of their culture. It must be right? Or else why would they do these things?

I think that this quote captures what I find so intriguing about anonymous. “But acting “on the wing” leverages Anonymous’s fluid structure, giving Anons an advantage, however temporary, over traditional institutions—corporations, states, political parties—that function according to unified plans.”  This idea that their nebulous-ness is their power, especially in this digital age in which perhaps this sort of power structure could be replicated. I also enjoyed learning a that a legitimate ethnographic phrase exists for the behavior that I very much associate with 4chan, which is their incredible frustration at the media’s inability to properly represent them: “superaltern”.

“at the periphery, an annular building; at the centre, a tower; this tower is pierced with wide windows that open onto the inner side of the ring; the peripheric building is divided into cells, each of which extends the whole width of the building.” This was somewhat alarming to read, because this description of Foucault’s panopticon could honestly be mistaken for a description of my dorm building, Barbour Hall. (Sans the tower). The building is ring shaped (annular) with a space in the middle (courtyard). Everyone is constantly watching each other from their building-wide cells (the rooms are the width of the interior courtyard). There is even a hierarchy of power, in that depending on which floor you live on, the angle can be such that you can see everyone else but no one can see you (top floor) and vice versa at the bottom. I live in, possibly the most exposed room in the building, it is the only one on the bottom floor. I can barely see into any of the other rooms, while everyone, this entire year, has been able to peer down and watch my roommates and I live our lives. “He is seen, but he does not see.” – Foucault, page 200. At first it was incredibly unnerving but we all adjusted, even becoming friends with some of the people that have direct views into our suite. It still disturbs me every time I go to one of the upper floor rooms and look down at my bed, thinking of all the people who could so easily watch me sleep. This year I have been constantly surveyed, with no way of knowing who is surveying. I have lived the panopticon experience. Thank you Brown University, for this year-long, hands on lesson in constructing modes of power.

This was my second viewing of I love Alaska as I watched it in the intro MCM class. Unfortunately, I almost wish I had not watched it again, as it was so much more powerful in my memory. Perhaps watching it with more experience in the department and knowledge of approaches to engaging with these texts removed a sense of wonder that I had towards it when watching as an un-indoctrinated freshman.

I loved the mysterious way in which Patchwork girl slowly unraveled, revealing it’s characters and universe to me as a non-linear story that I was in charge of unfolding, only I had a blindfold on myself, in that I had no conception of the framework behind the story. I enjoyed the nostalgic aspect as well, (having to enter in the text through the older mac interface) which I think majorly influenced my reading of the story, a McLuhan said “the medium is the message.” Just as soon as I thought I was getting a hang of the rhythm of this unfolding literary web, I would stumble upon some new network schema that organized things completely differently. My favorite aspect of the experience was reading the stories behind each of the body parts, which so effectively and simultaneously populated this world as well as others that we would not get to explore in this read through. (By introducing characters or referencing events and places that we would hear nothing more of).

Reading the Cramer article on the post digital, I was struck by the discussion of old media in arts during the rise of new media.

“no exhibition is complete without some form of bulky, obsolete technology – the gently clunking carousel of a slide projector or the whirring of an 8-mm or 16-mm film reel.”

Having walked up the steps up the Granoff three times a week this semester, this observation stood out as I’m sure many of you saw the set up of the film reel threading film throughout multiple floors of the building and back onto the third floor where the film was projected onto a small screen. I don’t know what the piece was trying to say (it broadcast multiple sexual scenes of black and white footage from old movies), and I’m not sure how the medium was supposed to be interpreted, though it certainly was a focal point considering it was tied throughout the entirety of the building rather than just projected on a wall. Cramer goes on to discus art and artist’s relations to old media which I found quite fascinating (and sort of expected). She said 70% of art students polled would rather design a poster than a website. As an artist, I felt this was pretty obvious but I guess it’s not. Being able to design and create things on a digital platform is amazing and I have the upmost respect for artists who do that sort of thing. Some of the most talented people I know use a digital interface to create works I could only dream of and I am absolutely impressed by everything they do. Still, there is something so much more alluring and comforting about working with something in the “real” world. The thing you’re creating is something you have made with your own hands (or with whatever you use to make it). It is tangible, it is gratifying, every move you make has a permanence to it. You cannot Ctrl+z your mistakes or save your changes in another layer. You have to just trust your instincts and create. I love working with my hands, with paints, three dimensional materials, markers, pastels, anything really. Working in a digital space I find constraining, non-engaging, tedious. This of course is just my own personal experience and opinion, and I really am not that good at using digital media to convey what I have in mind so that too could lend a bias to my interpretation.

 

Cramer explores the artist and her intentions when it comes to this use of old media, questioning whether it is a choice made out of convenience, out of a simple love of aesthetics, or if there is a political message to their use. She discusses the political messages that could be associated with an artist’s use of physical film rather than digital footage, saying that film gives the artist the opportunity to physically engage in a sensual way with their media and make something tangible for, but also it gives the artist power in a world where a government (like Britain’s) can dominate the televised networks with their digital media. Physical media, like film, in this way are means of taking back power. When I think about this in the context of Citizenfour and Shah’s examination of exposure and regulation, I can see how this non-digital means of production could be alluring, avoiding the unwanted exposure and possibility of leaks and hacks that the digital is all too prone to. At the same time, I wonder if Cramer is over thinking and attempting to generalize something so broad where every artist makes their own decisions based on personal preferences. There is not necessarily one universal reason for the use of old media. Sometimes, it really is just aesthetic.

We have already entered the realm of the digital, can we even move to post-digital?

This question continually stumps me. I know that as a Generation Z-er, I have never had a time in my life without the presence of new digital media. Old media is viewed with a nostalgia that I was socialized to believe by older generations. Why do I think records are cool, when I have only used them a few times, and I listen to Spotify and iTunes everyday?

On the Internet, the good is mixed with the bad, because that’s also how society works. I think the Internet is a continuation of civil society, as well as community. People participate in digital media, because it’s either participate or get left behind. Participation can lead to extraordinary mobilization of movements, which includes exposure. Participation also leads to the constant creation of big data, which is used to predict based on pure data. And it all seems game-like and removed,  because it takes place somewhere separate from the physical real world, but has very real consequences.

I think the question to ask is not if we can move to a post-digital society, but in what ways can digital media continue to take over society? When will digital media be taken for granted, and not as a remarkably new phenomenon? Will the digital ever move into the real?

The anecdotes described at the beginning of Mayer-Schönberger’s big data chapter, about H1N1 and airline prices, really intrigued me this week. Often times in the past, whenever I heard anyone discussing big data, it was typically in terms of it being intrusive or almost oppressive in its omniscience and scope. However, I liked this almost hopeful and positive counterpoint to these other doom and gloom ideas. I’m not denying that big data has the potential to be something intrusive and potentially frightening. However, I do also think it’s important to counterbalance those fears with the positive results of big data, like improving knowledge about public health and saving consumers money, as articulated by Mayer-Schönberger.

In this way, I personally feel that big data is a good thing that should be used in order to promote improvements, like the ones mentioned above. I think this would be especially important in the public health example. I would much rather have my data collected and analyzed than stay off the grid if it meant possibly improving knowledge about a potentially dangerous sickness or even contributing to finding a cure. Granted, this is a personal opinion and I do think that it’s valid to question and be skeptical about big data’s methods and the motivations of the people who control it.

Well, in light of today’s assignment, I almost forgot that we had to post anything. So I’m going to keep this short. In lecture, we discussed how a post-digital age is one in which new media is no longer seen as disruptive or revolutionary. Is this at all related to Shah’s argument about how the shift from old to new media is a shift from being regulated to creating regulation?