Wednesday, 21 November 2007
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
Before reading Inanimate Alice you might like to review these helpful resources:
Subject = Digital Literacy: “Literature in a Hypermedia Mode: An interview with Marjorie Luesebrink” by Thomas Swiss and “Electronic Literacies” by Caitlin Fisher
Subject = Modes: “Examining a Picture” by Dr. Martha Driver, “On Gold and Silver Ages and the Elements of Hypertext” by Jennifer Ley (see page 2) and “Hypertext and the Art of Memory” by Janine Wong and Peter Storkerson
After completing this lesson, students will be able to:
- Identify and become familiar with multiple modes of representation.
- Critique the effects of various modes on the narrative.
- Give examples of explicit calls for participatory reading in Inanimate Alice.
Students should refer to accompanying handouts for further explanation and questions.
Student Handout: Reading Inanimate Alice, Episode 1 - Student Reading Reflection
NOTE: Students should answer at least ONE of these questions as a comment to this post.
Now you have finished reading “Episode 1: China,” Inanimate Alice. Write a short blog (or journal) entry to think about your reading experience. Be sure to answer the following:
What I did (Explain how you read the story – did your eyes scan each screen from left to right? How did you feel about the sound, images, and words that would appear all at the same time on certain screens?)
What I enjoyed (Write about what you liked most about Episode 1)
What I found difficult (Write about the most difficult part of reading Episode 1)
What really worked (What was the best bit about the story and why)
Next time (What will you do when it comes to reading Episode 2? How will you prepare? What tips might you share with other readers for their first digital story reading experience?)
Thanks to all the students of MEDS 2007 for participating!!!
Tuesday, 6 November 2007
1) ‘The supposedly distinct characteristics of new media: digital convergence; many-to-many communication; interactivity; globalisation; virtuality are arguably, with the possible exception of the specifically technical, not new at all’ (Silverstone, 1999: 11). Critically examine the problems in defining “new media”.
2) ‘ . . . The personal and social consequences of any medium- that is, of any extension of ourselves- results from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.’ (McLuhan, 1964: 7). Using examples of “new” and “old” media, elucidate and analyse the theory of media technology known as technological determinism.
3) ‘Any particular technology is then as it were a by-product of a social process that is otherwise determined. It only acquires effective status when it is used for purposes which are already contained in this known social process’ (Williams, 1974: 6). Using examples of “new” and “old” media elucidate and analyse the theory of media technology that focuses on the social shaping of technology.
4) Kranzberg’s first law of technology states that “Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.” Discuss this law in relation to any of the theories you have looked at in this module.
5) With the advent of digital technology ‘Sound becomes a series of partial objects for engineering, rather than an object of admiration for heavenly metaphorics.’ (Mackay in Ansell, 1997: 253). Critically examine how digital technology has changed the relationship of producers and consumers to media content.
6) Critically examine Manovich’s view that interactivity as a unique aspect of new media is a “myth” (2001: 55).
7) Examine the validity of Gordon Graham’s statement that an online or virtual community ‘is a second-rate form of community’ (1999: 145).
8) ‘It is not just that the tools and issues brought to the fore by internet art are current, and therefore relevant to how we live now. Internet art is part of a continuum within art history that includes strategies such as instructions, appropriation, dematerialisation, networks and information.’ (Greene, Rachel, Internet Art, 2004) Does New Media offer artists anything new?
The DEADLINE for Assignment One will be at the end of Week 8, on Friday 23 November at 12pm. Essays should be handed it to the Student Advice Centre.
Tuesday, 30 October 2007
"The most extreme danger is that man, insofar as he produces himself, no longer feels any other necessities than the demands of his self-productions...What is uncanny, however, is not so much that everything will be extinguished, but instead that this [extinctin of language and tradition] does not actually come to light. The surge of information veils the disappearance of what has been, and prospective planning is just another name for the obstruction of the future"
Utopia: A place, state, or condition that is ideally perfect in respect of politics, laws, customs, and conditions.
Dystopia: A futuristic, imagined universe in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained through corporate, bureaucratic, technological, moral, or totalitarian control. Dystopias, through an exaggerated worst-case scenario, make a criticism about a current trend, societal norm, or political system.
Technoscience designates the social and technological context of science. The notion indicates a common recognition that scientific knowledge is not only socially coded and historically situated but sustained and made durable by material (non-human) networks.
"Types of Dystopian Controls
Most dystopian works present a world in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained through one or more of the following types of controls:
• Corporate control: One or more large corporations control society through products, advertising, and/or the media. Examples include Minority Report and Running Man.
• Bureaucratic control: Society is controlled by a mindless bureaucracy through a tangle of red tape, relentless regulations, and incompetent government officials. Examples in film include Brazil.
• Technological control: Society is controlled by technology—through computers, robots, and/or scientific means. Examples include The Matrix, The Terminator, and I, Robot.
• Philosophical/religious control: Society is controlled by philosophical or religious ideology often enforced through a dictatorship or theocratic government.
The Dystopian Protagonist
• often feels trapped and is struggling to escape.
• questions the existing social and political systems.
• believes or feels that something is terribly wrong with the society in which he or she lives.
• helps the audience recognizes the negative aspects of the dystopian world through his or her perspective.
Create a table with three columns. One column titled "Film," the next column as "Dystopian Characteristic," and the third column "Explanation of the Characteristic." Fill in the chart as we watch examples from films such as The Matrix, I Robot, and Battlestar Gallactica.
Monday, 22 October 2007
"It's far too early to tell what the tools of social psychology and sociology will help us make of the raw material of group interaction that proliferates in cyberspace. This is an area where adroit use of the Net by scholars could have a profound effect on the nature of the Net. One of the great problems with the atmosphere of free expression now tolerated on the Net is the fragility of communities and their susceptibility to disruption. The only alternative to imposing potentially dangerous restrictions on freedom of expression is to develop norms, folklore, ways of acceptable behavior that are widely modeled, taught, and valued, that can give the citizens of cyberspace clear ideas of what they can and cannot do with the medium, how they can gain leverage, and where they must beware of pitfalls inherent in the medium, if we intend to use it for community-building. But all arguments about virtual community values take place in the absence of any base of even roughly quantified systematic observation.
Right now, all we have on the Net is folklore, like the Netiquette that old-timers try to teach the flood of new arrivals, and debates about freedom of expression versus nurturance of community. About two dozen social scientists, working for several years, might produce conclusions that would help inform these debates and furnish a basis of validated observation for all the theories flying around. A science of Net behavior is not going to reshape the way people behave online, but knowledge of the dynamics of how people do behave is an important social feedback loop to install if the Net is to be self-governing at any scale."
~The Virtual Community, Howard Rheingold
In this seminar following the lecture on virtual communities we'd like you to consider some questions.
Some things you might want to keep in mind when thinking about these questions are how they relate to things such as globalisation, subjective and objective interests, authority, the public sphere (Habermas), social capital, “real life”.
You also might want to think about the different types of virtual community that might be constituted using different media forms (e.g. mobile phones, MUDs, Second Life, Web forums, social network sites, newspapers).
1. Is what happens in virtual worlds important? Perhaps keeping in mind the examples from the lecture of A Rape in Cyberspace and the protest against Le Pen in Second Life can you think of any reasons why we should or shouldn’t take virtual worlds seriously?
2. What is the difference between a social network and a virtual community? What are the differences between different social networking sites (E.g. Facebook, Myspace, asmallworld)?
3. Is there increased diversity in virtual communities (as compared to your experience of real life communities)?
4. Do you think virtual communities enhance democracy?
5. Do you think the notion of a virtual community is a useful one?
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
In the seminars we debated the pros and cons of the plethora of information available online. We wondered who it benefits and what (new) role the audience and producers might have to play.
All seminar groups were asked to submit some notes they made while discussing the merits of both Keen and Bell's arguments which appear below.
In Jess's seminar the current attempt of RadioHead to change their business model was raised as an example of a benefit of freely available content. However, it was noted that RadioHead could *afford* to try out this experiment as they already have a plethora of loyal fans. Students agreed that newer bands/musicians probably would not be able to use this method as an entry point into the market. Some interesting comments on this experiment:
"Radiohead's music model is noble, but will it spread?" Larry Magid
"Radiohead online release on track" CBC
"Radiohead Online Album Crushing Success" Richard Menta
"Radiohead Offers up New Album as Pay-What-You-Can to Fans" Ezra Winton
"STOP! Music IS the new economy" Gmuva.
In Jess's seminar session some photos were taken with the agreement of all students (if you've had a change of heart e-mail me - jlaccetti AT dmu DOT ac DOT uk - and I will take the photos down).