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This is the last blog of my media course and I would like to explore one of my favourite new media example, the remix culture. I came across remix culture since I was in year 9, just the time that internet are a platform for us to download illegal music. Heaps of mash-up are available online but it was until the introduction of youtube and myspace (allows the user to share their music online), remix culture has become  popular  and it challenges a lot of legal issue.

So what is remix culture? Remix culture describes the culture that media users are starting to remix and mash up anything they want with any kind of easily accessible remix program. The most common behaviours are the mash-up with music obviously, and also, the remixing of different footages into a short movie is also commonly seen.

I found an interesting idea by Lessig (2007) to explain the changes of such media culture. He borrows two components from how CDRs can be used, Read-Only and Read/Write.  Basically, we are living under these two media cultures. Read-Only culture refers to one way creativity from producer to consumer, in which the consumers are only allowed to ‘read’ the media but not able to have any editing or even share with then. Obviously, this represents the commercial side of the media, Read-Only culture products mean money for producers and all are protected under Copyright. While on the other hand, the thriving Read/White culture reresent the current user, where we are able to create, participate or even remix other’s work.

In fact, these two cultures are currently coexisting in our media culture. Some may argue that the Read/Write creativity may have a negative effect on the whole media industry. Rather, I think these cultures are complementary in the creative perspective. The introduction of the Read/Write culture does not compete with or weaken the market for the creative work that get mixed. In some sense, that is a new creation from what  has been created.

An example would be Dean Gray. This is a band that remix the whole album of popular band Green Day to the internet for a nono-profit purpose.  The uploaded site was only active for 10 days as they are sued from Green’s Day label. Interestingly, Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong has described the matter as ‘really cool’ after hearing one of the song on the radio. (Montgomery 2005)

Dean Gray version

Original Version from Green Day

What I am trying to say is that the the changes that media proceeding is way faster than the society expected. It is impossible for the government to react and cope with such epic change. Just like the remix culture, currently there is no laws to restrict this phenomenon. It is the responsibility for the government to find a way to allow the co-exist of two culture.

Lessig, L 2007, Larry Lessig on laws that choke creativity, online video, accessed on 31 May 2011

<http://www.ted.com/talks/larry_lessig_says_the_law_is_strangling_creativity.html>

Montgomery, J 2005, ‘Green Day Mash-Up Leads to Cease-And-Desist Order, Grey Tuesday-Style Protest’ MTV accessed on 31 MAy 2011

<http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1518595/20051220/green_day.jhtml?headlines=true>

But is it art? This is a question that I find myself constantly asking to my artist friends.

Is it art? or just a projector on a building?

Art is no doubt about the aesthetics. But it also is a feeling, a thought, something that an artist tries to express. The artist transversals his/her own mind into an artwork. It is up to the viewer to interpret the meaning behind an artwork base on their culture and personal experiences. In the past, art are restricted to drawings, sculptures base on the circumstance. That is the best they can do. But for now, the way technologies structure our lives has undergone a massive change, and so does art. Artists are able to express their thoughts with the help of new technologies. Thus, a new term has been employed to classify such new phenomenon of art, NEW MEDIA ART. According to Wikipedia, new media art is a genre that encompasses artworks created with new media technologies, including digital art, computer graphics, computer animation, etc (Wikipedia 2011). I am confused with this new genre of art as it blurs the lines between science and art, or I may say it combines science and art and create a new definition of art?

The Bodyshelf project by Armstrong (2005) is new media art that certainly blur the boundaries between science and art. The Bodyshelf project is an ‘immersive, interactive installation’. It connects two participants by a touch sensitive physical interface called a Bodyshelf, in which they can sense and interact with each other by this device. It took more than one people to this idea on creating this technology. The nature of creating art has changed become a collaboration of ideas.

In addition, new media art often involves the collaboration of the artists and other elements. For instance, the devices itself is not art; it involves participants to complete this artwork. Another interesting example is the wooden mirror:

The wooden mirror becomes a piece new media art when it reflects the image.

Another issue that raised by new media art is the ownership in art (Shalom 2011). For the classic art, there is a clear idea of the ownership of the artwork. The artists create an artwork and the viewers do not have any power to make any changes on that. While for new media art, it challenges the power of the artists as for most case, the viewer is part of the art.

The viewer of the artists own the art? For me, both of them own it. There is no clear definition for the ownership.

Technology has reshaped the nature of art in so many ways. It expands the genre of art and it also brings a lot of novelty to it.  But is it art? My answer for sure yes as it is still the key concepts of art, to express the thoughts of artists.

References:

Armstrong, Keith (2005) ‘Intimate Transactions: The Evolution of an Ecosophical Networked Practice’, the Fibreculture Journal 7, <http://seven.fibreculturejournal.org/fcj-047-intimate-transactions-the-evolution-of-an-ecosophical-networked-practice/> (accessed on 23 May 2011)

Shalom, Gabriel (2011) The Future of Art Transmediale <http://www.emergence.cc/2011/02/the-future-of-art/> (accessed on 23 May 2011)

Wikipedia (2011), ‘New Media Art’ <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_media&gt; (accessed on 23 May 2011)

This week we are focusing on another key element of the media network, data. Obviously, they are closely linked together as media is the medium of data, whenever data is transferring as a message or saving as an archive.

So, data, what can we do for it?  I find it complicate for this week blog posting, as the ideas I got from the reading seem are not related but at the same time, they actually overlaps each other. Urg, yea confusing, I will try my best to explain that here. First, I want to point out some good points on data, derive from The Vast Machine by Paul N. Edward (2010),

‘Without model, there are no data.’

Good point, but on the other hand it can be another way around. We can say a model is developed by data, but we can also say that we can get data from a model. So it is just a question for chicken and egg for this. Edward used climate change as the example for data. This is interesting as climate change, let’s just says global warming, and has long been argued on whether they are true or not.

‘Everything we know about the world’s climate – past, present and future – we know through models.’

So model is essential, not just for climate, it applies to a lot of things, like, media studies, economy, well, just anything you can name of require a model. It is just depends on us whether we stick to it or create a new form a model. As Edward points out,

‘There is always more to learn about the past… our perspectives on the past keeps changing. We argue about how to interpret the evidence, finding flaws in earlier interpretations.’

So, data itself does not change, it totally depends on we interpret it. Instantly, I just think of one image that probably presents this idea for me.

Woman or Old Lady?

Do you see old woman or a young lady? The image (data) did not change but how we interpret matters.

There are tones of way to interpret a data thanks to media and internet. Media itself obviously provides a huge range of perspectives for us as we can easily access all source of information online. And here it come the idea of infotention introduced by Howard Rheingold. According to Rheingold (2009), infotention is a skill “describe the psycho-social-techno skill/tools we all need to find our way online today, a mind-machine combination of brain-powered attention skills with computer-powered information filters”.

Basically, it means the process of filtering information or data online. Information online is just packed, it becomes necessary for us to get the good and trustworthy stuff from the wide range of sources. What we need for this is the mindful infotention, in which require a good source of attention literacies and infotention filters (Rheingold 2009). I am not so sure on this but I think it means we need to have a clear mind on what we are looking for with the use of corresponding technical skills?

Edwards, Paul N. (2010) ‘Introduction’ in A Vast Machine: Computer models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming Cambridge, MA: MIT Press: xiii-xvii

Rhiengold, Howard (2009) ‘Mindful infotention: Dashboards, Radars, Filters’ <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/rheingold/index&gt; (accessed on 6 April 2011)

Wesley

“In short media and communications might not produce all of “the real”, but they definitely produce more and more of “reality” (our limited experience of the real).”

A quote from Andrew’s lecture has summed up the role of media in reality, and of course, there is just so much to say on this. I totally agree with Andrew’s point that media and communications has produced various form of reality, probably most of the reality we are dealing with nowadays has something to do with media.

And this just reminds me an article on the ‘Next Five in Five’ from IBM. In the article, ” one of the five expected innovations is ‘holographic 3D mobile conversations’ – something that would truly be science fiction meeting reality.”

http://www.3dfocus.co.uk/3d-news-2/ibm-3d-hologram-mobile

And again, this blur the boundaries for reality and virtual, can we define the 3D hologram as ‘reality’? Yes as in the hologram is actually showing your friends? No as in they are not physically there?

So back to the topic, virtual reality (VR).VR is probably one of the most popular and familiar for us in recent years. According to Wikipedia, the definition of VR is a term that “applies to computer simulated environments that can simulate physical presence in places in the real world, as well as in imaginary worlds.” Yes, we have to agree that VR technology has a huge effect on the society when it comes to things like medical treatment, scenario practicing for the army. However, it also draws quite a lot of consequences when it comes to video and online games. We have to question ourselves whether the virtual is real or what reality is. You may think this is exaggerating, but some seriously involved gamers do have a tough time on this. Indeed, there is vast media coverage on gamers spending too many times on online or video gaming that lead to death.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007-02/28/content_815396.htm

This is just one of many examples. Also, I believe the VR technology doe change the reality in different aspects. One common issue is the virtual violence in video and online game. Well, I totally agree that as in the actual world, we can just know about violence through our parents, friends, but then the VR technology has actually visualized the whole violence and give a much clearer sense to us how does violence actually work. And then it just leads to the idea that Andrew has raised in the course reader. The ideas of virtual in Andrew‘s (2011) sense is ‘the potential waiting to be actualized’ and also if something is virtual, it is ‘something that has gained potential by being de-actualized.’ I am indeed very much confused before the tutorial, but I think in brief, every virtual thing has the potential to become the actual thing. The violence from virtual reality probably is probably an example on this. We all know what violence is, but it is our own decisions on whether we ‘actualize’ that in the real world.

In addition, Grayson’s article (2009) has introduced another kind of reality, the augmented reality. Basically it is “a term for a live direct or an indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer generated  sensory input, such as sound or graphics” according to Wikipedia. The ideas are amazing; I am shocked to see the virtual mirror by Ray-Ban, and how BMW has used technology of augmented reality as a way of teaching their mechanics to repair a car. (More videos can be found on the website, which are all worth to watch!)

Grayson, Chris (2009) ‘Augmented Reality Overview’, GigantiCo

<http://gigantico.squarespace.com/336554365346/2009/6/23/augmented-reality-overview.html> (accessed on 29 March 2011)

Murphie, Andrew (2011) ‘Is The Virtual Real?’ Advanced Media Issues

Wikipedia ‘Augmented Reality’ <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_reality>  (accessed on 29 March 2011)

Wikipedia ‘Virtual Reality’, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_reality> (accessed on 29 March 2011)

Wesley

For this week’s readings, I am overwhelmed by the perspective and information that the authors and theorists have raised. I do struggle to start on this week’s topic.

Ok, ‘Global mnemotechnic’, the topic for this week refers to any practice of memory. Memory, a very interesting topic but I can’t really link this to media at first place. But obviously, after completing the reading for this week, I did change my mind and actually the readings allow me to think something that I have never thought of.

There is so much going on for this week, I am going to write a brief summary on each of the concept and then try to link them together later on. From the reader, ‘Is there really a Present’ is definitely eye catching. The answer for this question just quickly slip out from my mouth, ‘ YES!’ However I am not so sure after I read the part. ‘Past in the present’ and ‘the future in the present’ are two very interesting concepts.

“ In reality, we are literally experiencing the (very recent) past…. You might be able to ‘seize the day’ but it is literally impossible to ‘live in the moment’.”

Good points and I am sure that everyone will have to rethink the answer for the question after reading this.

Second point, and is probably the biggest topic for this week, the extended mind. Do memory, thinking or mind are all happening under our skin or within our brain? Andrew did explain the term Hypomnesis and Anamnesis in the lecture, in which refer to ‘extended memory which is technical, or recalling things through techniques’ and natural memory respectively. In my opinion, these two ideas probably have answered the question I just raised. The environment or should I say ‘umwelts’ has definitely something to do with our thinking , memory and mind. An interesting example from Noë (2010) has prove this right,

‘Brain stands to mind the way engine stands to driving.’

Straight forward and so true!  We have to have some other components to complete our mind.

Another example from Chalmers (2009) also illustrates the environment’s role in connection to the mind. Two fictional characters Otto and Inga both want to go to the same place. While Inga recalls the address of the place, Otto find the address through reading his notebook. Thus, this is one example that clears my mind that there is definitely two kind of way that memory and mind work ‘in’ and ‘out’ of our brain.

Bernard (n.d.) claimed that the use of hypomnesis will cause a loss of knowledge as we heavily rely on the technologies to function our memory and mind. For this, I cant really tell the answer. Yes, we may have relied on technologies, but doesn’t that allow us to have more room to think more?

Lastly, the video by Alan Kay is totally mind blowing, I still doubt that whether the lady know how to play tennis or not. Well, what can I say for this? Maybe after all, externalizing memory is extremely helpful to the point we never noticed!

Chalmers, David (2009) ‘The Extended Mind Revisited [1/5], at Hong Kong, 2009’, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8S149IVHhmc> (accessed on 22 March 2011)

Kay, Alan <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50L44hEtVos>(accessed on 22 March 2011)

Noë, Alva (2010) ‘Does thinking happen in the brain?’, 13:7 Cosmos and Culture <http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2010/12/10/131945848/does-thinking-happen-in-the-brain>(accessed on 22 March 2011)

Stiegler, Bernard (n.d.) ‘Anamnesis and Hypomnesis: Plato as the first thinker of the proletarianisation’ <http://arsindustrialis.org/anamnesis-and-hypomnesis>(accessed on 22 March 2011)

Wesley

Media ecology, before dealing with the readings and the lecture materials, in my mind, this is probably going to be a term referring media as a cycle, like how do different things like culture, technologies and media link together. This is such a massive term as the media is constantly changing and it is hardly for us to trace back which cause which or which one is the outcome of the other. Although I am overwhelmed by the information and perspectives on media ecology I got in the reading, I am glad that I am on the same track with a more recent interpretation, the European way, in which is the investigation of media systems as complex dynamic systems. (Wikipedia)

However, I have to confess that I am very much confused on the significant difference between the Northern American interpretation and the European one. Obviously the term ecology brings us the notion of environment and also I could not agree on Neil Postman that media ecology is the study of media as environments. Even on the youtube video I found on media ecology did not provide me the answer.

“With the media ecology perspective, rather than trying to get what is the message that is sent by the medium, you try to understand the larger social, even the side effects of a unit medium in terms of what kind of scale and scope change in pace does it bring into the culture.”

Lucky enough in the require readings, there is a more practical example on media ecology, the modern journalism! Finally it comes to something I am familiar as a journalism student and this example definitely helps a lot. According to Milissa Deitaz (2010), “A media ecosystem is a phenomenon in which journalism is a joint project between journalists, non-journalists, accidental journalists, bloggers, politicians, celebrities, and the general public.” Yes, this means we can never tell that things happened in media is a clear cause to others but a complex and dynamic system. This is so true as we really cannot tell is the culture determine our technology or the other way around. For me, it is purely what perspectives you take on the system. As a media student, I believe it is vital for us to look as much perspectives as possible so that we can make our own judgment.

Maybe we can tell in the ancient time, the alphabetic culture that Levinson (1997) has raised as it is less complicated by the time. But for now, we are just overwhelmed by the number of media platforms.

Deitz, Milissa (2010) ‘The New Media Ecology’, On Line Opinion: Australia’s e-journal of social and political debate

<http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=11410&page=1> (accessed on 16March 2011)

Levinson, Paul (1997) ‘The First Digital Medium’ in Soft Edge; a natural history and future of the information revolution London: Routledge:11-20

Wikipedia, ‘Media Ecology’

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_ecology> (accessed on 16March 2011)

Wesley