Archive | May, 2014

From Content to Experience – how ‘new’ documentaries are utilised as an artistic networking tool #ARTS3091

26 May

‘New’ digital forms of documentaries don’t just simply tell or show the audience content, they “singularise expression” via artistic means (Munster 2013 p. 105). Singularising expression means communicating a message through artistic and aesthetic forms, creating an experience, which involves the audience, rather than simply injecting them with information and facts. As Max Schleser, experimental mobile documentary filmmaker, said:

 

“…documentary is understood as a creative genre rather than a form of news journalism”(Schleser 2012).

 

Schleser uses his camera on his phone to create art and encourage action rather than simply exposing content. His documentary ‘Max with a Keitai’ explored Japanese metropolitan centres and derelict shopping malls through the lens of a mobile phone to highlight the failures of techno-culture in one of the most technologically advanced cities. Rather than following traditional-style documentary making, he uses sound, repetition and blurred images to communicate with his audience – in hope that they will relate rather than simply watch his documentary. As he said,

 

“Mobile media provides a license to break the rulebook of filmmaking and explore new film formats” (Schleser 2012).

 

Furthermore, since camera phones have made it possible for anyone to be a documentary filmmaker, as Kate Nash emphasised, “…we all write about ourselves in various ways, we all post images, we all create a narrative of our lives and the things we’re passionate about”,(ABC Radio 2012)audiences are no longer static participants in the documentary making process. Arguably, the receiver of a documentary is now a networked participant. YouTube and Mobile video-making platforms encourage us to play a responsive role to the world around us, to document feelings and “everyday moments” (Munster 2013, p. 104).‘New’ documentary forms breaks down the ‘top-down’ network of professional documentary making. Today, anybody can express themselves and communicate with others by creating, publishing and networking documentaries online.

 

The question must be posed, however, whether digital documentaries have shifted society away from the real world issues and into a realm of self-absorption? Have we forgotten about the importance of content and become too obsessed with capturing artistic expression and pointless daily activity?

 

Comparing the following documentaries, it will be evident that traditional, story-telling style documentaries have a lot of educational value as well a lasting impression to motivate social change.

 

1. Traditional style documentary – ‘The Surgery Ship’ Directed by Madeleine Hetherton

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmAWh9X6m-0

 

2. New’ digital style documentary – ‘Max with a Keitai’ Directed by Max Schleser

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jc2iLI5Mx0

 

Even though Schleser’s artistic documentary – using digital form in an “immanent sense” (sense as it is brought together in the immediate situation), may impact individuals in a longer-lasting way than the conventional story telling documentaries, the following two videos present how society has become unhealthily obsessed with documenting moments within their own lives:

 

1. ‘Hahaha’ – A mini-video documenting a baby’s laugh

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NE-Cqsk5pFY

 

2. ‘Help Kaelyn Shop!’ – A short documentary of a little girl going shopping

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzIRdiZ99tU

 

We must not under estimate the skills of professional documentary-makers to inform us of past and present political, social and culture issues. Although, as Katerina Cizek said, digital documentaries enable us to, “…work together in a much more democratic way to tell a story” (Funnell 2012), we must be wary not to become too self-absorbed in documenting every-day moments. Lack of listening to others within a network will inhibit productive communication and arguably de-value the artistic and interactive power behind digital documentaries.

 

References

Funnell, A 2012, ‘The documentary in the digital world’, ABC Radio, 16 September, accessed 26 May 2014, <http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/futuretense/the-documentary-in-the-digital-world/4254350#transcript&gt;.

 

Munster, A 2013, ‘Going Viral: Contagion as Networked Affect, Networked Refrain’, Aesthesia of Networks: Conjunctive Experience and Art and Technology Cambridge, MA: MIT Press: 99-123.

 

Schleser, M 2012, Vague Terrain Digital Art/Culture/Technology, accessed 26 May 2014, <http://vagueterrain.net/journal22/schleser/01&gt;.

 

Youtube 2014, accessed 26 May 2014, <https://www.youtube.com&gt;.

 

App Usage – an insight into the ways fragmented devices continue to restructure human communication, connectivity and activity #ARTS3091

20 May

Apps have been developed to the point of being able to accommodate every human need and desire. Whether it be for communication, travel, time, music, news, navigation, gaming, banking and many other day-to-day activities, there will be an App to accommodate for it. This fragmented media has become such a prominent feature in our daily routines, that Apps are essentially “altering how we interact with the physical environment” (Boiler 2013).

 

Looking at all the Apps on my iPhone as a whole, they reflect my daily routine. My alarm up wakes me up, TripView provides me with my morning bus times, Google maps navigates me when I’m lost, the weather app influences my clothes choice, the SMH app enables me to read the news each morning, and the list goes on…without Apps my daily routine would be structured very differently.

 

Three Apps that have influenced the way I interact with the physical environment include “Quiz Up”, “Snapchat” and “Play Melbourne.”

 

“Quiz Up”, is a questionnaire gaming App that enables gamers to play with strangers around the world as well as local friends. Like many gaming Apps, this App is extremely addictive, and has actually become part of my daily routine. Instead of reading a book before going to sleep, I will sit in bed and play this game for hours. My boyfriend and I often verse each other, even when he’s sitting right next to me. It’s alarming that we are so addicted to this game that we would rather sit on our phones then have a face-to-face conversation! The vast extent and variety of gaming Apps rings alarm bells…would people rather play a game of football or ping pong on an App than actually physically play it outside?

 

“Snapchap” is an App that has greatly substituted my written communication with others. Rather than writing a long message after witnessing a funny situation, I will simply Snapchat it to a friend. As I use Snapchat so much, my brain has reached the point of subconsciously analysing whether physical acts/moments throughout my day will be ‘Snapchat worthy’ – greatly reshaping show I interact with my physical environment and to the point of causing me to move slower through my day.

 

“Play Melbourne” is a tourism App that opened up opportunities to experience museums, restaurants, bars, and many other tourist attractions in Melbourne that I probably wouldn’t have discovered if I simply read a tourist pamphlet. The App located my position (wherever I was during the day or night) and brought to my attention the nearest places I was specifically searching for. For example, I was able to find a rooftop bar, Italian restaurant and nail parlor within about 1 minute and all within approximately 5 meters of each other. This App definitely saves a great deal of time and inconvenience of asking various people where things are or consulting city maps etc.

 

As Apps continue to shape personal daily-routines and they way we communicate with one another, it’s interesting to think about how Apps/computing technology are utilised in the business world. It must be questioned how are they used by commercial companies and further, how they have influenced physical design within our “ambient commons”? (Boiler 2013).

 

Malcom McCullough states, “The more interactive technology mediates everyday experience, the more it becomes subject matter for design” (McCullough 2004, p. 3).Architects have incorporated media technology into the structural design of major cities to the extent that it is now “…on building facades, billboards, hotel lobbies, restaurants, elevators and even gas pumps” (Boiler 2013). When I shop in Zara and Topshop, I actually have to scan my bag before going into the fitting rooms – a very inconvenient and arguably unnecessary device that clogs up the queues when the scanner is not working properly. Camera devices record every person’s movement as they shop around or even float around the streets. A Japanese restaurant around the corner from my house called “Kokoroya” has an iPad on each table with a “menu-order” App, which enables customers to order their food without having to bother waiting for or calling over a waitress.

 

Evidently, computer technology and the development of Apps have influenced the way buildings and businesses are structured. Although many have enhanced convenience, the failures of Apps/computing devices that continue to clog and add unnecessary time and expense to our already mediated world must be considered. For example, is there really a point in having a ‘Blacksock App’ that sorts your black socks which are already matching anyway? (Martin 2012). Or an App that alerts you to when your new-born baby has wet his or her nappy during the night while you’re having a nice dinner with your loved one or are out with friends? (Dodson 2013). As McCullough cautioned,

 

“…decision-makers have become so caught up in modernity’s mechanistic beliefs that they reject most appeals to nature…let us focus on habits rather than novelties, on people rather than machines, and the richness of existing places rather than invention from thin air” (McCullough 2004, p.24).

 

References

 

Bollier, D (2013) How Will We Reclaim and Shape the Ambient Commons?, David Bollier: news and perspectives on the commons, accessed 20 May 2014, <http://bollier.org/blog/how-will-we-reclaim-and-shape-ambient-commons>.

 

Bratton, B (2014) On Apps and Elementary Forms of Interfacial Life: Object, Image, Superimpositio’, Bratton.info, accessed 19 May 2014, <http://www.bratton.info/projects/texts/on-apps-and-elementary-forms-of-interfacial-life/>.

 

Dodson, B 2013, Huggies TweetPee app in the (water)works, gizmag, accessed 20 May 2014 <http://www.gizmag.com/huggies-tweetpee-signals-wet-diaper/27713/&gt;.

 

Martin, J (2012) Totally Ridiculous and Unnecessary Apps Hall of Fame: Blacksocks App Sorts…Black Socks, CIO, accessed 19 May 2014, <http://blogs.cio.com/iphone/17425/totally-ridiculous-and-unnecessary-apps-hall-fame-blacksocks-app-sortsblack-socks&gt;.

 

McCullough, M (2004) Digital Ground Cambridge, MA: MIT Press: 3-24.

 

Could the Power of Networked Micro-politics overthrow Capitalism? #ARTS3091

6 May

Guattari and Rolnik state that micro-politics is about “the formation of desire in the social field” (1986, p. 182).

 

As online networking empowers individuals to collaborate on a common ground, it has arguably developed and strengthened the concept of micro-politics. Global networking has given society the freedom to push for social, cultural and political change without having to fight the rigid policies of top-down institutions that may prohibit change for capatilist-thirsty reasons.

 

Here are three examples of how online networking has pushed forward, and continues to strengthen, the construction of micro-politics:

 

1. On a personal level, Micro-politics have enabled my family and I to go on holiday to the south of France without having to pay for accommodation. Through the network of HomeForExchange we arranged a “house swap” with a French family– they came and lived in our Sydney home for three weeks while we lived in their French home. As Michel Bauwens stated, we shared our resources as a “common good”, rather than trying to make a profits from rent (P2P Foundation Blog 2014).

 

2. A friend of mine in the UK who loves dogs, but cannot get one as she can’t afford one and her land lord doesn’t allow pets, has still been able to walk, feed and spend time with many different dogs through the website of ‘Borrow My Doggy’ (This network “match doggy owners with local borrowers for walkies, playdays, sleepovers and happy holidays.” This network is collaboratively beneficialas individuals with busy family/working lives are given a break from the time-consuming responsibilities of owning a pet, dog lovers are able to borrow the dogs for “happy doggy time”, and the dogs themselves are getting more walks and playtime.

 

3. WIKISPEED, is another example of how networked micro-politics breaks down entrenched capitalist values through sharing knowledge. This Network is a volunteer-based company, which developed, as Bauwens stated, an “open source car called WIKISPEED…in 3 months times they designed a car from scratch, which has a 5 times more fuel efficient motor than industrial cars. It’s sustainable and based on participatory design so people in the whole world can design parts of the car…and can manufacture on demand” (P2P Foundation Blog 2014). All money earned by or donated to WIKISPEED is invested back into the company to assure movement forward with WIKISPEED’s vision (WIKISPEED 2014). This network, like the two mentioned above is “egalitarian” (P2P Foundation Blog 2014) – there is no owner or manager who claims profits for personal benefit.

 

Clearly, the concept of micro-politics has developed and had practical effects on society through the medium of online networks. However, it must be questioned whether micro-politics – the idea of each individual sharing resources and knowledge in order to “change the world into a better place” (WIKISPEED 2014) – would eventually grow popular and powerful enough to overthrow capitalism? Cicero argues that, “the capitalist era is passing” in a way that inevitable, and that the “new economic paradigm, the Collaborative Commons, is starting to “transform the way we live” (Meedabyte 2014). However, I would have to disagree. As evident from William Golding’s 1954 novel Lord of the Flies – a society arguably cannot function without a civilised capitalist structure. Certain people, like young Jack (the antagonist), desire to control others for personal gain rather than to work as a team in order to promote communal equality. Arguably, humans are too selfish to simply share all knowledge, ideas and resources. Structured and accountable political institutions are essential for social order to be maintained and for capitalism to be kept under control.

 

 

References

Bauwens, M (2014) ’Openness, a necessary revolution into a smarter world’, P2P Foundation, February 4, accessed 6 May 2014, <http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/what-is-p2p-an-introduction/2014/02/04>

 

BorrowMyDoggy 2014, accessed 6 May 2014, <https://www.borrowmydoggy.com>

 

Cicero, S 2014, ‘Welcome to Postcapitalism’, Meedabyte, 22 April, accessed 6 May 2014, <http://meedabyte.com/2014/04/22/welcome-to-post-capitalism-plus-5-layers-of-corporate-transformation/>

 

Golding, W 1954, Lord Of the Flies, Faber and Faber, UK

 

Guattari, F and Rolnik, S 1986, Molecular Revolution in Brazil, Micropolitica: Cartografias do desejo, Brazil.

 

HomeForExcahnge 2014, accessed 5 May 2014, <http://www.homeforexchange.com/index2.php?gclid=CNSJz7yDl74CFdd7vQod1RkANg>

 

Terranova,T (2004) ‘From Organisms to Multitudes’ in Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age London: Pluto: 101-106

 

WIKISPEED 2014, accessed 6 May 2014, <http://wikispeed.org&gt;