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Residual Media: Instagram Analysis


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Presentation for a graduate course on Residual Media (at the University of Waterloo), in which I analyzed Instagram through the lens of McLuhan's laws of media.

Presentation for a graduate course on Residual Media (at the University of Waterloo), in which I analyzed Instagram through the lens of McLuhan's laws of media.

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    • 1. ENGL 799 :: Residual Media :: Anne Galang CRITICAL MEDIA OBJECT: INSTAGRAM
    • 2. What is Instagram? Photo and video sharing social networking service Mobile app: iOS and Android Launched: October 2010 Acquired by Facebook: April 2012
    • 3. How it works… Take a photo on your mobile phone Apply filters to the photo Share to Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr Follow others and be followed Comment and “Like”
    • 4. Who is is using Instagram?Source:
    • 5. “Capture and Share the World's Moments. Instagram is a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family.” – Instagram Praise and criticism
    • 6. “Instagram combines simple-toapply photo and video effects with an addictive social network centered on pictures and video.” – PC Mag Praise and criticism
    • 7. “Instagram is debasing real photography. [… F]ilters are the antithesis of creativity, and make all pictures look the same” – The Guardian Praise and criticism
    • 8. What’s new about Instagram? What does it enhance? How does it mediate better? What does it obsolesce or push aside?
    • 9. Feature Enhances… Pushes aside… Smartphone camera app Accessibility of photography Standalone camera (dedicated hardware) Instagram photo filters Photo manipulation Actual manipulation of ISO, aperture, shutter speed PhotoShop and other photo editing software Photo sharing Speed of publishing Storage limit Reach of audience Printing/Uploading Physical photo albums Social networking Sharing images with social networks Text-based “status updates” or blog posts
    • 10. What does Instagram retrieve?
    • 12. The Poloroid camera
    • 13. “Vintage” filters…
    • 14. but also…
    • 15. Pre-alphabet: Chronicling events through images
    • 16. Instagram: Chronicling events through images
    • 17. Reversal potential
    • 18. Technological reversal: Sociomatic – Concept for a physical Instagram camera
    • 19. Meaning reversal: Loss of meaningful sharing of memories?
    • 20. Pitfalls and potential • The mundane on Instagram • Real art on Instagram: – Banksy – Museum of Modern Art – Virtual Tourism • Instagram as cultural database?
    • 21. DISCUSSION
    • 22. Possible discussion questions •This week’s readings explores the end of print. Does Instagram obsolesce print photography? •VilemFlusser, in his book Does writing have a future?, argues that the written word is losing it importance. Do you agree that photos/images other visual forms may replace the dominance of writing? •What are your thoughts on Instagram? Does this medium provide potential for authentic cultural production, or does it degrade photography? •How might use the data/information available in the massive repository of photos that Instagram generates in a study of culture? •How does Instagram frame our sense of time, place, and space? What about our sense of public vs. private spheres? •How does Instagram contribute to the idea of the “acceleration of history?”