Internet Lecture


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Lecture delivered to a second year class studying popular culture and the media.

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Internet Lecture

  1. 1. Internet GCST 2601 Lecture 11
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Problematic of the interwebs </li></ul><ul><li>Internet? …O rly? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brief history, examples </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internet and other media: remediation, convergence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>DIY Culture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online and internet DIY </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exploitation? Produsers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gaming Culture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We’re all ‘gamers’ now? </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Problematic of the interwebs <ul><li>Sonia Livingstone: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The skills and conventions required to engage with the internet may or may not be new. Commentators are divided over whether or not the internet offers a radically new information and communication environment. Hence it remains an open question as to whether the ability to access, analyse, evaluate and create communication content is common to or different for the book, for television, for the internet? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http:// /collections/media@ lse / pdf /Media@lseEWP4_july03.pdf </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Internet? …O rly? <ul><li>Three historical phases of the ‘internet’ (Lovink 2007: x): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Scientific, precommercial, text-based period before World Wide Web, DARPANET, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Europhic speculative period Internet opened up to general audience, culminating in 1990s dotcom mania </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Information society, utopian information technology revolution </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Castells ‘Networked society’, flow of information </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Information elite ‘globals’ (Bauman) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cyberspace, Gibson Neuromancer; death of space </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Post-dot-com/post-9/11 period, now coming to close with Web-2.0 mini-bubble </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Internet is more than WWW </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Email, IM, distribution networks (i.e. torrents), etc. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Internet? …O rly? <ul><li>ASCII art </li></ul><ul><ul><li>American Standard Code for Information Interchange </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>128 characters of standard 7-bit ASCII </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Popular on bulletin board systems of the late 1970s and early 1980s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limitations of computers of that time period necessitated the use of text characters to represent images </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Internet? …O rly? <ul><li>Early web </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Portals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Netscape </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Later web </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social networking, etc. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Internet? …O rly? <ul><li>Internet and other media </li></ul><ul><li>Remediation thesis, Bolter and Grusin (1999) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Double logic of remediation: “Our culture wants to multiply its media [hypermediacy] and erase all traces of mediation [immediacy]” (5) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Immediacy: immersion in mediated content, e.g. ‘virtual reality’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hypermediacy: multiple flows of information within and across media, e.g. hypermediated self across networks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each medium discrete; content and medium separate </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Internet? …O rly? <ul><li>Convergence thesis, Jenkins (2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Not one black box… </li></ul><ul><li>“ [Convergence] represents a paradigm shift – a move away from medium-specific content toward content that flows across multiple media channels, toward the increased interdependence of communications systems, toward multiple ways of accessing media content, and toward ever more complex relations between top-down corporate media and bottom-up participatory culture” (243) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Internet? …O rly? <ul><ul><li>Convergence continued </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Knowledge culture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Survivor spoiler communities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collective intelligence “is a form of universally distributed intelligence , constantly enhanced, coordinated in real time, and resulting in the effective mobilisation of skills” (Levy 1997:13) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Immanence rather than transcendence… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Transmedia story telling </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Matrix franchise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ [Unfolds] across multiple media platforms, with each new text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole. … [Each] medium does what it does best – so that a story might be introduced in a film, expanded through game play or experienced as an amusement park attraction” (Jenkins 2006: 95-96) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ cultural attractors” (Levy), “cultural activators” (Jenkins) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Already exists? Comic book superheroes? Old TV shows? ‘Convergence’ crystalises existing process </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Internet? …O rly? <ul><li>Power relations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Protocol (Galloway 2004) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interrogates the emergent control structures that distribute access (as a relation between bodies and data) in networked space according to shared rules and regulations. The rules and regulations are the performative relations of protocol. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Basic premise: “Without a shared protocol, there is no network” (12). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus is the pure ‘materiality’ of the network, at the expense of “special anthropomorphic uses of data” (40, fn 15) or semantic content (139), to develop the concept of ‘protocol’ which is not an ‘epistemological theory’ or a ‘theory of the body’ (103). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Distribution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Piracy, ownership and DRM/Collective Commons movements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Radiohead example </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Non-mass media social networks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1KTF business model, different scale and relation of fandom/celebrity, subcultural economies, ‘virtual’ scenes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Internet? …O rly? <ul><li>Blogs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only for losers…? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different types of blogs (Blood) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nihilistic impulse, ‘zero comments’ Lovink (2007) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blogged cynicism </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ As a micro-heroic, Nietzschean act of the pyjama people, blogging grows out of a nihilism of strength, not out of a weakness of pessimism. […] [Blogs are] decadent artifacts that remotely dismantle the mighty and seductive power of the broadcast system” (17) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expression of collective intelligence? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. DIY Culture <ul><li>What is DIY culture? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Makeover culture? (Jones 2008) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enthusiast cultures? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Participation: From audiences to publics? </li></ul>
  13. 13. DIY Culture <ul><li>Traditional forms - leaflets, posters, circulars, small circulation journals & magazines, chapbooks, newsletters, Super-8 films </li></ul><ul><li>Contemporary forms - zines, blogs, newsgroups & mailing lists </li></ul><ul><li>Are YouTube, MySpace, etc. DIY? </li></ul>
  14. 14. DIY Culture <ul><li>1) there are relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement. </li></ul><ul><li>2) there is strong support for creating and sharing what you create with others. </li></ul><ul><li>3) there is some kind of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced gets passed along to newbies and novices. </li></ul><ul><li>4) members feel that their contributions matter. </li></ul><ul><li>5) members feel some degree of social connection with each other at least to the degree to which they care what other people think about what they have created. </li></ul>
  15. 15. DIY Culture <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>DIY media/culture is dangerous/unethical/lacks accountability </li></ul><ul><li>DIY media has been co-opted & commodified by big business </li></ul><ul><li>DIY producers reproduce dominant ideologies in the guise of being ‘alternative’ </li></ul><ul><li>DIY media is being used to exploit naïve amateurs - especially young people </li></ul>
  16. 16. DIY Culture <ul><li>Exploitation? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Free labour” (Terranova 2000), modding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>immaterial labour, and the Italian post-Marxists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mess + Noise example </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Produsers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ produsage – the collaborative and continuous building and extending of existing content in pursuit of further improvement” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Gaming Culture <ul><li>‘ Gaming studies’ emerging field </li></ul><ul><li>Ludology vs. Narratology debate </li></ul><ul><li>Game as just another ‘text’ (Bolter and Grusin) </li></ul><ul><li>Games as games, with own rules, etc. ( Aarseth) </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Allegorithm” (Galloway 2006: 91-92): Control allegory </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not the particular content, but the algorithmic logic of computer games </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: Civilization dubious ethnocentric representations, more problematic is the way it reduces everything to quantifiable bits of information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Players internalise the ‘rules’ of the program </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Gaming Culture <ul><li>Everyday life as a game? </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>“ The game has colonized its rivals within the cultural realm, from the spectacle of cinema to the simulations of television. Stories no longer opiate us with imaginary reconciliations of real problems. […] Sure, reality TV doesn’t look like reality, but neither does reality. Both become a seamless space in which gamers test their abilities within contrived scenarios” (Wark 2007, §7) </li></ul>
  19. 19. Questions?
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