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TECH2002 Studies in Digital Technology Lecture Three

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  1. 1. 3 TECH2002 Studies in Digital Technology Web 2.0 and Visual Culture Andrew Clay
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Recap of weeks 1 and 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Extensionality - how is social life extended through media technology? </li></ul><ul><li>Performativity and personal expression </li></ul><ul><li>Visual Culture and New Media </li></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 and Visual Culture </li></ul>
  3. 3. Recap: digital, new, and Web 2.0 <ul><li>Concepts and ideas about new media </li></ul><ul><li>‘ being digital’ (Nicholas Negroponte) </li></ul><ul><li>New media = digital media </li></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 – a second generation of web tools and services </li></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 is central to understanding new media (Terry Flew) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Recap: the message of the internet? <ul><li>‘ the message is the medium’ (Herbert Marshall McLuhan) – human extensionality </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic media (television, radio) has extended significantly how we experience space and time </li></ul><ul><li>The internet continues this pattern </li></ul><ul><li>We are ‘small pieces loosely joined’ (David Weinberger) across space and time </li></ul><ul><li>The human user is the content of the internet (Paul Levinson) </li></ul><ul><li>The message of the internet? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>via human-machine interaction, we are connected to other people through making media as part of a global communication network overcoming the human limitations of space and time </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. media/theory (Moores, 2005) <ul><li>structuration, routines, traditions, dailiness, seriality, scheduling, ordinariness, hourliness, lifetime, eventfulness </li></ul><ul><li>globalisation, stretching, medium, shrinking, unevenness, network, flow, empires, permeability , virtuality </li></ul><ul><li>typology, mix, intimacy, grief, pathologisation, sociability, conversationalisation, face, friendliness, doubling </li></ul><ul><li>connotation, multiaccentuality, decoding, export, acts, context, technologies, tastes, fallacy, authentication </li></ul><ul><li>trust, inattention, reflexivity, risk, labour, performativity, MUDding, community, diasporas, dwellings </li></ul>
  6. 6. Extensionality <ul><li>How is social life extended through media technology? </li></ul><ul><li>Permeability (leakiness) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Boundaries such as time and space are permeable (leaky) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The ‘interconnectedness’ of people through the flow of electronic communications challenges social restrictions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Place is opened out beyond the physical limits of where you are </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time restraints are overcome, communications are instantaneous </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Extensionality <ul><li>How is social life extended through media technology? </li></ul><ul><li>Virtuality (life experienced as a simulation of real life) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dispersed participants located with hardware inhabit the same simulated locality through software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The use of the conceptual ‘places’ of ‘cyberspace’ that people go to when they take part in computer-mediated communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Having a conversation on a mobile phone – a ‘virtual co-presence’ in a ‘media setting’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experiencing a live event on television such that we are close to the action and detached from where we actually are </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Mobile phone / virtual world Overcoming the limits of time and space Experiencing life as a simulation of real life
  9. 9. virtuality <ul><li>online social networks </li></ul><ul><li>user-generated content such as video blogs </li></ul><ul><li>online games </li></ul><ul><li>virtual worlds </li></ul><ul><li>experiencing the world anew </li></ul><ul><li>new ways of seeing feed into new ways of being? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Second Life as hyperreal simulation <ul><li>‘ Mrbeef911 I work in a daycare centre for children, in Texas. My avatar is a big yellow triceratops: I am a &quot;furry&quot; - and I found out about Second Life via a furry zine. My Second Life feels more real than my real life; it's the one where I feel pain.’ </li></ul><ul><li>(Jeffries, 2006) </li></ul>
  11. 11. self + other <ul><li>Do we use computer games and online communication to explore how the computer affects the awareness of ourselves, of one another, and the world at large? </li></ul><ul><li>How successful are we in expressing ourselves, being creative, and managing our social relations to other people? </li></ul>
  12. 13. media/theory (Moores, 2005) <ul><li>structuration, routines, traditions, dailiness, seriality, scheduling, ordinariness, hourliness, lifetime, eventfulness </li></ul><ul><li>globalisation, stretching, medium, shrinking, unevenness, network, flow, empires, permeability, virtuality </li></ul><ul><li>typology, mix, intimacy, grief, pathologisation, sociability, conversationalisation, face, friendliness, doubling </li></ul><ul><li>connotation, multiaccentuality, decoding, export, acts, context, technologies, tastes, fallacy, authentication </li></ul><ul><li>trust, inattention, reflexivity, risk, labour, performativity , MUDding, community, diasporas, dwellings </li></ul>
  13. 14. performativity <ul><li>Self-presentation within different social settings </li></ul><ul><li>Interactions via the internet and broadcasting </li></ul><ul><li>Various forms of cultural identity </li></ul><ul><li>As part of meaningful everyday experiences </li></ul>
  14. 15. <ul><li>Internet as a medium of personal expression and identity – the user is the content </li></ul>
  15. 16. Visual Culture and New Media <ul><li>‘ a visual culture…always involves the coexistence of several kinds of images and ways of seeing …From the middle of the nineteenth century to the beginning of the twenty-first a series of new visual media have played an important part in an exponential proliferation of image production, the pervasion of culture by images, and the technological augmentation of vision. In one sense, our current new image media can be seen to be part of an intensification and acceleration of this 200-year process . Yet, at the same time, some key differences between the analogue lens-based technologies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (film, photography and television with their mimetic capacities), and the new digital, synthetic, and simulating technologies beg new questions’ </li></ul><ul><li>(Lister et al., 2003, p.107). </li></ul>
  16. 17. Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) ‘ The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007) Concepts of simulation and hyperreality
  17. 18. <ul><li>Walter Benjamin on the cultural impact of the ‘age of mechanical reproduction’: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>photography has had important democratic consequences because it opened up wider access to works of art and destroyed their ‘aura’ (their uniqueness, unattainability, and sense of distance) and so undermined the mystification that sustained existing social hierarchies </li></ul></ul>
  18. 19. Benjamin <ul><li>Photography is important as a technology of mechanical reproduction </li></ul><ul><li>Film is important as medium of representation – a new way of seeing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Film can produce a wider way of representing the world in which we live </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Film deepens our ability to analyze things, to subject the world to close ups and spaces beyond our physical limits </li></ul></ul>
  19. 20. Photograph / film
  20. 21. The age of digital reproduction <ul><li>Photographic technology is fairly specialised and requires some expertise </li></ul><ul><li>Photographic technology allowed us to have copies of images such as posters and postcards </li></ul><ul><li>Digital technology allows us to more easily make our own images </li></ul><ul><li>New visual practices </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessibility to images </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Image creation and copying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Image distribution </li></ul></ul>
  21. 23. Remix culture: Downfall parodies
  22. 24. <ul><li>Lister et al. (2003) new visuality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>radical shifts in nature of image-making, vision and the image </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>new aesthetic emerging – sensuous experiences and spectacle (cinema and HD televsion) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>immersion within images (videogames and virtual worlds) </li></ul></ul>
  23. 25. <ul><li>Traditional methods of producing and consuming visual culture are optical recording technologies (photography, film, video, television) </li></ul><ul><li>New visual technologies are machine-based technologies such as computers and body scanners </li></ul><ul><li>Does this shift bring ‘new ways of seeing’? </li></ul>
  24. 26. Virtual Reality (VR) <ul><li>‘ the immersion in, and interaction with, an environment constituted with computer graphics and digital video’ (Lister et al, 2003, p.107) </li></ul><ul><li>immersion: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ being inside the world of a constructed image’, the image appears to surround the viewer, such as in videogames where the player ‘loses sense of themselves as separate from the medium or its simulated world’ (ibid., p.387) </li></ul>
  25. 27. <ul><li>VR is not a medium (yet?), but a way of seeing, a visual technology applied to media such as videogames, the web and in environments such as arcades and theme parks </li></ul><ul><li>Human-computer interface (HCI) </li></ul>
  26. 28. Construction of Reality <ul><li>mimesis </li></ul><ul><li>skilful copying of the appearance of nature, and it has a long history </li></ul><ul><li>simulation </li></ul><ul><li>a reality effect – faithful representation of reality without copying any particular pre-existing thing </li></ul>
  27. 29. A simulation can be experienced as if it were real Ways of seeing – making the impossible possible Examples: CGI used in films, music videos and television adverts
  28. 30. Shift from selection to creation From filming pre-constituted images to making information as perceivable movement
  29. 31. Lens-based media such as photography are able to represent or ‘copy’ reality because cameras are mechanical eyes that reproduce or capture the effects of light falling on objects like our own biology of vision
  30. 32. The realism of photography is a way of seeing that can be simulated by analogue and digital technology Finding Nemo (Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich, 2003)
  31. 33. <ul><li>But the mechanical eye of the computer simulates optical realism rather than copies or captures it directly from nature </li></ul><ul><li>Thus, is the world becoming increasingly artificial (hyperreal) as we experience not reality as captured by lenses, but reality created by machines such as computers (post-photographic technologies)? </li></ul>
  32. 35. <ul><li>Based on the premise that what we perceive as reality is in fact a mediated construction </li></ul><ul><li>Suggests that our culture is based on a simulation rather than authenticity. </li></ul><ul><li>The Matrix as a movie is an allegory for the audience’s relationship with cinema itself – as a h yperreal form of representation. </li></ul>What is The Matrix ?
  33. 36. Do we live in a hyperreality? <ul><li>To what extent do we live in a world of simulation? </li></ul><ul><li>We live in a very mediated world, and that gives us many virtual experiences </li></ul><ul><li>We probably don’t worry too much about the effects of hyperreality and simulation </li></ul><ul><li>But perhaps we do enjoy producing new realities as producers and consumers of images as part of the ‘simulation game’ of digital visual culture </li></ul>
  34. 37. simulation of reality: the fake ‘ advermovies and ARGs (alternate reality games
  35. 38. <ul><li>A popular machinima comedy series is Red Vs. Blue based on the Halo videogame, a 100 episode series from 2003-2007 produced by Rooster Teeth productions on the internet and DVD </li></ul>
  36. 39. A live action simulation of a film made in a videogame virtual animation studio A student project
  37. 41. Web 2.0 and Visual Culture? <ul><li>Facebook photos </li></ul><ul><li>Media sharing – Flickr and YouTube </li></ul><ul><li>Slideshow sites such Slideshare </li></ul><ul><li>Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) </li></ul><ul><li>Multimedia publishing </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual worlds such as Second Life </li></ul><ul><li>Blogging – photoblogs and video blogs </li></ul>
  38. 42. Bibliography Jeffries, S. (2006) ‘You Only Live Twice’, The Guardian , 7 October . Lister, M. et al. (2003) New Media: A Critical Introduction , London and New York, Routledge. Moores, S. (2005) Media/Theory: Thinking About Media and Communications , London and New York, Routledge.