A3 Final Submission

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The concept of disconnection/connection is highly topical within contemporary society, especially within the last five to ten years. Technology has allowed us to both engage with the world around us and acquire knowledge in ways we never thought possible. However, this also creates problems of isolation from our immediate surroundings and can develop into a sense of ignorance or lack of awareness for what is right in front of you. My final two images will illustrate this notion and will seek to address the problems associated with becoming too reliant on personal devices. While these devices allow us to connect with those around us more in a more accessible way, it does not come without its challenges. As a result, the reasons behind the editing and manipulation of my final images will become clear and demonstrate the need to properly understand the context of a digitally literate society.

The theoretical concepts that I have chosen to explore across both images is the need to remain interactive and open minded to an individual’s immediate surroundings. Interaction is quintessential in today’s modern world, but when technology and mobile phones get in the way of this – to an unhealthy extent – people aren’t taking advantage of what is right in front of them. This is particularly evident in ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’ which explicitly relates to my final two images. This is because “the equipment-free aspect of reality has become the heart of artifice” (Benjamin 1970, p. 226) where reality is manipulated to create an ideal vision of the world. Moreover, the term ‘affect’ also comes into play which outlines the specific ways that various mediums such as sound and image, can emotionally impact the reader or viewer. Through this, I hope to connect the viewers to my images to further establish “the relationship between mind and body” (Hardt 2007, p. x). The reason why I chose to engage with these theories is because I wanted to emphasise the influence that technology has on our lives, and the way we deal with this on a day-to-day basis.

The first of my two images is an iPhone panorama taken at Maroubra beach in June of this year, after a heavy storm. I thought this would act as a metaphorical representation of the consequences of becoming too reliant on technology. What started out as a coloured image, soon shifted to a black and white image through the use of a grayscale filter on Pixlr. By utilising this technique, the focus would be placed on the children in the image. This would also further emphasise the innocence of the children until they become entranced in the digital world, thus ignoring the environment around them as if it was ‘blacked out’. Moreover, I cropped, layered and flipped the images of the children from Joe Webb’s original work, titled ‘Park Life’ as I felt that this would succinctly encapsulate my ideas for the topic of disconnection/connection. In one of my peer reviews, it was suggested that I also use the blurring tool on Pixlr to blur out the background of my image. In doing so, it would reiterate my point and draw the viewer’s eyes to the children enthralled in their own personal devices, such as iPads and mobile phones. I took this feedback on board and agreed that it would benefit and enhance my final piece. This in turn, also led me to using the sharpen took to establish a clear distinction between the background and the children. In terms of typography, I used the font ‘andale mono’ and purposely created spaces between each letter and word to create the feeling of ‘separation anxiety’. My final choice for the position and colour of the font as dark blue, allows the viewer to take in the image as a whole, whilst also being drawn to slight nuances within the upper frame. As a result, the image and the text are able to coincide and complement one another to illustrate the notion of ‘separation’ from reality and the over reliance on technology.

The basis for my second image was taken from Pexels and was manipulated to create my desired result. Disconnection/connection is also paramount in this image as the technological ‘production line’ of three individuals on their mobile phones is a representation of the society we have become. While phones are able to connect us with other individuals in a matter of seconds, and provide us with knowledge we never thought possible, it also hinders our ability to connect with people in real life. People become disconnected to the world around them – much like my first image – and aren’t able to create meaningful connections with various subjects, such as people and their surroundings. I therefore attempted to represent this by adding the layer of the cord on top of the original image. I also vertically flipped the cord so that it would remain in a prominent position without cutting off the top portion of the people in the image. Subsequently, I came up with the phrase ‘unplug yourself’ which works in conjunction with my chosen concepts. It reflects the need for people to occasionally detach themselves from the digital world and pay attention to the important things in life that people often take advantage of. In a recent peer review, it was also suggested that I crop the image to show them waist up, as the utilisation of the blurring tool had warped parts of the brick wall in the background. However, I chose not to go through with this as the cord would cover the hands holding the mobile phone and therefore, decrease the impact that I was trying to create.

Throughout the development of my two images, it is evident that a number of ethical and copyright issues need to be taken into consideration. The children shown in my first image highlights the ethical issue of possibly photographing children without the consent of an adult, given that they are under 18. Although, considering I cropped them from someone else’s image, one can only assume that the copyright holder has received full consent from their respective parents/guardians. Issues of copyright also come into play across both images as I have taken aspects of other people’s work to manipulate and incorporate into my own. By providing full credit to the original work, this would eliminate any further issues of copyright laws.

Through the production and development of my final images, it is evident that the concept of disconnection/connection is prevalent. This creates an ‘affect’ with the viewer and encourages them to consider their use of technology and interact with the world around them in a more engaging way.

(1119 words)

 

References:

Benjamin, W. 1970, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’, in Arendt, H. & Benjamin, W., (eds.) Illuminations, Pimlico, London.

Bobbe, L. 2016, Portrait of Three Young Women Using Mobile Phones, Australia, viewed 12 October 2016, <http://www.gettyimages.com.au/license/507851805>.

Hardt, M. 2007, ‘Foreword: What Affects Are Good For’ in Halley, J. & Clough, C.P. (eds), The Affective Turn: Theorizing the Social, Duke University Press, Durham and London.

Webb, J. 2014, Park Life – 2014, London, viewed 6 October 2016, <https://theartstack.com/artist/joe-webb/park-life-2014>.

 

Peer Feedback:

http://99137628DL16.wordpress.com/ 9 October 2016

I think it’s a great idea to incorporate elements of old/new technology as well as selfie/portrait into your chosen images as they link together really well. Maybe you could also find a way to link this to the theory by either incorporating ‘affect’, or something similar into your chosen piece. This could be done by adding multiple layers and/or warm filters to create an emotional connection with the topic at hand. I also think it’s really interesting how you’ve chosen to take a selfie with the instant camera to further reiterate your ideas. This makes it very clear as to what you are conveying and you could possibly use the blank space above the camera to insert text (e.g. a phrase), in order to succinctly encapsulate your message.

https://98108107dl16.wordpress.com/ 15 October 2016

The way you have decided to incorporate the digitalisation of music and its affect on music culture is quite unique and interesting. Your prospective choice of typography is also really clever. I realise that these are not your final images, but maybe they could benefit from using some of the tools on either Pixlr or Photoshop. Maybe even adding a filter, or possibly blurring out the background on the image with the USB. This might help in drawing the viewer’s focus to the centre of the frame, thus creating the ‘affect’ you’re aiming for. As you are using children in your images, you could also mention the ethical issues/concerns that are related to this. Overall, your choice of images clearly represents what you are trying to convey and is emblematic of the changing music scene going forward.

http://12573376DL16.wordpress.com/ 23 October 2016

Your final two images succinctly explore the themes of inequality and disconnection from society; the concepts that you were hoping to achieve. I agree with your choice of making the ‘shared path’ bold and capitalised as it further enhances the impact that the Government has in terms of their influence and decision making powers. Your second image is conceptually very clever as the image and text complement one another to create the reduced access and struggle that Indigenous Australians may have with technology. However, I would suggest sharpening the edges of the phone so that it would stand out from the background and create a more seamless effect.

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Week 11 – Assessment 3

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Since last week I have tried to refine the above image by proceeding to blur out the background, as I had envisaged. This represents the disconnection of the children with their environment as they are too focussed on their own personal devices to take any notice of what is right in front of them. Additionally, I have also incorporated the typography element to my image this week and decided to go with “separation anxiety”. In a way, it represents the children’s’ ‘separation anxiety’ from their devices which can also relate to society as a whole. I chose the font and style specifically to have spaces in between the letter and words to further accentuate my point of disconnection. Although I’m not sure if I want to keep the phrase in the top left hand corner or move it to the middle. I’m also questioning my colour choice… I might change the font to black or a dark grey to blend in with the background. Again, I’m not so sure.

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For this image, I have also blurred out the background which I discussed in last week’s blog because I felt as though it would put the subjects at the forefront of the viewer. This way, your focus is drawn to the centre of the frame as your eyes are guided around the image. Subsequently, the viewer comes to the typography element of this image which states “unplug yourself.” I guess this is a type of metaphor that represents what I am trying to illustrate in this image, where people are so focussed on their phones that they occasionally need to take a step back and ‘unplug themselves’ from the digital world.

With a few minor changes and adjustments to go in terms of editing (e.g. font), I hope to refine my images and take on board the feedback I have received to deliver my final products by Sunday.

Week 10 – Assessment 3

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Continuing on from last week’s draft, I used the lasso tool on Pixlr to crop the images of the children onto my original photo. I cropped the children from Joe Webb’s original work, titled ‘Park Life’ and used tools on Pixlr to horizontally flip the children so that they were facing the direction I intended them to. However, there are also ethical/copyright issues to consider here, as I am taking an aspect of someone else’s work and incorporating it into one of my images. Also the fact that they are children presents problems in itself, as detailed in last week’s peer review.

This image emphasises the concept of connection/disconnection that I described in last week’s draft and has an affect on the viewer that may resonate with them. This is due to the fact that in the modern world, people tend to be more focussed on their personal devices rather than taking notice of the view that is right in front of them. Taking on the feedback from last week’s peer review, I think it was a good suggestion to blur out the background using various tools on Pixlr. This will be incorporated into future drafts. As far as the text component, I’m still not sure as to what I want to put on this image, but it will inevitably become more clear in next week’s post.

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For my second image, I’d like to focus on the same theme of connection/disconnection, but approach it from a different angle. I got the image of the three women on their phone from ‘Pexels’ which again, presents a copyright concern as someone else’s work will essentially become part of my manipulated image. I used the sharpen tool on each of the three women, so that they would stand out a bit more from the background. I also plan on blurring the brick wall in the background to place further prominence on the subjects in the image. I also layered the animation of the cord over the top of the original image and blurred the edges. The cord that fails to plug into its constituent, illustrates the disconnection of society and the focus people place on their phones, as the image suggests. It also represents a lack of interaction with the world around them. In terms of typography, I’m not sure how I want to go about it and again, this will be more clear in my final draft next week.

 

Week 9 – Assessment 3

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Focussing on the above image, I’d like to address the topic of connection/disconnection and show how this has an affect on the individual’s level of interaction with their environment. In a time where everything is technology based and everyone has some sort of knowledge (whether it be basic or more in depth) of contemporary devices, people lose sight of what is right in front of them.

As a starting point, I’ve decided to place a grayscale filter over the original image, but may change this later on, depending on the following idea. In later drafts, I would like to layer an image of either a child, group of children, family (haven’t decided yet) all sitting in front of this view, but are too focussed on their own personal devices to take any notice of what they have in real life. I’ll see how it goes, but I’d like to photoshop the view that they are looking at onto the devices they are using so that it will emphasise my point.

I’d like to incorporate maybe one or two words onto the image, but I will have to think about what I want to convey and how I want to convey it over the next week when I post another draft.

In terms of theory, the overarching theme that I’d like to represent in both of my images is connection/disconnection (as mentioned above). As a secondary focus, I’d like to address the notion of ‘affect’ and ‘interactivity’ which will go hand in hand with the above theme. As I post more over the coming weeks, hopefully this will become more clear in my images.

Week 4

Multimodal analysis is quintessential in all forms of digital communication and is expressed through visuals, speech, music, and gesture.

Multimodal analysis is quintessential in all forms of digital communication and is expressed through visuals, speech, music, and gesture. In conjunction with this, ‘affect’ is the primary response to these mediums and has the power to influence and shape a user experience. As such, communication and multimodality is exemplified in all aspects of life and is an essential component that combines ‘reason’ with ‘passion’.

Furthermore, multimodality is the driving factor that influences ‘affect’ and articulates a complex system of communication. A multitude of methods are employed in these situations as they elucidate the modes that resonate with a number of different audiences. This type of interrelationship is evident in a recent article at the University of Delaware. Jared Medina, neuroscientist at the National Science Foundation is exploring the role of cognition and learning to “probe the complex relationship between existing knowledge already stored in the brain and new information obtained through sensory perception” (U Daily 2016, para 3). Through an analysis of the physical and digital environment, the brain processes and stores information so that people can view the world from a different lense. To elaborate, the team is set to utilise a number of research techniques that will ultimately showcase the accessibility of multimodal analysis.

Moreover, the team will be investigating statistical learning, action, attention and working memory by conducting a number of experiments on the participants. Subsequently, participants will be analysed and results will be recorded based on their response to the sensory environment, speech, visual scenes, and auditory stimuli. By undertaking these experiments, participants will be able to better understand their individual subjectivities as well as how they interact, respond and construct their physical surroundings.

The significance of being able to examine an aspect of cognitive function, using more than one technique is reiterated by Medina as he says, “A multimodal approach allows us to more fully understand mind-brain relationships” (U Daily 2016, para. 18). Research will then be conducted at a deeper level through techniques of neuroimaging, neuropsychology and neurostimulation. Therefore, multimodal analysis has the capability to further comprehend the psychology of brain-damaged individuals and stroke victims. The benefits of this means that researchers and analysts can immerse themselves in the science of how injury to specific regions of the brain can influence and affect the relevant cognitive functions.

The demand to initiate scientific progress worldwide is enhanced by the notion of multimodal analysis. It is constantly present in all aspects of life and is a model to explain the impact of diverse modes on specific areas of the brain. This in turn, initiates a response and has the power to affect the individual. It is the way people embody these responses that makes a difference, in terms of cognitive function and the ability to make sense of the world. Consequently, the link between ‘reason’ and ‘passion’ is evident, thus providing strong sense of awareness that is reinforced by the sentiments of Medina in this article.

(490 words)

Reference List:

U Daily 2016, EPSCOR Track-2 Award, Delaware, viewed 26 August 2016, <http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2016/august/nsf-epscor-grant-neuroscience/>

Week 3

The ‘digital divide’ has a profound impact on the lives of all Australians and can determine the state of internet use across the nation.

The ‘digital divide’ has a profound impact on the lives of all Australians and can determine the state of internet use across the nation. As such, the ‘digital divide’ can be described as the disparity between those who have access to devices (e.g computers) and the internet, and those who do not. Over the years, the internet has become an essential component of everyday life, even so far as to claim it as a basic human right (Council of France). However, it is evident that not all demographics within Australia can take advantage of this right. This is due to the fact that certain Indigenous communities are not even able to communicate with others, depending on where they live.

Mark Warschauer’s, ‘Technology and Social Inclusion: Rethinking the Digital Divide’ (2003) succinctly encapsulates this notion as he emphasises the need for social inclusion through an understanding of digital literacy. For instance, an “Information Age Town” was developed in Ireland in 1997 as a way of addressing the issue of the ‘digital divide’ (Warschauer 2003, p. 3). Attempts were made to bridge the gap between Ireland’s emerging business center of ICT production, and those communities that had limited use and knowledge of ICT. Subsequently, the unemployed were given computers and internet connections at home, and were instructed to sign in and receive electronic payments, rather than coming into the social welfare office each week. The problem with this meant that most, if not all of the unemployed could not work out how to use the equipment. They would avoid this method of online transaction if it meant they were missing out on something more ‘worthwhile’, such as a social event or personal leisure time (Warschauer 2003, p. 3). Consequently, many of the computers were sold on the black market and a large number of people returned to their old methods of signing into the social welfare office to collect their payment.

Through a deeper understanding of the ‘digital divide’, it is evident that greater effort needs to be made in order for an “Information Age Town” to be successful. To elaborate, the planning process is quintessential in this sense as “developing awareness, planning and implementing effective training, and setting up processes for sustainable change” (Warschauer 2003, p. 4) will create a more holistic shift forward. There needs to be a focus on becoming a more digitally literate society, as opposed to just purchasing equipment and devices. Therefore, this lack of knowledge is what fosters the ‘digital divide’ and explains why 1 in 5 Australians don’t have access to the internet. As such, more action needs to be taken to improve the state of digital inclusion in Australia and thus, overcome barriers in everyday living, education, employment and health (2016, tutorial, 18th August).

In essence, digital literacy articulates the “ability to use technology to navigate, evaluate and create information” (IT Futures 2014, 1:04). As a result, societies have been able to evolve and successfully operate under these circumstances, making it a requirement in virtually all walks of life. However, the ‘digital divide’ is an impediment on this ideal world, and elucidates the need for social and digital inclusion in order to work towards a more digitally literate society.

(537 words)

Reference List:

IT Futures 2009, What Is Digital Literacy?, video recording, YouTube, viewed 22nd August 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESSIcLO3Z_Q>

Warschauer, M. 2003, Technology and Social Inclusion: Rethinking the Digital Divide, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts.

Week 2

‘Digital literacy’ is a form of language that utilises various forms of technology to shape and express a unique form of digital communication.

As discussed in week one, ‘Digital literacy’ is a form of language that utilises various forms of technology to shape and express a unique form of digital communication. Skills and knowledge of this network are assumed, thus developing a sense of ‘inclusion’ or ‘exclusion’ within a variety of social, cultural and political spheres. It is this type of interaction that enables society to evolve, particularly focussing on ‘who’ or ‘what’ individuals give value, meaning and power to.

To elaborate, diverse systems of interactivity are generated through various mediums, such as video games. Augmented realities become prominent in this sense, therefore contributing to the complexity of digital storytelling. Halo 2 is a prime example of this as there must be a fine balance between the level of interaction within the music and the action. Abraham (2011) reiterates this notion and explains that individuals must be prepared to open their minds to new experiences and possibilities that differ from the music itself (p. 65). As such, digital literacy can be multifaceted and have different meanings for different sectors of people.

Week two’s tutorial encapsulated Abraham’s sentiments in the form of an interactive narrative. ‘Twine’ was the program of choice, which allowed us to simulate a first person digital story. Although quite simple in its execution, Twine is both seamless and complex in terms of its user interface. When used in conjunction with various forms of technology, Twine is a perfect example to elucidate the link between interaction and synchronicity.

Moreover, the ‘shower scene’ in Hitchcock’s film, Psycho succinctly encapsulates this notion as there must be certain level of synchronicity between the ‘player’ and the music. To perfectly execute this sequence, all constituents must directly correlate, thus highlighting its digital power and effectiveness within the film (Abraham 2011, p. 62).

Subsequently, this brings it back to the idea that music in games can foster a shared experience that may enhance specific social variables such as race, class and gender (Abraham 2011, p. 66). It is evident that linear experiences of games articulate a form of digital literacy that creates meaning and value to one’s “emotional journey” (Abraham 2011, p. 67). This emotional journey is what establishes a response and enhances the individual’s interaction with their digital environment. For example, the user journey is paramount in explaining this notion and is particularly evident in games such as Halo 2. First person narrative is common in this type of gameplay, which reinforces Marshall McLuhan’s ideology that digital media is an extension of the human body. The musicality of sound effects is a supplement to the game’s design and mechanics, therefore illustrating a form of digital expression (Abraham 2011, p. 70). Consequently, an interactive dialogue is brought to the fore and is encapsulated through a shared appreciation of a digitally literate society.

(466 words)

Reference List:

Abraham, B., 2011, ‘Halo and Music’ in Cuddy, L. (eds.), Halo and Philosophy, Open Court, Chicago and La Salle.