Group 6 – Surveillance Proposal

Our team has decided to centralize our argument around surveillance and to put into focus the idea that surveillance is no longer left to an authoritative power, rather, it has been democratized and put into the hands of the public. We will focus on explaining how this either benefits or damages us as a society. Sarah Banet-Weiser in “Branding the Post-Feminist Self: Girls’ Video Production and Youtube” explores both negative and positive vantage points of this “democratizing potential” explaining that this is only made possible because of “it’s flexible architecture, the relative accessibility of the technology, the capacities for users to become producers, and the construction of the Internet as a participatory culture.” (pg. 279) Thanks to an almost unlimited amount of information that the Internet brings in Web 2.0 it seems as if our society cannot escape this “digital enclosure” we have created. This digital enclosure can be compared to the likings of Bentham’s panopticon, however, we in our project would like to deconstruct his model and explain that in this new digital enclosure we are no longer the prisoners in cells and the “powers at be” in the watchtower, we are both the prisoner and the watchtower. Our group has chosen to formulate our video essay and pose it as a fan vid. Our main argument for the “good” of democratic surveillance poses around the events of the Boston Bombings and the airplane of Flight 370 and how the public has been asked to take an authoritative stance and come together with collective intelligence to help solve these cases for the greater good. We will interlace images of both events to help demonstrate the positive side of surveillance and internet democratization. To show the “creepy” or negative side of surveillance, we will include posts and tweets of our classmates either on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the intent and hope to shock our peers while explaining the idea that we are being surveilled at all times and this comes at a cost of living in a digital enclosure. The imagery will switch from heroic and lighthearted to emphasize the positive aspects while then changing to more ominous and dark themes to highlight a “scary” aspect of surveillance.

The video “Surveillance” (see above) is not only aptly titled, it has a certain tone and gravity that we hope our video portrays. The information at the beginning is enlightening and educational, both aspects we hope to touch on in our video. The quick montage of videos of the actress shared an aspect of the willingness to put ourselves in the digital enclosure to which I think will also be very appropriate in our video.

-Andy Ward, Aldo Mucino, Carter Olson, Silver Madala

Other videos will we consider modeling our project after:

http://vimeo.com/65218300

This advertisement is great because it shows of all the ways that we “should” be wary of surveillance, my hope using this video would be to spoof it or emphasize why we might “need” these securities.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlQLeiZbTfE

The Onion explains it best and exemplifies how we as a society willfully give out personal information without exploring the ramifications of this.

 

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By awardjose

Bjork

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It could be contested that Bjork is the most influential musical artist of the 21st century. Bjork’s contributions to the musical and artistic scene could also be contested, and as I would like to explore, are contested using the ideas of collective intelligence through the works of Wikipedia. Henry Jenkins, a media scholar, explains collective intelligence to be “the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others to a common goal.” Bjork’s Wikipedia page was created in 2001, and just in 13 years, 2559 editors and 4,828 edits, the article is a fully realized, comprehensive piece of research. This culmination of effort in constructing information that surround Bjork is what Jenkins refers to as networking, or “the ability to search for, synthesize and disseminate information.” This is of note, because my interest which quickly lead to obsession for Bjork would have never come to fruition, perhaps, had there not been a Wikipedia article on her and the networking of information thereof. For example, Wikipedia has helped feed my intrigue for Bjork, and it has ultimately made me feel closer to her, because now I believe I have a connection to her, just based on a deeper understanding of her work and of her history.

I took a glance “under the hood” at the three main contributors of Bjork’s Wikipedia article, and what I found did not surprise me. The first Wikipedia editor is AnemoneProjectors, most notable for his contributions surrounding “The X Factor”, EastEnders (a BBC original TV show), and soap operas. Asarelah, the second editor, has contributed extensively to articles female rock and metal singers, as well as her work on women in warfare. Finally, BrotherDarkSoul is most notable for his contribution on organizing, or networking, information on women’s vocal ranges categorically. The common denominator I would make out for these editors, is their appreciation for female vocalists, allowing for some outliers. Although some may subscribe to the idea of a “expert paradigm” which is “a bounded body of knowledge, which can be mastered by an individual,” and the fact that only someone who is an expert can speak coherently on a topic, I disagree with this. The three editors have a passion for female vocalists, and although not “experts” their output of time and interest I believe is parallel. 

I wish to speak now to the “validity” of Wikipedia articles, and of Bjork’s article in particular. In our society we value truth and credibility, and since Wikipedia allows anyone to edit articles, we see the lens of these editors with how they view “Bjork”, for example. I however, do not see credibility or validity as an issue on the Wikipedia world. As I have stated previously, Wikipedia inspires people to get excited about knowledge, which I then believe turns into a quest for knowledge, there is an importance for others as Jenkins puts it:  “to see themselves as members of a knowledge community.” There is NOW an interest to be seen as a commodity of knowledge.

In conclusion, I believe the internet, and Wikipedia more directly, has changed the way we process and network information. It has made us mass consumers, but also, it has pushed us to be information seekers. To end on a less scholarly note, Bjork in 2011 released her album “Biophilia”, the biophilia hypothesis being that humans are intertwined with other living systems, very interesting to note if we consider the way we interact with other humans using the internet being another “living system.” The app allowed for its users to create and share music. For that reason, I admire Bjork for her understanding that we are living in a time of completely interconnected information and creativity. 

 

 

Works Cited:

Jenkins, Henry. “WHAT WIKIPEDIA CAN TEACH US ABOUT THE NEW MEDIA LITERACIES (PART ONE).” Confessions of an AcaFan. http://henryjenkins.org/2007/06/what_wikipedia_can_teach_us_ab.html, 26 June 2007. Web. 14 Feb. 2014.

Jenkins, Henry. “WHAT WIKIPEDIA CAN TEACH US ABOUT THE NEW MEDIA LITERACIES (PART TWO).” Confessions of anAcaFan. http://henryjenkins.org/2007/06/what_wikipedia_can_teach_us_ab_1.html. 26 June 2007 Web. 14 Feb. 2014.

Burton, Charlie. “In Depth: How Björk’s ‘Biophilia’ Album Fuses Music with IPad Apps.” Wired UK. http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2011/08/features/music-nature-science, 26 July 2011. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.

By awardjose Tagged

Podcasts

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I host a weekly, themed amateur podcast. All three adjectives used very casually because sometimes my laptop doesn’t work and I have to postpone for a week, sometimes the theme is just “ranting” and amateur is used very sparingly because it is to say I have some potential in a podcast market. My friends and sometimes anonymous contributors call in most always enthusiastic with their stories and more interestingly enough, almost always confused as to what a “podcast” is. “Is this live?” “Are there people listening?” “What is this?” All questions I have heard, and can be answered in tying Tom Gunning’s thoughts on “re-newing old technology.”

I have always enjoyed talk radio, and in a “go, go, go” society, we have no time to sit down and read the newspaper. It makes it much easier to be able to enjoy your news while driving or wherever accessible. However, accessibility was one of the major criticisms with talk radio, the inability to listen to your favorite stations without having a radio became problematic. This want to be able to listen to radio on demand brought to fruition “web radio.” Now with the internet being so accessible web radio became a hit, which lead to the ultimate creation of podcasting. Podcasting brings a sense of “uncanny” as Gunning describes, because it evokes a feeling of reminiscence while combining an air of newness. The gathering of a family around a radio is an iconic picture of American culture, albeit a bit dated. That is why I believe the excitement and entertainment that came from listening to the radio has been broken down to a more personalized, unpredictable and concentrated format. Gunning goes on to talk about this want for technology to be able to turn the future into a Utopia. The idea is that while technology advances more of our wants are met. In this instance, my generation aptly named the “Me Generation” wants everything personalized. With podcasts we don’t have to “suffer” through listening to commercials, or only being able to listen to a particular show at a particular time. The want for a more personalized, a more portable entertainment has been met.

To touch on my meme, it must first be brought to the forefront that since there is a large feeling of “newness” to podcasts, their use is still murky to many people. To this effect, most all of my friends have only heard of my podcast, which is a comedy podcast, so they believe that podcasts are just mediums for comedians. To celebrities, and to my knowledge, podcasts have become another way to market their product. Gone are the days where a celebrity would have to tour all around America talking on radio stations to promote their standup show, or new TV series coming out. Now, celebrities can go to one or two podcasts in the Los Angeles area and send it to the whole world. Society would like to see podcasts as a learning and educational venue marketed at the same audition as talk radio. For this reason I believe names like NPR and TED Talks are the most prominent features on the iTunes Podcast section. I would like to think of podcasts as a new medium to create, talk and socialize. I think podcasts create a link to and from creatives and consumers of media aimed at a goal of interconnectivity. At the end of the day, and in summation, podcasts give voices to many people who might have not previously gone through the ranks of becoming a radio DJ. Now, one can simply download Garageband and grab a mic, and start creating. Podcasts have democratized a new way to connect and share and to entertain, and as long as they are in the zeitgeist, I will appreciate them

Ciccarelli, Stephanie. “History of Podcasting.” Voices.com. Voices, 01 Aug. 2013. Web. 29 Jan. 2014.

Gunning, T. 2003. ‘Re-newing Old Technologies: Astonishment, Second Nature and the Uncanny in Technology From the Previous Turn-of the-Century’, in Thorburn, D. and Jenkins, H. (eds) Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press