Unfortunately this will be the last blog we will dedicate to our course Digital Art and Culture. The course has come to an end and it’s no surprise that the last class primarily consisted of reviewing the previous classes. This was very helpful with the final test coming up. In short this class was best describes as a final rehearsal before our test. It is therefore difficult for us to write an innovative blog about this class, we didn’t necessarily learned something new. Nevertheless this final class was very helpful to us when we were writing our exam. We think it is unnecessary to repeat everything about the previous classes in this blog so this blog will be dedicated to the course in general, how we thought of it, what we learned from it etc. At first we both had a hard time finding the coherence between the separate classes. Moreover, we also thought Digital Art and Culture had a lot in common with Cultural Theory, a course we attended earlier this year. Nevertheless, the more time went by, the more we discovered really interesting and new things during this course. The trip we made to Rotterdam really opened our eyes and gave us the chance to really ‘experience’ digital art. Although at first we were a bit scared about the final exam, when we started writing we came to the pleasant conclusion that we in fact were able to connect the dots between the separate classes. Now, when the course had come to an end we are assured that this course has learned us valuable things and that this course is very relevant in relation to the rest of our education.
For the last time, a lot of hugs and kisses from Aniek and Stefan! =)
Right after my post, i thought of this video what is a perfect example of amateurism and prosumerism. The group de jeugd van tegenwoordig organized a contest for all their fans. They could make an amateur video and then de jeugd van tegenwoordig picked out the best/most funny one for their new video. it became shenkie made by this funny kid
Last class we’ve discussed the issue of sharing information on the internet. Most of the times this information is just for entertainment. The most clear example of sharing is probably the website youtube were everyone can post and repost video’s and other information to each other and throughout the world, what we call narrowcasting. Also artists an composers notice this change/shift in ways of distribution. So they also want to participate in this new ways of sharing so you get the so called remix culture. This means as much as artists and consumers create a product together. For exampe Radiohead was one of the first who anticipated on this phenomenon. This prosumerism is cool for the fans and handy for the band. They give the fans what they want, cause they want nothing more then being a prosumer of their favorite band and the band has to do less and gets all the credits anyway.
All these new ways of distribution and new possibilities of sharing information have led to the so called amateurism. This is a very interesting concept. It raises a lot of questions like why it’s so populair, why there so many amateuristic remixes (of sometimes already stupid amateuristic video’s) etc. it even gets main attention in newsprogramms on tv who broadcast youtube video’s and other amateuristic stuff. I don’t have the answers as well but I guess that in nhowadays complex and mass society, where celebrity has become an achievement everybody wants to be seen. Everybody wants to be heard and with all the new possibilities of sharing information this leads to the phenomenon of amateurism.
But the most interesting about all this amateurism is that we aren’t really interested in most videos of people who want to be seen and want gain famedom through social media. For instance when you type in the name of a song on youtube you also get like 3.000 versions of amateurs with their guitar who also believe their capable of doing anything. But it’s not that we’re interested in, no we’re mostly interested in the so called ‘fail’ videos, as the name says videos were we can see people fail or just making themselves ridiculous. The band Weezer took the people of the most famous video’s and put them in their clip cause they know the audience will recognize these people, or animals (sneezing panda) and for that reason also will like the musicvideo. Again this raises the question why is this so populair at the moment? And again I don’t have the answers.
Again a lot of love and kisses from Aniek and Stefan
Today in class while we were discussing the difference between surveillance, coveillance and sousveillance I thought of something: for as long a mankind has existed on this earth coveillance has always been present. The other two, surveillance and sousveillance, can only exist if there is an hierarchy between men. Sousveillance is the youngest of the pair and started coming up recently, due to the increasing power of ‘common people’. In the last few years we have become more and more critical about the world around us. We started to become more involved in for example politics and what is happening in the rest of the world. Mediatisation plays an important role in this all. Another result of this is the containment of our privacy. People these days often feel like their privacy is being violated by al the cameras on the street for example. Spinello claims that there are 3 things that define our privacy. The first thing is solitude (to be able to be alone), the second thing is secrecy (to be able not to tell everything), and the third and last thing according to Spinello is: anonymity. These three things may be jeopardized in today’s society sometimes, but I think we will always keep a certain form of privacy. I can’t imagine a world where everyone would know everything about everybody and I don’t think it’s ever going to go that far with the privacy issues of people. Some of you may disagree with me, and I would love to read other views on this very contemporary privacy issue.
The thing that stuck by me most after this college was the image of the driving cockroach. I thought this idea was genius and extremely weird at the same time. The word ‘uncanny’ describes the feeling that took over me after watching the video best. The technology behind this device was actually not as complicated as I would imagine it to be. Also other examples that we discussed in class where an animal is ‘enhanced’ with technology, it almost looked like animal cruelty. You can’t help but wonder when you look at photos of some weird half bug half microchip, how it affects the animal itself. And mostly whether it’s ethically responsible for us to use animals as a tool for our own sake. Even though men has always had used animals for their own profit I think it’s a good thing to think about these kind of things in a society where technology is so advanced that (almost) everything seems to be possible. However, the cockroach ‘car’ didn’t seem to harm the bug in any way or form. I immediately started daydreaming about a world dominated by cockroaches. I thought about a nuclear war and how the cockroaches would be the only alive animals on this planet. Would they eventually evolve the way we have? Would they build an entire world and eventually experiment with technology on other, inferior animals? And what if history had taken a completely different turn? Would we have become the ‘bugs’ used for experiments, or perhaps be bred and eaten? These are some of the questions that arose in my mind and because of this the uncanny feeling only grew stronger. I think this is exactly the reason why we are so fascinated by for example digital art. Just because it’s so different and weirdly fascinating. The thing I liked most about this example is that it led me to think about things in today’s society.
Today during class was said that drugs can be seen as an extension of our mind. We thought this would be an interesting topic to devote our blog to. As we all know drugs can make you see, feel, hear and experience thing you couldn’t have felt, seen or heard otherwise. Because we’ve already spent a lot of time discussing different things being ‘real’ or not during this class (reality vs virtual worlds for example) I thought it would be nice to think about a drug trip as a ‘real space’. Of course you’re physically still in the ‘real’ world when you are under the influences of drugs, but mentally you can be floating in an entirely different (imagined) space. And what if we make the link between a drug trip and a video game? We’ve already extensively discussed and analysed video games in every possible way, so what if we think of a drug trip in the same way we do a video game? In both cases your body stays at exactly the same place, assuming that you’re not walking around or anything during your drug trip. In your mental world however, you’re somewhere completely different: the virtual space of a videogame of whatever your own imagination brings about. Both ‘places’ aren’t physically real: you can’t literally go there and touch the grounds.
One last thing about the drug-theme. I’ve become really curious about the i-drugs that we talked about today. I think the idea that different sound waves can influence our brain as much as chemicals is amazing and pretty weird at the same time. What I would like to know is if anyone has experience with these kinds of i-drugs, or perhaps knows someone who has?
Hugs and kisses from Aniek and Stefan!
In todays class we’ve discussed again the terms space and place and how they are related to the virtual world. Also we talked about the different social networks that circulate throughout the globe and how we make a choice in which social network we want to participate. The way we present ourselves in the virtual world and on social networks is all about our own identity. Through the concept of nomadism, our identity is spread all over the world and we can take any identity or form we want on the internet. But the interesting fact here is that however we participate in a lot of different social networks and other virtual worlds we seem to have the need to always connect our virtual identity to the identity we have in our own communities we participate in. For example when we create an avatar in most case we try to endow with certain aspects of our ‘real’ space and place bound identity. And when we participate in social networks we also want to know where the other persons live, who their friends are and other things of the real community they participate in. But does that really matter? I say no, but apparently we have the need to know.
What is far more interesting in this matter is our choice for a certain social network. On the map that was shown in college, it said that the Netherlands connect to the social network Hyves. I’ve never had an hyves account and my choice for Facebook was primarily that everyone I knew had Facebook. In class however was discussed that there are way more aspects that play a role in this matter, like gender, race, intellect and stuff like that. Now I also heard from other people that they left their hyves account cause they associated it with young childless people and I can understand. But I was a bit surprised/shocked by all the other aspect that seem to play a role. I always figured that people just got Facebook because everybody did, following the herd, that kind of principle. And also because Facebook comes from America, cause America is still the standard in the world. I’m also one of those people, but now I have Facebook I’m starting to see the benefits of it, for example all the people I can still keep in touch with who live abroad. For me it’s just that simple, but people apparently have the need for some reason to place their selves above others, to participate in a group which they think is accepted in their community. Pretty interesting the human mind.
Again a lot of love and kisses from Aniek and Stefan
In todays class we discussed the link between digital culture and celebrities. The difference between celebrities now and celebrities back in for example the seventies is that nowadays celebrities have way more possibilities through for example the internet to profile and expose themselves to the public. In that way celebrities have become more and more a product to the public, celebrities as a commodity. In this light given we’ve also discussed whether there has been a shift in way people are famous. In class was told that’s the case, but I don’t totally agree on that one. I think throughout the existence of mankind people always have wanted to be famous and there always have been famous people who had lack of any skill what so ever and that were wondering why that person is famous at all. I do agree that nowadays with all the new media the number of people who have become famous for no reason it all increased a lot. You can discuss if that’s the fault of the public gaze or that the public can’t help it cause of the enormous media offer on celebrities for say the last ten years.
I have to say to I’m a bit harsh on my conclusion here. Back to class, we’ve discussed 3 types of how people can become a celebrity. First of all you the people who have skills, second the pre-scribed people (for example a royalty) and third the ascribed people who in principal have no skill or reason what so ever to earn the status of a famous person. We can all figure out our selves that Adele is an example of someone who earned her status through her skills and that Paris Hilton is an ascribed celebrity.
But it’s not as simple as that. There’s no way you can separate these three classifications. Cause Paris Hilton has taken being good at absolutely nothing but making enormous fame and money out of that to perfection, and I have to say, that’s also a pretty handy skill. And on the other hand, okay Adele has enormous skills but there thousands of people’s on the world who are good at something. Adele has earned her status as a famous person not only through her skills but also finding the public through the media.
That’s the next thing I want to point out, nowadays it seems that visibility through the media has become more important then actually doing something for getting famous.
In that way one of the most interesting examples for me is Perez Hilton. Perez Hilton is a guy who has his own internet blog where he bashes on (other) celebrities. And this guy actually become famous for bashing on celebrities, who in most cases are ascribed celebrities their selves. So the conclusion has become an ascribed celebrity through other ascribed celebrities. That’s weird right? He even used the hype around Paris Hilton and took her name, with a little change of course, to gain this fame. I think this guy is a stupid **** who doesn’t deserve all the attention, and in my opinion we should boycott and ignore people like that. But then again also respect for the man that he become rich and famous this way, so it’s a little complicated.
Another example is Paris Hilton show where she’s looking for a new BFF. Andy Warhol already showed the hollowness and malleability of celebrity through his project Superstars. Here he showed how simple it is to produce fame and how you can endlessly reproduce it and how empty the whole concept of the product of celebrity is.
And a show like Paris Hilton’s new BFF is for me the perfect representation of a how stupid and hollow society has become in some ways.
As I said before you can’t separate the three classifications and everybody who is famous earned his status in his own way and should get some respect for that. And besides who am I to judge other people. But still I do J cause in my opinion it is harrowing to see so many stupid shows and other things with ascribed celebrities on television, internet and so on that I’m really getting annoyed be it. Maybe I’m old fashioned or harsh again but most of those of so called ascribed celebrities are so spoiled and retarded that we should completely ignore them.
Again a lot of love and kisses from Aniek and Stefan