You See What I Want You To See

In recent times, a rise in popularity of the online video styling ‘vlogging‘ has occurred. The style features video-based blogs, as such, that are posted daily, or multiple times a week by creators; usually following the ongoings of their lives. These creators predominantly exist within the video sharing network of YouTube and are hence referred to as ‘Youtubers’.

YouTubers, and more particularly vlogging YouTubers (vloggers), are emphatic representations of how an individual’s online persona can differ from their persona in reality. Given the fluidity that their platform provides them when creating their overall product – video allows for certain events to be cut and tailored, vloggers are ultimately able to conjure scenarios in any way they wish.

In many ways, these malleable online personas can be attributed to the technology that is utilised by their owners – video. With the ability to film whatever you like, as well as edit and include pieces that you see fit, video is one of the most versatile technological devices utilised in creating an online persona.

Below is a short video I created in under 30 minutes titled ‘Surviving Uni’. The video features a fellow student answering two questions relating to student life at UOW. However, both answers are positive – even though there is room for negative aspects to be drawn in. The generally positive video provides an online persona of not only the student represented but also the video producer (myself).

Nate

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Social Media: A place to express yourself, or not.

Gone are the days of Myspace.
Yes, you heard right, Myspace.
You know, that social media platform that began all social media platforms?
It’s gone.
And in its place, Facebook.
I’m sure I don’t have to say that one again.

These platforms, although not physical devices, represent the ways in which companies can lock you in – that is, restricting you and your actions in association with their product.

The freedom provided by generative platforms (such as the Android operating system/s) is something that is (was) extremely evident within the functionality of Myspace. The open-sourced nature of the site allowed for a more expressive type of persona to be presented. Although Facebook currently allows for the personalisation of an individual’s account through things such as profile pictures and cover photos, there really isn’t as much the opportunity to wholly express oneself.

It’s not just Facebook though. Most forms of modern social media platforms are reasonably restrictive on the control over one’s account any given individual is provided. While, seemingly simultaneously, companies continue to expand the boundaries of their privacy policies (such as Twitter’s latest change to the policy; with users accepting by clicking a ‘sounds good’ button), opening up their user’s data to a broader variety of third parties.

In many ways, if someone was to open Myspace in front of me today, I’d give them a similar reaction to if they were to open Internet Explorer. (God forbid they open Myspace on Internet Explorer)

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Nate

Transylvanian Transmedia

Cult films are one of the most emphatic representations of transmedia at work.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show has managed to maintain a constant level of popularity since it’s inception as a stage musical in 1973. This is largely to do with the fact that the initial product has been turned into somewhat of a ‘transmedia franchise’ through the release of countless follow-up products. These products offer a multitude of entry points for old and new fans to interact with the original story and become part of the ‘Rocky Horror world’.giphy

The 1975 creation of the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ provides the basis for the overall ‘fandom’, however, has evolved greatly since its initial presentation. Audience participation at screenings across the world, in which fans throw props at the screen, dance, sing, and even recite lines back at to the characters of the film, has become something of a norm.
However, the overall continued success of the ‘Rocky Horror world’ can be put down to the efforts of its fans; who’re responsible for the creation of further media products such as:

The creation of multiple points of entry for a prospective audience to join the Rocky Movement has allowed increased success of the concept as a franchise as opposed to just a single film or stage play; so much so that many fan-study academics have utilised The Rocky Horror Picture Show as the foundation for their research.

Nate

Ctrl C, Ctrl V, Ctrl Me

Within the internet era, everything has become a copy of a copy of a copy.

The fashion industry, in particular, is one that is greatly impacted by the continual publication of an individual’s creations online. As within any creative industry, inspiration is vital to the overall development of ideas and products. As such, many turn to the internet in search of what may be ‘the next big thing’.

In recent times, one of the most notable cases of copyright infringement within this sphere is that regarding fashion elite Jeremy Scott and the fashion house Moschino. The world renowned fashion designer was sued for a breach of copyright regarding the placement of artist Joseph Tierney‘s work on products featured in their Autumn/Winter 2015 range. However, it is the circumstances surrounding this so called ‘work’ that questioned the lengths to which copyright held control. Tierney is well known for his creation of street art or graffiti, of which Scott used as a defence for his actions – if it’s illegal for Tierney’s work to be published, as such, then it shouldn’t be illegal for Scott to use in a legal manner. The case has since been settled, with both parties filing for dismissal.

Similarly, the lengths of copyright’s control were once again contested earlier this year when Melania Trump was accused of presenting a speech that was almost identical to one of which was presented by Michelle Obama in 2008 – although after much media coverage, the speech writer formally apologised and offered their resignation.

And so I thought, if I was to record myself reading the above blog post, and then post it online, am I breaching my own copyright? Can my own intellectual property be stolen by, well, me? In today’s confusingly replicative, online society, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Also note that the above track is licensed under a ‘Creative Commons License – Some Rights Reserved’, meaning anyone can download and/or remix what I have said.

Nate

Blurring Beats, Blurring Borders

Starfvckers Logo

The increasing prevalence of the concept of ‘remix’ across a variety of facets of society, has seen an overall increase in the interaction between individual cultures themselves. One of the most easily identifiable today is within the music industry, where the traditional ideals of individual genres of music are becoming more and more faded/blurred.

Koda Kumi, a Japanese singer from Kyoto, shot to stardom following the release of her 7th single – which was then used in the video game Final Fantasy X-2. Her initially quiet and conservative image has developed significantly from as early as 2003 (3 years after the release of her first single), with Koda adopting a sexier and more provocative style. This has made her something of an icon within the Japanese pop-music scene, and as a direct result, on an international scale also – being compared to Western pop stars Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears.

Within recent times, Koda has gained further popularity with the annual release of her DRIVING HITS remix albums, featuring remixes of some of her most known songs.

On this year’s release, Sydney-based DJ duo Starfvckers (Kristofer Hutchison and Tom Nash) take on Koda’s track Money In My Bag. As icons of the Sydney club nightlife for over a decade, the duo now resides on the rooftop of Darling Harbour’s Home Nightclubwith their self-titled club Starfvckers. As someone who’s not a stranger to this iconic location, their remix is something that I can definitely see ‘blowing up at Church on a Saturday night’.

Check out their remix below.

Nate

“A Trump Sympathiser? Me? No!”

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Many people seem pretty shocked by the creation of content like this, regarding Hilary Clinton. However, despite emphasising facets of her campaign that weren’t necessarily such major issues, everything is based on facts.

Therefore, it’s not the actual information (or rather an event) that is causing this shock to the audience, but rather the frame in which it is being presented.

With the ongoing comparison of President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, would finding a common ground with him be seen as the equivalent of being a Nazi sympathiser.

Am I a ‘Trump Sympathiser’?

I don’t think I am. But I can’t help but bring to light the frame/s in which Trump has been presented across both his campaign and now within his role as leader of the free world. Most of the information that has been presented to the world surrounding Trump isn’t necessarily that bad, it’s the preconditioned view of these actions that ultimately make them appear bad – Trump could come out tomorrow and claim he saved 60 people from drowning with his bare hands, but this would still be talked down significantly, ‘what about that 61st person?’.

It raises the question; if Trump was ‘framed’ in a more optimistic way from the get go, would he seem more successful in his role as President now?

Nate

One To Many, or One Too Many?

Within the current media landscape a clear shift between monologic media structures (one to many – a ‘hub’ sharing information directly to an audience) to dialogic media structures (many to many – interconnected channels of communication, sharing information with one another) is evident. The internet has been the dominant force behind this movement and in most circumstances, people see the trajectory of this convergence as purely beneficial.

However, not everyone agrees with this. In recent times, President Donald Trump has labelled a variety of seemingly reputable news sources as ‘Fake News‘, and in some instances directed these labels towards individuals – namely Jim Acosta of CNN. In Trump’s eyes, despite having stated he “…can handle a bad story better than anybody, as long as it’s true”; anything that is presented from a media perspective – be that a large media outlet or an individual on the internet, that doesn’t suit his agenda, is simply untrue.

This raises the question, ‘has movement away from the monologic one to many media structure led to an influx of one too many opinions?’. Donald Trump seems to think so.

Nate

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If You’re Reading This It’s A Meme

Drake has released a new album. Wait, no, it’s a playlist.
Whatever it is, Drake is the perfect example of a musician, whose craft has frequently been altered in order to suit the demanding nature of the digital world.

It's A Meme Gif
From single, to EP, to LP, to mixtape, to rap dependent album, to dance classic album, and now playlist, the ‘Drizzy’ empire has continued to grow due to its ability to provide its audience with regular content – in the form of relevant and innovative mediums. It is clear that the way in which people will interact with his music is at the forefront of Drake’s decision-making process; in the sense that a playlist is a collection of songs by various artists, generally created and shared in an online format – it markets itself.

Despite his latest release “More Life” featuring self-generated content, the ‘playlist’ claim still may not be so ambiguous. Drake has crafted an album that reflects his own current stylistic tastes, utilising the ‘playlist’ medium as merely a foundation within the unique digital landscape that surrounds the music industry.

Check out the album below.

Nate

The Medium is a Shiatsu

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The medium is the message massage, and it has been since the dawn of time. From the earliest forms of non-verbal communication right through to the now converging nature of media platforms, producers (or the more contemporary ‘produsers‘) continually emphasise the impact of their medium on as their overall message.

Vault 7 Meme

The CIA have an interest in memes and emojis.

Yes, you read that right.

World renowned online presence Wikileakshave utilised the power of the internet, as a medium, to allow their discoveries surrounding ‘CIA Hacking Tools’ – known as Vault 7, to reach the broadest possible audience.

Vault 7 has revealed not only information from a confidential government organisation but also an example of McLuhan’s ‘The Medium is the Message’ in reality. The CIA are anticipating the social and cultural impacts of a medium, in this case the meme, and therefore staying ahead of the change that the medium has the capacity to bring – through concepts such as memetic warfare.

Oh, they’re also using every device in your home as a form of surveillance, but that’s a story for another post.

Nate

“Stop, Collaborate, and Listen”

“Ice is back with a brand new invention”

That is right, the mediocre Vanilla Ice, from the 90′giphys, has a brand new invention.
Yet somehow, I have spent my week procrastinating about the possible avenues I could explore through my digital artefact, while bingeing two entire seasons of ‘Serial‘ – which I would highly reccomend. A combination of these two things generally left me in a state which can only be represented through gif.
However, following some inspiration from the one and only Vanilla Ice, as well as completing my first tutorial with Travis, I have managed to home in on some possible ideas for my project.

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I decided that it would be easiest to first write a list of things that I wanted my digital artefact to include, or be based around. This meant that I would have most of my key ideas on the page as opposed to taking up space in my already crowded mind, and restricting me from coming up with any ‘new’ ideas.

  1. I have always been interested in the basic foundation of communication in itself – why people communicate, how people communicate, when people communicate, etc. It is this concept that fuelled my desire for a ‘somewhat collaborative component’ or ‘possibility for future collaboration‘ within my digital artefact (I had these statements scrawled throughout multiple pages of my notebook).
  2. I had previously had a quick look at Travis’ ‘Project Starter‘ webpage, which is a digital artefact in itself. However, it wasn’t until after my first tutorial with Travis himself that I really started to put it into action. I wrote a list of my interests and then subsequently wrote problems that I could identify within those current industries or topic areas. With both this and the point above in mind, I settled with basing my artefact ideas around ‘People in general’, ‘Music’, and ‘Current Affairs’.
  3. For some reason, the repetition of Marshall McLuhan’s paradoxical statement “The Medium is the Message” – or ‘massage’ rather, stuck with me throughout this process. Despite the fact that the basis for my entire artefact would be around this seemingly non-sensical idea, McLuhan did have a point (but I’ll talk more about that next week). This led to my desire for a ‘multi-modal’ based approach to my artefact, which if all goes to plan, will allow me to link multiple forms of technology and media within my project.

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 6.48.10 pmAnd so, following this quite intense brain storm session, I managed to draw three abstract ideas from thin air. Keep in mind, these ideas may seem extremely farfetched and will definitely be further refined. There are also definite detriments directly surrounding the possibility of producing such artefacts, especially within such a short period of time, however, this is something that I will address in a future blog post.

  1. OPEN ROOM: A blog, acting as collaborative space for the aggregation of both non-fiction and fiction work from authors and creators based in various locations. The idea behind this was that an ‘Open
    Room’ provides the ability for people to move in and out of it freely, with no limitations.
  2. SOUNDS OF THE PEOPLE: A podcast/web series, accompanied by a blog housing ‘reading material’ related to each episode. The series would aim to discuss different major news stories, or controversies each episode. Pulling a variety of sources from both online and physical mediums, as well as including discussion with other students as well as members of the public.
  3. SOUNDS OF THE CITY: A music aggregation website/blog, bring together album reviews, current news from within the industry, playlist creation, and event updates/reviews. The platform would also allow for the submission of recommendations from outsiders in a section yet to be titled – maybe ‘Sounds of Your City’, allowing local acts to be featured online.

Annnnnddd, that is about where I became creatively drained and resumed my listening of Serial.

So I’ll leave you with this, shed some insight, leave a comment.

Nate

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