Meet our green artist in Australia — John Dahlsen

John Dahlsen is an award-winning Australian contemporary environmental artist. He uses found objects, primarily plastic bags, from Australian beaches in his work.

John Dahlsen is an award-winning Australian contemporary environmental artist. He uses found objects, primarily plastic bags, from Australian beaches in his work.

This is a video with an in-depth study on the Australian Environmental Artist John Dahlsen’s visual art practice. It was shown on National Television on the ABC arts show.

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[ARTS3091] Week 11 blog

This week’s lecture is exploring two questions in short, one is “how things becoming more fragment” and the other is “how things are coming together more”. With these two questions in mind, the first concept that I could immediately think of is called “fragmentation”.

I think mobile technologies (smartphone apps in particular) and social media today are highly demanded in our daily life. We spend most of the time interacting with these mobile apps. In terms of media and communication, there are more fragmentation of apps and platforms for people today. People are fragmented due to different social groups and connections. For example, people who are playing Facebook are being grouped together while those who are interested in online games will be considered as another social group. Also, more apps today lead to more potential connections between both technical and social group. In other words, more media technologies are created to connect users to different social environments and things within it due to different interests and interactions. I personally think that fragmentation hence will be a good way of exploring how people communicate in the contemporary life, as people just interact with each other using media technologies.

With the growing of the concept “fragmentation”, we gain flexibility in the way that these apps and platforms come together. For instance, we are able to communicate with different social groups (due to fragmentation) more easily and frequently due to the mobility. Although there is an increase in number of forms of media and communication, things today are coming together more due to flexibility, which pretty much answer the question in the beginning.

When both ‘fragmentation’ and ‘flexibility’ come together, it will create ubiquity in a sense. “In contrast to desktop comuting, ubiquitous computing can occur using any device, in any location and in any format” (Wkipedia, 2014). We can use laptops, mobile phones, as well as tablets to interact with each other at anytime and anywhere. In fact, ubiquity is more about ‘ambient common’ as most of the time people are interacting through ambient commons. According to Boillier (2013), ambient commons consist of “those things in our built environment, especially in cities, that we take for granted as part of the landscape:  architectural design, urban spaces, designs that guide and inform our travels, amenities for social conviviality”. Hence, it suggests that we interact and form multiplicities through ambient commons. I think it then further explain ‘how things are coming together more’, as technology today has offered more opportunities to let the communication be limitless.

 

This is a popular ubiquitous computing example found on YouTube, suggesting that information processing is integrated into everyday objects and activities, and that information devices (e.g. smartphone) are connected to information system wherever you go.

 

Reference:

Bollier, D 2013, ‘How Will We Reclaim and Shape the Ambient Commons?”, David Bollier: News and Perspectives on the Commons.

http://bollier.org/blog/how-will-we-reclaim-and-shape-ambient-commons, accessed 23 May 2014

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ARTS3091 Week 9 blog: Micropolitic

In this week’s lecture, we did discuss the issue of micropolitics, network, and communication. Particularly, how new media and communication have led people to new forms of interaction, and how it leads people to take things into their own hands as a result.

First of all, what is “micropolitic”? According to Jellis (2009), it refers to “the creation of techniques for collaboration”. It is basically the idea that the networks transverse established frames through open and decentralized collaboration and participation. Of course, the concept is not about replacing the established power.

It is more about ‘the formation of desire in the social field’ Guattari and Rolnik, Molecular Revolution in Brazil, p182, cited in week 9 lecture) as molar intersects with molecular. It focus on finding new ways to live that fit with one’s desires, instead of just conforming to “how things work”. Moreover, I think “the power of the small” is not powerful, but the collection of “the power of the small” is powerful due to trnasversality, which was a relationship link to different fields to innovate something new. As these transversal links can integrate together to make significant changes. For example, Twitter opens up for each person (particularly each Twitter user) to give their personal ideas and opinions. Each idea and opinion, therefore, will then bring forth new ideas and opinions by sharing on Twitter regarding to particular topic or issue. The Internet actually empowers individuals (the power of the small) to form larger and more powerful group to discuss and share knowledge on same topic. To sum up the whole idea is that transversal forms of collaboration is allowing for new forms of social organisation to emerge.

According to Terranova (2004), micropolitics are not easily controllable or predictable as they are decentralized. As the Internet is accessible globally, so it is impossible to control the each individual in an open system, which is leaderless. Besides, it is hard to control them completely due the large number. Hence, the concept of micropolitics is not about replacing the established power, it is more about using decentralized power to assist the central power, which “decentralized power” here suggests the power of individuals, and “the central power” means the specific topic or idea that individuals would be talking about.

This is quite relevant to my research topic, as online communities provide an opportunity for politicians to build new and even deeper relationship with publics (their supporters too). As publics can communicate with politicians “directly” in a sense, and politicians will be able to understand the needs and opinions of their supporters more easily by reading relevant comments online. According to Sites (2013), understanding the target communities is the key goal and this can be accomplished through the forums. This can help me further understand why politicians would like to choose Twitter as one of the main platform for election campaign propaganda.

 

Reference:

Terranova,Tiziana (2004) ‘From Organisms to Multitudes’ In Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age London: Pluto: 101-1

Stites, Jessica (2013) ‘How the Transition Movement Is Spreading to Towns Across America: Alternet.

Jellis, T. (2009), ‘Disorientation and micropolitics: a response’,

spacesof[aesthetic]experimentation,

<http://www.spacesofexperimentation.net/montreal/disorientation-and-micropolitics-a-response/>, accessed on 5 May 2014

 

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Week 8 blog: The Fate of the state

To begin the blog, I want to show two relevant videos for this week’s topic: Government 2.0! First of all, what is Government 2.0? Is it similar to the idea of Web 2.0? It means government’s use of new media, especially digital and networked media. Also, it includes the idea of increased surveillance and control. However, does it actually affirm and increase the power of established forms of government?

The first video, which is a funny video saying ‘what does Government 2.0 can mean to everyone’, illustrates that Internet and software become tools for democracy as everyone online can have a say. Although this video just a personal opinion established in a funny way, it is also counted as some people’s thoughts. In my own opinion, I agree the idea in certain degree. Information on the Internet is hard to control, even for government. Once a piece of information being posted online, it will go viral around the world. For example, Australian government can only control the online users within the Australia region, but not users in other parts of the world. On the other hand, with the use of new media, government has more platforms to monitor their citizens and online information, which increase its power.

The second video explains that new media has changed the way politicians campaign. An example given in the video is Obama. As the president of America, he uses social media as a tool for administration (He has a Twitter account). It also reveal Government 2.0 is increasingly vital to politicians.

Both videos prove that new media, particularly social media has had a big impact on politics globally. In the article called ‘Against Transparency: The perils of openness in government, Lessig explores the idea of transparency and openness of government. In his opinion, transparency to a government means that the public is able to access to the current events (happenings) of that government. Citizens have the ability to share information with new media (social media), such as Facebook, Twitter , blogs etc. He then uses the example of the ‘Transparency projects’ of the US government to further explain how government uses new media to public information for citizens.

Like what the second video has mentioned above, politicians are now on social media like Twitter and Facebook updating their followers with everyday moves as well as their own thoughts. This discloses governments and politicians at a more personal stage, as people can read their personal opinions and thoughts rather than reading former news articles. Moreover, similar to other frequent social media users, politicians may also want to remain relevant to the news so that they may keep updating their social media information.

It is quite relevant to my research topic, which looks at the use of social media’s influence on politics, particularly the impacts of the use of Twitter on presidential election campaign these days. I think Government 2.0 is really useful for my research essay, and I think I can use this term to discuss the potential advantage/damage of using new media for politicians.

 

Reference:

Styles, C 2009 “A Government 2.0 idea – first, make all the functions visible’![http://catherinestyles.com/2009/06/28/a-government-2-0-idea/], accessed on 04 May 2014

Lessig, L 2010 ‘Against Transparency: The perils of openness in government.’
[http://www.tnr.com/article/books-and-arts/against-transparency?page=0,0], accessed on 04 May 2014

 

 

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Week 7 blog: Framing and Vector

This week’s lecture explored three forms of contemporary media ‘power’ that are significant to both traditional media and new media: framing, vectors and hacking. In this blog, I will be focusing on framing and vectors.

Lakoff and Johnson (1999) discussed in Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought thatframes represent the overall structure and boundary of key messages. They are similar to the use of photo frame, which they mark out an inside and separate it from an outside. Frames in media are used for mental structure constructions, and allowing us to decode key message (specific information) and assume meaning of the text based on our experience or beliefs. The example they used absolutely helps me understand framing quickly: “After we ate, we got up and left”. In a restaurant this would mean paying the bill. In someone else’s home it would mean something like saying goodbye. At our own home, it might mean it’s time to do the dishes. Another example I could think of is that the use of framing in news articles.Most readers would believe in what the news tell us, which means we accept everything that journalists and reporters tell us. If they want to report something bad, they will frame the article by using negative words to influence reader’s feelings. It also shows the power of framing in media, as the media draws our attention to these topics, and directs the way we understand these issues and how we will behave towards them.

Another form of power in contemporary society is known as vector. “Vectors of transport move objects and subjects. Vectors of communication move information” (Wark, 2004, p. 313). In this case, vectors can be seen as transversal, which they are able to move across frames. In other words, vectors are pathways that between and across frames. They enable to transform things and to produce new form of things According to Wark, vectors are the dominant force in modern society. For instance, the vector of the technology, particularly Internet, is causing the decline of printing newspapers due to quick access to information online.

These terms would be useful for my research essay as I would like to find more framing and vector examples in politics, particularly looking at the use of framing and vectors in election campaign. Also, what are the impacts of using them, positive or negative? Especially, I am been looking at how politicians today prefer Twitter as a platform for election campaign. (I think vector is definitely relevant to my research topic).

 

 

Reference:

Lakoff, George and Johnson, Mark (1999) ‘The Efficacious Cognitive Unconscious’ in Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought New York: Basic Books, pp. 115-117.

Wark, McKenzie (2004) ‘Vector’ in A Hacker Manifesto Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 313-345

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[ARTS3091] Week 6 blog: code, media and data

We did get the idea of ‘data’ in ARTS2090 when we talked about terms like ‘archives’ and ‘aggregation’. Also, in the practice of visualization, we use statistic data/information to create a visual image or figure. In another word, it is to make invisible data visible. This week, we looked at media from the perspective of software, code, and data. We are trying to explore the relationships between code, data and software, and how they can facilitate media change along with social change and cultural change.

First of all, what is ‘data’? According to Quilty-Harper (2010), Data shapes and determines our pattern and behavior of lifestyle such as social relations, consumption, education, entertainment, etc. Also, Quilty-Harper (2010) suggests that data has positively transformed our relationships and advertising strategies.

In particular, I want to discuss the relationship between media and data first. In my opinion, the relationship between data and media is interdependent, which means they work together, and one could not operates without the other. Nevertheless, I think media still is still in a “dominant position” since it is capable of transmitting data to individuals. We can find data existing everywhere in our daily lives, but it has changed the way of existing gradually with the growth of technology. For example, we used to cut out newspaper articles and pictures for collection. However, we are able to collect articles and pictures electronically, so that we can save them in the computer and share with friends online easily. In this case, social media like Facebook and Twitter becoming good platforms for sharing data and information. Without these media, new form of data can hardly exist.

Quilty-Harper (2010) lists ways in which consumer data is used to increase supermarket’s profits, like suggesting our relationship and advertising strategies are changed by data. He also states that, “individuals will be able to pull in different sets of data to produce new and innovative ways of understanding how our Government and the world works”. It means that people can archive our daliy aspects of lives, such as work, social communication, education, etc. People would be able to understand themselves with data archived and presented. Wolf (2010) emphasizes how people are constantly using data to improve or keep track of life. In summarized, it suggests data as a way of self-regulation is increasingly common and assist people quantified self for the modern day (Lehrer, 2010).

 

Reference:

Lehrer, Jonah (2010) ‘Self-Tracking’, May 3, The Frontal Cortex, http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2010/05/self-tracking.php, accessed on 7 April 2014

Quilty-Harper, Conrad (2010) ’10 ways data is changing how we live’, The Telegraph, August 25, <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/7963311/10-ways-data-is-changing-how-we-live.html>, accessed on 7 April 2014

Wolf, Gary (2010) ‘The Data-Driven Life’, The New York Times, <http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/magazine/02self-measurement-t.html>, accessed on 7 April 2014

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[ARTS3091] Week 5 blog: Reality

This week’s lecture explored the term “reality”, so how do we differentiate “real” and “virtual” in this society? What caused the “real” “virtual” idea? New technology?

From study of ARTS1090 in first year, I have already had some ideas about the double space-real space and virtual space. I think most people today would think the term “virtual” as synonyms for the online space or a space that being created by technology (such as mobile phones, computers), and people are able to exist in both virtual and real worlds. For example, you are realistically chatting with your friend via Facebook at home, it means both you and your friends are staying together in the virtual space, but not in the real space. There is also a case that you just realize that you and your friend are on the same crowded bus, but you are unable to walk through the crowd, you would text or call her through mobile (creating a virtual space for both of you). In this case, both of you present in the real world (on the bus) as well as in the virtual world( texting or phone call between you two).

With the growth in both technology and media, there are two derivative terms in regards to the term “reality”: virtual realities and augmented realities.

“Virtual reality is a term that applies to computer-simulated environments that can simulate physical presence in places in the real world, as well as in imaginary worlds (Wikipedia 2013). An example that I can think of is the game called “Sims”, which is a game uses features open-ended simulation of the daily activities of one or more virtual persons in a virtual city called SimCity. Players are able to create a virtual character in the game, and experience everything they would do daily, such as working, sleeping, etc. In short, they actually create a whole different life virtually, distinctly different to their life in the real world.

In contrast, the term “augmented realities”, augmented realities are “live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data,” (Wikipedia 2013). It means augmented realities focus on enhancing individual’s current perception of reality by using technologies in the real world.

In my opinion, virtual realities focus on creating a new virtual environment for people as an alternative world/space, and augmented realities is to raise the interactions with each other in the real world with the help of technology.

In summary, virtual realities is a complete immersion in a digital world, while augmented realities is a digital overlay onto the real world (Anon n.d.).

 

 

Reference:

Anon. (n.d.) ‘Augmented Reality’ Wikipedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_reality> ,accessed 31 March 2014

Anon. (n.d.) ‘Virtual Reality’, Wikipedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_reality>, accessed 31 March 2014

 

 

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