Archive for December, 2010

Week 14 – Seeing and Hearing Through a New Medium

Posted in Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 by nicksporter1

The evolution of sound as traced in Jonathan Sterne’s article interested me very much with respect to this idea of seeing or hearing through a new medium. The McLuhan idea proves itself always in these thought experiments, for just imagine how paradigmatic it must have been to, one day out of nowhere, use a machine that put you intimately in touch with people who were hundreds of miles away almost as if you were face to face. When telephony came into fashion the effect was even more pronounced, as a human being’s voice was being piped directly into your ear in a way that almost seemed CLOSER than intimate.

This of course, as Sterne relates, led eventually to headphones and other modern paraphernalia. The development of listening ‘techniques’ really becomes immediate here, as people are now individuated so much that they literally have a whole ‘space’ that is utterly private (even in crowded public places) and cordoned off from others. It is WEIRD to think of sound as performing this action, but most anyone who has used headphones would attest to the fact that they have an isolating effect.

This I think is how the process happens. I don’t think it is predictable or tangible how a given technology will affect or change the way we live and interface. It always seems odd or vaguely alien at first (I remember this feeling in the case of using old MACs for the first time in elementary school) and is hard to make analyzable.

The implications for aesthetics? Great. Take a look at photography, essentially changed all art forever in that it added a dimension that was so real, so non-mythical, that eventually it led to a complete reorganization of artistic practice and purpose. The dominant art today? Conceptual. Non-realist, even non-representational. One can plausibly say that this, at least in part, is a product of the paradigmatic change developments such as photography ushered in. Simply representing something realistically in painting is almost no longer even CONSIDERED art, or good art anyway.

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Week 13 – Authenticity in Art

Posted in Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 by nicksporter1

I think authenticity is always of concern with respect to art, but not in the sense of binaries (authenticity v inauthenticity; good v bad). In the modern and postmodern worlds I don’t even think this is a question anymore. One should ask oneself, how does authenticity factor into the piece? Is it a necessary part of the piece being good? Many times, after all, questions of authenticity are PART of a work’s commentary.

However I think now that a question of authenticity almost never factors into the question of, is a piece of art good? Especially because the predominant ethos in art today is a conceptuality, which at this point almost NEVER incorporates authenticity in construction (for instance favoring painting over photography. If anything, the opposite is the case) but ideas. After all, Benjamin says in his piece that what is called for is “theses defining the tendencies of the development of art under the present conditions of production” (19).

 

video games as narratives

Posted in Uncategorized on December 20, 2010 by daburkho

Narratives are stories. They can be conversations between people that tell us information or they can be just actions that reveal a situation or happening. Creating a narrative is what keeps things going. Without narrative, everyone would be wandering around aimlessly and without purpose. We can find narratives in movies and video games but they are not the same.

In a movie, the time is around 2 hours to tell the whole story; for a video game, time is infinite. In a movie, you have no control over what is going on in the scene and you cannot change it; a video game you control everything and even can defy gravity. In a movie you have more than one perspective of the camera placement; in a video game, you are for the most time in first person camera control. The list can go on and on.

When we play video games we are creating a world with people that we may be familiar with but do things that we tell them to do. When you are talking about a story made by a video game you have yourself playing one character and then either other people playing characters or the computer faking the characters. The player is then disconnected from the real story because you can jump into another character and create the narrative completely by playing all the characters. Another thing different about the world in the video game is life. There is no aging, no consequences, and multiple lives. The game can have you playing for hours if you have multiple lives because you are less tempted to stop if you are doing well on the level you are playing or if you have more chances to beat the game.

Favorite games that tell narratives: Goldeneye or any game with levels and based on a movie, Crash Bandicoot, and Super Mario 64.

 

Mr. Dewey

Posted in Uncategorized on December 19, 2010 by Chemical Ali

I think Dewey’s belief in looking at intrinsic qualities in the individual artist and his  process allows his take on aesthetic theory to be considerably more flexible than his cohorts. Of course this wasn’t always the case, since Dewey was a lifelong empirical scientist.  However, In art as experience he believed all conscious experience had some degree of artistic quality. In acknowledging whether or not he wouldve been supportive of new media? I believe he would’ve co-signed alot of modern art. Dewey begins art as experience by warning us against museums and rejecting fine art as initial experience. To me this indicates that he would be highly into new media forms and practices and also denounces typical fine art of the euro centric classical variety to be the end all be all of art.

He had humanist qualities in that he wanted to share knowledge and Ideas…I definitely think he was way ahead of his time in that respect.

Cyborg Manifesto

Posted in Uncategorized on December 17, 2010 by erikluers

Contemplating Haraway’s essay, I relate the cyborg’s “blank slate” to that of a newborn child. They are unaware of gender, race, etc. and yet are put on this Earth, presumably to them, to merely exist and inhabit a space. They are empty vessels waiting to be filled. Or better yet, they will be filled whether they like it or not. Cyborgs and children come into a world with pre-existing conditions that they are unaware of, and they are assigned class/importance as soon as (and sometimes even before) they are “birthed”.

Since they are not human beings, cyborgs are technically sexless and therefore removed from having a sexual identity. They are not prone to prejudice or sexual preconceived notions and therefore can be seen for their primary function and not for their distinct characteristics (of which they have few). By giving up an identity, they are seen as a tool and less as an individual. Or is it gender that makes humans dissapear into the masses and lose their individuality? Does your uniqueness make you stand out?

Cool video I found  on Haraway’s essay:

Video game paradiso

Posted in Uncategorized on December 17, 2010 by erikluers

There was a debate recently between film critic Roger Ebert and some of his dedicated readers about whether or not video games could ever be considered an art form. After thinking about it myself, I believe that the art comes from the crafting and storytelling of a particular game, much the same way novels, plays, and movies do. There is a difference, of course. Those other mediums have one narrative, one extended path, in which a spectator may experience them. Video games allow the spectator (who in turn becomes a player) to take a pause and explore their surroundings. A narrative is being interrupted but  not broken. In this sense, it would be like reading a book and stopping in mid-sentence to picture the look and feel of the described settings in their own head. It would be like watching a movie on DVD and stopping to zoom in on something or rewind and look at another section of the frame. New forms of media are allowing us to further delve into the narrative at hand, but it is not discarding of the narrative altogether.

All mediums borrow from one another. Video games often feel like movies, with their stressed need for visuals and visual storytelling. In video games, the players are an active participant, but only up to a point. The game has been programmed to work a certain way and no player, no matter how smart or crafty, can alter the ultimate path of the piece. In this sense, video game programmers are like screenwriters, giving the spectator the illusion of free will while guiding them along the whole time. For the most part, I am referring to first-person narrative games. Sports games and things of that ilk probably would not play out in the same way as movies (as you can either win or lose and still be granted a conclusion; if you lose/die in a first-person, the game stops), but they too have a cinematic quality, an illusion of reality, that often seeps through.

Roger Ebert’s video game article: http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2010/04/video_games_can_never_be_art.html

seeing & hearing = learned

Posted in Uncategorized on December 15, 2010 by jamilaw

Seeing and hearing through a new technological media is a process that’s necessary. Traditional media gives you a basic format to be able to experience it. But as these media’s evolve you have to learn to shift with them. Grodal mentions that “traditional one way media like television are transmission.” Things such as video game require more interaction in its users that result in you putting in efforts in order to get a result. Sterne mentions that when it comes to the telegraph, the history of sound requires a shift in focus from the essential sensory characteristics of a particular technology to the history of its deployment. To think of hearing and sound as in new media, its all about how it moves to the current period it is in.

For human consciousness this can mean that we need to be more aware of what is happening. To see and hear are both learned experience, and if we can understand that we can gain more out of them. You have to work through these experiences in order to master the understanding of them in our consciousness.