MEDA102- Beginning to Code

Since the last tutorial, where we were finally introduced to the programming world through the “Processing” software, I have been hard at work through the week to try and understand specific functions and practice making simple artworks of my own.

I’m not gonna lie, I struggled immensely initially in trying to make sense of the coding language. Many hours were spent in trying to figure out how to rectify the many errors that popped up and what the hell they even meant! However, through the use of the processing.org website, as well as the book “Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists” by Casey Reas and Ben Fry, I have started to comprehend a little of the various functions and language used for coding.

Although not exactly successful, I attempted with this piece to replicate the spacing of circles, much like Bridget Riley’s Encircling Discs with Black. However, as I continued to struggle with the spacing aspect of the piece, I decided to simply to my own thing and just try different elements and see what happens.

One of the important variables used for this piece was the X & Y, as they were key in me being able to incorporate more than 1 circle in the piece. I also learned that having X = width/2 is essential in the positioning of the circle and although I haven’t quite perfected my skill in doing this I believe I have taken a significant step towards mastering it.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 3.49.10 PM

Loop Practice
Normally it’s meant to move, but could only convert to .jpg file

In conclusion, my first experience with Processing was immensely challenging but also hugely rewarding, as it has provided me with greater knowledge which will be immensely useful in the future

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DIGC202-Attention as a currency

In the last lecture, we discussed the fascinating idea that an individual’s attention has now become the principal form of currency, in the ever expanding digital landscape. Which makes sense really, considering how the consumer’s attention span has changed over the years, due to the overflow of information and content available to us.

With the emergence of digital media, traditional media platforms are having to adjust to the fact that money is no longer the endgame: the goal now is to grab the attention of the consumers. If something doesn’t interest the consumer, they can simply change the channel or station until they find something they like. If not, they can simply go online and search specifically for what they want. Sometimes, though, even the consumers don’t know exactly what they want. These are some of the reasons why attention is arguably the most valuable currency in the changing media landscape.

 Fry meme

BCM332 Case Study Part Two- Gender Representation in the Media

Organisation: Centre for the Study of Women in Television & Film

For the second part of my case study, I have decided to slightly shift my focus from news media to film and television, as this is where my true interest is in. Television and Film are incredibly powerful forms of media that unconsciously effect the way we perceive the people and things around us. It is therefore essential that we address the issue regarding the portrayal of women in film and television, as this will be act as a major stepping point towards gender equality.

ghostbusters-comment-2

Before I introduce the subject of this case study, I would like to give some context into the issue. As you may or may not have heard, this year saw the release of a female-led remake of the classic 1984 horror comedy “Ghostbusters”. Many of the reactions from fans, even before the film was released, was misogynistic and led to the film’s trailer being one of the most disliked videos on YouTube.  Although many claim that the hateful comments and reactions were due to the trailer’s lack of laughs, there is no denying that many were simply against the idea that women could be leads in a big-budget Hollywood film.

For the last 18 years, The Centre for the Study of Women in Television & Film, which was founded by Dr. Martha Lauzen (who is also part of the film and television faculty at San Diego State University), has conducted the most comprehensive research regarding the role of women in film & television. The research is not limited to just actresses. It also includes the women who work behind the scenes and even film critics, and unfortunately the results are rather alarming.

The report “It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World: Portrayals of Female Characters in the Top 100 Films of 2015” investigated the way women were represented on-screen in some of the highest-grossing films of that year, and although the results were an improvement on 2014, which according to the report “was an exceptionally poor year for women” (Lauzen 2015, pg.1), there is still some work to be done. For example, the report states that “Gender stereotypes were prevalent in the top grossing films of 2015” (Lauzen 2015, pg.1) and that it was more likely that women would be more remembered for their marital status than their occupation, which is extremely worrying. Interestingly, however, the report states that “films with at least one woman director and/or writer, females comprised 40% of all speaking characters” as opposed to films directed by males where “females accounted for 30% of all speaking characters” (Lauzen 2015, pg.4). It is evident then that employing more female directors and writers would go some way into rectifying the issue of the representation of women in film & television.

 

References

Lauzen, M 2015, “It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World: Portrayals of Female Characters in the Top 100 Films of 2015”, Centre for the Study of Women in Film & Television, San Diego State University, pg. 1-4

                                     

Is Freelance Work the future?

Everyone knows that desk jobs are incredibly boring and draining. Being stuck in an isolated work cubicle, for 6 hours, who really wants that? Luckily, there is an emerging market for Freelance work, which not only allows you to be your own boss, but it also allows you to work on-the-go (providing that you have internet access). So, why exactly is freelance work on the rise?

Freelancer meme

With the increasing amount of technology available and access to internet from pretty much anywhere (except rural and country areas), it is incredibly easy for people to work outside of the office, which many would say is a great thing. I mean, who would choose working in a bland office over working outside in different areas (possibly even different countries!).

 

Freelance work, at the moment, is particularly significant in the journalism industry, which has gone through significant change in order to keep up with new technologies, bloggers and “citizen journalism”. Journalists are no longer obliged to work for one particular media outlets and can even just blog, which allows them to report things as they please.

 

Journalism, though, is just one of many industries that are associated with freelancers and you can bet that freelance work opportunities will only increase.

MEDA102 Assessment 1- Sol LeWitt

In order to thoroughly understand conceptual art, it is essential to be familiar with its history. Conceptual art came into being in the early 60’s, as an artistic movement which opposed formalist art, which was advocated heavily by art critic Clement Greenberg. Sol LeWitt, whose Wall Drawing #118 will be analysed further on, initially set the terms in the 1967 issue of Artform where he stated “In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work” (LeWitt 1967, pg.79). Essentially, conceptual art is not so much focused on what is represented, but rather the system used to design the art. Conceptual art was heavily criticized due to the fact that it was so focused on the concept that the artwork’s individual meaning could not be interpreted. Conceptual art is often perceived as complex, logical and rather cold. For Sol LeWitt, however, he believes that “Conceptual art is not necessarily logical. The logic of a piece or series of pieces is a device that is used at times, only to be ruined.” (LeWitt 1967, pg.79). LeWitt believes that because the public were so accustomed to art that would draw an emotional response, that Conceptual art was too different and hence deterred people from appreciating that the art was not the work itself but rather the system used to form it (LeWitt 1967, pg.79).

lewitt

Considered by many as the figurehead for conceptual art, LeWitt briefly studied art at Syracuse University before being called up for the Korean War in 1951 (Kimmelman, 2007). Once he returned, he soon worked for a year as a graphic designer. It wasn’t until he encountered the early works of Jasper Johns and Frank Stella that he realized that Minimalism was the way for him to pursue his passion. However unlike minimalist artists, LeWitt was not interested in Industrial materials, but rather became fascinated with systems and ideas. This then kick-started his revolutionary body of work, where the idea and system was the art, not the product itself.

118

 

LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #118, produced in 1971, was part of his famous “Wall Drawings” series and consists of only 8 short lines, which instruct the exhibitionist on how to present the artwork. The lines are as follows:

 

“On a wall surface, any

 

continuous stretch of wall,

 

using a hard pencil, place

 

fifty points at random.

 

The points should be evenly

 

distributed over the area

 

of the wall. All of the

 

points should be connected by straight lines. “

 

 

Of course, for LeWitt, the visual aspect of the artwork is insignificant. For LeWitt, it was all about the system.  Translation and transmission is a process that is an essential to all of LeWitt’s work, including Wall Drawing #118. In fact, the process of translation and transmission is fundamentally the piece of art in all his artwork, including the aforementioned one.  For Wall #118, tasks of instructions are presented in an almost poetic form, consisting of 10 lines of 3 or 4 words. According to Russeth, the Wall Drawing originated when Sol Lewitt was supposed to give a lecture at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, but instead decided to offer students the chance to become involved in his new piece (Russeth,2012). Much like the rest of his work, Wall Drawing #118 is all about the repetition of geometrical shapes, in this case a series of straight lines connected to each other. One of the interesting things about LeWitt’s work in general, is how interpretations of each individual work differentiate from each other, whilst still maintaining the central concept in the instructions. Differences could be down to several factors, such as different wall sizes and of course personal interpretation of the instructions. For example, when distributing the 50 points at random for Wall Drawing #118, space would play a huge part in how the points are spaced out and also what shapes are created. LeWitt often likened his works to musical scores, as his instructions often lead to different to variations and incarnations. Conceptual art and the work of Sol LeWitt is not about aesthetic value. It’s about the system (instructions) itself functioning as the real artwork.

References:

 Kimmelman, M 2007, ‘Sol LeWitt, Master of Conceptualism, Dies at 78’, New York Times, viewed 7th August 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/09/arts/design/09lewitt.html?_r=1&module=ArrowsNav&contentCollection=Art%20%26%20Design&action=keypress&region=FixedLeft&pgtype=article

LeWitt, S 1967, “Paragraphs on conceptual art”. Artforum, vol.5, no.10, pp.79-83.

 Russeth, A 2012, ‘Here Are the Instructions for Sol LeWitt’s 1971 Wall Drawing for the School of the MFA Boston’, The Observer, viewed 10th August 2016, http://observer.com/2012/10/here-are-the-instructions-for-sol-lewitts-1971-wall-drawing-for-the-school-of-the-mfa-boston/

Unfriended: The Demon of Cyberspace

The concept of Cyberspace, created by William Gibson in his novel Neuromancer to describe a society connected entirely through computers, is one that is no longer a vision but rather a reality. Since the emergence of the internet, our interactions with others has changed significantly and as we technologies continue to emerge, our relations become increasingly virtual, to the extent that even sexual intimacy have become possible through cyberspace. Now, although there are many positives to Cyberspace, there are also major concerns that surround it, particularly that of Cyberbullying. Because after all, we are (still) human, and not everyone is so nice. For this post, I would like to discuss the darker side of Cyberspace, by talking about a very interesting horror film called Unfriended.

Unfriended is a film that is about a literal ‘ghost in a machine’ that begins to terrorize and kill a group of teenagers, on the anniversary of the suicide of one of their class-mates. The film explores several different ideas regarding cyberspace, such as the psychological effects of Cyberbullying, as well as our inability to disconnect to our screens, even when we know that it’s the best thing to do in certain situations. Additionally, the film reminds that what we reveal in Cyberspace can never be erased and everything that is said or done can be retraced. Oh, and the film takes place entirely on a single computer screen, which makes every sudden Facebook or I Message notification even scarier. Most importantly, however, it acts as a sharp reminder that in Cyberspace, there no boundaries between private/public information.

 Unfriended meme

The Evolution of the Global Nervous System

It’s hard to imagine a world without the internet. A world without e-mails, telephones and television. But believe it or not, there was a time where the world was very much disconnected and sending information or messages was a very long and excruciating process. This all changed, with the introduction of the telegraph in 1837, thanks to Samuel Morse. Since then, the world has become increasingly closer and has led to the interconnected global nervous system that exists today.

The revolutionary invention of the telegraph in 1837 became the catalyst for further technological breakthroughs, such as the first use of an undersea cable across the English Channel in 1851 which eventually led to the first trans-Atlantic cable in 1866. This was only the beginning towards a globalised world. By 1878, the telephone was invented and bought the world even closer. However, as Lampe and Ploeckl (2014, pg.249) point out, such technologies did not just affect the societal aspect. Many professions, particularly journalism and financial-based jobs, went through significant change. The emergence of the telegraph was particularly significant for newspapers, who were “historically strongly linked to postal services”, prior to the telegraph (Lampe & Ploeckl 2014, pg.249). The telegraph significantly reduced the amount of time it took to deliver the news globally and saw many people become more interested in what was happening globally, rather than just what was happening locally.

Although I could go through every significant technological discovery since the telegraph, I would like to instead skip to the 20th century to talk about what is arguably the most important technological innovation since the telegraph: The Internet. The Internet’s history spans back to the 1962, where an associate professor at MIT, by the name of Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider (J.C.R), introduced his idea of a “Galactic Network” However, it wasn’t until 1993 that the World Wide Web was actually released to the public (Sheppard,2014). Developed by CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) employee Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, the internet was initially mostly embraced by those with significant knowledge in all things technology. Between 1995 and 1999, however, the general public slowly began to also embrace the internet. Once the first form of instant messaging was introduced in 1996, many began to see the internet as more than simply text. The internet eventually led to the emergence of Google, which has become an essential tool for people around the world, as well as social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter which have also changed the way we communicate to others and share information.

Samuel Morse meme

Now that we live in such a connected global nervous system, where sending information or communicating to the other side of the world only takes mere seconds, it will be interesting to see where technology will evolve from here. For now, we can just enjoy what we have and embrace these various technologies.

References

Lampe, M, & Ploeckl, F ‘SPANNING THE GLOBE: THE RISE OF GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS AND THE FIRST GLOBALISATION’, AUSTRALIAN ECONOMIC HISTORY REVIEW, vol. 54, no. 3, pp. 242-261.

BCM332 Case Study Pt. 1-Gender Representation in the News Media

Organisation: The GMMP (Global Media Monitoring Project)

The issue of gender representation in News Media is well known and has been researched for many years, yet it still remains an issue to this day. So, for my case study, I have decided to research the Global Media Monitoring Project, which has focused on changing the way women are represented on the news.

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Since its inception in 1995, The GMMP have released reports every five years regarding the role of women amongst men and gender bias in the newsroom. (Who Makes the News, N/A). Participants range from different areas, age and status, weather it is university students, media practitioners or even women activists’. The project is the largest of its kind and is in fact working with Who Makes the News and the World Association for Christian Communication to end news media sexism by 2020.

The 2015 report, which marked the project’s 20th anniversary, featured an unprecedented 114 participating countries. In the foreword of the report, Margaret Gallagher states that “the media as both powerful institutions and power-defining mechanisms – are fundamental to the ways in which women’s status and gender inequalities are reflected, understood and potentially changed” (Gallagher 2015, pg.1). The media undoubtedly has a great amount of influence on the way we think and behave and so it is, much like Gallagher states, essential that we improve the way women are represented in the media, particularly when it comes to the news. However, the research presented in the GMMP report is worrying, with women only making up 24 % of the people heard about, read or seen in newspaper, television and radio news, exactly as they did in 2010. (GMMP 2015, pg.8). What is incredibly alarming with this result, is that there has been no progress in the 5 years since the last report.

 

In Chapter 6 of the report, the GMMP introduces five objectives which they hope will lead to their penultimate goal of ending news media sexism in 2020. The targets are as follows (GMMP 2015, pg.99):

 

  1. Newsrooms that support gender equality: 100% of national public media and 40% of private media in each country.

 

  1. Overall global presence of women in the news: 50%.

 

  1. 30% global average of news that clearly challenges gender stereotypes

 

  1. 30% global average of news that highlights issues of gender equality and inequality

 

  1. 30 % Global average of news reporting that is anchored in a critical (women’s and marginalized groups’) human rights perspective

Now, considering what I previously mentioned regarding one of the findings from the researched, it is fair to say that these targets are very ambitious.  Yet, these goals seem to indicate that the GMMP remain optimistic about change in the future and with an increasing amount of digital news platforms available, this may force traditional news platforms such as television to adapt and maybe then we might finally see some progress in representation of gender. But for now, we can only hope and imagine.

References

Gallagher, M 2015, ‘Foreword’, Global Media Monitoring Project 2015, World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), pps. 1-3

Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) 2015, Global Media Monitoring Project 2015, World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), pps.8-99

Who Makes the News N/A, GMMP, Who Makes the News, viewed 9th August 2016, http://whomakesthenews.org/gmmp

 

 

DIGC202- Introducing Myself

For those of you who don’t know me, or haven’t encountered my blog yet, my name is Max Clement and I am a 3rd  year communications and media & international studies student at UOW. I am majoring in both Digital Media and Global International Media. My main interest remains in film, but everything in media is also quite fascinating. Although I am not the most tech-savvy individual, I am excited, as part of this subject, to develop a Digital Artefact which will provide me with further experience with different forms of technology but also encourage me to step outside my comfort zone and make something new.

 

So, now that I’ve introduced myself, I want to use this post to introduce my idea for the digital artefact, due at the end of the semester. As I am a huge fan of cinema, I would like to launch either a vodcast or podcast where I will critique films and discuss film-related news. However, the films will not simply consist of Hollywood films, they may also consist of foreign films and even local Australian films. Ideally, I would like a partner to either co-host or film me, as I find it easier to discuss things to someone rather than speaking directly to a voice recorder.

 

So yeah, that’s my idea for the moment, if you have any suggestions or would like to get involved, post a comment below or:

 

Tweet me: @max_clement

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