Rushkoff’s last four chapters are social, fact, openness, and purpose. Rushkoff argues in the social chapter that the contact is important, not the content. We use social media to reach out others not to be categorized and marketed to. If that happens the message is lost. When Rushkoff spoke at our school he made an interesting point about how Facebook is cookie cutter. That no longer are we there to share and make new connections, but rather to represent some shell of who we are. In the eighth chapter Rushkoff says how fact will win against fiction, in digital technology. While he is right that we must tell the truth, people will believe what they want to. The Internet can make any quack, or conspiracy theorist feel right, if not righteous. The openness of the net allows for all opinions which is good yet so often poisonous. Yet Rushkoff is right we must be open, and share not steal. If we wish to create new things we must share, but sometimes the line between sharing and stealing get blurred. For instance, if I make a mash up video showing the stupidity of CNN, Time Warner could sue me. Yet if they were smart the would see their network is ripe for satire. Satire is under the fair use clause but this would not necessarily be allowed. In Rushkoff’s final chapter purpose(programed or be programed). He says “If we don’t learn to program, we risk being programed ourselves.” This means we must learn code, and understand the inner workings of computer, lest we become ignorant and complacent of the technology that surrounds us. If we are not careful we will be rewired instead of the computer.
Locative art is a word that seems to be interpreted differently by the different search engines. Wikipedia interpreted to mean location media, which brought up an interesting idea of using GIS as form art/activism. I have never thought of GIS in artistic sense certainly in a activist sense, but never artistic. Yet since some of the best art is statement, and can therefore be interpreted as activism, I guess it’s not that far of a leap. Wikipedia is problematic though because it can be edited by anyone, yet they still provide an easy understandable answer to almost any question. Worldcat just brought up a bunch of books on art in general, which is what I expect with that terrible search engine. It’s very difficult to find something you specifically want with that search engine. Yet if I wanted a book on art, I would use this site. Leonardo Electronic Almanac offered descriptions on specific artists. It brought up specific artist using the concept of space and technology and the how they interact. This site is good for learning about current artists, and how they are blending different mediums in a artistic sense. I even found one of my teachers in the magazine. I think if I were to modify the search I would find more specific results. Locative Art seems not to generate many results.
I when I was younger I used to turn off my phone, and leave the house sometimes I would merely drive around for hours, (this is when gas was much cheaper) other times I would simply walk around in the city as a way to get lost in the surroundings. I like to be invisible, turning my phone was a way to be invisible from family and friends. This exercise was not that difficult for me since it’s natural inclination to disconnect and be incognito. I couldn’t do it for the whole day since, my family and particularly my boyfriend would be worried, though not too much since again I have done this in the past. I hate how connected yet disconnected we have become. Rushkoff talks in his book about a girl who is considered the most social girl in school, she is always going out trying to find the hippest party communicates with thousands on facebook and everyone listens to her. Yet her phone is a constant barrier, face to face communication seems much more difficult for her. When I was walking around Portland on my technology free day I saw two guys, who looked to be friends, they weren’t even communicating to each other they were both engrossed in their phones. I made a remark to them on how odd it looked to me, and they said they were tourists. This poses an interesting point, our smart phones help us navigate a foreign city and allow us to see different attractions in a more efficient manner. We can go to this famous coffee shop, we can see that famous monument, but that takes away one of the greatest joys of traveling. Exploring for the sake of exploring. Simply walking around without any preconceived notion on what you want to see, this allows for pleasant and not so pleasant surprises. If we no longer discover things on our own, then I feel we have lost part of human experience.
I realize I am late to the social party, but I usually am. You might have notice that many of your friends on Facebook have replaced their profile photo with the equal sign, as a way to show support for gay marriage. Showing your support for a cause is nothing new to Facebook, but are you really doing anything simply by changing your Facebook photo? What social change are you really bringing about? Susan Kohn had a most apt point when she said “Internet activism is individualistic. It’s great for a sense of interconnectedness but the Internet does not bind individuals in shared struggle the same as the the face-to-face activism of the 1960s and 70s did. It allows us to channel our individual power for good, but it stops there… real challenges in our society… won’t politely go away with a few clicks of the mouse.” Social media can bring about change, but there needs to be organization, and real action behind it. Swapping a photo, or signing an online petition is often meaningless, because there is little effort behind it. Whereas when the Arab Spring burned through Egypt they used it to organize, and mobilize the opposition to the streets. Even when the police tried to clamp down on the opposition they had no idea even how to go about it. This media was new to them, and efforts at intimidation only backfired. When organizers were beaten they uploaded their wounds to Facebook and Twitter, when the police beat protesters, they had their phones out to capture it and put in online. This is the new social activism, and the way social media can help the world.
Samuel Johnson famously once said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Well the internet is the last refuge of a racist. It is the one place, where people feel comfortable using, language they would never use in real life. The jokes that people are afraid to tell out in public, are given platforms and praised as funny by other online users. It is true that if you look hard enough every group is demonized online, yet if you are a different color, religion, or even the other gender there is a likely hood you will face more abuse. Google play had an app called make me asian, where you took take a photo of yourself and add crude asian characters to it, the same company also had a make me Irish app, both are equally offensive, yet both stereotypes often get a pass today in America. This app is rather tame compared to other racist apps and games. Years ago sangent games released an incredibly racist game called “Border Patrol” where your only object was to shoot and kill Mexicans crossing the border they were either a breeder, drug dealer, or a Mexican Nationalist, you got extra points for killing the breeder. While “Border Patrol” is an example of overt racist imagery, many mainstream games use racial stereotypes. Almost any game can consist of racial stereotypes, and while we shouldn’t necessarily get offended by every single one we see, we must be aware of them. Often we become desensitised to the stereotypes that surrounds us in the gaming world and in the online world, this translates to us being oblivious to racism in the real world. If you don’t believe me, think of your favorite video game from childhood and critically list all stereotypes within them. You would be surprised by how many there are. To combat racial stereotypes, one needs a critical mind, as well as insight from others.
I think social media is turning people into a bunch of narcissists, people are losing their identity with this new technology, and often times their morals. People are more concerned with documenting and sharing whatever they doing in the moment with the world, no matter how trivial and abhorrent. In the chapter “What is an Avatar?” Coleman mentions writer Kevin Kelly “the augmented self as a symbiotic relationship with technology.” In his assessment, technology has domesticated us. Kelly does not indicate that we are enslaved, but rather, that we are “co-evolving”.” I’m not sure I share their inherent optimism, I feel that we are devolving with social media, and the instant gratification that is the Internet. Much of the info we feed and read via social media is useless, it not only clouds the brain, but also changes wiring. Some people argue that this new technology allows us to multi-task, but in general human beings lack the ability to to do more than two things effectively. So while we updating our status, sending tweets, emailing, and writing a research paper, we are usually doing a bad job at at-least one of those. Younger generations seem to view the Internet like air, they cannot imagine not having it. They use social media, but some do not understand social mores. Take the case in Steubenville Ohio, a girl was passed out and abused, and instead of her peers intervening they took video, and pictures, then posted it online. There were tweets, youtube videos, and facebook updates of her humiliation. The only regret many of these kids seem to have is that they posted it online, and that was only because it was evidence of their horrible behavior. It is true that the very social media they used to humiliate this girl, was turned against them by the hacktivist group Anonymous, but even they can’t be everywhere at once. As we “co-evolve” with social media, we must be cautious of our own exploitation and the exploitation of others with this new form of technology.
Redridinghood provides a new perspective and a new medium for the classic Brother’s Grimm fairy tale. In Donna Leishaman’s tale, red riding hood is updated, and interactive. While the core story remains the same, Leishaman’s interactive style draws viewers in and brings new life to the story. Marshal McLuhan says, “Our official culture is striving to force the new media to do the work of the old. These are difficult times because we are witnessing the clash of cataclysmic proportions between two great technologies. We approach the new with the psychological conditioning and sensory responses to the old.” For here we have this classic tale, translated and updated into a new language and media, using code, and hypertext, Leishman transforms this story into the new medium. The only draw back to her electronic text, is that she doesn’t compile different variations to the Red Riding Hood story. There are many endings to the story, but in Leishman’s story there is no definitive ending. Perhaps that was on purpose, no definitive ending allows her to add her own digital narrative to this common story. Still I think she would have been better served if added multiple buttons to her electronic text. Each one could have showed a different ending. There were many different endings to this classic fairy tale, if she showed little red riding hood choosing a different path, or just show different narrations by the wolf, that would have brought the viewer/reader in even more.
Ingrid Ankerson’s “Cruising” is an example of a born digital work. This piece of electronic literature could never exist on in print, as it would take away from the fluidity that it has on online. The fast pace pictures and auditory rhyming give Ankerson’s work a sort of beat nick quality. There is a quote in the text that articulates this point quite nicely “Computer-modulated texts (poetry machines, cybertexts) are a form of poetry that lives and breathes the fluidity of the electronic environment. They highlight the dynamic production of text, turning this production into a spectacle. Experiencing the text means watching words and meaning emerge and evolve on the screen.” This is what it means to be a “born digital” work, electronic literature goes beyond the limitations of the text itself, as it tries include different senses and interactivity. If one were to try to create “Cruising” on paper, it would fail, because the images would be static. It would lack the movement and the rhythm that is has digitally. One draw back to electronic literature is that it is giving you the narrative, and doesn’t let your mind imagine as fully as simple printed text does. With a book or a poem, one is more free to interpret and imagine what they want, but with many forms of electronic literature, the narrative is more rigid as it feeds you text, sound, and pictures, that is specifically programed by the creator. This form is interesting in how it can reinterpret literature and widen the definition, yet it still can never replace the authentic printed word.
Fair use can be such a grey area, the line is drawn by judges, and at the end of the day judges are people whom contain their own bias. Lets assume for a moment that Lucas decided to sue the creators of these two videos for copyright infringement, would he have a case? In the first video “Star Wars Fan Film: The Essence of the Force”, one could argue that this is a clear case of fair use as this is a parody, as they are clearly spoofing particularly at the end of video. However, Lucas could argue that they stole scenes and ideas from his movie, and they did not add anything new to his original idea, and therefore it would not be transformative and would not follow under fair use. One would hope the presiding judge in this fictional case would side with the defendants.
Now lets look at the next video, “Star Wars Saga (The Best Trance Remix Montage)” A montage by definition is a set of scenes usually set to music. On YouTube many users upload scenes from movies set to music, sometimes their own sometimes someone else’s. Lets presume this montage has original music, it still sampling all the scenes from Star Wars. Lucas could then argue that since 100% of the scenes are from his movie, this a clear violation of copyright infringement. The creator of the video could argue, that since he is not profiting from this video he is not harming the original, and is in fact paying homage to Lucas.