The medium of film and video is an extraordinary one. Since its inception over a century ago it has dazzled and wowed viewers with each and every improvement and advancement made, from color, to sound, to computer generated effects, to motion capture technology. And with each new and exciting step the world of video making makes, new and exciting forms of expression continue to grow and present new opportunity for illustration. Conversely, we are writing the same exact way people have been writing since Charles Dickens and far earlier than him. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it is clear that there are only certain ways to express ones self through writing, which is fine. But video and film just opens so many different doors, a number of which are growing by the day.
Many of these forms of expression could be seen in the Concept in 60 videos created for class. One of these ways is emotion. There is a certain flare and excitement that can be seen but not necessarily read. Personally, having been on both the viewing and creative end of it, feel that is evident in my Concept in 60. In my video I show my love and excitement surrounding film and, specifically, the Star Wars films. While I could write how much I love the movies, I instead bring out some of my Star Wars merchandise and paraphernalia, which is a clear and vivid expression of my feelings. If I wrote down all the reasons I love movies and wrote about the collectibles I own it would not be nearly as impactful at showing my emotions as the visual media is.
Splintering off of the idea of emotion is personal connection. There are situations where writing can get an idea across, but the reader on their own with just words does not feel the overall impact intended. I look at a video like Mackenzie’s “What is an RA?” where she reads a written passage explaining this idea while also including pictures of herself and others that coincide with the words being spoken, and I feel that extra charge of personal connectivity. As the old mantra goes, “seeing is believing”, and by seeing what Mackenzie is referring to directly makes the whole message all the more real and impactful. Those same words she spoke could have been posted just as these ones are, and they still would have been great, but the pictures along with it takes the message to the next level.
Another way that video is a helpful medium is in its ability to illustrate abstract concepts. Here, I think of Graham’s video, which is of the same footage being edited and contributed to in different ways to give off notable different feelings or ideas. This concept just flat out could not be done justice through writing, as it is all about the abstract concept of point of view and interpretation. Videos like this allow for indulgence in ways that were never considered before films inception.
All these forms of video making are not to discount writing as a worthy and powerful art form, because it certainly is one. But there is something about the freedom and unique options present in video format that makes it such an expressive and wonderful way to say whatever is on a persons mind.
Pulling up a stream online and sitting in a dark room with your ear buds in watching on your laptop? This is the WRONG way to watch a movie at home. Here, I illustrate the RIGHT way to watch you films in your living room.
danah boyd clearly has a strong grasp upon social media of today. Her book, It’s Complicated, has a thorough and detailed analysis of the affects the Internet and social media specifically has brought upon the youth of this generation. One of the key points of the second chapter of the book, entitled Privacy, is the idea of social steganography. The concept is, in simplistic terms, hiding messages in plain sight from adults in order to convey messages to other friends and members of groups without the overtly watchful parents being aware of what is being said. While I hear and appreciate most of what boyd says in this section, I do have certain points where I disagree. Primarily of which is with the idea that these types of subtle messages and in-group sayings are used through social media as a form of privacy.
I understand that this whole chapter is set to revolve around privacy, hence why boyd is framing the issue that way, but I see it from a different angle. While the Internet has provided our generation with a lot of ways to come into ourselves and to be private in regards to our interests and communication, I feel the circumstances which boyd talks about are more of a uniting situation than a covert one. For myself personally, I have interests that are not widely popular, the types of music and films I am a fan of are typically not regarded as very standard or popular. So through social media forums such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit, I indulge in those interests with others who share them. You could describe these conversations I have about Ghost BC or Pinkly Smooth or Darren Aronofsky on these social media outlets as private in-group discussions, but the point of them is not to be secretive.
The Internet allows for people to explore and connect with others all around the world that think, feel, and like similarly. At times, that may result in some people using particular phrases and mottos that only other fans would know, but that is not necessarily for super secrecy from others. Social media has brought like-minded people of our generation closer together than ever before, not because teenagers don’t want their parent’s to know what they’re doing, but because teenagers can really connect with these like minded people in a way that can really only be understood by each other, and that is a very cool prospect to me.
Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows is, ultimately, Carr sharing a well worded warning due to his fear of what humanity is to become if we are to stay on the path we currently travel as a species. He fears that mankind is to become so dependent upon the technology that is provided to us via the Internet that it shall come to a point where, as he said, our “…’human elements’ are outmoded and dispensable.” This fear, as evidence of Carr’s entire book, is warranted due to the evidence he presents. Yet, Carr does not really present a proposed solution to this fear of his; he makes it clear that he understands that the benefits seemingly outweigh the negatives, and then does not really say what we can do to avoid this science fiction-like demise. I feel that had Carr taken a bit of a broader look at history in perspective to the issue he wrote about, he would see historically there is an answer that is tried and true. Moderation in advancement. Throughout all of modern history man has made strides within the realm of technology, and within each of these eras the most miraculous of these advancements were looked upon as a possible danger; traditionally what one does not understand must be feared. When antibiotics were first introduced it many were skeptical of ingesting some concoction drummed up in a lab that would miraculously eliminate sickness. Should we then take these pills whenever we feel something wrong with us? Additionally many feared the radio when it first gained popularity in the early 20th century, as it was inane to think a person miles away could be heard in your own home. And what else could be possible as a result of such technology, could they unbeknownst to us allow others to hear us too? Will this advancement eliminate the need for the printed word now that we can hear news and stories at any time any place? These technological and societal advancements, just like the Internet today, do provide more questions and unknown fears than straight up answers. Yet how were these fears and questions quelled? Through moderation of these advancements and by not relying completely upon them. We now know that antibiotics and radio, while perhaps worrisome at first, ended up being significantly beneficial. The fears associated with the radio and the medication, while warranted at the time, ultimately were handled by moderate use of both. The radio did not take over society; it did not become the only form of communication. Antibiotics like penicillin were not this inexplicable cure-all that could be taken at anytime for everything. The same can be said for the 21st century with the Internet, it does not have to turn us into robots that no longer have any ‘human elements’. If we as Internet users use the source in moderation and understand it, we will be fine. Not relying on the Internet for all information and for all communication and entertainment while also understanding its benefits to us as a race will result in a safe and secure future. For the rest of human existence miraculous inventions will be created and people will fear what they may become or what they may lead to; this is expected. However, when we take a step back, look at what is before us and figure out the proper way to utilize and handle this new advancement, our society will not collapse, just as it hasn’t for generations past when they came across a technology we now look at as benign and common place.
Technogical should be a little easier to understand than this.
The subtitle of Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows is a statement that has many varying angles to it. The subtitle reads, “What the Internet is doing to our brains”. In short, it is doing quite a bit, some good, some bad. But, the greater question that can be broken off from Carr’s writings is, what is the Internet allowing our brains to become? Carr begins the first chapter of the book with a reference to Stanley Kubrick’s 1967 masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. When writing about the film Carr specifically quoted a line uttered by HAL, the computer that controlled the ship our protagonist Dave was traveling in. Dave was unplugging and destroying HAL late in the movie, to which the computer responded, “Dave, my mind is going.” Carr would go on to utilize the quote through his first chapter in reference to the lack of focus the typical American mind has when in use of the Internet. However, I read this classic quote and felt that it could be interpreted in another way, an angle that Carr would address later on in his book. For me, the collective ‘mind’ of the average American citizen has been ‘going’ for quite some time in regards to inability to function on its own merit without the internet. Time and time again in conversation, debate, or any sort of interaction I have with friends, family, or classmates questions or facts are presented, and yet almost every time the people in the conversation are not the ones to answer or respond. The unique thoughts or beliefs of these people are not presented in response. These individuals always go right to their phones and the Internet. They can never think for themselves, the Internet must do the thinking for them. In the seventh chapter of The Shallows Carr states, “When we’re online, we’re often oblivious to everything else going on around us”; we shut off everything real and physical in our world and are reduced to merely interpreters of results of our Google search. The world created by the Internet in 2017 is one in which answers must be 100 percent accurate and rapid, so people are never left to think for themselves now or even trust their own intellect; we are consumed with the instant gratification our computers provide us with. In an article written by Daniel Wegner on Scientific American, located at http://bit.ly/2lIFtmS, Wegner states that he feels the ease of access to the internet at its resources, “… may not only eliminate the need for a partner with whom to share information—it may also undermine the impulse to ensure that some important, just learned facts get inscribed into our biological memory banks.” The Internet being at each and every person’s fingertips is, in a sense, taking our humanity from us. One could say, our mind is going. So in response to my originally posed question, the Internet is allowing our brains to become a screen; not capable of producing results or interaction, just capable of mirroring the search engine results found on the Internet. This is a reality Nicholas Carr understood and conveyed in The Shallows all too well.