In this week’s reading A Vast machine by Paul N. Edwards reflects on this week’s topic of Culture and data, specifically Data friction and infrastructural globalism. The author discusses about how data is collected and used, he uses the metaphor of the machine to describe the world we live in today, held together as it is by the gears and nuts and bolts of a continuous information flow. An example I can think of is the lifestyle of a university student. Due to the nature of compiling multiple sources of data, ‘aggregating’ all forms of data in order to present a respectable argument or to effectively draw links and conclusions based on research. The learning process in university is one of aggregation, we digest information derived from out lecturers, powerpoint slides and readings. This can further be compared to the ‘distribution,’ this may take in the form of posting your work on a blog, discussion to writing an exam paper. As university students we engage in a constant process of distributing the aggregated data via publishing platforms or through physical means having made our own mark on it through the process of creative additions. It can be argued that this process deters creativity as we merely research what already exists and basically regurgitate it in a different format however I believe it is a shift away from a reactive culture towards more of a proactive one. I believe this is the case because through continuous research on a particular subject are we then able possibly discover new things from past discoveries or it may bring about new theories and discussion. Edwards (2010) explains Data friction is a process of collecting data over a certain time period and the gathering it and coming to a conclusion from a large data set over time. The reading elaborates on the topic of climate change, and shows that the data on climate change that has been collected over time to produce the evidence that climate change is posed as a serious issue. This can be related back to the topic of dangers of smoking, with increasing concerns and as a result more research conducted it adversely affected the perception of smoking from being a non lethal recreation to one that can be dangerous to one’s health.
Edwards, Paul N. (2010) ‘Introduction’ in A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data and the Politics of Global Warming Cambridge, MA: MIT Press: xiii-xvii.
Social media have blurred the line between producer and consumer, giving rise to a new era of aggregation, distribution and the social. The ability to make and produce content of anything, from anywhere, regardless of quality or cost, social media has challenged the media landscape where content was typically produced for and consumed by the masses.
Gauntlet (2010) argues that these new media changes are positive, and this is something I would have to agree with. One of the biggest changes in the new media environment was the introduction of E-readers and on music publishing. While old media, such as books and newspapers, are still readily available, E-readers really showed how many aspects of media are moving forward.
Music publishing similar to other major forms of publishing such as print and digital media, has evolved in the last decade. The aggregation of the music industry is a concept that is centred on communication between producers and consumers. Hierarchies and roles that traditionally separated responsibilities in the industry are almost obsolete. Consumers now form an assemblage of publishers, distributors, tastemakers and trendsetters through the advent of blogs, YouTube and social media like Twitter and Facebook.
In response to these changes, music has become more readily available and free due to the online community, many record labels recognises this change and have shifted from physical distribution to online sales. Perhaps the most widely recognized platforms are iTunes and Amazon. These are not record labels or distributors, they do not create content instead they archive it and sell it through redistribution, which is a form of aggregation in music publishing.
Music publishing has and needs to continue to embrace the immense reach of the web 2.0, and exploit the communication power and accessibility of social media. The assemblage of music publishing sites and the distribution of social media has stripped away the necessity of intermediaries and changed the traditional power structures of all forms of media specifically the music industry into an open platform of discussion and sharing.
[online] Gauntlett, David (2010) Making is Connecting (watch the video) <http://www.makingisconnecting.org/>
The Visual, the Body and the Social Body
This week further explored on visualization and its relationship with the public–the aspect of social body. Visualization is a tool that makes publics get messages by transforming information into images. FYI, visualization is to abstract ideas and concepts translate into pictures, is to make invisible things visible.
This form of visualization is used to explain and draw conclusions from scientific data. Scientists are commonly seen to be using modes of visualization in order to communicate their research and findings to the public. This can be done through graphs, diagrams, physical sculptures or even just pictures. One of the readings ‘Struggling polar bears put on endangered list’ is an article about how the US government has recently put polar bears on the endangered species list, as a result of global warming, and how environmentalists are angry that no action is being taken to “tackle climate change”.
It is explained in the caption that images of these polar bears are commonly being used on posters to represent climate change. This image links to the concept of climate change it shows the immediate effect that this issue is having on animals in the environment, and the suffering which is occurring as a result.
The effect is that it allows for people to view climate change with their own eyes rather than just hear or read about it, which allows them to create a deeper understanding. This particular visualization therefore functions to accompany the article and affect the public and will hopefully assist in more support towards overcoming this issue. I find this can be compared to a lot a similar example with the KONY campaign. The campaign itself targets an issue that is apparent in today’s society of child soldiers, but the clever use of visualisation specifically a video gives first hand perspective and gives a new experience for viewers in understanding the topic. What can be drawn from this topic for me is that things are better explained nowadays with visual aid which means that there is a heavier reliance on technological improvements so that information and data is transferred, shared and interpreted effectively.
The way data is kept, accessed and assembled is becoming increasingly more advanced as networks become more complex and intricate as the scale of publishing expands throughout the world.
Assemblage “a relational network of elements/actants in a flat ontology (where elements and relations are treated equally)”; making for something new (Murphie, 2014, p.14)
Archive fever “thinking about how different ways of publishing constitute institutions, modes of living, our sense of who we are – individually and collectively”(Murphie, 2014, p.17)
ANT, namely Actor-Networked Theory, which combines technological determinism and social determinism together. ANT considers the contributions of both human and non-human ‘actants’ to be equal, thus creating a state of generalised symmetry. “Actants” are described as existing in a network; however, I found it more beneficial to consider these “actants” as part of a constantly shifting and evolving process that must be performed. In publishing, ANT can be a useful framework for analysing different media platforms, particularly how the connection between technological advancements and developers has nurtured what publishing is currently society. An example is radio, since it would not be possible for radio content to be published without radio presenters and sound engineers working with recording equipment to transmit messages across airwaves. Another is Twitter, where software developers created a program where individuals could publish short blogs, not expecting that it would evolve into a platform that facilitates debate and social change. Therefore, to me, the relationship between different publishing tools, techniques and the social aspects all correlate to the time in which the work was published.The idea could similarly be applied to YouTube, where the creators couldn’t foresee how grassroots media producers could work with video content to establish new ways of information and entertainment dissemination. The possibilities are endless.
Murphie, A ARTS2090 Study Kit, UNSW, 2014
Viewing this image the first thing that occurred to me from reflecting this week’s reading is how immensely absorbed society has become in the concept of publishing whether they were aware of it or not. This image will only expand as time progresses and I believe both opens up opportunities and other possibilities for the reader and the publisher. Simultaneously it can also present more issues for organisations that are correlated with the media industry in how to present ideas and garner attention.
This image encapsulates the very idea of publishing in the current landscape of society. There is a growing trend in the importance of ‘you’ in all aspects of publishing. I feel as if society currently is bombarded with this word from the media, corporate businesses and organisations that it has essentially lost its message.
My first impression of the photo is growing span of the networking possibilities. The readings delved into the extensive selection of publishing platforms, this image reminded me how that media platforms also overlap each other. I believe that the meaning behind this is that as new media platforms become apparent to society even if the content that wasn’t originally published on that platform will soon exist due to the nature of sharing files.
In a constantly changing and highly digitised society, we are often overwhelmed by the masses of information which can easily be accessed at the tip of our fingers with the Internet. As a result other forms of publishing such as books and newspapers are left in a predicament in challenging the online world. As seemingly this may be in recent times, the dying out of certain methods of old forms of publishing due to the internet and the whole concept of the audience now capable of producing their own content, have expanded ways in all forms of information. Due to the mass extent of information that is available online has resulted in users having click on links but don’t read. 55% spent fewer than 15% seconds actively on a page. Haile, Tony (2014). The traditional modes of media production: lack of quality, lack of preservation and the frequency of traditional modes make the communication of ideas inferior to modern processes. Instead scholarly journals, academic research, encyclopaedias are far more reliable. The modern paradigm shift, publishing have evolved into a broader spectrum of platforms and accessibility with greater opportunity for varied thoughts and ideas. This technological paradigm shift incorporating tools (e-readers, ipads, internet) encourages hasty dissemination and disregard for particular information. This can be considered a negative development as it disables unbiased conditions. The issue of retaining content on traditional modes of publishing, the nature of which would deteriorate over time, losing essential artifacts and ancient information. Increase in the output of older texts through re-publishing may have contributed to the formation of new thoughts and theories.